The physics of beer bubbles

The physics of beer bubbles

0 11 months ago

Maybe you haven't thought about the reasons yet just experienced it every time you have had a drink: your beverage loses its fizz when warmed. Why do English Ales preserve/keep their bubbles longer than "softer" Lagers? With the help of science we reveal the causes. We know that many beer lovers have scientific interests and we promise to keep the explanation simple.
For getting the proper answer, we must examine the behaviour and the water solubility of gases.

Beer is the dilute solution of sugars, gases, organic acids, alcohols and other chemical compounds. Drinks gets their fizz from carbon dioxide. With English Ales carbon dioxide forms during fermentation, but it's added to Lagers in breweries or while tapping.

The solubility of carbon dioxide depends on the beer's (the solvent's) temperature. Gases dissolve better in cold beverages. This is why trouts and salmons (who need quite the amount of oxygen) live in cold mountain streams.

Freshly tapped beer consists a certain amount of carbon dioxide, but when it starts to warm up, it dissolves less carbon dioxide and the surplus gas discharges directly into the atmosphere. Volatile substances from malt and hops vapour quicker than other compounds, so the beer's flavour also changes a little.

The difference between Ale and Lager can be derived from two reasons. Masking their weaker taste Lagers are served cold. Due to the temperature difference between the air and the drink, the latter warms up and loses from its carbon dioxide content faster. On the other hand during tapping a larger amount of carbon dioxide is pumped into Lagers than Ales, this is why gas leaves more rapidly from them.

So what's the solution? We offer you two tips: drink your beer faster or go to a colder pub where you have to put a coat on, but your beverage will stay perfectly bubbly.

Click to read other interesting facts about your drink such as the importance of beer head.