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Who wants to give me head

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huge1s

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Who wants to give me head advice? My first two beers (hefeweizen-extract, 1554 Clone - AG) do not seem to have much head when poured. These are bottle conditioned beers and have bottle conditioned for at least 3 weeks. Carbonation is ok.... but seems a little low. I am a little aprehensive to put more than 5oz of priming sugar in and can't seem to track down a solid answer on increasing carbonation. Maybe these are two different issues... just looking for some advice.
 

BigB

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I certainly won't give you head... sorry, I don't swing that way. But, head retention is an entirely different issue. What is the recipes you are using? No, I don't expect you to type them all out, but head retention will be a factor of the grains, temperature, water profile, and glassware.... yes, glassware. If you use jet dry or any product with a surfactant on your glassware, that will certainly kill head retention. Carbonation is different from head retention in that it is a measurement of how much C02 is dissolved in a particular beer. You could have a beer with 4 volumes of CO2 yet still not nearly the head retention of another beer that say only has 2.2 volumes of C02. So to sum, without knowing all of the details of your process, we are really just guessing... but at least you have a place to start looking to control variables. Also, carbonation will likely increase a bit over time... some large beers will take several months to fully carbonate... 3 weeks is really just a minimum amount of time. Also, if you store your carbonating bottles in a cool room, it will take even longer... I shoot for about 68-72F for bottle conditioning temps.
 
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huge1s

huge1s

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I certainly won't give you head... sorry, I don't swing that way. But, head retention is an entirely different issue. What is the recipes you are using? No, I don't expect you to type them all out, but head retention will be a factor of the grains, temperature, water profile, and glassware.... yes, glassware. If you use jet dry or any product with a surfactant on your glassware, that will certainly kill head retention. Carbonation is different from head retention in that it is a measurement of how much C02 is dissolved in a particular beer. You could have a beer with 4 volumes of CO2 yet still not nearly the head retention of another beer that say only has 2.2 volumes of C02. So to sum, without knowing all of the details of your process, we are really just guessing... but at least you have a place to start looking to control variables. Also, carbonation will likely increase a bit over time... some large beers will take several months to fully carbonate... 3 weeks is really just a minimum amount of time. Also, if you store your carbonating bottles in a cool room, it will take even longer... I shoot for about 68-72F for bottle conditioning temps.
lol... maybe I should be more careful with my jokes.

There really isn't much head generated in the first place for both these beers. They feel carbonated, just not quite as much compared to a bottle conditioned store bought micro of the same style. The 1554 clone is from AHS, so I won't type the recipe, but the hefe is a basic hefewiezen with 40% wheat and 60% two row, with a half pound of carapils added in to boot. If I were to pour a store bought hefe into the exact same glass, it will have some head on top regardless of how carefully I pour. Mine has almost none... maybe a slight head that goes away quickly. So, I don't think it has to do with the glass. Bottles were left at room temps of ~68 for 3 weeks before I had the first beer. The last beer of the batch @7 weeks displayed the same characteristics.
 

arg

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If it's all grain as you said then it could be an issue with your mash.
 
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huge1s

huge1s

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If it's all grain as you said then it could be an issue with your mash.
I should have explained.... the hefe was extract and the 1554 clone was AG. Both with the same issue. Would elevation have anything to do with it? I live at 7000 feet.
 

BBL_Brewer

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It matters how you pour too. The head has to be generated before it can be retained. I guess if you pour a micro brew and a homebrew side by side and get different results then there is a problem. I'd wait until you get the right carb level your looking for and then evaluate.
 
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huge1s

huge1s

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It matters how you pour too. The head has to be generated before it can be retained. I guess if you pour a micro brew and a homebrew side by side and get different results then there is a problem. I'd wait until you get the right carb level your looking for and then evaluate.
It seems like carbonation level is my issue.... any resources on upping my priming sugar safely?
 

bowiefan

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At your altitude, you should have CO2 coming out of solution faster and easier, so that's not it.

Hop oils help head retention. In lightly hopped beers, significant blow off durring fermentation will hurt head retention. What is your water source? Softened water can negativly impact head retention.
 

janivar123

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How long did you cool the beer after carbonation
Im not saying to drink the beer cold but it should help to leave them in the fridge for 3-5 days
 
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huge1s

huge1s

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At your altitude, you should have CO2 coming out of solution faster and easier, so that's not it.

Hop oils help head retention. In lightly hopped beers, significant blow off durring fermentation will hurt head retention. What is your water source? Softened water can negativly impact head retention.
Good point about the altitude and CO2. For the first batch, I used Walmart drinking water. Second batch used Monument, Colorado tap water. Same issue on both beers.

