Would you like ice with your lager?

Forget horrible warm beer. Try this new ice hold version -

Would you like ice with your lager? The beer that is served at -2.5C

By David Derbyshire, Consumer Affairs Editor
(Filed: 22/06/2006)

A layer of icy slush floats just below the head of the beer

The drinks industry's obsession with producing colder and colder lagers has reached its logical conclusion - a beer that comes out of the pump half-frozen.

The new sub-zero lager is designed to be served at minus 2.5C, a temperature at which a layer of slushy ice crystals floats just below the foamy head.

Billed as the coldest draught beer in the world, it is the result of eight years of experimentation costing 10 million.

The national launch of Coors Sub Zero today was greeted with dismay by the Campaign for Real Ale. "If you serve any yellow liquid at that temperature you could probably drink it," said Camra's spokesman Iain Loe.

"Cynics would say that it was just a way of concealing the fact there's no taste there. And if there are any off flavours, you are not going to notice."

Lager is traditionally served at 7C or 8C. Camra, which has long campaigned against the trend of super-cold beers, argues that beer loses its flavour at low temperatures. "It seems that there is this fashion at the moment for colder and colder beer," said Mr Loe. "They brought out cold beer, then "super-cold" beers and now they are launching this freezing slush.

"People say that these very cold beers are being led by customer demand but I doubt it very much. My advice to anyone who wants to try it is to let it warm up a bit first."

The sub-zero beer is the brainchild of researchers at Coors in Burton upon Trent, Staffs, where they have been "testing" prototypes for six years. Earlier versions, available in a handful of pubs over the last few years, were marketed as Arc beer. However, Coors claims their new delivery system is the best and coldest yet.

Simon Scullion said the layer of soft, ice crystals led to "a new taste similar to the sensation of snow on the tongue".

He denied that the flavour was insubstantial at -2.5C. "The light in the name refers to the lighter taste," he said. "[The beer] retains an easy drinking character." He said that the biggest challenge was to develop a dispensing font that served the beer at the right temperature without bursting the pipes. The resulting machine, which is being installed in around 100 bars this year, is one of the most complicated ever attempted.

The beer is stored at normal cellar temperatures of 11 to 13C before being transferred to two cooling chambers within the bar that lower its temperature to between minus 4 and minus 5C.

To serve the beer, a glass is placed on a turntable that spins at 45 rpm. A jet of cold water (0.5C to 2C) is sprayed on the outside of the glass for 10 seconds, chilling it to 5C. The beer then takes 20 seconds to pour. Two seconds before completion, a small sonic pulse is fired into the stream of beer from the nozzle, prompting the formation of bubbles. These bubbles turn into "seed" crystals, and attract water molecules, making larger crystals of ice that float below the head of the beer.

The beer is served at minus 2.5C. Coors claims it stays cold far longer than normal beers. After eight minutes in 40C heat, it is still less than 2C - the temperature at which many lagers are served.

Complete nonsense

Water, beer, or camel pee, will remain at 32 degrees F. as long as there is sufficient ice present. They would have saved a lot of time and trouble, and money by just dropping in a couple ice cubes.(yuck) On the other hand, they could freeze the beer into beersickles on little sticks for those who have no taste whatsoever. Beer should be served at no less than 5 degrees F. Ice in beer? No thanks.
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