Beer not getting any head...

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Applecrew135, Apr 4, 2013.

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  1. Applecrew135

    Applecrew135 Initiate (152) Jul 18, 2012 Pennsylvania


    I'm trying to understand my beer's inability to have head... :astonished:

    It pours great with a good head... and about 10 seconds later... zilch. No head, no lacing... nothing.
    Any chance some PBW cleaner residue might cause this? It's a Wheat DME beer with C60, lightly hopped. I would think there's plenty of protein for good head!

    It's either that, or something went wrong during fermentation... the beer "tastes" ok, it's not spectacular, but it's drinkable.

    Any ideas??

  2. premierpro

    premierpro Disciple (384) Mar 21, 2009 Michigan

    Is the beer's wife over 40?
    SiflandOlly, JrGtr, jmich24 and 12 others like this.
  3. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,975) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    How do you clean your beer glasses? Some folks are particular about how their beer glasses are ‘cleaned’; they will simply just rinse them with water. If there is any soap residue on your beer glasses, the head will dissipate quickly (like 10 seconds).

  4. fuzzbalz

    fuzzbalz Disciple (315) Apr 13, 2002 Georgia
    Beer Trader

    Yea, look at how your cleaning your beer glasses, using a rinse agent in the dish washer will effect the head retention, I just hand rinse with hot water and air dry.
  5. Grant35

    Grant35 Initiate (0) Jul 7, 2012 California

    I just used some dextrin carapils in my all grain imperial ipa and it gave me a nice thick head - I used 27 lbs of grain for a 10 gallon batch and .5 lbs was dextrin carapils. I'd probably do a little less than half a pound next time to tone down the foam a touch. But all in all it was a great addition for the head and body. Cheers!
  6. Applecrew135

    Applecrew135 Initiate (152) Jul 18, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Glassware is not the issue. Independent pours at two separate venues using glasses that were thoroughly rinsed each time yielded identically disappointing results.... sigh.

    Even the krauesen in my fermenter never got that high, and for a weizen... that should be unusual. I'm suspecting some foul play early on in the process - even though the beer went from 1.055 OG to 1.013 FG. The beer is actually a little bland and watery, which makes me suspect a fault early on.
  7. Applecrew135

    Applecrew135 Initiate (152) Jul 18, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Glad we have a healthy sense of humor here! BTW, no woman is ever "over 40", especially if you are married to her!!!
    inchrisin likes this.
  8. RblWthACoz

    RblWthACoz Initiate (0) Aug 19, 2006 Pennsylvania

    29, for life. Wisdom I have learned.
  9. thatsfine

    thatsfine Initiate (0) Jun 7, 2010 Arizona

    That sounds like a personal problem
  10. MLucky

    MLucky Initiate (0) Jul 31, 2010 California

    Anything unusual about your water? If it's not a glass cleaning issue, and it's something you're seeing across different styles, that makes me wonder about water, even though I have no idea how hard/soft/high in certain minerals and not others water might affect this issue.
  11. nuggetman

    nuggetman Initiate (0) Jul 13, 2011 Massachusetts

    Any oils in your brew pot? If it is your turkey frying pot, or soup pot, that could be your problem. Do you have a greasy upper lip by any chance? Trying to tax all the options...
  12. RichFellows

    RichFellows Initiate (0) Mar 13, 2011 Connecticut

    I knew someone would ask if there was a marriage involved. Glad you guys are on top of this......

    Yeah, I guess some sort of soap or left behind substances issue in the glassware, brewing gear, etc as the others above have.
  13. koopa

    koopa Poo-Bah (1,825) Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Tell it to buy a Porsche.....
  14. inchrisin

    inchrisin Defender (654) Sep 25, 2008 Indiana

    Beyond oils/residue of some sort, you should look into your recipe. Adding some oatmeal, wheat, or carapils to your recipe next time might have a huge impact. If you're doing a hoppy beer, the oils in the hops actually promote great head. <--- They're going to have a field day with that statement. :slight_smile:
  15. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,341) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    There have been a few articles in BYO about foam retention. Here's one...

    Wheat and Carapils are foam retention enhancers. In my experience, oatmeal is a foam retention preventer.
  16. Reneejane

    Reneejane Devotee (440) Jan 15, 2004 Illinois

    fascinating blog. I was going to ask about his mashing temperature, and time. but, from the blog, it looks like you want to look at your yeast starter and aearation.
  17. Applecrew135

    Applecrew135 Initiate (152) Jul 18, 2012 Pennsylvania

    It's a pretty straightforward extract recipe, so no mashing; just steeping crystal malt. I may have also hit the panic button too soon. Here's a history of brewing and bottling:

    March 1: Brewday. OG at yeast pitching: 1.055
    Fermentation was with WLP300, at temps averaging 68 degrees. Two weeks in the fermenter: a plastic food-grade bucket w/ sealing lid & airlock

    March 17: Bottling day. Primed beer with corn sugar, aiming at 3.5 volumes for a Weizen
    Bottles stored at 68 degrees for two weeks

    March 30: Put bottles in refrigerator.
    Late March 30: Too anxious to sample first homebrew in 15 years; aas soon as it was cold enough, I cracked one.
    This is when I noticed bland taste & no head retention

    March 31: Samples another with my son, same disappointment - no head, still knd of bland

    April 4: Tried another, making sure the glass was rinsed thoroughly. Poured somewhat vigorously to raise a decent head... and it stuck! At least for as long as I was drinking it, which wasn't very long... it tasted a little better, too.

    I guess I just need to be more patient. The beer's been in the cooler for about a week now. It's not a homerun, not exactly what I was looking for, but it is OK and drinkable, so I'll give it a tentative thumbs-up (For Roger Ebert!) for now.

    I will still be more careful with my process moving forward.

    Thanks for the insight, info, and most of all, snarky comments. You're a lively bunch, glad to be here!
  18. inchrisin

    inchrisin Defender (654) Sep 25, 2008 Indiana

    I get bubbles that are similar to that of a rootbeer float when using upwards of 8%. I'll let you have this one because it was a wheat beer (55% wheat malt).
  19. basscram

    basscram Initiate (0) Mar 29, 2006 Maine

    using carapils and wheat in small amounts supposedly enhance head retention. Your beer drinking glass will hold a head longer being warm and also when cleaning your beer drinking glass, don't overdo cleaning. dawn and water until no more soap is seen. good enough. air dry it. I have never added wheat or caraplils for head retention cause my beers always hold a slight head all the way down. Not sure why, they just do.
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