Physics and Green Beer Bottles

on 06/03/13 at 4:08 pm


imagesI have a new beer rule. Avoid beer in green bottles. Just to be clear, this is a rule for myself. You can drink green bottled beer. In fact, you should always try to drink the beer that you like. For me, I will avoid the green bottles. Why? If you drink beer, you may know why. The the beer in these green bottles seem to have this extra taste that maybe is not so great.

Someone (it was probably my biochemist beer brewing brother) told me that the green bottles don’t block ultraviolet light. It is a reaction with the ultraviolet light that causes this taste that I don’t like. Well, maybe I don’t always trust my brother (even though when it comes to beer, I should). You know what happens next, right? Experiment time.

A Simple Beer-Bottle Experiment

Let’s start with something that just about anyone could do. Here are my materials. (I actually hate when a lab report lists materials – so I don’t know why I am doing it.)

  • Beer bottles of different colors. Preferably at least one of green, brown and clear. Oh, you will have to remove the beer from the bottles. Maybe you could figure out a way to accomplish this task.
  • Ultraviolet light. If you don’t have one, you could use the Sun. I used one of these UV LED lights.
  • Ultraviolet sensitive beads. These are little plastic beads that change color when exposed to UV light.
  • Paper. A flat surface. A notebook. A pencil. A stopwatch. A computer with internet access. A camera.

OK, the experiment is pretty simple. Put some beads in each bottle and let the light shine through. If the beads change color, the UV light passes through the bottle. Simple, right?

Here is what that looks like. Oh, I had cut off the bottom of my bottles in order to use them in another experiment.

Screenshot 3 4 13 4 52 pm


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