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Beer foam: achieving a suitable head


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Evans, DE and Bamforth, CW 2008 , 'Beer foam: achieving a suitable head', in CW Bamforth and I Russell and GG Stewart (eds.), Handbook of alcoholic beverages: Beer, a quality perspective , Elsevier, New York.

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The brand image of a beer is inexorably linked to the quality of the foam on that beer after dispense as a quality indicator that can be easily applied by all consumers. This is not surprising due to the visual appeal of the foam, its subtle role as a conduit for beer aromas and its contribution to the beer mouth feel. Similarly it is noted that consumers from different nations, regions or even genders have different preferences for the foam on their beer. This is divided by visual cues that include the foam stability, cling, strength, creaming, bubble size and whiteness. Thus Bamforth’s (1999) erstwhile boss who said “that generations of biochemists have done less for beer foam than the widget” is alienating a substantial portion of potential consumers from their beer brands because such foam does not meet their expectations. Foam quality is not just about “quick” fixes such as the inclusion of widgets, ever greater levels of tetra hop or gas composition but attention to the beer making process from grass to glass (malting variety breeding to dispense). Brewers do have solid options in manipulating the quality and quantity of malt foam positive proteins and selection of hop acids, the interaction of which provides the basis for foam stability and quality. Brewers also have a range of palliative options such as additives, gas composition, widgets and methods for dispense that can be used if suitable to the style of beer being produced. The main game is to use these options to optimise the foam quality of their brands and to consistently meet the expectations of the consumers that the brewer is targeting.

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Evans, DE and Bamforth, CW
Publisher: Elsevier
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