Doing research that seems to have no benefit, or writing a blog post about such research.
Or a third possibility, which you may soon be guilty of dear reader – reading such a blog post 🙂
Scientists in France say they’ve have determined that a half-pint of beer may contain up to two million bubbles. (If college kids knew they could someday work on projects like this, there might be a lot more science majors).
OK, to make this post a little legitimate, here’s some of the science:
Brewers create lagers through a cool fermentation process. This converts the sugars in malted grains into alcohol and carbon dioxide, but that doesn’t account for all of the bubbles. During the packaging process, distributors can add in more carbonation which gives beer extra fizziness. This is also why bottles and cans make a hissing sound when you open them and then form micrometer-wide bubbles during pouring.
This fizzy show also plays an important role during the drinker’s sensory experience. Just like sparkling wine, bubbles carry both flavor and scent components to the drinker, sometimes tickling their nose.
So how did the scientists measure the number of bubbles?
They started by measuring the amount of carbon dioxide which dissolves into a commercial lager just after pouring it into a tilted glass. Using this number and a standard tasting temperature of 42 degrees Fahrenheit, the team calculated that the dissolving gas would combine to form streams of bubbles wherever there are crevices and cavities in a glass. These tiny bubbles are no more than 1.4 micrometers wide.
The researchers then used a high-speed camera to reveal that the bubbles grew in size as they floated to the surface. Those bubbles capture and transport even more gas to the air right above the beer’s foamy head. As the gas decreases in the beer, the bubbling eventually comes to a halt.
Before the beer goes flat however, the study found there were anywhere from 200,000 to 2,000,000 bubbles in a half-pint of lager. (That seems like a pretty wide-range.)
The researchers also discovered defects in the glass help to create more bubbles in beer than they do in champagne. (Does this mean that if you like bubbly beer, you should ask the bartender to serve it is glass that has lots of defects?)
I’ll admit that most of the above is simply copy and pasted from the brief story I read at Study Finds. I have no idea what any of it means, and for better or worse, I really didn’t care about how many bubbles are in a pint of beer.
What I do care about is keeping my blogging streak alive, so mission accomplished.
I wish I could celebrate with a cold one…