TweetFollow Us on Twitter

MacTech 2005 High-Tech Gift Guide

Volume Number: 21 (2005)
Issue Number: 12
Column Tag: Reviews

MacTech 2005 High-Tech Gift Guide

It Came Inside A Midnight Beer

by Aaron Adams

This Jingle Isn't A Bell

Company holiday functions populated by the inane and the insipid. A Christmas Eve spent with distant relatives, unseen since last Christmas, yammering on about the minutiae of their boring personal lives. Mounting credit card debt. The same boring Christmas specials that have been on television for twenty straight years. A freezing Saturday afternoon spent hanging uncooperative lights and decorations. In-laws.

What do all these things have in common?

Beer!

Whether it's being consumed on a silent night at home, at a holiday party, or to take the edge off of awkward social situations, alcohol is part of the holiday ritual for many of us. And what could be better on a cold winter night than an overstuffed recliner, a crackling fire, and a cold glass of thick, black, bitter stout? I speak, of course, of Guinness, the magic wonder brew that seems, at times, to be the solution to all of life's problems.

Guinness drinkers may have noticed of late a jingle in the can or bottle of their favorite holiday hops. That noise is none other than the Guinness widget, a clever device invented by Alan J. Forage and William J. Byrne, according to the widget's patent, which forms Guinness's characteristic creamy, foamy head once a can or bottle is opened.

What's so special about Guinness that it needs a widget?

Beers are carbonated to different degrees as a consequence of the yeast metabolizing sugars in the fermentation process. Sometimes additional carbon dioxide is dissolved into the brew as it is packaged. The dissolved CO2 in the beer causes the container to become pressurized. Later, when the beer is opened, the pressure is relieved and the CO2 bubbles out of solution to the surface and creates a head on the beer. Guinness is a little different. It contains less CO2 than most beers so nitrogen is added, which works in combination with CO2 to create the smaller bubbles that enable Guinness to have its thick, creamy head. The nitrogen dissolves into the beer, but not very well, so it bubbles out easily when the container is opened. The CO2 in Guinness, however, is more difficult to extract - the beer isn't saturated with enough CO2 for it to naturally bubble up and create a head during decompression.


Enter the widget (no, not that kind of Widget). The widget resembles a ping pong ball about 3 cm in diameter with a small hole 0.61 mm in diameter created by a laser. After the widget is dropped into an empty can, the can is filled with beer and a quick shot of liquid nitrogen is added. The can is immediately sealed and proceeds to pasteurization where it is heated to 60 degrees Celsius for 15 to 20 minutes and the liquid nitrogen in the can boils into gas. The expanding gas creates pressure of about 25 PSI inside the can, causing some of the nitrogen and beer, 10 - 15 ml, to be forced into the hole in the widget. The can and its delicious contents are then distributed to retailers.

Sometime later, the Guinness is purchased and opened. The pressure inside the can equalizes with the ambient pressure outside, and the beer and nitrogen contained inside the widget is forced out. The subsequent jet disturbs the Guinness around it, essentially shaking it from the inside out, and the remaining nitrogen and stubborn CO2 bubble out of solution, rising to the top to create the thick, creamy head Guinness is famous for.

This seemingly simple system took Guinness 20 years and more than 100 failed attempts to perfect.

Widgets are present in Guinness bottles as well as cans. The bottle widget works on a similar principle--compress nitrogen and beer in a plastic container and release the contents when the pressure changes--but is shaped like a rocket instead of a ball. When the bottle is opened, the rocket launches off the bottom, disturbing the beer inside and creating the head. Each time the bottle is tipped back for a drink, the rocket releases a little more foam-producing gas and the head on the bottle is topped off. And the rocket does have fins, not for aerodynamic reasons, but to keep the widget from exiting the bottle where it could be swallowed, hence ruining the taste of the beer.

This holiday season, take a moment to salute the geniuses ("Brilliant!") behind the widget when popping the top of a bottle or can of smooth black. Their contribution to seasonal stress relief is immeasurable


Aaron Adams is a network administrator, consultant, former star of Apple's "Switch" campaign, and an avid Guinness drinker. He can be reached via e-mail at adamsa@mac.com.

 
AAPL
$102.33
Apple Inc.
+1.27
MSFT
$46.67
Microsoft Corpora
-0.39
GOOG
$581.74
Google Inc.
-5.63

