Guinness QR Cup

link to’ve seen QR codes, right? They’ve been popping up all over the place for the last few years. QR codes are two-dimensional “bar codes”, but can contain much more information than a traditional bar code. The idea is that you scan it with the camera in your smartphone and you can get all kinds of information; more than can fit on a poster, and in much less space.

Most often they point you to a particular web page (like the one above), but they can also encode vcards (contact information) or, with the right client software, compose an email or text message, or maybe other goodies.

Guinness have come up with a fairly inventive marketing gimmick. They’ve put glasses out there with QR codes embedded on them. The thing is, though, the code is printed in white. So, when the glass is empty, or filled with some weak, pansy, light lager, there’s not enough contrast to read the code. Fill the glass with inky black Guinness, though, and there’s a pot of gold under that geeky rainbow.

Of course, you could put any dark beer worth it’s name in there (or a cola, if you’re so inclined) and it will work just as well. However, since the code “tweets about your pint, updates your facebook status, checks you in via 4 square, downloads coupons and promotions, invites your friends to join, and even launches exclusive Guiness content” there’s probably not much point.

Cool marketing, though.

(via Boing Boing (via (The Dieline))

Solved: the mathematics of sinking stout bubbles

Researchers at the University of Limerick have, they say, solved the riddle of why bubbles of Guinness (or other stouts) seem to sink rather than rise.

You know, the Cascade.

The key, apparently, is the pint glass itself.

Over the last ten years or so, physicists have begun to pick this problem apart. Most recently they’ve shown that it is not the bubbles that sink but the liquid, which circulates in a way that is downwards near the glass walls and upwards in the interior.  As long as the downward flow of the liquid is faster than the upward motion of the bubbles, they will appear to sink.

But that still leaves a puzzle: why does the liquid circulate in this way?

Today, a dedicated team of Irish mathematicians reveal the answer. Eugene Benilov, Cathal Cummins and William Lee at the University of Limerick say the final piece in this puzzle is the shape of the glass, which has a crucial influence over the circulatory patterns in the liquid.

Irish Mathematicians Solve The Guinness Sinking Bubble Problem

There is even a video (downloadable from the article) which shows the phenomenon in action.

The article at The Physics arXiv blog closes with this line: We’ll be following future developments closely.

As will we all.

Research: Guinness doesn’t travel well

Whatever you might feel about Guinness, I’m sure you’ve heard it said that it doesn’t “travel well”. (There’s a joke floating around the intarwebz about this being said in a pub across the street from the St. James Gate brewery.)

Well, some researchers set out to see if this is actually true. Their conclusion?

Guinness tastes best close to home.

Their research is in the Journal of Food Science. From the Abstract:

This study aimed to test the much-pronounced but poorly supported theory that “Guinness does not travel well.” A total of 4 researchers from 4 different countries of origin traveled around the world for 12 mo to collect data on the enjoyment of Guinness and related factors. The main outcome was measured on a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) from 0 (enjoyed it not at all) to 100 (enjoyed it very much). A total of 103 tastings were recorded (42 in Ireland, 61 elsewhere) in 71 different pubs spread over 33 cities and 14 countries. The enjoyment of Guinness consumed in Ireland was rated higher (74 mm VAS) than outside Ireland (57 mm; P < 0.001). This difference remained statistically significant after adjusting for researcher, pub ambience, Guinness appearance, and the sensory measures mouthfeel, flavor, and aftertaste. This study is the first to provide scientific evidence that Guinness does not travel well and that the enjoyment of Guinness (for our group of nonexpert tasters) was higher when in Ireland. Results, however, are subject to further verification because of limitations in the study design.

You’ll need to pay to get the whole study (or be a researcher that subscribes to the Wiley Online Library).

I’d like to volunteer to help them with that “further verification”.

(via Ars Technica)

Proof that Guinness bubbles go the wrong way

Telegraph: Bubbles in Guinness ‘go down not up’ say scientists

Guinness, in the best Irish tradition, does things differently. The bubbles in a freshly poured pint appear to be cascading down the side of the glass – yet the creamy top which is the drink’s trademark remains.

Members of the Royal Society of Chemistry set out to investigate the puzzle over the course of one lunchtime.

Scientists used a super-fast camera that could zoom in and magnify the bubbles 10 times.

The study showed that the more visible outlying bubbles in a pint of Guinness did move downwards, as a result of circulation flow and drag.

At the centre of the glass, the bubbles were free to rise rapidly, pulling the surrounding liquid with them and setting up a circulating current.

Flowing outwards from the surface, the frothy ”head”, the current hit the glass edge and was pushed down. Bubbles held back by dragging on the side of the glass were caught in the circulation and forced to go with the flow – the wrong way, for a bubble.

(Follow the link for the full article)

I have only one thing to say: Cascade!

Guinness cupcakes

We had company over this evening, so the wife pulled out all the stops, including baking some cupcakes made with Guinness.


