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Thread: Beer Foam -- History and tradition?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Chicago, IL
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    Beer Foam -- History and tradition?

    So, you get served practically with no head on your beer in London, but you get a fill line and a solid inch of head in Germany... Why is that?

    Does anyone know the historical reasons behind this consumer preference? Obviously English real ales have lower carbonation level than German lagers, and there are always this consumer demand of not being cheated off their full pint, but I am thinking maybe there are other historical roots that comes from the different traditional process techniques?

    anyone?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Sutton, Mass
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    beer foam

    As I have understood it, and correct me if I am wrong. It is all a matter of perception. When I was visiting Germany, bartenders refused to serve beer with out head, they would actually pour some beer ahead of time, then top it off to ensure good head (it would only be a matter of minutes between filling and topping.) I was told that the head gave aroma, which as we all know is essential in beer. In the UK, and other such places, they want to ensure that the volume that they are getting is the volume they are getting. Of course this may just be one side picking on the other, but that is what I understand. Personally I prefer a nice head on the beer, not too much, but one that will impart the aroma.
    Dammy Olsson
    Foolproof Brewing
    Pawtucket, RI

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    6
    It's also regional in Britain. The south tends to demand as little head as possible "I'm paying for a pint, I want a pint", and as a result beer engines tend to have swan necks and no sparklers, where as in the North, Yorkshire for example, the demand is for a thick, stable head about the width of you index finger, which should be poured along with the beer, not as a top off. Thus beer engines in this area tend not to have swan necks and are often fitted with sparklers, especially if southern ales are on tap (the head is still expected by the customer even if not by the brewer). It is interesting if travaling in the UK to try a national cask brand (Theakstons from the north, Bass from Burton or Spitfire from the south) all over the country and see the flavour changes impacted by the dispense system - that was my excuse anyway.

  4. #4
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    Apr 2006
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    Chicago, IL
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    so would you say this is purely consumer driven?

    I was more looking for technical reasonings...

    e.g. drier climate allows cooler kilning temp, which produces lower colored malt; therefore a lighter colored beer in the continental Europe (as oppose to UK).
    I know, this is not the whole reason for lighter beer color, but you get my point-- perhaps due to the style/production techniques, high quality product was associated with a certain appearance for the different regions?

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