Restaurant Bar Controls – Foaming at the Tap

 In 1. David Scott Peters, bar, Training

When foam is OK and when it’s not

I’m a beer guy, so talking about beer gets me excited! But nothing peeves me more than watching a bartender pour good beer down the drain in the form of foam. It screams profit loss.

A great beer is much like a good wine; it has bouquet, aroma, flavors and all these different characteristics, imperfections and so on. Then there are beers that aren’t meant for taste, but are meant to specifically quench your thirst.

Either way, every good beer comes with a little foam, and while just the right amount of foam is good, too much foam is your nemesis.

What is foam?

It’s beer!

What’s beer?

Your product!

Where do you make profit?

Selling your product!

Do you have the bartender who swears he has to open up all the tap handles and run off the foam? Stop! That’s money that could be in your pocket instead of down the drain.

Don’t let your bartenders pour your profits down the drain. Find the problem, solve it and educate your staff.

When foam is bad

If your bartenders seem to be pouring more foam down the drain than they are manaHere are the three main causes of foam:

  1. Incorrect pressure – too much or too little.
  2. Interrupted flow in the lines caused by something such as ice or kinks in the line.
  3. Temperature – if it varies somewhere in the lines, you’ll get foam.

These things are correctable and since it’s like liquid gold for you, call your distributor and ask them to come check it out. They will only check out their lines, what their kegs are on, but call them all in and ask them to take a look. A good distributor should be cleaning your lines at least once a month, if not every other week. They want you to put out the best product possible, and they don’t want too much foam. So they’ll take care of you.

When foam is good

Write down the three ‘Ps’, the reasons why you should have one inch of head on every beer you serve.

  1. Presentation. You want it to look good.
  2. Protection. It’s going to keep the carbonation in, the temperature right and the flavors in.
  3. Profit. An inch of foam is two ounces of beer in most glassware.

Draft beer is a great profit maker for most independent restaurants. But there are ways to leak profit in your beer service if you aren’t well acquainted with your equipment and products you offer. Don’t take this liquid gold for granted — make every ounce count.

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