Friday, 20 April 2012

What's Killing My Head?

I’m losing my head.

It’s not gone unnoticed that several of my recent beers have lacked much in the way of head retention. And it’s not due to lack of condition, as the bottles have been nicely primed and pour with a decent head when serving. The problem is that it dissipates rather quickly and I’m not sure why this should be.

As far as I’m aware, very little has changed in my procedure. I do lubricate my sparging arm from time to time and have swapped to a food grade lubricant, so if anything, I’m presuming this should help matters. 

I know I can add adjuncts to assist with the head, but some of these beers are recipes I’ve done before and they’ve been fine previously. Same yeast and all.

My beer glasses are not subjected to the dishwasher either. So what’s killing the head? Could it be cleaning residue in the brewery? Residue in the bottles prior to bottling? If anyone has any bright ideas, please let me know. It’s doing my head in.


  1. I noticed a positive change in head retention on my beers once I got my water chemistry dialed in properly. For a while there I had a few batches with a high mash and finishing PH and the retention on those beers was pretty bad.

  2. Thanks Will, that's interesting. I said in the post that I hadn't changed anything in the procedure, but I did change the water treatment for a while, but only on the back of an alkalinity test on the brewing liquor. My notes don't show any record of the mash pH being adversely affected, although I only use papers, not a pH monitor. My most recent brew is back to my original water treatment regime, so I'll be interested to see how this turns out. It was bottled last week.

    I don't currently measure the finishing pH. Maybe that's something I need to look into.