March 27, 2017

Head Retention in Homebrewed Beer

Important stuff for head retention. I have some problems with this, I wonder if it’s my sanitation process.

Strategies in the Foam Game (taked from

  • Brew all-malt beer (no adjuncts such as rice, corn, or sugar); made from all-grain brewing.
  • Use foam-building ingredients such as wheat or unmalted barley.
  • Carbonate to a slightly higher level or use a nitrogen stout gas.
  • Use scrupulously clean glassware.
  • Leave no chemical residue on any brewing equipment, beer bottles, beer glasses, or body parts.
  • Foam suffers from the thought of some chemicals.
  • Brew hefe-weizen, wit beer, and stout (dispensed through a stout tap). These three styles have naturally awesome foam.

Good Foam — for the brewer who wants a good head without jumping through hoops:

  • Brew all-malt beer (no adjuncts such as rice, corn, or sugar) made from all-grain brewing. Extracts lose much of the foam-building proteins during processing.
  • Use a generous addition of hops. Hop bittering acids help foam cling.
  • Properly carbonate so the foam has enough gas to form correctly.
  • Thoroughly rinse your equipment but don’t obsess — no-rinse sanitizers are acceptable for the brewer in search of good foam.

Bad Foam — some of the most common culpripts to avoid:

  • Excessive use of adjunct ingredients. Ever see an American-style lager with awesome foam?
  • Very, very little hops. Light beers with low hopping rates have bad foam!
  • Fats and oils — oats, coffee, chocolate, potato chips, and the like all contain fats and oils. Avoid the use of such ingredients if you want good foam. If you want chocolate porter more than foam, then don’t worry — you may get lucky and have good foam.
  • Foaming cleaners and sanitizers. Detergents destroy beer foam even though they are foamy themselves. These compounds must be rinsed off of all brewing equipment.
  • Foaming the beer before drinking. Once a foam forms, the foaming compounds do not form foam a second time.
  • Flat beer doesn’t foam unless it is dispensed using special taps (beer engines for example).

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