They were moist and delicious. My wife, who doesn’t like stout, loved them.

We found the recipe at Big City, Little Kitchen

cupcakes (makes about 2 dozen)

  • 1 cup Guinness Stout
  • 1 stick, plus 1 tbsp, unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2-½ tsp baking soda


  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1-¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ⅓ cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter a muffin tin or use paper cups.

Combine the Guinness and the butter, chopped into 1-inch chunks, in a large sauce pan, and heat to melt the butter. Remove from heat, and whisk in the cocoa and sugar. In a bowl, whisk the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla, then add to the beer mixture. Sift together the flour and baking soda, and fold into the batter. Pour into muffin molds and bake for 25 minutes, or until inserted cake tester comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes, remove from muffin tin, and cool completely on a rack.

Using a mixer, whip cream cheese until smooth, sift in sugar, and beat. Add milk, and beat until smooth. Spread glaze over cooled cupcakes.

Update: Not manly enough for you? Butch cupcakes for men

Guinness 250th Anniversary Stout

Guinness 250 Anniversary StoutBeer-a-Day #220

To mark the 250 year anniversary of the signing of the lease on St. James’s Gate Brewery by Arthur Guinness, we introduce a special commemorative stout. This premium recipe provides a refreshing taste, which underlies the complex flavor of stout.

I guess I’m a little behind the times on this. Better late than never I suppose.

Dark, dark brown tending to black with ruby highlights. Thick tan head. Smells sweet. Cherries and chocolate is the impression I get. Light body with some roastiness and a dry finish. It’s pretty good, but I’m left…wanting. Something’s missing but I can’t put my finger (or my tongue, more precisely) on it. It’s not bad at all; I suppose I was expecting something more.

Guinness 250


This is a guest post from my good friend Max, half of our “Advisory Panel”.

Recently Al asked me recount an event for the Hop Talk readers that happened when we last got together for our annual Octoberfest. As a parent there are times your child may say or do something that makes your heart just burst with pride. This was one of my moments.

It was early Saturday morning and, as tradition dictates, we were opening our Guinness Stouts (which we have coined our “breakfast beer”) as we stood in the kitchen discussing our plans for the day. As we began to pour, my wife called to my three-year-old son who was playing in another room. “Nicholas! Do you want to see the cascade?” Conversation ceased as the cry of “oh boy the cascade!” coincided with the crashing sound of whatever toy my son had in his hand as it hit the floor. This was closely followed by him appearing in a full-out sprint, rounding the corner and jumping up onto the stool at the breakfast bar to lock eyes on the four simultaneous cascades. I’m not sure whose smile was bigger; his from enjoyment or mine from pride.

(Just in case you’re not familiar with the term “cascade”, here’s an illustration)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

An Irishman is sitting at the end of a bar. He sees a lamp at the end of the table. He walks down to it and rubs it. Out pops a genie. It says, “I will give you three wishes.”The man thinks awhile. Finally he says, “I want a beer that never is empty.”

With that, the genie makes a poof sound and on the bar is a bottle of beer. The Irishman starts drinking it and right before it is gone, it starts to refill. The genie asks about his next two wishes.

The man says, “I want two more of these.”


How Alcohol is Created in Beer (Part 6)

Back in Packs a Punch, I withheld from my friend that my Guinness was less potent in alcohol than his Bud Light. If I didn’t, he would then have asked me how can that be? … No, actually he wouldn’t care, or wouldn’t believe me. But why is it that the darker, thicker, sweeter, stronger tasting beer has less alcohol?

To understand how alcohol is made in beer, you have to understand a little bit about yeast. I ask you… how much do you currently know about yeast? Try this yeast trivia questionnaire by A.B. first and see how you do…

Well, you don’t have to know all of the details about how yeast works, as yeast is a very complicated critter. Basically, yeast eats sugars, divides (and thus multiplies), and produces in turn carbon dioxide and ethanol (alcohol).

yeast.jpgSo, the amount of alcohol content in beer is dependent on the amount of fermentable sugars available in the wort. Those sugars are present from the mash process of the malted barely during brewing. But wait, there’s more! There are other factors, too, which make it more complicated than just that. For example, the more roasted a malt is, the less fermentable sugars it will produce during the mash. Plus, the environment needed for fermentation to take place has to be just right. For instance, there are enzymes needed as a catalyst for the process. Temperature, oxygen, and other things contribute to how efficient the yeast works.

Fermentable sugars are key. Remember back in Part 3 that specialty grains do not contain all, or as much, of the enzymes needed for fermentation. Also, specialty grains do not contain as much potentially fermentable sugars, but they certainly bring a lot of flavor and color to the party. (ok, I admit, I’ve been watching too much Good Eats)

yeast-sock-puppets.jpgBud Light uses rice (genetically engineered) to create more fermentable sugars without adding any taste, but still provide alcohol. Guinness uses lots of roasted malts for taste and color, much of which does not ferment and, thus, produces less alcohol while still packing a punch of flavor.

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