What caused so much head? Too carbed?

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kyleobie

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Simple question, probably simply answer, but I want to confirm:

My first batch was a pretty standard pale ale. I used pale LME and steeped with crushed crystal malt. Topped it off with 2 gallons, which gave me about 4.25 gallons total. I lost some water in the boil.

Put the boiled & cooled priming sugar in my bottling bucket and siphoned the beer into the bucket. I lost a little more of my beer trying to get the siphon going.

Anyway, the pale ale ended up pretty good, but there is an excessive amount of head - maybe 4-5 inches when I give it a hard pour. The head retention is excellent, but I need to take a gentler pour with these than I'm accustomed to doing for a commercial pale ale. The mouthfeel was just about right for the style - it was thoroughly carbonated but not to excess.

Anyway - so what caused the excess head? Too much priming sugar?
 
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kyleobie

kyleobie

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Haha - I didn't mean to frame that as a complaint! I was just surprised how heady it was and wondered if I made a mistake along the way.

I should add that the head retention was AWESOME - there was still a thin layer of head 30 minutes into the beer for some of my friends.
 

bgough

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there was still a thin layer of head 30 minutes into the beer for some of my friends.
I'm more amazed that the beer lasted that long.

seriously though...How much priming sugar did you use for the 4.25 gallons of beer. It's very possible it might be over-carbed with "4 to 5" of head.
 
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kyleobie

kyleobie

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Key phrase there - "some of my friends" - I got approval on my first batch from some non-beer drinkers. Pretty sweet. My own beer certainly didn't last that long.

I used 3/4 of a cup.

It also occurs to me that it could have been the steeping grains - I definitely would like to repeat the head retention in future beers. But I also want to make sure I want to be using the right amount of priming sugar.
 

Yooper

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I find that it works better to weigh the sugar. 3/4 of a cup might pack down and weigh more than you think! I like to use 1 ounce of priming sugar per gallon. I think you'll be happier with the results.

A cheap kitchen scale would work fine, and work for hops, too! It's hard to weigh .25 ounces of hops without a scale, so I use my kitchen scale for small amounts of grain, priming sugar, and hops.
 
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kyleobie

kyleobie

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Thanks! I bought a small scale to weigh out the specialty grains for my second batch and I'll use that for my priming sugar this go around, too.
 

HSM

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I find that it works better to weigh the sugar. 3/4 of a cup might pack down and weigh more than you think! I like to use 1 ounce of priming sugar per gallon. I think you'll be happier with the results.

A cheap kitchen scale would work fine, and work for hops, too! It's hard to weigh .25 ounces of hops without a scale, so I use my kitchen scale for small amounts of grain, priming sugar, and hops.
Good advice, you must have the scale. It's easy to buy sugar in pre-measured 5 oz. bags, but buy a few pounds and you costs drop incredibly. All you need is a good scale to cut it down.

Then start buying hops by the pound!
 
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kyleobie

kyleobie

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Thanks for the advice. I'm enjoying one of these right now - the head is hard to manage during the pour, but man, I've never had a beer retain so much for so long after a pour. Awesome. I saw somewhere that crystal malt helps with head retention... do you think that's the case here?
 
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Thanks for the advice. I'm enjoying one of these right now - the head is hard to manage during the pour, but man, I've never had a beer retain so much for so long after a pour. Awesome. I saw somewhere that crystal malt helps with head retention... do you think that's the case here?
crystal will help, any extra protein will aid in head retention.
 

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