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Is beer better from a bottle or a can? Science can tell us.

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by Poop Man Bob, May 4, 2002.

  1. Poop Man Bob

    Poop Man Bob Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Nov 16, 2000 Messages: 10,259 Likes Received: 18

    Brewers go to almost any lengths to protect their beer. They add carbon
    dioxide or nitrogen, or they squirt water into it. Some heat it briefly since beer is "a particularly sensitive foodstuff," as Heinrich Vogelpohl from the department of brewing installations and foodstuff packaging technology at Munich's Technical University says.

    Beer is especially vulnerable to something that man cannot live without -- oxygen. Beer oxidizes when it comes into contact with oxygen, thereby causing the taste to disappear. Or in other words, the beer goes stale. The speed at which this happens depends on how well the brewer can keep oxygen away from the beer. The decisive factor is the headroom, meaning the space in the bottle or can after closure that contains air rather than beer.

    And that quickly brings us to a moot issue: Is beer better from a bottle or a can? The advantage of a bottle is the amount of headroom -- 20 milliliters (0.7 fluid ounces) in comparison to 40 milliliters for a can -- and the technology involved. Brewers can free the headroom of a bottle from oxygen quickly and effectively by squirting a few microliters of hot water into the bottle just before it is closed. The jet of water makes the beer foam up, the air in the headroom is then expelled, and the bottle cap is attached.

    Bottle caps, however, have a crucial disadvantage: They are gas permeable, and over time oxygen manages to find its way inside the bottle. The amount admitted by the bottle cap depends on the composition of the plastic in the lid. Compounds containing polyvinyl chloride, commonly known as PVC, are softer and admit up to five times more oxygen than those without. Bottle cap engineers have since developed special compounds that bind the incoming oxygen so that it cannot reach the precious beer beyond.

    The beer can, on the other hand, has all the time in the world. It is fully sealed, allowing gas to neither seep in nor out. Filling a beer can, however, is a technologically elaborate process. Brewers cannot make use of elegant injection technology, as either carbon dioxide or nitrogen take over the space-saving task of the jet of hot water -- albeit not quite as effectively.

    Cans do have one big advantage though: They keep the beer in the dark. Light is the second-worst enemy of good beer and develops its destructive properties between 300 and 500 nanometers of wavelength. This varies though: Brown glass is five times more impermeable to light than green glass and 10 times more than white glass.

    So surely the purist beer belongs in a dark can. Does that mean bottles are now obsolete? The answer is a clear no. Cans require a great deal of energy to manufacture before being thrown away after only a single use. The problems start with the filling process: "Because of unsatisfactory hygienic conditions," says Vogelpohl, "canned beer has to be heated briefly." This is not exactly helpful for the taste. In addition to this, cans have a varnish finish on their inside that prevents any contact between the beer and the tin-plate wall. Instead, the beer reacts with the resin in the varnish. And an inert resin layer for can interiors that does not react with anything has yet to be invented. Even though modern research has established that such varnishes are not harmful to people's health, Vogelpohl admits "they can affect the taste."

    Canned beer is also twice as expensive to produce, even though, according to Vogelpohl, the disposable system is being "subsidized" by the recycling system. So why is there so much canned beer on the market, and why has the proportion of reusable containers been decreasing over the years? Vogelpohl has the answer: "The big breweries are doing that to put pressure on the smaller ones" because only large beer producers can afford the expensive can-filling installations. Vogelpohl is worried that the can will soon put an end to variety in beer: "If things continue like this, in a few years' time we will
  2. Poop Man Bob

    Poop Man Bob Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Nov 16, 2000 Messages: 10,259 Likes Received: 18
    Bottles, guys. Unless it's Guiness, which has to be poured into a glass.
  3. Kr430n5_666

    Kr430n5_666 Banned

    Joined: Oct 6, 2004 Messages: 19,229 Likes Received: 30
  4. willy.wonka

    willy.wonka Guest

    bottles......if you have a can punch a hole near the rim....topside and push a dent right where your thumb is...it wont hold back on you any more...smooth sailin.
  5. hava_nagila

    hava_nagila Junior Member

    Joined: Apr 4, 2002 Messages: 237 Likes Received: 0
    beer is better from a dirty shoe than water from a bottle.

    i dont mean that.
  6. Dirty_habiT

    Dirty_habiT Administrator

    Joined: Mar 8, 2001 Messages: 18,136 Likes Received: 82
    beer is best inside girls.
  7. 23578

    23578 Elite Member

    Joined: Jul 2, 2000 Messages: 2,521 Likes Received: 0
    let's take another look at this one. the following five factors apply.

