How Quickly Can You Chill a Beer? There’s a Scientific Calculator For That.
The online Chilled Drinks Calculator is the ideal late-summer tool
This story is part of our Dog Days Survival Guide, a collection of essays, recommendations and how-tos to help you get through the hottest days of the year.
It’s a big summer weekend and you forgot to put your beer in the fridge. If you’re drinking a lager in a 12-oz. can and there’s a nearby fridge, you’re gonna need 56 minutes to cool it down.
That’s the exact type of measurement we need as summer nears its end but the temperatures stay high. And thankfully, the online Omni Chilled Drink Calculator can figure out exactly how long it takes to cool your beverage — alcoholic or not — with just a few quick clicks.
Created by a couple of college science students and wine enthusiasts living in Warsaw, the Omni tells you the optimal time and temperature to chill any drink based on its type, volume, packaging, medium and initial temp.
“I’d often open a bottle of seemingly cold beverage only to find it lukewarm inside, and that’s not a good feeling,” as the calculator’s co-creator Alvaro Diez tells us. “So I wondered if the great Isaac Newton left us with a blessing for our beers? As a matter of fact, he did. I worked out some Newtonian Cooling equations and voila! I had a life-saving idea.”
Armed with science, Diez consulted with his colleague Tibor Pal (who has a culinary and wine background) to figure out the optimal temperatures for each beverage.
So they’ve done the hard work. All you have to do is fill in five different inputs from a drop-down menu. Example: You could select water in a .375L glass bottle during a hot day that’s sitting in an ice bath that you want to drink just as it gets above freezing (2 hours and 49 minutes). Or a spirits bottle that you’d prefer to be slightly chilled, while you’re using a freezer and it’s a cloudy fall day outside (16 minutes).
There are hundreds of possible results, but more importantly, there are also cooling hacks available in case you’re in a hurry and/or not near a freezer (side note: if you’re really into these freezing lessons, you can always read the creators’ paper on the history of cooling techniques and the physics of chilling).
These cool hacks include wet paper around the bottle, salty ice water baths, dry ice and placing insulated materials around your beverage. “Those hacks that take the least effort are the best,” says Diaz. “Wrapping a beverage up in wet paper towels and putting it in the freezer for a few minutes is great. But there are times when you’d be on a camping trip or at a barbecue; in this scenario the bigger question is keeping cold things cold, and that’s where I think dry ice can work wonders … if you have access to it.”
Once you’ve figured out how to use physics to your boozy advantage, you may want to try out some of the other calculators available on the Omni site. There’s one for Beer Pong and others for arranging enough drinks at a wedding or for planning pizza party or Thanksgiving dinner; for home brewers, an Alcohol by Volume Calculator and a dilution calculator. All created and reviewed by scientists and researchers.
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