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No head retention!

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Mr. Awesome

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My beer pours with a nice head to it, but it falls back very quickly to the point where there are no bubbles on top. I can taste and feel the carbonation in my mouth and see some bubbles rising on the side of the glass (though not as much as I would like. I guess a secondary question would be, 'How can I increase the carbonation in my beer overall? Just add more priming solution?'). Books I have say that this is caused by a dirty glass, but commercial beer does not have the issue as there is almost always a fine layer of head on the top until the last mouthfull. Any way to fix this?
 

gwood

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Mr. Awesome said:
My beer pours with a nice head to it, but it falls back very quickly to the point where there are no bubbles on top. I can taste and feel the carbonation in my mouth and see some bubbles rising on the side of the glass (though not as much as I would like. I guess a secondary question would be, 'How can I increase the carbonation in my beer overall? Just add more priming solution?'). Books I have say that this is caused by a dirty glass, but commercial beer does not have the issue as there is almost always a fine layer of head on the top until the last mouthfull. Any way to fix this?
Posting a recipe thats an example of a beer that didn't have any retention would be a good start, as well as priming and bottling details. AG, extract/steeping, PM? Without knowing specifics, I think that a safe suggestion would be to use some dextrine malts (carapils etc).

In terms of glass wear, there are a few regular culprits. Do you use a dishwasher? If so, stay away from stuff like Jet Dry etc. Also make sure you use wet glasses vs. dry when pouring.
 

BierMuncher

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Assuming you're doing extract with grains or partial mash...

Take 1/2 pound of carapils malted barley.

Crush them up with a rolling pin. Add them to your steeping grains and steep for 60 minutes at 155 degrees. Remove grains from wort.

Proceed with your extract additions and boil.
 
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Mr. Awesome

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Here's the recipe.

Specialty Grains


* 0.5 lbs. Dingemans Caramel Pils
* 0.25 lbs. Briess Special Roast
* 0.125 lbs. Dingemans Biscuit
* 0.125 lbs. Simpson's Chocolate

Fermentables


* 6 lbs. Gold Malt Syrup

Boil Additions


* 0.5 oz. Northern Brewer (60 min)

Yeast


* Wyeast #1272 American Ale Yeast II. Fruitier and more flocculant than 1056, slightly nutty, soft, clean, slightly tart finish. Flocculation: high. Apparent attenuation: 72-76%. Optimum temperature: 60-72.
 

BierMuncher

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Double your carapils.

Also, the longer your bottles cold condition, the better your carbonation aspects (including head retention) will be. SO, if your chilling your beer for a day or two prior to serving, try letting them chill for several weeks.
 
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Mr. Awesome

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Ah, good tip. I've been keeping them warm, then just chilling them as I want them. Somewhere I read that once you cool them down they stop aging, and I wanted them to keep getting better. I guess I'm wrong?
 
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