    • taste
      hands down bottled beer is better tasting, but do we really care? well some do and some don't. i don't know the statistics, but as for americans i should venture a guess that nearly nobody really cares. only germans, austrians, a few dutch, chek, small eastern block countries, austrailians (perhaps?), vermonters, coloradoan (sp?), west coast hedz, home brewers, etc. really know the deal anyhow so wtf. beer like keystone lines there cans with plastic to limit the taste varience. this is appealing to americans because they drink so much out of plastic it's not even an issue anymore. stupid a-mer-i-cans, poisoning themselves with plastic, muuaahhhaaaahhhaaa. sad but true.
    • ecological impact
      well cans get recycled by energy consuming methods more taxing than the washing out and reuse of bottles. the littering of each are equally damaging (i don't know, it seems). so, bottles here as well. plastic lined cans (see keystone) are just a bad idea all around.
    • transportation (global)
      it is much more convenient to transport aluminum instead of the heavier and breakable glass over long distances. but beer seems to last longer in glass. aluminum here folks, sheer numbers can't be argued.
    • transportation (local)
      it is much more convenient for our friends, hosts, and even enemies to clean up can mess than bottle mess. aluminum get's the thumbs up here as well. plus they aren't very good weapons for the homocidally inclined or those willing to die violent deaths.
    • cost
      i won't even embarass myself.

    well lets discuss. i don't think the weighting system has been looked at, i am open to suggestions. i am also open to petitioning for more bullets, i think, i don't know, i may be labeling myself. god damn, i'm bored of typing.
  8. dai

    dai Senior Member

    Joined: Oct 30, 2001 Messages: 1,052 Likes Received: 0
    haha i remember a time when i was tripping and saw a plastic beer bottle that was flattened by a car. i thought it was glass at first, and couldn't figure out how glass got crushed like that until i picked it up...whatever happened to plastic beer bottles anyways? and whats the deal with those new premade jello shooters? i've been looking...i heard they'd be right out in the jello section..., jeez this world is just getting fun.
  9. dai

    dai Senior Member

    Joined: Oct 30, 2001 Messages: 1,052 Likes Received: 0
    anyone else consider beer a drug? i just consider it ironic that there is a closed sticky thread about drugs, and this one comes up unclosed. i'm not trying to be an irrational dickhead, but its sad that alcohol is legal, just for the simple fact that it's socially accepted, when drugs such as marijuana and the users are looked at as the dark 'underbelly of society'. i'm not trying to say raven is a hipocrite (sp?) or anything like that, im just using this as an example of what i stated about alcohol being socially accepted.
  10. 23578

    23578 Elite Member

    Joined: Jul 2, 2000 Messages: 2,521 Likes Received: 0
    you definately my nigga. i don't know, what happened to those, weren't they just like coors and bud bottles? i agree with your second statement, but do get a bit sick sometimes like if i've been drinking different beer and then wine and then move on to the mixers, or just about any combination of beer and wine imaginable. that probably has to do with the poor quality of my intake at all times.
  11. 23578

    23578 Elite Member

    Joined: Jul 2, 2000 Messages: 2,521 Likes Received: 0
    oh man you just ruined it. i will track you down.
  12. -MOE LESTER-

    -MOE LESTER- Guest

  13. 23578

    23578 Elite Member

    Joined: Jul 2, 2000 Messages: 2,521 Likes Received: 0
    yeah, i almost wrote that (what you stated above), then remembered how much i like drugs, and beer is definately my favorite drug to do excessively (but i don't find that it makes me a bad choice maker as far as what's really meaningful). well, i like to think about stuff like this and share my thoughts, so i selfishly declined to comment. it is not illegal though and has some health benefits when used in moderation, so i'm sure the mods will let it slide. i think it's common to think about beer and people are confronted with alcohol everyday enough, that everything's been said that needs to be said about it. therefore even little fourteen year olds know the harm it is possible of causing, and though are not smart enough yet to know it's effects, they are capable of learning from thier errors from this "most harmless" of drugs. society's got the rescue web like spiderman there for us on this one i think. maybe i'm being selfish, please correct me if i'm wrong.
  14. dai

    dai Senior Member

    Joined: Oct 30, 2001 Messages: 1,052 Likes Received: 0
    i edited the post about the plastic bottles...and the first thing that came to mind was coors. i drink too much budweiser for them to slide some plastic bottles past me without them catchin em. did anyone know that budweiser is german beer? doesn't it just seem too american?
  15. 23578

    23578 Elite Member

    Joined: Jul 2, 2000 Messages: 2,521 Likes Received: 0
    the budweiser that you're talking about is budwieser/budvar out of prague/praha, chezkoslovakia. and it's the real deal, the best i've ever had, out of the keg. they make it and sell it here, but it sucks and costs like 35 bucks a case. well it doesn't suck, but it's from the bottle so yes it does.