Bottle Conditioning - Little Head

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I've got a great tasting red ale, with added finishing hops that has
been bottle conditioning for 12 days. It is getting carbonated although
I wish it were a tad more carbonated. The trouble is, there is very
little head. Clean glass, etc. so I'm kind of at a loss. Perhaps a few
more days in the bottle will help?

Re: Bottle Conditioning - Little Head

How much priming sugar and what size batch? 2 weeks is not enough time
bottle conditioning especially if the beer was really clear. Give
it 4-5 weeks
before you jump off the ledge. I quit the bottle
conditioning and started
kegging because I couldn't wait. Way less
frustration and beer faster and
easier. No more bottle washing and

BierNewbie's Profile: View this

Re: Bottle Conditioning - Little Head

On Jan 25, 12:07 pm, BierNewbie
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Bier, I used 4 ounces (weighed) of priming sugar in a 5 gal. batch,
which ended up being about 4 3/4 gal. in the secondary. The beer was
fairly clear, being a week in primary, and close to two weeks in
secondary. I can't wait to start kegging. Do you force carbonate?

Re: Bottle Conditioning - Little Head

I keg also, my method now is this:

primary in a glass carboy, secondary in a corney keg (Either vent every
few days or allow it to naturally carbonate).
Put the beer at 38f (My kegerator temp) for about 1-2 days on co2 to
settle yeast.
Draw off a glass or 2 until beer is mostly clear.
use a jumper (2 liquid ball locks and a hose) to transfer from secondary
keg to clean/sanitized keg (Better if you pressurize it first).
Hook up keg to kegerator and drink the next day.

This results in fairly clear beer, most of the yeast that settles is
gone in my serving keg.  If I am taking a keg to a party I always
transfer off the sediment to a clean/sanitized keg so I don't show up
with cloudy beer.

The major advantages to this are:

1) corney kegs take up less space in a lagering refrigerator/converted
2) racking cane is only used once, less chance of infection, and MUCH

the only disadvantage is you want to have a few kegs around, currently I
have 15.

basskisser wrote:
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eing a week in primary, and close to two weeks in
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Re: Bottle Conditioning - Little Head

Le Thu, 25 Jan 2007 12:07:45 -0500, BierNewbie a écrit :

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There is one thing that hasn't been mentioned, except if I have missed
something. I am thinking of the gap between the top liquid level and the
cork (I mean the bottle cap). Since the amount of CO2 is not that huge,
the pressure may vary according to the volume that is available for

In commercial beers sold in capped bottles, especially with Belgian
Trappist beers, one can find noticeable differences in taste, head etc...
from one bottle to the next, since the gap between upper level and cap is
not exactly the same. It also depends upon the yeast deposit, whether or
not it has settled all ageing time in the bottom. It also depends upon
storage temperature...

Re: Bottle Conditioning - Little Head

Give it time, it'll be a lot better if you wait for a few weeks.


* Hevimees - bad spelling since 2004 *
hevimees's Profile: View this thread:

Re: Bottle Conditioning - Little Head

Yeah I force carbonate now but I used to bottle condition. My priming
sugar was
at 7ml per liter which is about 4 and 2/3 ounce by weight per
5 gallons. Let me
know how it is in a couple weeks.

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Re: Bottle Conditioning - Little Head

On Jan 25, 10:55 pm, BierNewbie
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Will do, I try one every evening! It IS getting better by the day now!

Re: Bottle Conditioning - Little Head

basskisser;12771 Wrote:
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Every once in a while I get a batch that just doesn't seem to get a
good head on it.  Kind of like what you are saying, there is just a
very small amount ouf head usually around the edge of the glass.  Other
times I get a nice thick foamy head that lasts the entire duration of
the mug.  I have researched this on the web and there are various
theories as to what causes wimpy head.  One is temp variations while
ferminting and another is bittering hops.

Temp variations are supposedly a culprit because it makes for weak
yeast and can cause yeast cell count to be irratic.  When bottled the
yeast is not strong enough to really cause that head power that
healthier yeast can produce.  At least that is one theory.

Hops are said to do more than just bitter a beer.  Supposedly if the
hops are fresh and have just the right chemical balance they can make
or break a good head.  Again this appears to be nothing more than

From previous posts I would take it that some are saying it all has to
do with how well the beer is carbinated and by kegging you are
guaranteed good head.  I have been a bottle man for years and have a
batch ferminting that will be going into my first keg in about 2 weeks.
Bad part is that from my past experience if this batch gets a good
head, is it from the keg or would it have had good head even if I had
bottled?   Only time will convince me of the CO2 theory.

If after many batches in kegs ALL coming out with nice heads then I may
jump on the band wagon and say, "Yep it is all about good carbination
that makes a good head".  Untill then I still have yet to hear anyone
with a definate answer on the subject.  Even left a post on it once.
Not sure if anyone ever replied but will be checking here soon to see.


nothing like kicking back in a lawn chair on a beautiful morning with a
mug of dark ale to start the day out right.
dlihcsnatas's Profile: View this thread:

Re: Bottle Conditioning - Little Head

Head retention is unrelated to CO2 amount or space in the bottle. Hops
very little to do with head. Proteins left in the beer will allow
good head. Add
some wheat or flaked oats or flaked barley to your
all-grain bill to leave some
proteins behind. If you extract brew then
add some wheat DME to your
fermentables. These things won't adversely
affect the beer if used in moderation
(5-6 ounces per 5 gallons).

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