How to maximize head/foam?

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Upstate12866

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Hello,
I was wondering if anyone had tips for maximizing head and foam. This is especially hard for me in extract recipes.

I've been doing some research before posting. Looks like adding wheat helps (does this include wheat extract?) and "cara" type steeping grains. I'm seeing mixed comments on oats.

I would love to get waaay more foam than i get now (which is pretty minimal). Any tips or tricks would be appreciated.

Also it might be worth mentioning I'm usually carbing to 2.7 or 2.8 vol co2.
 

RM-MN

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Wash your glassware by hand with plenty of rinsing. We often want to use the dishwasher (with anti-spotting) and it leaves a tiny bit of detergent on the glass which destroys the heading.
 

D.B.Moody

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Steeping grains help. You can also add maltodextrin to your extract brews. I can't speak to kegging, as I only bottle.
 
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Upstate12866

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Thanks for the maltodextrin tip, I haven't heard of that one
 
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Upstate12866

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I would love to make beers that have an absolute chimney of foam, if I could. Or at least learn some tricks for certain recipes worth using them on (I have light summery beers in mind these days).
 

Yooper

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I would love to make beers that have an absolute chimney of foam, if I could. Or at least learn some tricks for certain recipes worth using them on (I have light summery beers in mind these days).
Most light beers don't have much in the way of head/foam retention as a rule (depending on the recipe). But we can help you get a good head on them if you want. Can you give us a sample recipe, and we can see where the issue may be?
 

Dgallo

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Higher small chain protein grains; wheat, spelt, Carafoam

If you were all grain you could utilize step mashing but that won’t help you with extract

Transfer clean wort to the fermenter. And the transfer the cleanest beer to the keg

Hops help with foam stability to an extent.

Have a good carb level of at least 2.6 vols
 
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Upstate12866

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My simplest extract recipe is below.

2.5 gallon recipe
1 can light LME (3.3 lb)
Boil 0.5 oz perle hops for 45min
Add 0.5 oz with 15 and 5 min left.

Cool to 60 then pitch California common lager yeast. Bottle prime with sucrose to 2.7 or 2.8 vol co2.

When I brew all grain or have steeping grains from a kit I might add 10% or so wheat malt and maybe 1/4 lb oats. I haven't been working with these for long and haven't been blown away by what they've yielded so far. I don't have much experience with specialty malts at all.
 

DuncB

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Not sure if you can get this


When I first started brewing years ago ( last century ) extract only, I used to use this for a Theakstons Old peculier clone from Dave Lines book.

Worked a treat.

These days I don't use it.

Japanese use these on their Asahi as they like a big head!


Great for faking Nitro pour stouts as well.
 
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Upstate12866

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I'll see if that beer heading liquid is available near me. I didn't even know that existed!
 

D.B.Moody

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My simplest extract recipe is below.

2.5 gallon recipe
1 can light LME (3.3 lb)
Boil 0.5 oz perle hops for 45min
Add 0.5 oz with 15 and 5 min left.
If this isn't getting the head you're looking for, you need to add something that helps:
1. something high in proteins like crystal malt and carafoam or, as you asked before, use wheat malt
2. something high in dextrins like maltodextrin
Hop bittering helps, but you don't seem to be lightly hopped, and, from what @Dgallo said, you're C02 is high enough.
 
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VikeMan

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A lot of this won't apply to extract brewing, but here's some stuff from a presentation I put together on beer foam.

•Use Malt from Barley with high Nitrogen (protein) content
•Add Flaked/Malted Wheat or Flaked Barley (proteins)
•Avoid Over-Modified Malts (destroys proteins)
•Limit No/Low Protein Adjuncts (corn, rice, sugar)
•Avoid Protein Rests with well Modified Malts (destroys proteins)
•Use Caramel Malts & other Highly Kilned Malts (contain Melanoidins)
•Limit Use of Oats, Coconut, Coffee, Chocolate (fats/oils, i.e. lipids)
•Keep Most Kettle Trub Out of Fermenter (Fatty Acids)
•Make Bitter Beers (Iso-Alpha Acids)
•Adequate Yeast Health and Pitch Rates (avoid stress)
•Pasteurization (commercial breweries, denatures Proteinase A)
•Scrupulously Clean Equipment and Glassware
•Vorlauf (retains more Lipids in grain bed instead of kettle wort)

Full presentation here:
 
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Upstate12866

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This is awesome, thank you so much! That's a lot of great ideas
 

bwible

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Breiss says use 1-5 % carapils to “increase foam, improve head retention and enhance mouthfeel without adding flavor or color to your beer.” I recall seeing 3% somewhere. For the kind of recipe you’re listing I might start with 2.5 or 3 oz.

Carapils is a Breiss proprietary product. There is discussion whether it needs to be mashed. Breiss says you can steep it, but I always steeped it with an equal amount of 2 row to be sure when I was doing extract batches with steeping grains.

Many here would also highly recommend swapping out the canned extract and using dry malt extract instead. Not for foam or head problems, but for other reasons. Canned extract tends to often not be fresh. It darkens in the can, too, so it’s not anybody’s first choice to make lighter colored beers, even using light extract. Often times it also leaves a “twangy” flavor in your beer, like it picks up a metallic twinge from being in a metal can. I know Breiss and some of the others are using plastic cans now, so that should tell you something.

Many of us find dry malt extract to be easier and better to work with. No syrup to warm up or can to scrape out.

Liquid extract is roughly 38 points per pound where dry comes up roughly 45 points per pound, having all of its water removed.

3.3 * 38 is 125 / 2.5 gallons should yield 1.050. 45 * 3 = 135 / 2.5 gallons should yield about 1.054. DME comes in a bag, like brown sugar. You can just not use the whole 3 pounds if you want to stay under 1.050. It’s also available in pilsen and extra light color if you’re going for a lighter color.
 
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bwible

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15A05F7B-8AA0-47E7-A81E-D64DE3F6D3B4.jpeg

There’s what CaraPils does for you. No wheat, rye or oats in this one. Breiss 2-row, a little munich, 3% CaraPils
 
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VikeMan

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Not sure how it would work as a steeping grain but I use torrified wheat when I want the foam.
If steeped without a base malt, it would add unconverted starches to the wort. (Usually not considered a good thing.)
 

EazyMcBreazy

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Note on force carb'ing in the keg, if it hasn't been mentioned...
If you're aggressively rolling/shaking the keg to dissolve CO2 then you are actively breaking up the foam producing protein chains as they will only occur once. Try a more passive approach ie time. Carapils and/or wheat should really do the trick but any steeped malt will help. Add extract later into the boil.
 

bracconiere

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if this is what you want, pour fast and rough, then give it some time for the protein to coagulate. then finish pouring slowly.....
 
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