Hot answers tagged head-retention
Crystal malts add both head retention and body to the beer, they do this by adding dextrines and complex proteins. The crystal or caramel malts are produced by kilning the grains with up to 50% moisture content in the barley creating a crystalline sugar structure inside the grain's hull. They are undermodified malt and have very little diastatic power due ...
http://www.brewwiki.com/index.php/Head_Retention The first thing to do is to stop using soap to wash your glassware. Then you can start playing with the recipe.
Increasing head retention can done by increasing the amount of certain proteins. The easiest way to do it is to add small amount of different specialty malts to your beer. 1/2 - 1 lb. of carafoam or carapils will do the trick. Be aware though that this will increase the overall body of your beer as well.
If you have fermentation issues, all the protein laden ingredients in the world won't help you. Here's a great article that explains how fermentation relates to head formation and has experiments you can do to help diagnose your problems. http://byo.com/stories/article/indices/35-head-retention/697-getting-good-beer-foam-techniques
FWIW, its highly possible that the oily surface you observed is not at all related to your head and carbonation problems. I've seen that oily 'shimmer' on the top of several beers in primary, and like you, I was worried that some soap or something had gotten in there. However, I never noticed a correlation between the oily/rainbow sheen and any head ...
There are literally hundreds of factors affecting head formation and retention. Even though you've eliminated process problems, I'm going to list everything I know of that will harm head. Are you using a partial boil? If so, that could be the biggest problem, as proteins will precipitate out of solution, but then when you dilute the wort after the boil, ...
Adding a protein rest at around 53°C for 10-15 minutes at the beginning of the mash schedule really helps. That is, if you can effectively control the temperature when mashing. It also helps to get the wort as clear and free of particles as possible before boiling.
To quote from your own article referenced in BYO, are you sure you don't have an excess of "foam breakers". When people don't get enough foam this is usually the culprit. And that article (which is citing work from another article) does sort of lay out that the denaturing of proteins may or may not be the primary driver of foam formation; and that foam ...
While Head is primarially aesthetic, you can gather some useful information about your brew process. You could possibly be under pitching or fermenting too warm leading to an increase in fusel alcohols, which have been shown to destroy the compound used to create foam. If you are cleansing with household agents, the residue from them may reduce your head, ...
Beer head is mostly an aesthetic issue. Some argue that it also serves to trap aromatics, but this effect is debatable. For the most part, though, if you're not concerned with it there's no reason that you should be.
A bigger factor is likely nucleation sites and suspended particles in the beer. As the beer sets and conditions there are fine particulates in the beer that settle out with the yeast. The more of these super fine particles that are in suspension the more the CO2 gets knocks out as you pour it into the glass. When they are settles out to the bottom of the ...
Here's a scientific publication that may interest you. (from the abstract) "Microscopic observations have shown that the fast antifoams rupture the foam films by the so-called "bridging" mechanisms, which involve the formation of oil bridges between the two surfaces of the foam film."
Maltodextrin will increase body using between 1/4 and 1lb in a 5 gallon batch. Although equally, using LME/DME instead of sugar with a kit will do a similar job and give you a much maltier beer. Maltodextrin has relatively little taste, so don't expect the beer to be much sweeter. To increase head formation and retention, and sweeten the beer, you can add ...
I only use maltodextrin with extract beers, added with the rest of the malt. You can add it at any time during the boil though. A pound in 5 or 6 gallon for IPA's type brews, 1/2lb in lighter beers. I don't think all grain brew needs it, but it greatly improves my P.D.Q. APA's. Kiwi Bruce
More time gives the the CO2 more chance to go into solution in the beer and give you better foam formation and more even carbonation.
Some people will say to add protein laden ingredients, but you already have oatmeal in there. Fermentation procedures are very important to head formation and retention. See this article: Getting Good Beer Foam: Techniques. It would help to know the recipe, also.
Fermentation practices and pitching rates can have a large effect on beer foam, as Brandon mentioned. There's a great article here beer foam that not only describes this but also includes test you can do to help determine what the problem might be.
This is in no way from first-hand experience, but I heard from one of the guys at a local brew shop that some dish soaps can leave a coating on your glasses that will reduce the head size when pouring a beer. Its a bit of a long shot, but its worth trying an extra thorough rising before chilling/using your beer glasses.
Creamy top additive helps me.
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