I've been brewing wine for a few years now but only just recently turned to beer. I've just finished (as in "consumed") my first brew and have now got my second one on the go.
Both of my brews are extract/hops type brew. I've done a lot of reading around the subject and dipped into various forums and I think I pretty much understand the whole hopping process and such... however there are a few things I can't find clear answers for... hence my appearance here.
My first brew, a dark ale, tasted really good but didn't have much of a head. I'll explain how I brewed it - perhaps someone can explain if I did anything wrong?
- Boiled up the extract (2 standard tins) with about 80g of hops in as much water as I could get on my stove top.
- Put the extract in my 5 gallon primary fermenter (not a pressure barrel) and topped up to 5 gallons with boiled water.
- Added a 20g hop bag into the primary fermenter
- Added yeast when the brew was about room temperature
- about 36 hours later primary fermentation started... bubbling away nicely after 48 hours. I'm in the UK so I needed to wrap the barrel in blankets - I kept the temperature at around 20oC fairly well.
- When fermentation had pretty much finished I siphoned off into a sterilised 5 gallon pressure barrel (no CO2 cannister. Made sure it was quite splashy when I did it. I primed it with about a cupful of sugar and lidded up the barrel.
- After another couple of days I was tapping off nice pints of dark ale under reasonable pressure (at least I thought it was reasonable pressure - it might not have been) but with no head. I'd only tap a max of 4 pints a day for my wife and me... perhaps 6 tops.
- After another 2 or 3 days I was beginning to get at least a thin layer of small bubbles sitting on top of the pint but nothing approaching a head, as such.
So, with my second brew (a light malt/wheat hoppy brew) on the go in my primary 5 gallon bucket (with air trap - not pressurised) I want to try and get a better head. I got the brew going yesterday and by this morning it was bubbling vigorously. I've added extra sugar so it's going to be about a 6.5% brew and I want to put it in my pressure barrel. How and when would I be best to do this, and is there anything else I can do to improve the head?
Thanks for reading and even more thanks for helping! :)