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I love beer, but when I pour myself one, I try not to make it foam too much, I personally don't like the 'head' of a beer (Don't really know how to say it). My dad drinks beer religiously and demands a head when ever I pour one for him. A few (Most of my friends) aren't keen on having a head, but some love it.

Obviously this is personal preference, but is beer normally supposed to have a head?

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Yes, beer is indeed generally supposed to have a head. The foam can add to both the flavor and the texture of your beer. It is preference for sure, and if you don't like it, then you don't like it, but I'd encourage you to try it from time to time with an open mind. The head of a beer is quite complex, consisting of proteins that are acted on by the hops, the yeast, and the carbonation. Because of the complexity, creating the perfect recipe for foam in a beer is something the brewers spend quite a lot of time and energy on, and it's a fairly integral part of a good beer.

Note that there are exceptions. Truly non-carbonated beer, like Samuel Adams Utopias will not have a head. Hever, from what I've read, that specific example is probably more closely comparable to a fortified wine than a common beer in any case.

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Beer is typically supposed to have a head of about 1/2 inch. This enhances the flavor and gives off an aroma that will add to the experience. A good bartender should give you a nice head on your beer unless you ask for your beer sans head. You should not be getting a glass half full of foam.

Some brewers (I know Guinness specifically, but I'm sure there are others) even have special glasses and pouring procedures to give their beer the perfect head.

If you try a beer with a head, try not to look down into your beer, but instead look straight ahead and bring your glass to your mouth with your elbow out. This will keep you from getting a mouth full of foam, and is how you are supposed to drink most beers.

  • +1 for the tip on how to drink it without getting a mouth full of foam – Garrulinae Jan 12 '15 at 5:37
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I had an opportunity to visit the Heineken Brewery on a trip to Amsterdam. During my tour, our bartender was able to give a succinct and general answer: to protect the beer, it's flavor and aroma. If you like, you can read more about foam physics and the importance of foam in this dated WSJ article: http://www.rpi.edu/dept/chem-eng/Biotech-Environ/FOAM/bcbeer.htm

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