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Tips for Improving Head Retention?

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nshack

Post Mon Jul 22, 2002 7:55 am

Tips for Improving Head Retention?

I've been very happy with my batches over the last few months. The flavors have been great the clarity is good and the color is always brilliant. The one thing that I find is inconsistent or mysteriously lacking is a nice foamy head. I've even incorporated wheat into several recipes to work on the foam.

I know soap residue on the glasses kills foam, but what other aspects of the brewing process can be changed to help with head retention and head at all.

Sometimes I find that my ciders have better heads on them then my beers and it just doesn't make sense. The only thing that I KNOW is different between them is that the cider has a higher level of carbonation. I've considered priming with a little more sugar to increase the carbonation, but don't want to do anything drastic.

Anybody struggle with this and find solutions?
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DaveG

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Post Mon Jul 22, 2002 9:36 am

Tips for Improving Head Retention?

Certain adjuncts can be added to aid in head retention. Can't think of them off the top of my head, though.
Also, in addition to soap, munching fatty, greasy foods can have a negative affect, too.
DaveG
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Brewer Tom

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Post Mon Jul 22, 2002 3:10 pm

Tips for Improving Head Retention?

CaraPils and Wheat malt are the two grains to add for extra head retention.
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just-cj

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Post Mon Jul 22, 2002 3:52 pm

Tips for Improving Head Retention?

A handful of flaked barley is also useful. You are mashing now, so just add them to the mash (no need to run them through the mill, although I usually do otherwise I forget them).

My beers of late have wonderful head. Besides just a general improvement in my brewing skills, 2.5% wheat and a handful of flaked barley (2 oz normally) seem to have worked wonders for me.
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GREENPUS

Post Thu Aug 29, 2002 7:41 am

Tips for Improving Head Retention?

My beers are made mostly from extract kits and have been pretty lame when it comes to head retention. I recently made a wheat beer that the head on it was totally awesome. Small bubbles that made a thick heavy head that lasted a long time. I read somewhere that you can add wheat to other beers and get the same amount of head. How much should I add (5gallon) and can I just steep the wheat like a specialty grain to get the head retention?

[ August 29, 2002: Message edited by: GREENPUS ]
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Brewer Tom

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Post Thu Aug 29, 2002 7:52 am

Tips for Improving Head Retention?

You can't really just steep wheat but you have to mash it. If you are doing just extracts, why don't you just replace 1 pound of extract in your recipe with wheat extract. Since wheat extract is about 50% wheat, you'll be adding about a 1/2# of wheat to each 5 gal batch.
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blakemarley

Post Thu Aug 29, 2002 8:26 am

Tips for Improving Head Retention?

i just read that finings can help with head retention as well as clarity.

author gregory noonan seems to prefer isinglass(per his book on lagers)
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GREENPUS

Post Thu Aug 29, 2002 10:22 am

Tips for Improving Head Retention?

thanks [img]images/smiles/icon_wink.gif[/img] [img]images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]
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just-cj

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Post Thu Aug 29, 2002 2:07 pm

Tips for Improving Head Retention?

Paddock Wood has carafoam. I just got some, but haven't had a chance to try it yet.
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Brewer Tom

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Post Thu Aug 29, 2002 4:21 pm

Tips for Improving Head Retention?

Check out this grain cross-reference table. Supposedly Briess Carapils/Dextrin are similar to Weyerman's Carafoam.

This is a neat table. Put it in your favorities. http://www.northcountrymalt.com/comparison.html
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Hophead

Post Thu Aug 29, 2002 4:26 pm

Tips for Improving Head Retention?

One other thing, that I did not see mentioned is that if you are puting your beer glasses in the dishwasher, and you use one of those spot free rinse agents like Jet Dry, this will also effect head retention.
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kms

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Post Thu Aug 29, 2002 11:48 pm

Tips for Improving Head Retention?

Weyermann makes a grain called carafoam which is supposed to work great. I've never seen it around, so I can't say for sure.
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just-cj

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Post Fri Aug 30, 2002 1:03 am

Tips for Improving Head Retention?

Brewer Tom -- according to the Paddock Wood site, carafoam doesn't need to be mashed whereas Briess carapils does. That's why it's recommended for extract brewers.

Hophead -- good mention of the necessity of clean glasses. When you wash your beer glasses, it's best to use a sponge that hasn't been used for anything oily -- the oil sticks in the sponge and then gets transferred to the glasses, and even a little oil will disappear a head faster than you can say Where's the head.
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E.T.

Post Tue Sep 03, 2002 8:26 am

Tips for Improving Head Retention?

I read over at HBD's Brews and Views forum that blowoff can also affect head retention since some of the head retaining compounds are lost and using an anti-foam agent remedies this since it prevents blowoff and the loss of these compounds. The anti-foam agent itself will settle out after initial fermentation so it has no effect on head retention.
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