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I just brewed my first beer. It's called Cascadian subduction, but I think it means more about the process than it does anything else. My problem is that there's no head, but there are bubbles. Also, the taste seems way off. To my novice opinion, it seems it either needed to boil longer, or hotter. Does anyone have any ideas from what I described?

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    Please post a grain bill, hops used, yeast, and your process. For example - how long was your boil? It's hard to tell what you did wrong (if anything) without knowing what you did. – Mołot Mar 9 '16 at 13:43
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    Yes, we really need more details on the recipe and process. Boil time, cooling time method, carbonation method etc.bjcp.org/faults.php may help you identify the 'bad taste' – Evil Zymurgist Mar 9 '16 at 14:39
  • I appreciate the feed back on my problem, but as it turned out, the beer is fine. I opened a bottle that was only partially filled, (it was the left over) That bottle was horrible, but when I chilled a full bottle and opened it the head was great and although the taste leaves a little to be desired, I think it's just a matter of my getting used to dark, stout ale. Thanks again – Ron Richardson Mar 10 '16 at 19:46
  • Don't half-fill bottles. If you only have half a bottle left over, use it for hydrometer measurements (if there's enough), sample it for flavor, or dump it. The extra headspace in the bottle is all oxygen which can lead to oxidation (wet cardboard flavor), or stale off flavors from unwanted microbes having excessive oxygen to feed off of and spoil your beer, or even both. The latter of which would certainly reduce head retention. – Scott Mar 15 '16 at 18:12
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Poor foaming issues is usually a function of how clean your glassware is. Dishwashers often leave a residue behind that is not foam positive. Rinse your glasses really well after washing with very hot water. Let a glass soak in hot water for 5 minutes in fact. Then rinse with copious amounts of cool water, shake it out and pour your beer in. (On a side note, if you cleaned and sanitized your bottles in the dishwasher then these cleaning issues won't be helped with "beer clean" glassware as I described.)

If you still have heading AND flavor issues then its likely fermentation and yeast related issues. The issues around fermentation and yeast management are too numerous to distinctly pinpoint for your issue without more info or a more informed tasting profile. But at least this should give you the proper direction for your own self-diagnosis.

As for any flavor issues, this is your first beer. Have no fear it will get better (and easier) if you stick with it. First beer's usually suffer from cleaning and yeast/ferment issues. I'd recommend a little more patience and if you can stand it, brew the same beer for your second or third batch to track your progress.

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Congratulations on your first brew!

A Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA) is generally a Black IPA. The style should have a well formed persistent head.

No Head The causes of no head are numerous. Most often if the proteins are present to foam, low carbonation is to blame. A fresh rinse on a clean glass as brewchez mentioned will help with head retention but won't prevent some head from forming on a quick pour.

Douple and Tripple CDAs can be very high ABV. The higher alcohol retards head forming and retention.

Bad Taste CDA really doesn't have an upper limit to IBU though 90 is in the bjcp vitals. Big hoppy beers can mask off flavors for a long time until hop aroma fades. Identifying a subtle flaw early can difficult. Since you identify a bad taste, it could be infection or just a really funky hop profile. It's really hard to diagnose here.

Homebrew communtiy Nothing replaces handing a bottle to someone with more experience and asking them "WTF is wrong with this beer?" Are you in a homebrew club? Know other homebrewers? Give them a taste.

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    No, I'm not in a homebrew club, but would most definitely like to be. – Ron Richardson Mar 12 '16 at 12:48

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