You may not think too much about what determines the height of the head in your pint glass. But when the nerds at Popular Science devote an entire post on the components that go into structuring the beer foam, it’s worth taking a moment to geek out.

As the publication explains, breweries are the most likely to be concerned with new research that’s emerged about how beer foam behaves. For those in the beer business, it’s all about maintaining a level of quality control, ensuring that the Budweisers around the world taste and look the same.

According studies by scientists in Australia and Spain, the key to the head equation “a gene (and characterized the transcribed protein) in a particular yeast strain that made the resultant beer foamier.” Malted barley was often thought to be the main source of the protein strands, until this last round of studies, which found that yeast played a central roll.

It’s not a recipe for dilettantes, but for those homebrewers who are determined to get their head right: Keep the Weihenstephan 34/70 yeast strain in mind. It can be found in “dry form from Safale as Saflager, or from Wyeast as 2124 (Bohemian lager) or White Labs as WLP830 (German lager).”

[via Popular Science]