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Ask Bob Brewer: Why Does Canned Beer Have a Harsher CO2 Bite?

Posted by at 4:36 pm | Category: Ask Bob Brewer 0

John: Why does canned beer have a harsher CO2 bite?

Bob: It’s a matter of small time physics. When beer is consumed directly from the can, as opposed to being poured in a glass, most of the CO2 is taken into the mouth along with the liquid.  More CO2 = more CO2 bite. If you pour the beer from the can into a glass, you will release some of the CO2, which will form the head on the beer. This release of CO2 also enhances the aromatic quality of the beer, gives a smoother taste, and improves the overall beer drinking experience. The same goes for bottled beer to some degree. In any case, the beer is the same product whether canned or bottled.

Now, my totally unscientific observations have led me to the assumption that canned beer is usually consumed faster than bottled beer. Cans do not have the insulating factor of glass and as such, will warm up faster, which in turn prompts the consumer to drink them quicker, and thus ingest more CO2. If an opened bottle of beer is allowed to sit longer than an opened can, it will naturally release more CO2. Less CO2 = less CO2 bite. This is why bottled beer is sometimes perceived as being smoother.  In either case, I always pour my beer into a glass, allow it to sit for a bit and develop a nice head, and then drink it slowly enough to enjoy every sip.

Mark: Is Bob Brewer really your name?

Bob: Believe it or not Mark, I have been asked that exact same question before. It usually goes like this:

“Is Bob Brewer really your name? C’mon now, really? Fess up.”

“No, actually it’s not.”

“Aha! I knew it! What’s your real name?”

“Robert Brewer”

(insert drum roll, badda boom, or eye rolling groan.)

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