How to get better head on brews

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BK_BREWERY

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i recently brewed a red ale and a pale ale and both came out great and taste great so not many complaints, only thing i noticed was the head on them doesn't last very long. i have them kegged on CO2 and everything comes out all frothy and beautiful on top at first but shortly there is no head left. i used whirlfloc in both and cold crashed them for clarity. i guess my questions are

1.) what could be the causes of the head dimminishing so quickly (knowing its not the cleanliness of my glasses, those things are spotless)

2.) does it have anything to do with carb levels? (i have adjusted these up a couple PSI still have the same problem).

3.) what are the most likely places i removed the necesary proteins for good headed brew?

4.) next time whats a good way to get good head on my brews naturally without agents?

5.) are heading agents bad, or do they mask a problem?

thats enough question for now :p

thanks!
 

Got Trub?

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One thing that I have noticed is that the longer I age my beers the better and longer lasting head they have.

Some use some carapils/carafoam or some wheat malt in their recipes to help with head formation and retention.

GT
 

giligson

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Some things that improve head retention (note retention is the key - not initial foaming)

More proteins - so no protein rest, high protein grains like 6 row or wheat
Less oils - some grains like oatmeal have head killing oils
Use an antifoeam - yes and ANTI foam like fermcap actually improves eventual head retention.

Initial foamyness only indicates how much CO2 is coming out of solutions (eg overcarbed beer).
 

pjj2ba

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More proteins - so no protein rest, high protein grains like 6 row or wheat.
It's not quite as simple as this. Simply having more protein can lead to haze problems. The proteins have to be the right size. I personally believe a short protein rest helps to improve head retention by breaking down the larger haze causing proteins into smaller head improving (and body improving too) proteins. Especially with grains like wheat.
 

Homercidal

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Some adjuncts can help
Make sure your glasses are not washed with a rinse agent
I've heard that hops can add head retention

I've had some beers that had beautiful head, and others that didn't. Sometimes a style doesn't include the stuff that aids in head retention.
 
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BK_BREWERY

BK_BREWERY

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total noob question then what is a protein rest, and when do you do it?
 
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BK_BREWERY

BK_BREWERY

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thanks for the info!, I have this book but alas I haven't gotten to all grain brewing yet, still brewing specialty grains with extracts. someday i will do all grain and get to the protein rests, mashing, etc. but for now best tips using extracts for good headed brews? would adding heading agents be worht it or is there a better way to achieve "naturally"?
 

McKBrew

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Evan! has recommended heading powder in the past. It is available at LHBS's and online. From what he has said, it works well.
 

eschatz

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a little bit of wheat (4 oz) won't hurt the clarity of your beer and will give you better head retention. If you add too much your beer will have a very hard time clearing though. :mug:
 

SpanishCastleAle

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Carapils or Carafoam...both will aid head and will clear well. 1/4# to 1/2# per 5 gal.

Also...if you're kegging make sure you give them some time to condition a bit. When kegged brews are just carbonated they don't seem to retain head very well but once they've conditioned (just a couple of weeks after carbing) they do much, much better.
 
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BK_BREWERY

BK_BREWERY

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Also...if you're kegging make sure you give them some time to condition a bit. When kegged brews are just carbonated they don't seem to retain head very well but once they've conditioned (just a couple of weeks after carbing) they do much, much better.
that might be my problem too they spent 2 weeks in primary transfered to secondary for 3 weeks and cold crashed for 5 days then kegged only been on carb about a week and i forced carbed them at the begining. they taste great so i don't know if they'll last long enough to see if the head become robust! but i'm looking forward to them getting better with age!

thanks!
 

Bob

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It's not quite as simple as this. Simply having more protein can lead to haze problems. The proteins have to be the right size. I personally believe a short protein rest helps to improve head retention by breaking down the larger haze causing proteins into smaller head improving (and body improving too) proteins. Especially with grains like wheat.
Your belief is backed up by a considerable body of brewing science, so +1 to you! :D

I tend to conduct my mashes a la Fix, which includes a short protein rest. Fix used to advocate rests at 40-50-60-70C; I omit the 40C rest and perform the others. It is worth noting that Fix's schedule is predicated on the use of undermodified, high-protein 6-row malt. Presumably that's why his 50C rest is scheduled for a half-hour. When using highly-modified malts like US 2-row or Maris Otter, I reduce this rest to 15 minutes. This increases foam formation and retention and reduces haze precursors without recourse to wheat malt or specialty grains.

It's not that difficult to do with infusions of boiling liquor, either; you don't need HERMS or a direct-fire mash tun to do it. I have neither, and perform these rests regularly.

Cheers,

Bob
 

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