Head Retention

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Retep

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Hi all, I am relatively new at this hobby and am brewing kit beers from Morgan’s.I have 2 stainless steel fermenters and I keg my brews in corny kegs.After a 1 month maturing period kegs are placed in a kegerator,chilled and carbonated using a carbonation stone. So far things have gone fairly well, but there is one keg of Canadian Light that I’m having a problem with. The beer pulls well with a good head ( not excessive ) and seems to be carbonated but shortly after perfect head disappears but beer still tastes carbonated. If left for 10 minutes beer looks totally flat, but still has gas. Beer tastes ok, no funny or off tastes detected. I live on far north coast NSW and some of the fermentation temperatures have been close to 30c.I have brewed this beer in the winter using heating belts keeping a fairly constant 24c and had no problems. I use a fresh glass every time and glasses are cleaned using hot water and All Clear beer glass cleaner. There is another keg of Morgans Blonde (Tooheys extra dry kit) in the kegerator pouring and drinking a great beer.
Any suggestions on why the head is disappearing would be greatly appreciated.
 

MHB

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Well you picked a doozy for your first question, there are textbooks written just on head. In the trade the subject is mostly called Foam On Beer or FOB for short, following is a copy of a tech talk I gave at my home brew club a couple of years ago, it covers most of the basics.

More spescificly to your question. If you are getting decent head formation and retention on other beers but not this one, there is a fair chance that its the beer itself rather than one of the other many causes.
Two of the big ones when it comes to head retention are the amount of malt and hops, more of each tends toward better head retention, less poorer head retention.
The kit you chose is very light on for malt head building ingredients and low on hops, if you then used Dextrose or sugar they wont have added any either. There is a good chance that most of your problem is just down to choice of ingredients.

From what you posted I gather youlike lighter dryer beers, if you are going to be making these regularly I would consider adding some Big Head, you should be able to get it from most home brew shops. Propylene glycol Alginate (PGA) is a modified extract from seaweed and it works very well, if you follow the instructions. I mean that, read and follow the instructions. Some brewers dont like adding anything "artificial" personally I feel the same way about Dextrose or Lactose as I do about PGA, its a tool to use to help make the beer you want.

Cooling down your ferment to 18-20oC wont hurt either. Hotter brewing tends to degrade head holding as do a bunch of other factors.
Mark
 

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Retep

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Hi Mark, thanks for your reply,
I found your comments very helpful, I have started using Big Head, but kegs wont be ready to try for a week. I have downloaded the attachment, heaps of good information there and I would reccomend it to anyone's notes. my latest experiment is a light beer made from Blue Mountain Lager, 250g of maltodextrin and 100g of dextrose. Most people aren't interested in light beers but I find it handy when I get in a session with the son in law, it allows me to keep up drink for drink. I'll be using Big Head in this. Let you know how it goes, I would be interested to hear from anyone who has played around with light beer as opposed to mid strength.
Peter
 

MHB

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Personally I think you could do worse than to have a look at some of the Farm House Ales, the dry Saison yeasts arent too bad and bring a truck load of flavour.
Probably more suited to mash brewers, using a fair amount of adjucnt like flaked Oat, Barley and Wheat tends to help keep a lot of body in the beer even at low (~2.5% ABV) alcohol.
Kit brewing has its limitations, low alcohol beer appears to be one of them.
Mark
 

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