I've read that certain proteins denatured during the wort boil is responsible for causing great, delicious foam.

I don't get me no foam.

I'm also doing partial boils using extract.

So my question is twofold: I could boil 10 liters (out of 25) with the hops for ~60 minutes, and then boil an additional 10 liters of malt/water for a shorter time. How long would that shorter time have to be to denature the protein? 5 minutes? 10? 60?

Also, since I am using extract my wort comes preboiled. Does this mean it doesn't matter if I boil all malt or not? Does it mean that I will have worse head retention no matter what, compared to all-grain?

  • Wait, so you are asking if your process is impacting your head retention somehow? Just trying to clarify.
    – GHP
    Sep 21, 2011 at 12:22
  • I think you're working on the wrong principle. Denatured proteins will not increase head retention AFAIK. The following article talks about LPT1, but doesn't mention anything about denaturing it....byo.com/stories/article/indices/35-head-retention/…
    – Denny Conn
    Sep 21, 2011 at 15:59
  • @DennyConn Well, it actually does talk about denatured LPT1.. I think thats where I originally read it. (quote from site) In boiling wort, LTP1 unravels (denatures, in the lingo) and changes shape. So, boiling wort converts LTP1 from a mostly inactive form to a form capable of forming good beer foam.
    – Max
    Sep 21, 2011 at 17:08
  • @Graham Yes indeed. :)
    – Max
    Sep 21, 2011 at 17:09
  • You're correct...sorry for the misleading comment.
    – Denny Conn
    Sep 21, 2011 at 18:18

1 Answer 1


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 formation and stability are still an area of active research. Meaning I don't think you'll get a definitive answer for how long you need to boil to get good foam here... unfortunately.

  • I think you are right, my particular bad results is probably because I used soap (which I realize is a big no-no). I was just wondering if I could do something to make it even better next time. Guess I'll just go all-grain + full boil soon enough anyway!
    – Max
    Sep 22, 2011 at 14:26
  • 1
    I did notice an improvement in head and retention after going all grain.
    – brewchez
    Sep 22, 2011 at 17:38

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