I just brewed by first DIPA, which is batch number 3 for me when it comes to all-grain brewing. I've forced carbonated before, but this is the first time I tried to speed up the process by agitating the keg for a couple minutes at 30 psi, then put the keg in my kegerator for about 18 hours.

When I poured my first beer it had carbonation, but it didn't have any head. At that point I increased the psi to 20 and let it sit for another 12 hours, but there was little to no change. I'm wondering if the beer just isn't carbonated enough at this point to give me any head yet? I've read other posts here and elsewhere. I understand that oils from dirty glasses or a rinse-aid may be the culprit, but that is not the case here.

FYI, my grain bill consisted of: pale 2-row (11 lbs) white wheat (2 lbs) 20L crystal (12 oz.) Cara-Pils (8 oz.)

I've read that the cara-pils should help with head retention, but if there's no head it can't retain :-). My other concern is that I don't want to over carbonate it, and since I tried the quick force carb way rather than the set it and forget it method I'm unsure how long I should keep my psi up to carbonate it to proper levels.

  • With wheat, head shouldn't be a problem. But what's white wheat? Is it pale wheat malt? Unmalted? Something else?
    – Mołot
    Dec 7, 2016 at 20:09
  • @Mołot I'm not sure but I found this for you -- homebrew.stackexchange.com/a/10151/12982
    – mike0416
    Dec 7, 2016 at 20:40
  • Ok. I can't find if unmalted contributes to head.
    – Mołot
    Dec 7, 2016 at 20:50

4 Answers 4


It could be undercarbed

Try the plug and forget method, set at serving psi 12 and let it sit for a week. If in a rush, set to 12psi attached to the out port and tip the keg on its side slightly and swirl until it doesn't take c02 any more (you can hear the regulator and bubbles in the keg), then it's fully carbed in 30min or so (needs to be at serving temp for best results)


If the mouthfeel of your beer has appropriate carbonation, the head issue is elswhere.

Carapills should have helped, it basically replaces the need for a protein rest in the mash, focused for head retention.

In my experience the proteins that aid head retention can easily be lost in the brew process.

Couple things to avoid and help the head

1) Don't over use boil finings. I've completely disconinued the use of moss and whirlflocs. Cold crash and time gets the beer brilliant.

2) keep the hot break in the pot. I've seen many use the practice of removing the foam to prevent boilovers but this reduces head forming particles. Instead push it back in with a fry scoop or use a couple Foamcontrol drops in the boil.

3) Make sure your fermenter has enough head space to hold the krausen. If it pumps out into your blow off, then there's more head forming proteins gone.

Also keep in mind that if this DIPA is pushing higher ABVs head retention becomes that more difficult.


You might just need to let it carbonate at 20 psi for a longer period of time. I had a DIPA that didn't hit optimal carbonation for about a week at 20 psi. With the initial agitation at 30 psi, you might even have less of a wait. Just be sure to pull a sample daily until you get it to where you want it to be to ensure you don't over carbonate.


My experience, probably less extensive than many of the respondents here, is that longer shaking and repeated shaking is needed. It's not just an issue of getting the CO2 to dissolve but rather the formation of carbonic acid needs to take place. That's not a rapid reaction. It's probably one that the presence of yeast might make more rapid, assuming that yeast has outward facing carbonic anhydrase, a fact that I have not yet been able to document. The reaction is:

CO2 + H2O <=> H2CO3 <=> HCO3- + H+

It's not a particular strong acid since it's pKa is in the 6's but it is particularly important in animal physiology.

  • It's just <sup>, for example: h<sup>+</sup>. The questions / answers use standard markdown formatting, but the comments don't.
    – mattrices
    Jul 13, 2018 at 5:19
  • Thanks. I'm more familiar with the formatting conventions on StackOverflow but I'm not terribly facile with Markdown.
    – 42-
    Jul 13, 2018 at 17:10

The issue is that the CO2 hasn't had time to fully dissolve into the beer.

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