Getting Good Head Retention In Your Beer

Have you ever poured a beer into your glass and have it foam up, but all that foam just disappears in a few seconds and it makes your beer seem like it’s a soda, or as some people say, a soda pop?

Well, I did experience a couple batches like that and I wasn’t sure why that was. I do know that it just doesn’t look right even though the beer came out pretty tasty. I rather see the foam be frothy or even creamy… and I like beers that have foam left even after I’ve drank all of it… especially the ones that have all the foam cling to the side of the glass and leave little ‘rings’ that mark how much you drink at a time…

So here’s what I found…

First off, the foam is known as head… now leave it to beer drinkers to name foam head because now you can’t really ask ‘what is good head?’… you have to specify like ‘what is good head formation, or head retention?’… otherwise girls will give you a grossed out look and guys will start talking about something else…

anyways…

The foam you see in beer is primarily made up of the proteins in barley… you’ve probably heard of boilovers and maybe even seen you own wort rise when you are first bringing it to a boil… part of the reason is because when you first add your malt extract, foam starts to form and that foam is essentially made up of the same proteins that foam in beer is made up of…

So before you worry about head retention, you have to learn how to get good head formation and that’s a whole other topic… but supposing you have good head formation and are just having trouble with retention, then here’s what you should be looking at…

The first thing that comes to mind is cleaning and sanitizing… a lot of times when you get a gusher or fizzy beer, it’s more than likely because you did not sanitize your equipment well enough even though you may think you did… I know because I went through the same at one point.

Now supposing your cleaning was impeccable and there is no doubt about it, the next thing to worry about is fats, oils, waxes and other things that can destabilize the proteins that make up the foam…

Glasses often times when they are thrown into a dishwasher or whatever, they get these oils from food that may not rinse off well enough and if you pour beer into a glass that has these kinds of soils your foam will tend to dissipate faster… so clean glassware is important and possibly my next guess…

If that doesn’t seem to fix the problem, then I would start looking at your brewing process… how hard are you boiling the wort… not only that, but how concentrated are you boiling… if you coagulate too many proteins during the boil then you may be breaking down some of these proteins or destabilizing them and that may be what’s causing your head retention to be poor…

There are many other things that can affect it during the process, but those just off the top of my head and possibly the most common ones… hope this helps you brew better beer and don’t forget to leave me a comment and click the facebook like button…

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