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Getting A Nice Tight White Compact Head

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Brizbrew

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I done a stout a few weeks ago, turned out ok, average, not as I wanted but I will drink it. That aside, how do you get a nice tight head on a beer? I have had no joy at all with my head, it is always (on a stout) a brown offish colour and has large watery bubbles which pop and goes down in no time.
What I am after with my stouts is the guinness effect, a dark drink with a frothy tight compacted head, something you can stand a matchstick up in and that leaves a white line on your top lip when you take a sip.
I do not want this for any reason other than asthetics, I just want it.

How do I get it? :D
 

johnno

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Hi Brizbrew,
How may litres are you making your batches up to? If its 23 with a kit it may be a bit thin. It can even get thin with any way you brew it including ag and partial mashing.
Maybe you should try for less volume.
I made this stout Waaaaaaayyyyyyyy back in my kit and a bit days. :D :D
It was
1 Coopers stout kit
1 kilo DME
Some dry wheat extract
and some bown sugar
Dry yeast with the pack
made to 18- 19 litres from memory.

cheers
johnno

Stout.JPG
 

BRAD T

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Brizbrew,
From what I understand the head on Guinness and Kilkenny for that matter is created by using Nitrogen not CO2. You haven't said what type of brew it was ie. Kit etc or what you may have put in it to help with head retention.
I have found that the addition of a bit of Carapils either as a steep to a kit brew or in the mash for Partial or AG helps to promote a good head that lasts as well as good lacing on the glass as you drink, also the longer you leave it to condition in the bottle will improve the head. Without meaning to offend another thing to watch for is that your glasses are very very clean as the slightest trace of grease or soap will kill the head. I wash my beer glasses in extremely hot water with Neo Pink then rinse well with cold water.

Cheers
Brad T

P.S. I have a Stout in 2ndary at the moment which I did with 1 can Coopers Stout, 1.5kg Coopers Dark Malt and a mini mash of 200g CaraAroma, 100g Carapils, 100g Melanoidin, made up to 23 litres. I will let you know what it is like when it is ready :party:
 

Sean

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As others have implied, the head on Guinness is the product of technology, not brewing. When Guinness was still bottle conditioned, it produced a head like the one in Johno's picture, not the tight, bright white, one you see now which is produced by widgets in the bottle or can, or nitrogen dispense and special sparklers from the keg. (Nitrogen, when forced through a small hole, produces much smaller bubbles than Carbon Dioxide can.)
 

Jethro

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Could be wrong but my understanding is tha nitogen does notdisolve in beer and create a head but it releases disolved CO2 in the beer creating a fine head Cheers Jethro :beerbang:
 

Dunkel_Boy

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Brizbrew said:
I done a stout a few weeks ago...
[post="66393"][/post]​
:angry:

Maybe try the Tap-A-Draft system, using N2O and CO2. Or maybe start all grain, but a mate done that once and he stuffed it aye..... *takes swig of VB*
 

Sean

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Jethro said:
Could be wrong but my understanding is tha nitogen does notdisolve in beer and create a head but it releases disolved CO2 in the beer creating a fine head Cheers Jethro :beerbang:
[post="66434"][/post]​
It's perfectly true that Nitrogen doesn't disolve well, but in a head it's not in solution. It's definitely (tiny) Nitrogen bubbles that form that tight head.

Maybe try the Tap-A-Draft system, using N2O and CO2. Or maybe start all grain, but a mate done that once and he stuffed it aye..... *takes swig of VB*
I'm not sure what sort of head Nitrous Oxide would form, but it might be a laugh. :D
 

BeerIsGood

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johnno said:
and some bown sugar
[post="66397"][/post]​
I'm interested in trying this, Johnno - It's at my skill level, and that photo really turned me on. :)

Could you give a ballpark figure how much is "some" brown sugar? Eg: couple of teaspoons, tablespoons, half a cup? I assume you'd need to boil this lot up to prevent infection?
 

Dunkel_Boy

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It'd be great wouldn't it? :D

But in all seriousness, you seen the tap-a-drafts? Prime the beer, then dispense it with a CO2 bulb and a N2O bulb and you get Guiness-textured beer.
 

Dunkel_Boy

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BeerIsGood said:
johnno said:
and some bown sugar
[post="66397"][/post]​
I'm interested in trying this, Johnno - It's at my skill level, and that photo really turned me on. :)

Could you give a ballpark figure how much is "some" brown sugar? Eg: couple of teaspoons, tablespoons, half a cup? I assume you'd need to boil this lot up to prevent infection?
[post="66445"][/post]​
I'd say probably 0.5-1cup.
And why would you need to boil it? Beyond dissolving it, it's not exactly something I'd treat differently to anything else, infection-wise...
 

