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New Brewer. Poor Head Retention

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richiev

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OK, well I'm new to brewing, have currently only done two batches, one lager and one draft. I bought a Coopers Micro-Brew Kit (http://www.coopers.com.au/homebrew/micro_brew_kit_right.htm) a couple months back.
Both of my brews have turned out OK, taste not too bad, except they have both had poor head retention. Basically straight after I pour them into a pot, the head bubbles away to nothing.
Now I read somewhere that this has to do with the temperature at which I am storing the brew after I have bottled.
The manual that I got with the kit (yes, I'm following the crappy manual) says to store at 21-27 for four days after bottling, then store at "room temperature" for at least 2 weeks before drinking.
I live in an average sized 2 bedroom apartment on the ground floor and the temperature of the apartment seems to maintain a temperate between 20c and 25c in the current season (according to my cheap room thermometer).
Has anyone here got any advice/tips/techniques for my problem.

Cheers. :chug:
 

kook

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Try adding some steeped crystal malt, or steeped wheat malt (steep the wheat malt for an hour or so at 65 degrees then rinse it with some hot (70-80 degree) water). For instructions on steeping, check out www.howtobrew.com :)

I'd ignore that manual by the way, 21-27 is bullshit ;). Coopers yeast gives the best results between 20-24.
 

Stratis

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You need more dextrins :)

Easiest way to fix this is add some maltodextrin powder - 200g or so. This will also give the beer more body.

Ensure that your bottles are thoroughly rinsed before bottling. Any detergent/soap/oily residue will kill head retention.

20-25 is more than enough to carbonate the beer. The temperature isn't your problem.
 

richiev

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OK, maybe I should go and read www.howtobrew.com and review my brewing process (or lack of it) before I brew up another batch.
Cheers for the advice, keep it coming B)
 

Trev

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What type(s) of sugar did you use, just normal table sugar?

Trev
 

Snow

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Richie, I seem to remember that coopers brewing sugar already has maltodextrin in it, so I am leaning towards Kook's suggestion. You will get better results with the wheat malt than the crystal malt. Make sure you boil to a hot break and then force chill to cut down on the protein haze that these malts will give you. Howtobrew.com is the homebrew bible on the internet - read every word!

- Snow.
 

kook

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Snow said:
Richie, I seem to remember that coopers brewing sugar already has maltodextrin in it, so I am leaning towards Kook's suggestion. You will get better results with the wheat malt than the crystal malt. Make sure you boil to a hot break and then force chill to cut down on the protein haze that these malts will give you. Howtobrew.com is the homebrew bible on the internet - read every word!

- Snow.
Also means you're avoiding using corn based products in your beer.

edit - One other thing, it may be the large amount of corn based fermentables in your beer causing the problem itself. Try using 1 - 1.5KG of light malt extract instead of sugar/dextrose next time.
 

richiev

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Cool, thanks for all your tips guys. I've checked out some of howtobrew.com and am going to my local home brew store today to see if I can get a printed copy. If they dont stock it, I might have to rip the website down a print the whole thing (I hate reading manuals off computer screens).

Cheers. :chug:
 

ChrisN

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Cool, thanks for all your tips guys. I've checked out some of howtobrew.com and am going to my local home brew store today to see if I can get a printed copy. If they dont stock it, I might have to rip the website down a print the whole thing (I hate reading manuals off computer screens).

Hi Richie,

I certainly agree about reading manuals off computer screens, I bit the bullet and ordered the How to Brew manual direct from John Palmer, it took 8 days to get here and cost around $40, worth every cent!

ChrisN
 

Trev

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QUOTE (Trev @ Mar 7 2003, 08:34 AM)
What type(s) of sugar did you use, just normal table sugar?

CSR Brewing sugar


I was in the supermarket today and had a look at the CSR Brewing Sugar. The contents listed were just Sucrose and Maltodextrin.

Now this may explain why just a little time ago when I got into this brewing thing, I went upmarket (or as much as you can at Woolies) and bought this CSR Brewing Sugar instead of normal table sugar and lo and behold I still had cidery tastes etc.

That will teach me to read labels.

I started using Dextrose and DME and things started getting a whole lot better.

I suppose if the Kit makers can instruct the user to add 1kg of sugar then CSR can at least claim to be following the market.

Trev
 

lucifer

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good thread

answers my question before i even had to ask it
 

RegBadgery

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When I initially started brewing using coopers kits + kg cane sugar I found I had very poor head retention - fizzy as blazes but the bubbles would race to the top and the head was very very thin.

This is probably beside the point as I brew from grain- - however I've recently found that the head on my beer has undergone enormous improvement - the only thing I can think of that's changed is that I'm using more grain than I need - ie the % alcohol isn't going up, but I'm using more barley in the mash.

Whatever the reason the results are wonderful - I've been brewing english style ales, priming with about 1/2 teaspoon dextrose per large bottle. It takes a little while to carbonate but I end up with a lovely creamy thick head that seems to rise vertically out of the glass.

cheers
reg
 

GSRman

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Whatever the reason the results are wonderful - I've been brewing english style ales, priming with about 1/2 teaspoon dextrose per large bottle. It takes a little while to carbonate but I end up with a lovely creamy thick head that seems to rise vertically out of the glass.

sigh, that will be in my dreams tonight :)
 

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