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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2011 * Archive through September 14, 2011 * Foam stability < Previous Next >

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Tex Brewer
Advanced Member
Username: Texbrewer

Post Number: 681
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 216.203.59.252
Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 06:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Getting a stable foam has always been a problem for me. Questions:
1) Carapils and wheat malt don't seem to make much difference. Are there certain kinds that are better, e.g. Carafoam, or torrified wheat?
2) How effective is flaked barley? Maybe 5%?
3) Does a protein rest at 127-130F help? Seems counterintuitive, as protein (esp albumin) is what makes foam. But I have read posts that say it helps.
4) Does Whirlfloc and/or Irish moss hurt? It coagulates proteins, after all. It would of course hurt clarity not to use it, if that is a concern.
5) Does Iodophor hurt? That is what I use to sanitize everything. No rinsee.
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 7789
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 208.102.247.68
Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 06:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I can get Carafoam to put a standing one inch head on mead. It seems to work.
 

mikel
Intermediate Member
Username: Mikel

Post Number: 361
Registered: 02-2001
Posted From: 166.181.2.40
Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 08:30 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

In my experience over pitching and too hot a fermentation temp has resulted in decreased foam stability. I agree with Dan that carafoam works for me too.
 

mikel
Intermediate Member
Username: Mikel

Post Number: 362
Registered: 02-2001
Posted From: 166.181.2.59
Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 08:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Forgot to mention that have you eliminated the likely causes of an oily or soap residue beer glass?
 

Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 6361
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 63.118.227.254
Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 09:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

How about your water?

Recently the local homebrew club brewed the same recipe, with only the base malt changed. One guy's beer tasted very different, with little or no head. Turns out he lives in another town, 35 miles away, that has very high carbonate water, instead of the soft water that the rest of us used. Its amazing what a difference that made to a single malt, single hop beer.
 

Tex Brewer
Advanced Member
Username: Texbrewer

Post Number: 682
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 216.203.59.252
Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 09:22 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Good points, all, although we have gotten away from most of my questions (except for Dan). To answer yours:

I always make a starter, typ 1-2L depending on bigness. That's not over-pitching. Temp usually 68-74.

No soap residue. Same result with water-rinsed glasses.

Water in Austin is softened and mod. hard (94mg/L as CaCO3; Ca=14 mg/L), and mod. alkalinity (66 mg/L as CaCO3). I add Ca (typically gypsum, sometimes chalk) and maybe NaHCO3 for very dark beers.

I can understand why a pale beer (hoppy?) would taste different and probably not too good with high carbonate water, old Chum. The head part is very interesting, though.

I'd like to hear more on the rest of my questions.
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 7604
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 208.85.238.144
Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 09:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If you have underlying fermentation problems, adding protein laden ingredients won't help. The following article explains foam formation and retention and problems, and gives some info on how to determine what your problem might be.

http://byo.com/stories/article/indices/35-head-retention/697-getting-good-beer-f oam-techniques
 

dhacker
Senior Member
Username: Dhacker

Post Number: 2381
Registered: 11-2002
Posted From: 69.167.206.190
Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 09:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tex . . I can not offer scientific explanations, only observations of my outcomes. I use Whirlfloc tabs in all my beers, but have never noticed any problem with foam stability because of that. In fact, I may have used too much whirlfloc when it first became available . . I believe it was Denny who mentioned a half tab was enough for 5 gallons, but I continue to throw in a whole tab. There was a time early on I threw two in 5 gallon batches with no apparent impact. I use Iodophor as well, no rinse, and again never noticed an issue. The times I have noticed an issue is if I got some fusels from too high a ferment temp, but nothing I would attribute to Whirlfloc or Iodophor. Are you having the issue across all styles, or is it maybe worse with higher grav brews? Do you shake your fermentor to aerate or shake kegs to quick carb? I've read that beer has a certain "Foam Index" at birth, and every time foam is generated, that foam (or the ability to produce as much foam) is lost forever.
 

Tex Brewer
Advanced Member
Username: Texbrewer

Post Number: 683
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 216.203.59.252
Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 10:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've seen the BYO article, Denny. Offers some help.

Dh, good Whirlfloc info. I'll rule that out. I'll also try an experiment with two identical glasses: one rinsed with water, one rinsed with Iodophor soln.

