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jhay

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On the first brew I primed the bottles with carbonation drops and when pouring the beer it has a decent head and at times quite vigorous.However ,as it settles after a short period in glass it goes flat quickly.In pewter mugs it remains ok for about 10-15 minutes.It is quite frustrating as the beer taste is quite good but nothing is worse than a flat beerThe brew shop suggets that if I carbonate with castor sugar ,that should fix the problem.Is this true or is there another solution?
 

bum

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Econwatson

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I remember reading on some recipes, there was an ingredient and following it was (for head retention) but I cannot remember what said ingredient was.

Maybe somebody else knows what it is?
 

Econwatson

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Yes, I think that's the one! Mine are very carbonated but lack but head as well. Maybe I will add some of that Wheat malt when I do an extract brew!
 
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Detergent is definitely a head killer. Some of my beers will have a nice creamy head while others the head dissapates quickly.

eg Morgans Old + DME = creamy head. :icon_drool2:

But a wheat beer I made recently, wouldn't hold a head at all.

Another thing worth trying are the Headmaster glasses, the bottom of the glass has been sandblasted to create a rough surface, this supposedly helps head retention.
 

carniebrew

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My early kit brews all poured a large head but it would quickly disappear. But since moving to extract w/ spec grain brews the head is much more dense, and leaves excellent lacing the whole way down the glass. I do add wheat extract to all my ales so this may contribute.
 

jhay

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Thanks for all the advice.My beer is doing basically what Cariebrew mentions,great head to begin with but dies very quckly.Will sugar in the botlles help or am I better to use the carbonation drops?
 

bum

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They're basically the same thing. It is less likely that the the priming sugar type is the reason. I'm assuming that you're currently using the carb drops - these tend to carb at the top end rather than low and I very much doubt they're the reason for the head retention issues.

As a side note, I can't recall the last time I saw a head on a commercial beer in a pub last as long as 15 minutes. I reckon you're doing okay. Relax, don't worry and have a home brew.
 

carniebrew

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Not really, no. For kits you'll probably benefit from a "brew enhancer", with some maltodextrin in it. Otherwise wheat extract etc as mentioned above. Carb drops are just sugar after all.
 

FuzzyDropbear

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Taking bum's post a bit further, why don't you buy a 6 pack of beer from the shop, and pour it in a glass and then do the same with your homebrew and see if there's a difference in head retention between the commercial stuff and your HB? That way you have the same pouring style, rather than comparing against someone else's pour and you can trial them side by side.

I had the same question a while ago and I did the same thing and realised that it only seemed like the head disappeared quicker on the HB when, in fact, the head was retained for approximately the same time as the commercial beer.

The wheat malt does do a good job for head retention, but costs a bit more than standard malt. I found that just buying malt extract to use instead of those brew boosters also seemed to help.

Is your beer actually flat? Ie, when you take a swig, does it feel like flat Coke does? Or does it still have carbonation then? I found that while it may not be bubbling in the glass, when you take a swig, it's still carbonated (not like a soft drink though) but it doesn't appear to be fizzy in the glass. I dunno, that's just what I found when I started out. The other solution if your beer is going flat quicker is kinda obvious.... just drink it quicker! :chug:

Cheers.
 

slash22000

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The only commercial beer I've consumed recently that had any sort of head retention is Sierra Nevada's range. Those babies will have a massive thick head through the entire glass.
 

Econwatson

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Is head more a characteristic of lagers? When I'm back home in Scotland and get a good pint it will have a nice have inch of head on the top of it! But I definitely see it less here!
 

felten

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Hops are supposed to help with head retention as well, specifically isohumulone.
 

Tony

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I remember back when i was bottling, i found if i carbed the beer too high, the head retention was ordinary.

I used to bulk prime with dextrose, and i would carb at the lower end. The aim was to get a slow building carbonation that took 3 to 4 weeks. When i did this, the beer held a fantastic head with lots of fine bubbles.

If i carbed it higher to have it drinking sooner, the bubbles were bigger and it failed to hold a head.

Maltodextrin is simply wheat starch converted to sugar via enzymes, the same as dextrose. The difference between the two is that Dextrose is 100% converted and near 100% fermentable, where as maltodextrin or cornsugar as it was called, is about 70% converted, leaving 30% unfermentable, thius adding body and theoreticly head retention to the beer. I know this because i worked where they made it for 5 years.

I will never forget working on the spray dryer...... stinking heat so you sweat, and everything has fine candy like powder on it. You came down feeling like a toffee apple!

Cheers
 

slash22000

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I will never forget working on the spray dryer...... stinking heat so you sweat, and everything has fine candy like powder on it. You came down feeling like a toffee apple!
Ugh, that sounds like my worst nightmare.
 

Tony

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I also like Batz's idea with the glasses!
 

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