Sean

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Dunkel_Boy said:
It'd be great wouldn't it? :D

But in all seriousness, you seen the tap-a-drafts? Prime the beer, then dispense it with a CO2 bulb and a N2O bulb and you get Guiness-textured beer.
[post="66446"][/post]​
You do realise N2O is Nitrous Oxide - laughing gas?

Nitrogen gas is N2
 

Dunkel_Boy

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Yes, I do, I'm very familiar with it.
I'm not saying Guiness/Kilkenny put nitrous oxide in their beers, and I'm not familiar with the chemistry of N2O breakdown in liquid or respiratory systems (funnily enough, chemical engineering has very little to do with chemistry) but I know that the Tap-a-Draft system allows use of both CO2 and N2O bulbs, both available from isi.
I do know that the effects of N2O won't be noticed in liquid, as the gas needs to be absorbed through the lung walls, and is useless if ingested. I can't guarantee that it breaks down into N2 and O in the beer, but I'm pretty sure it's not still N2O when you drink it.
 

Sean

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Dunkel_Boy said:
I can't guarantee that it breaks down into N2 and O in the beer, but I'm pretty sure it's not still N2O when you drink it.
[post="66451"][/post]​
I would hope it doesn't break down into N2 & Oxygen - that would oxidise the beer.
 

Dunkel_Boy

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Sean said:
Dunkel_Boy said:
I can't guarantee that it breaks down into N2 and O in the beer, but I'm pretty sure it's not still N2O when you drink it.
[post="66451"][/post]​
I would hope it doesn't break down into N2 & Oxygen - that would oxidise the beer.
[post="66456"][/post]​
Yeah... it needs to be a few hundred degrees before it does that so I really do doubt that happens. It most likely stays as N2O and then just comes out of solution when it wants to, doing nothing euphoric/happy in the process.
 

johnno

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BeerIsGood said:
johnno said:
and some bown sugar
[post="66397"][/post]​
I'm interested in trying this, Johnno - It's at my skill level, and that photo really turned me on. :)

Could you give a ballpark figure how much is "some" brown sugar? Eg: couple of teaspoons, tablespoons, half a cup? I assume you'd need to boil this lot up to prevent infection?
[post="66445"][/post]​
Hi BeerIsGood,
I will dig up my notes for this when I get home later tonight.

cheers
johnno
 

Sean

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Dunkel_Boy said:
Sean said:
Dunkel_Boy said:
I can't guarantee that it breaks down into N2 and O in the beer, but I'm pretty sure it's not still N2O when you drink it.
[post="66451"][/post]​
I would hope it doesn't break down into N2 & Oxygen - that would oxidise the beer.
[post="66456"][/post]​
Yeah... it needs to be a few hundred degrees before it does that so I really do doubt that happens. It most likely stays as N2O and then just comes out of solution when it wants to, doing nothing euphoric/happy in the process.
[post="66457"][/post]​
Sounds most likely - it probably doesn't disolve at all to speak of, comes out as you pour to form the head, and then dissipates into the air as the head breaks up. You'd look pretty silly trying to get your mouth right around the top of the glass to breath it in.
 

Coodgee

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nitrogen gas is actually insoluble in beer at atmospheric pressure. that's why when you poor a guinness the nitrogen comes out of the beer in the famous guiness way.. and you are left with a mostly flat beer.
 

Sean

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Coodgee said:
nitrogen gas is actually insoluble in beer at atmospheric pressure. that's why when you poor a guinness the nitrogen comes out of the beer in the famous guiness way.. and you are left with a mostly flat beer.
[post="66520"][/post]​
Strangely, most people equate head with condition though. For most people outside homebrewers and CAMRA activists (and the population of East Anglia):
Large head implies nicely carbonated beer.
Ho head implies flat beer.

Trying to convince them that creating a Tetley's type head uses up the condition in the beer and makes it flatter is harder than convincing a year 7 student that a square is a type of rectangle.
 

Dunkel_Boy

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Sean said:
...a square is a type of rectangle.
[post="66522"][/post]​
Riiggghhttt........ "a square is a type of rectangle"............
 

Sean

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Dunkel_Boy said:
Sean said:
...a square is a type of rectangle.
[post="66522"][/post]​
Riiggghhttt........ "a square is a type of rectangle"............
[post="66523"][/post]​
A rectangle is a four sided polygon with opposite sides equal and all corners are right-angles.

Any square fits that definition, and therefore any square is a rectangle.
 
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