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.

Leinenkugel’s Brings Back “Big Eddy” Russian Imperial Stout

Big Eddy is back, but this was my first experience with it. Appropriately named, Big Eddy is a BIG beer. The name Big Eddy comes from the spring that has fed Leinenkugel since 1867. First released in 2007, this beer is only going to be available for a limited time and if you like imperial stouts you’re going to want to go find some now.

I think the perfect time to enjoy an imperial stout like this is on a cold, quiet, winter evening sitting by the fireside. I loved how this beer poured with a dark tan, thick head. The Leinenkugel beers I have had have been consistently quality beers although also simple in profile, but not this one. This imperial stout was dark and very complex. There were many layers of malt from rich and sweet to the rich coffee and mocha flavors. The roasted malts and hops balanced the beer while the alcohol heat that followed gave each sip a finishing spark.

I thoroughly enjoyed this beer, especially watching the lacing on the glass as I drank it. Big Eddy Imperial Stout is 9.5% ABV and this year it will have wider distribution than it had in the past. Our readers in the Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, North Dakota, South Dakota and New Jersey, as well as Atlanta and Phoenix markets should look for it. Leinenkugel has also released in the past for a limited time Big Eddy’s IPA – I can’t wait for it to come around again!

Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout is brewed with 11 different malts including Munich, Carmel, Chocolate, classic Pale and Pale Ale, providing a rich, dry character, perfectly balancing Big Eddy’s hoppy assertiveness. Warrior, Summit and Glacier hops create a bold tribute to the characteristic intensity of the flavor. The beer is reminiscent of the 18th century Russian Imperial Stout style that contained extra malts and hops to act as preservatives during long voyages from England to Russia, where it was served in the royal court.

Sierra Nevada Stout

In the span of two or three weeks, we went from temperatures in the high eighties and low nineties to overnight freeze warnings. What happened to autumn?

In any event, this colder weather has had me thinking of richer, “meatier” beers. I thought I’d had just about all of Sierra Nevada’s lineup, but apparently not their stout. This must be rectified!

They say:

Creamy, malty, and full-bodied, the Sierra Nevada Stout is satisfyingly rich. Caramel and Black malts give the Stout its deep, dark color and pronounced roasted flavor.

Inky-dark with a pale tan head. Lots of caramel in the aroma; a bit of roastiness. Mouthfeel is fairly smooth with a bit of carbonation bite and some good hops bitterness. (It is 50 IBUs after all.) Still plenty malty, though. I like it, and I will have it again.

Sierra Nevada Stout

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

Tröegs JavaHead Stout

Beer-a-Day #300Troegs Java Head Stout

JavaHead Stout contains a blend of locally roasted espresso and Kenyan coffee beans by St. Thomas Roasters in Linglestown, PA.

JavaHead’s recipe is based off of our original oatmeal stout. After the boil, the hot wort passes through our hopback vessel on it’s way to fermentation. Packed full of whole leaf hops and a bed of ground coffee beans, the hopback vessel is similar to using a huge French press, intensifying the coffee nose and releasing subtle hints of coffee flavor. The result is a lush oatmeal mouthfeel balanced with cocoa, roast and subtle coffee flavors.

Three. Hundred. Beers.


I honestly wasn’t sure I’d get this far. And, frankly, I’m glad to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I need something special to celebrate with. I probably should be having a beer made with coffee this late in the evening, but what the hell.

Dark and dark, with a thick, creamy head. Coffee and resiny hops in the aroma. Nice and smooth with that nice coffee bitterness. Boy, that’s good.

Yay me.

Tröegs JavaHead Stout

Victory Storm King Stout

Beer-a-Day #280Victory Storm King Stout

Ron loves this stout. Why wouldn’t he? It’s big and bold and full of hop goodness.

With a huge, Pacific Northwest hop aroma & character upfront, Storm King subsides into massive, roast malt complexity. More flavor than mere words can adequately describe. Rich and substantial, it will warm your heart.

Dark as midnight on a moonless night, with a thick head the color of coffee ice cream. Aroma is deep, reminding me both of roasted coffee and chocolate covered cherries. Big, complex flavor, with more coffee, roastiness, and a nice hop finish. At 9.1% ABV this will be my only beer of the evening, but I will savor it.

Victory Storm King Stout

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