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

GarageSale 6.8 - Create outstanding eBay...
GarageSale is a slick, full-featured client application for the eBay online auction system. Create and manage your auctions with ease. With GarageSale, you can create, edit, track, and manage... Read more
ScreenFlow 4.5.3 - Create screen recordi...
Save 5% with the MacUpdate coupon code: 68031AE15F -- Buy now! ScreenFlow is powerful, easy-to-use screencasting software for the Mac. With ScreenFlow you can record the contents of your entire... Read more
NeoOffice 2014.3 - Mac-tailored, OpenOff...
NeoOffice is a complete office suite for OS X. With NeoOffice, users can view, edit, and save OpenOffice documents, PDF files, and most Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. NeoOffice 3.x... Read more
Typinator 6.2 - Speedy and reliable text...
Typinator turbo-charges your typing productivity. Type a little. Typinator does the rest. We've all faced projects that require repetitive typing tasks. With Typinator, you can store commonly used... Read more
PopChar X 6.7 - Floating window shows av...
PopChar X helps you get the most out of your font collection. With its crystal-clear interface, PopChar X provides a frustration-free way to access any font's special characters. Expanded... Read more
Evernote 5.6.0 - Create searchable notes...
Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at anytime, from... Read more
Monosnap 2.2.2 - Versatile screenshot ut...
Monosnap allows you to save screenshots easily, conveniently, and quickly, sharing them with friends and colleagues at once. It's the ideal choice for anyone who is looking for a smart and fast... Read more
Tunnelblick 3.4beta36 - GUI for OpenVPN...
Tunnelblick is a free, open source graphic user interface for OpenVPN on OS X. It provides easy control of OpenVPN client and/or server connections. It comes as a ready-to-use application with all... Read more
SoftRAID 5.0.4 - High-quality RAID manag...
SoftRAID allows you to create and manage disk arrays to increase performance and reliability. SoftRAID's intuitive interface and powerful feature set makes this utility a must have for any Mac OS X... Read more
Audio Hijack Pro 2.11.3 - Record and enh...
Audio Hijack Pro drastically changes the way you use audio on your computer, giving you the freedom to listen to audio when you want and how you want. Record and enhance any audio with Audio Hijack... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Sword King Review
Sword King Review By Jennifer Allen on September 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: :: WEAK, SO WEAKUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Ever wanted to tap on a screen and assume you’ve killed a monster or two? Probably not, but just... | Read more »
Pangea Software Unveil Bundles and iOS 8...
Pangea Software Unveil Bundles and iOS 8 Updates Posted by Ellis Spice on September 23rd, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Race Team Manager Review
Race Team Manager Review By Jennifer Allen on September 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: :: LIGHT RACINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Want to be in charge of a racing team but not be overwhelmed by tactics and options? Race... | Read more »
Kobojo Works with Creative Minds from Fi...
Kobojo has announced details for their newest game, Zodiac – a 2D persistent online RPG. Kobojo has put together a crack team of developers including composer Hitoshi Sakimoto and scenario writer Kazushige Nojima, whose work includes many of the... | Read more »
PlayHaus Review
PlayHaus Review By Amy Solomon on September 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad PlayHaus is a interesting, stylish app for young children, full of cause-and-effect interactions.   | Read more »
Astropolo Review
Astropolo Review By Amy Solomon on September 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Astropolo is a space-themed children’s app with a great sense of style.   | Read more »
New E*TRADE Update Includes Touch ID and...
New E*TRADE Update Includes Touch ID and Home Screen Widget for iOS 8 Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 23rd, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Cupcake Carnival Review
Cupcake Carnival Review By Jennifer Allen on September 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: :: SAME OLDUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Cupcake Carnival does all the right match-3 things but it’s a format we’ve seen a little too... | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps: September 15-19, 2...
Expert App Reviewers   So little time and so very many apps. What’s a poor iPhone/iPad lover to do? Fortunately, 148Apps is here to give you the rundown on the latest and greatest releases. And we even have a tremendous back catalog of reviews; just... | Read more »
Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker – Tips, Tricks,...
Hey There, Kittens: | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Razer DeathAdder Chroma Gaming Mouse Upgraded...
Razer has announced the launch of their new Razer DeathAdder Chroma gaming mouse. Even if you’re not a gamer, the DeathAdder bears considering. I’m a fan of the hard-wired tracking accuracy,... Read more
Check Apple prices on your device with iTracx
MacPrices is proud to offer readers a free iOS app (iPhones, iPads, & iPod touch) and Android app (Google Play and Amazon App Store) called iTracx, which allows you to glance at today’s lowest... Read more
Refurbished 2013 MacBook Pros available for u...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros available starting at $929. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros (4GB RAM/... Read more
New iPhones Score Big in SquareTrade Breakabi...
SquareTrade has announced the iPhone 6 and its larger sibling, iPhone 6 Plus, performed impressively in Breakability testing, and each carries the top Breakability Score in their respective category... Read more
10 Million + First Weekend Sales Set New iPho...
Apple has announced it sold over 10 million new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models, a new record, just three days after the launch on September 19. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are now available in the... Read more
Betty Crocker Launches New Cookbook for iOS
Betty Crocker, a General Mills brand, an established food industry leader, has announced its free digital cookbook app has been refreshed to make cooking with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch even easier... Read more
Apple restocks some refurbished 2014 MacBook...
The Apple Store has restocked some Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs, with prices starting at $769. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free. These... Read more
13-inch 128GB MacBook Air on sale for $949, s...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 13″ 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $949.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $50 off MSRP. B&H will also include free copies of... Read more
Apple offering free $25 iTunes Gift Card with...
The Apple Store is offering a free $25 iTunes Gift Card with the purchase of a $99 Apple TV for a limited time. Shipping is free. Read more
Apple refurbished iPod touch available for up...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 5th generation iPod touches available starting at $149. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. Most colors are... Read more

Jobs Board

Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Project Manager / Business Analyst, WW *Appl...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
…customers purchase our products, you're the one who helps them get more out of their new Apple technology. Your day in the Apple Store is filled with a range of Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.