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Appearance: Poor Head Formation or Retention

Problem:

Upon pouring your beer into a glass, you may be frustrated to find that it is unable to form or maintain a respectable head of foam.

Causes:

  • Grease or detergent residue in bottles, glasses, or brewing equipment inhibits good head retention.
  • Forgetting to prime the beer leaves little chance for success in carbonation.
  • Not enough conditioning time results in insufficient build-up of carbon dioxide.
  • Excessive breakdown of proteins in the mash leaves insufficient material to form and retain a good head on the beer.
  • A low-protein grist provides insufficient material to form and retain a good head on the beer.
  • A faulty seal on bottle caps, or a chipped bottle mouth, prevents desired build-up of carbon dioxide.

Cures:

  • Carefully wash and rinse bottles, glasses, and brewing equipment. Avoid fat-based cleaners that can leave an undesirable residue.
  • Be more attentive to your brewing tasks!
  • Allow sufficient conditioning time for beer, one week for a typical ale, two weeks for a typical lager.
  • Reduce the time and the raise temperature of the protein rest during mashing.
  • Use wheat malt or heading compound.
  • Replace damaged or poor quality capper and caps. Do not use bottles with twist-off caps, and replace damaged bottles.
Appearance: Poor Head Formation or Retention