Researchers estimate that there are somewhere between 200,000 and 2 million bubbles in your average glass of beer, thereby solving a riddle that has puzzled drinkers for generations.
According to a new study from a team at the American Chemical Society (ACS), the number of bubbles that form are likely to differ from pint to pint because of the changing relationships associated with dissolved CO2, the varied glasses that act as ‘bubble nucleation sites’, and what’s known as ascending bubble dynamics.
It’s common knowledge that flat beer tastes terrible, so the role that bubbles and fizz play as important sensory elements in our appreciation of beer shouldn’t be underestimated.
As the bubbles burst, the released carbon dioxide delivers the familiar flavours and scent compounds that we recognise as drinkers, similar to those experienced with sparkling wines.
Published in ACS Omega, the study notes that the extremely popular lightly flavoured lagers are produced using a cool fermentation process which turns sugar in malted grains into alcohol and carbon dioxide before more carbonation is added during the commercial packaging process. According to the researchers, this is why bottles and beer cans hiss when opened, often tickling the nose of drinkers in the process.
Indeed, as we now know, foam and persistent bubbling are essential characteristics of lager beers, with many consumers attaching premium importance to both the number and size of bubbles likely to form in a glass.
The research follows a similar examination conducted by report co-author, Gérard Liger-Belair, who had previously determined that about 1 million bubbles formed in a flute of champagne in his 2014 study ‘How Many Bubbles in Your Glass of Bubbly?’
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