I bottle, so no keg shaking. But I do whirl up my fermenter when there is a big beer (rouse yeast). That was in the BYO article, too. My more recent beers have been big, too. Those could be factors. Another thought, several beers have required extensive blow-off. Could I be losing a lot of head-forming material that way?

Mikel, did you mean under-pitching rather than over-? BYO article mentions under- as a factor.

Q2 and Q3 are on flaked barley and protein rest. Bill P, I'm sure you're thinking...
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2765
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 64.199.195.2
Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 11:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

1) Don't know, but if you have to use those malts, something else is wrong.

2) Flaked barley contributes more to body and mouthfeel than head retention. If you use much of it, a beta-glucan rest is recommended.

3) A so-called "protein rest" is more detrimental than helpful with modern fully-modified malts. Most proteolytic activity occurs during malting, and the protease enzymes are largely denatured during kilning anyhow.

4) Whirlfloc and Irish moss do not harm head formation and retention.

5) Iodophor should not harm head formation and retention.

Here's the fifty-cent phrase-of-the-day: Divalent metal cations. Like calcium and zinc, for example. Molecules in bubble walls have hydrophobic and hydrophilic poles. The hydrohobic ones are oriented inward, and the hydrophilic outward. The hydrophilic poles have a slight negative charge, so they tend to repel each other. A divalent metal cation has two positive poles, so a single DMC molecule can grasp two bubble wall molecules and hold them together, stabilizing the foam. This is according to Dr. Charles Bamforth at UC Davis, to whom I apologize if I'm not explaining this correctly. Ensuring that you have calcium and particularly zinc in your brewing liquor and ultimately, your beer, is important for this and many other reasons.

Iso-alpha acids also contribute to head formation and retention, so adding more bittering hops, if stylistically acceptable, is another good technique.
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2766
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 64.199.195.2
Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 11:34 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

One other foam killer is too much trub carried over into your fermenter. Part of the trub is lipids, and lipids are very bad for foam.
 

Tex Brewer
Advanced Member
Username: Texbrewer

Post Number: 684
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 70.249.35.166
Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2011 - 01:08 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks, Graham. I was not aware of the metals thing. But I do use Wyeast yeast nutrient, 1/2 tsp. 10-min boil. It has N, P, amino acids, and Zn. I bring Ca up to at least 50 mg/L with gypsum, etc. And I filter the wort into the fermenter with panty hose over the end of the tube, so minimal trub.

OK, the Iodophor experiment is done. Two pint glasses, both pre-rinsed wtih water then filled with water. One had a splash of Iodophor and a few drops of white vinegar added (our water is pH 9.5). After a few minutes, both drained fully, then homebrew (Russian Imp Stout) poured into each from one bottle. THE IODOPHOR GLASS HAD NO HEAD! The other had modest head (remember my general problem) which retained somewhat and left some clinging to the glass. About halfway down with both, I poured the rest of the non-iodophor beer into the iodophor one. Big head came up and then went down immediately. Almost none was clinging to the glass after I drunk it all.

I was very surprised at this. Is it repeatable? Others, please do a similar experiment - it's easy, obviously.
 

Paul Hayslett
Senior Member
Username: Paulhayslett

Post Number: 2899
Registered: 02-2002
Posted From: 174.62.194.35
Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2011 - 01:10 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You say your water "is softened". Do you know how? Is it possible that the softening process is adding other ions that could be screwing things up?

I think a good experiment would be to make one batch of one of your regular recipes with mostly distilled or RO water from the supermarket. I know that is expensive, so make it a small (5 gallon) batch. Use your regular water for only maybe 10% of the volume and add Ca as you usually do. If that batch has no head problems, invest in an RO filter.
 

Tex Brewer
Advanced Member
Username: Texbrewer

Post Number: 685
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 216.203.59.252
Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2011 - 06:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Lime softening. That's why the pH is so high. It's pretty good water. I can't imagine that the water is a problem. Here is an analysis (mg/L):
Ca - 14
Mg - 14
Na - 21
SO4 - 36
Cl - 43
Tot-P - 0.8
T-alk - 66
TDS - 165
Cond - 287 uS/cm
Hardness - 93