Carapils Effect

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matt76

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TLDR: I see some benefit from Weyermann Carapils w.r.t. lacing and head retention - pics below

(Sorry, bit long and rambling but scroll down and there are some pics 😉 )

I thought I'd share this with the forum, maybe someone will find it useful... Feel free to pour scorn on it, debate as you see fit, etc etc etc 😉

I'm well aware Brulosophy have investigated both Briess Carapils and Weyermann Carapils (a.k.a. Carafoam in the US - the two are slightly different, on paper at least) and found no difference with or without.

However, Brulosophy is only one data point and I thought it might be interesting to share my experience, with my beer, with my setup and my (very hard!) water etc etc etc.

Back in Jan 2020 I made a German Pilsner hopped with Tettnang and fermented with W-34/70.

More recently, in Oct 2020, I made a Munich Helles hopped with Hallertauer Hersbrucker and fermented again with W-34/70.

As luck would have it, both brews used near as damn it the same grist - actually I use this grist for all my lagers of this type (though if you really want to spilt hairs, the Helles had 50g more Vienna malt in a 10L batch).

The major difference is with the Helles where I substituted 250g of the base Lager Malt for Weyermann Carapils, making 10% of the grist.

So I realised I had an opportunity to see what difference the Carapils made, albeit not a purpose designed and certainly not perfect experiment. Now I am assuming the differences in hops and hopping - and also I suppose several months of bottle conditioning! - has no significant effect. But interesting to compare, nevertheless:

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Just after pouring - Pilsner on the left; Helles on the right

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Couple of minutes later - Pilsner on the left; Helles on the right

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After a few sips - Pilsner on the left; Helles on the right

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Nearing the end of the glass - Pilsner on the left; Helles on the right

Of course, all brewers will need to decide for themselves. In the past I've used flaked barley for head retention but it seemed a bit hit and miss. I believe some others use torrified wheat, for example.

The Pilsner is crystal clear after many months lagering in the bottle in the fridge, while the more recent Helles still has a bit of chill haze. But it's interesting to note that the Helles, shown on the right in the pics above, seems to be a bit better in terms of head retention and lacing in the glass. The Pilsner on the left meanwhile loses it's head quite quickly.

Taste-wise both are nice beers. If I'm honest even though they're different styles I doubt I could tell them apart blindfold. The Helles has maybe a touch more malt sweetness but it's not night and day.

Couple of other comments:
- First, I made a Czech Pils at the same time as the German one: exactly the same grist but different hops and yeast. But it's similar in the glass - nice beer but loses its head quickly.
- Second, I used Carapils again in my recent Hoppy Amber Ale and it's similar to the Helles in terms of head retention and lacing. Hard to say if that's really the Carapils though as most of my hoppy beers seem pretty good already in this regard.

So for me there certainly seems to be some benefit to head retention and lacing to be had from Carapils - enough to convince me to keep trying it here and there. But brewing isn't an exact science with so many variables - so as always maybe it's a case of "your mileage may vary" ;)

Cheers,

Matt athumb..
 

foxy

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Yes, it does make a difference. I use Gladfields Gladiator malt in all my beers for the same reason. Head, head retention and lacing.
 
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matt76

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Yes, it does make a difference. I use Gladfields Gladiator malt in all my beers for the same reason. Head head, retention and lacing.
But Brulosophy said it doesn't make any difference so it must be true right 😜😜😜🤣🤣🤣
 

Arrakus

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Great post! I’ve noticed a difference with head retention when using weyermann carapils in one of my standard ambers. Ive used the same recipe for a couple of years so I know very well what to expect. I had to use carapils as a substitute due to an ordering error and there was a noticeable difference from previous batches. I’ve brewed the same ale only once since and used the carapils - same result
 

Hanglow

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I do a step mash for good head now. A 30 minute rest at 73c will really help. Also ensure I have as good clarity as I can from the mash and from the boil into the fermentor. No need for any adjuncts then just for head formation, only for mouthfeel, such as torrified wheat in a bitter. Also a soft boil, boiling too hard which I think a lot of homebrewers do, is bad for head formation and retention.
 

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