Not every week goes by the place our workforce right here at 52 Brews doesn’t obtain a request from readers, followers, pals or relations to advocate a helium beer brewery.
Often, this occurs after they see a number of the movies floating round on Youtube of individuals claiming to have drunk helium beer.
It looks like helium beer and the high-pitched voice you get after ingesting it’s a nice prank to tug at a celebration, however once we first heard about it, we have been a bit skeptical that it’s even actual in any respect. It seems we have been each proper AND improper concerning the existence of this brew.
So, let’s begin with the query that first pops up in all of our minds once we hear about this beer…
Is Helium Beer Actual?
On April 1, 2014, our Fb and Youtube feeds virtually crashed with a viral video from Samuel Adams of the Boston Lager fame. In that video, founder Jim Koch himself introduces the brewery’s latest concoction — HeliYUM.
He then takes a sip of the helium-infused brew and proceeds to explain its style whereas sporting a high-pitched voice.
The skilled high quality of the video and Jim Koch’s dedication to the joke made it straightforward to imagine that helium beer was certainly actual — that’s, till you discover the date when the video was printed.
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In 2015, one other video surfaced, this time crammed with German guys ingesting helium beer and laughing their faces off each time a high-pitched sound would come out of their mouths.
The video from Die BierProbierer claimed to have examined helium beer, however, just like the Samuel Adams video above, it too was printed on April 1.
Since each viral movies have been printed on April Fools’ Day, we expect you may already see the place we’re going right here.
However at this level you may be asking, “Yeah, helium beer isn’t actual, however is it doable to brew it?”
Why Helium Beer Isn’t Potential
Helium beer isn’t doable, primarily as a result of helium isn’t soluble in water, and it turns from liquid to gasoline at -220°F, which might imply your beer would flip right into a block of ice for those who attempt to infuse it with helium.
All beer geeks have a little bit of a chemistry nerd inside them, so let’s placed on our chemistry caps for a short time and dive deeper into the science of helium beer.
Nearly all of beers are carbonated with gasoline to make them extra pleasing. For essentially the most half, that is due to the truth that carbon dioxide is soluble in water.
Most significantly, this may be achieved and maintained at temperatures above freezing. Liquid helium, alternatively, can change from a liquefied state to a gaseous state at a really chilly temperature of -220°F.
That’s chilly sufficient to make pure alcohol freeze!
There’s yet one more downside…
Nevertheless, the world is filled with good individuals (a few of them smarter than beer geeks). The scientists at Chemical & Engineering Information (C&EN) are a few of these individuals.
They took a take a look at recreating the claims in these viral April Fools’ Day movies, they usually began by attempting to reply this very urgent query:
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Can You Get A Excessive-Pitched Voice?
You see, the one entertaining factor about these Youtube movies is the ensuing vocal sound the drinkers supposedly are capable of make after ingesting helium beer.
By combining the mind energy of a brewer and that of a chemist, Craig Bettenhausen from C&EN then got down to uncover for those who might pressure “heliumnate” a beer that will let you produce that high-pitched sound while you drink it afterwards.
They used a stout, which might usually have nitrogen added to it to offer that well-known Guinness impact and creamy texture. For his or her functions, nevertheless, they took a homebrewed batch of stout (with none added gasoline) and subjected it to 50 psi of helium stress for 5 days.
Then got here the long-anticipated pour.
“Our helium stout produced a creamy, secure, well-proportioned head, which persevered via the final sip. The pitch of our voices and belches, sadly, was unaffected.” – Craig Bettenhausen.
The end result? The stout seemed basically what a stout would look. It had a creamy head however with a clean mouthfeel, because it lacked the bubbles which can be widespread with the usual carbonation course of.
Basically, the method of “heliumnation” (sure, we simply made that phrase up) led to nothing totally different than for those who used nitrogen; even the flavour was the identical.
Extra disappointingly, nevertheless, even the drinkers’ voices remained the identical afterwards. No high-pitched tone, no nothing.
Which is gloomy, however sort of what we anticipated all alongside.
Whereas all of the movies that includes helium beer have been very entertaining, they have been actually nothing greater than April Fools’ jokes.
We all know, we all know. What a bummer, proper? It will have been completely hilarious if you’ll be able to hand such a beer to an unsuspecting pal at a celebration.
And sure, when you can technically attempt brewing a helium-infused beer, the fact is that the hassle concerned in doing so is not going to make any distinction to the pitch of your voice, so why trouble?
So, till we discover a option to break the legal guidelines of chemistry, we guess you’ll simply have to stay to helium balloons in the interim.
1) Craig Bettenhausen – Chemical & Engineering Information – Retrieved 27 Dec. 2018 – from https://cen.acs.org/articles/93/i43/Helium-Beer-Prank-Tank.html
2) Quincy Compressor – Retrieved 27 Dec. 2018 – from https://www.quincycompressor.com/helium-beer-truth-or-myth/
3) Andy Sparhawk – CraftBeer.com – Retrieved 27 Dec. 2018 – from https://www.craftbeer.com/editors-picks/the-hard-truth-about-helium-beer
4) Mike Palmer – Stone Brewing – Retrieved 27 Dec. 2018 – from https://www.stonebrewing.com/weblog/miscellany/2016/april-fools-over-years#ageGatePassed