Not enough head on your brew?

Discussion in 'General Beer Discussion' started by Dutto, Dec 7, 2018.

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  1. Dec 7, 2018 #1

    Dutto

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    I'm sure that this subject has been explained before but new Forum Members may not be aware of the technique.

    Here is a photograph of a Premium Bitter that was bottled back at the beginning of the year and stored in a flip-top bottle. It has very little head because I poured the beer out slowly to save disturbing the yeast at the bottom of the bottle; but the CO2 is still in there so ...


    Pre Syringe.jpg

    ... this is the same pint about ten seconds later ...

    Post Syringe.jpg

    ... after I pulled about 2ml of the brew into a small syringe and "blasted" it back into the glass below the surface.

    The lack of a head doesn't affect the taste but it does make it look a bit nicer; so I do the syringe trick only when I am serving a brew to a visitor.

    Enjoy!
     
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  2. Dec 7, 2018 #2

    Brewed_Force

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    How long does the head stay ?
     
  3. Dec 7, 2018 #3

    Ghillie

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    Hrm...

    Why don't you just pour into the glass from a slight height initially. You can still do a gentle pour, but cause enough foaming at the start to leave your beer with a decent head.

    You'll probably have noticed bar staff doing it on occasions when pouring pints.
     
  4. Dec 7, 2018 #4

    Dutto

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    Long enough!

    Obviously, beer brewed for a better mouthfeel will hold it's head for a lot longer. The brew in the photograph is a Premium Bitter with just Maris Otter and Crystal Malt. For a "heavier" brew I would use an adjunct of Rolled Oats which results in a longer head retention.

    TBH, because I can't taste any difference I seldom bother with the head on a brew ...

    ... the exception being when I have a newly carbonated PB which is delivering a ratio of 10:1 of Foam v. Beer; which is why I very much prefer less carbonated brews!
     
  5. Dec 7, 2018 #5

    Dutto

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    The Bar Staff you mention are almost always pouring pints from bottles without any sediment.

    Also, the syringe system is better controlled than trying to juggle a pour so as to provide a head without sediment.

    Unfortunately, after trying this system I have too often looked at a glass already filled with foam and a bottle that is still not empty! The alternatives are then to keep pouring and let the foam trickle into the sink or stop pouring and get sediment into the remaining brew!

    Both being unacceptable, I use the syringe method!
     
  6. Dec 7, 2018 #6

    Clint

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    Why are you pouring pints so early in the day?
     
  7. Dec 7, 2018 #7

    Dutto

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    SWMBO started it with a "Hot Toddy" to steady her nerves after the visitors departed.

    PS

    The pubs have been open for a couple of hours now!
     
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  8. Dec 7, 2018 #8

    Honk

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    In my case it's because it's my day off and I will have to drive tomorrow morning so drink early then sober up by this evening.

    Also because I've brewed today and I'm not sure that fermentation works if you don't drink whilst brewing. (I've heard rumors that it does but why risk it?)

    Was very good this morning and opted for a coffee at 9 am before the first beer.

    I too am a fan of low carbonated beers, I've read about the syringe trick but never used it. Thought it might be a good trick to use when wanting a nice photo of a beer though.
     
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  9. Dec 7, 2018 #9

    Brewed_Force

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    Does anyone used flaked barley to aid head retention ? I've tried torrified wheat, carapils and oats but they didn't seem to have much impact.
     
  10. Dec 7, 2018 #10

    Ghillie

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    I meant pouring draught pints; you know how they'll lower the glass to the drip tray at the start of the pour and then raise it back up to the tap?

    Similarly with a bottle (sediment or no sediment) it doesn't move, the glass does.

    Go for it pal whatever works for you! Might turn a few heads mind:laugh8:
     
  11. Dec 7, 2018 #11

    Ghillie

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    Carapils and head retention is myth buddy. It's based on outdated information printed in a book by "some dude" years ago.
     
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  12. Dec 7, 2018 #12

    GhostShip

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    I remember seeing a TV programme somewhere which said (unless of course the beer is just totally flat) that the head is largely down to the pouring. Done from a bit of a height with a lot of 'sloshing' into the glass.

    The problem for home brewers, as has been pointed out above, is that the sendiment at the bottom of the bottle makes this very difficult.
     
  13. Dec 7, 2018 #13

    Honk

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    Just because I happened to have a syringe handy, before and after shots. Served from a low carbonated corny keg. IMG_20181207_131550396.jpg IMG_20181207_131736174.jpg (Btw this beer has flaked barley in it, not that I worry about head retention)
     
  14. Dec 7, 2018 #14

    Bigcol49

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    Aaaargh! No!
    This is absolutely wrong. The glass should be at 45° and the nozzle touching the inside of the rim. The beer should flow down the edge of the glass, not drop into it.
    I bet you the bar staff that lower the glass to the drip tray also tip foam out and top it up - that is wasted beer.
     
  15. Dec 7, 2018 #15

    Bigcol49

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    It's late somewhere :D
     
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  16. Dec 7, 2018 #16

    Ghillie

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    Not disputing that it's improper practice @Bigcol49, but you see it happen periodically. Probably due to poorly setup lines. Or maybe even just weird habits. Who knows!? I for one certainly don't do it with my setup:laugh8:
     
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  17. Dec 7, 2018 #17

    Clint

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    Dutto...the "old chestnuts" are the best.
     
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  18. Dec 7, 2018 #18

    Ciaran12s

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    I've found better head retention from more recent brews. The only difference in the process that I can pinpoint is a stronger boil. I've always done a 60 minute boil but would have turned off an element once the boil was going and turned it back on towards the end. But recently I've kept two elements going for the duration of the boil and I've started getting better head retention. It may or may not be connected but it's the only slight difference in process I can think of.

    Adjunct and crystal additions are always more or less equal across these brews as well.
     
  19. Dec 8, 2018 #19

    cushyno

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    In an experiment of one - meaning not statistically significant - for my most recent brew, a Weissbier, I scooped out every last bit of hot break material from the boil, thinking that this was all residual protein.

    Result: my first decent head on a (so far) partially carbonated beer. A tight dense foamy head is a good result.

    Do you think the hot break material could affect head retention?
     
  20. Dec 8, 2018 #20

    Drunkula

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    Sample size of me : no. The first time I ever used a protafloc tablet was yesterday and I always put all the trub in the fermenter and head retention has never been a problem, probably because I don't care about it Ninkasi is having fun. I still put all the break gubbins in today and yesterday just to see what happens... plus I haven't got a real chiller and am basically pouring it out of a bucket.

    I always put a tiny amount of wheat malt into a brew. The micro brewery near me said he does it in all the beers for head retention. I did post a proper brewery's test with different grains for head retention and crystal was found to be a negative, not a positive - and as said before the cara malts don't do nowt. If I can find it I'll link to it.

    Remember the head and lacing are made of proteins so the more the merrier. John Palmer was saying they get broken down as you pour so if you poured a beer, recarbonated, poured again, repeat - the head would get less and less each time.
     

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