How long did you cool the beer after carbonation
Im not saying to drink the beer cold but it should help to leave them in the fridge for 3-5 days
Fridge time ranged between 2 hours and 1 week. Same issue on both beers.


Maybe I should just try upping the priming sugar on my next batch that is ready to bottle any day now. Go up 1/2 an ounce or so.
 

thegerm

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detergents seem to be the biggest factor by far, but doesn't protein content also play a significant role?
 

Elweydoloco

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I will say I agree detergents suck and kill head.

Giving it some age if your bottle priming will typically result in better head.

Finally adding about a pound of wheat extrct typically does the trick for some better head retention as long as you don't mind fighting the chill haze or are able to cold crash as sometimes Gelatin will reach with wheat extract.
 

Backporchbrewery

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I use simply regular sugar (4.5oz/5gal) and it always gives my beers a nice creamy head when I pour. I never got it like that with other methods, so I'm assuming it was the sugar.
 

eastoak

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as an experiment i smeared the inside of a glass with olive oil (way more oil than a "regular" dirty glass should have) to see how it would affect head retention. i then poured a beer i knew would have a huge head. the beer still had a huge head that overflowed the glass but it very slowly started collapsing away from the edge of the glass toward the center of the glass. after 10 min the head was still persistent in the glass. i took another clean glass, scrubbed it with salt inside with a very hot water rinse and poured a beer that i knew would not form much of a head - a thin head formed then disappeared. this unscientific experiment suggests to me that the condition of the glass has very little effect on head formation/retention. the oils collapse the head from the edges too slowly to really say it kills the head, it takes a considerable amount of time for the head to go away.
what goes on in the mash tun and kettle probably have more effect on beer foam and once you are past that point no amount of cleaning will give your beer more head, either it has it right away (after proper conditioning) or it never will.

disclaimer: i'm not a scientist.
 

BigB

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as an experiment i smeared the inside of a glass with olive oil (way more oil than a "regular" dirty glass should have) to see how it would affect head retention. i then poured a beer i knew would have a huge head. the beer still had a huge head that overflowed the glass but it very slowly started collapsing away from the edge of the glass toward the center of the glass. after 10 min the head was still persistent in the glass. i took another clean glass, scrubbed it with salt inside with a very hot water rinse and poured a beer that i knew would not form much of a head - a thin head formed then disappeared. this unscientific experiment suggests to me that the condition of the glass has very little effect on head formation/retention. the oils collapse the head from the edges too slowly to really say it kills the head, it takes a considerable amount of time for the head to go away.
what goes on in the mash tun and kettle probably have more effect on beer foam and once you are past that point no amount of cleaning will give your beer more head, either it has it right away (after proper conditioning) or it never will.

disclaimer: i'm not a scientist.
I want to agree with you on an observational point of view... But from a scientific point of view I can't. Just because it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, doesn't mean its a duck. Now, if you said that you took a glass that you know was never exposed to a surfactant, then another exact same type of glass that was exposed to a surfactant, yet there was no difference from a beer poured out of the same bottle... then I might agree with you on a scientific level.
 
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huge1s

huge1s

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How are you boiling? I had head and retention issues until I got a better burner. Do you get a really good roiling boil going for an hour?
It rolls, but isn't violent. I can boil a little harder if I want to, but it seems like I boil on the edge of violent... Which could cause wort to jump out of the kettle.
 

eastoak

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I want to agree with you on an observational point of view... But from a scientific point of view I can't. Just because it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, doesn't mean its a duck. Now, if you said that you took a glass that you know was never exposed to a surfactant, then another exact same type of glass that was exposed to a surfactant, yet there was no difference from a beer poured out of the same bottle... then I might agree with you on a scientific level.
i still think that it does not really matter how clean a glass is if your beer does not have the right combination of proteins and whatever else goes into making beer foam. the most common response i see here to beer foam problems is some version of "are your glasses clean" and my hypothesis is that it does not matter if your glasses are clean, beer foam will appear in a dirty glass, even with surfactants, and persist. it won't persist as long as it would in a clean, virgin glass but it will not disappear right away.
 
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huge1s

huge1s

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I have an update on this. Last saturday I took a few bottles over to a poker game and the host poured one into a glass. Foamed up like crazy. He was using an imperial pint glass, and I normally use a pilsner glass. My initial thought was the shape of the glass was helping with the head. Next day I poured one into one of my pilsner glasses and it foamed up pretty good. Every one I have poured since has had good head on it. Bottling date was 8/30/2011, so it took a good 5 weeks to fully carb up. I guess my problem was just patience :)
 
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