helium beer

Is Helium Beer Possible?

By Anupum Pant

Background

For the fizz, almost all beers have carbon dioxide dissolved in them. However, some others have also experimented with Nitrogen beers. But as fas as I know, no other gases have been used to make beers. Tell me in the comments section if you know any other gasses that have been used to do this.

But, on April 1st  Samuel Adams announced a Helium beer on his YouTube Channel. Note, the date was 1st  April. Here is the video of the announcement.

Save Helium and Science of the Fake Beer

Of course it was an April fools stunt. But what if it was real?

In his “HeliYum beer” Adam announced that, instead of carbon dioxide to create the fizz, he had used the Helium gas in the beer. In the video, as an additional effect, the new beer gas also created a funny atmosphere by affecting the voice of beer tasters. Now, I certainly didn’t like the idea of using Helium to keg beers because I’m very touchy when it comes to wasting the precious gas – Helium. Why? Well, read this Helium article I wrote some time back.

Also, I was adamant in believing if it was even possible to do that. Firstly, the date was 1st  April. Secondly, the science clearly didn’t allow this. Here’s why…

1. Helium is about 700 times less soluble in water as compared to carbon dioxide. It is one of the least soluble gases in water and only about 0.0016 g of Helium would get dissolved in a litre of beer. While, at the same conditions, 2.5 g of carbon dioxide is usually present in a litre of beer. This dissolved carbon dioxide is what realeases slowly and creates the fizz. No slow fizz can be done with Helium. Undissolved helium in beer would coalesce into one or two big bubble and…ploop, would go out as soon as the seal would break.

2. Even if Helium was forced into the beer and sealed in a beer can, it would be useless. As soon as the seal would break, all the meaningful amount of helium present inside, undissolved, under pressure, would come out so quickly (due to less viscous beer) that it would bring out a lot of beer with it. It would create a mess. And you wouldn’t be able to even bring the can near your face by the time the whole gas goes away.

Had carbon dioxide been used for the same purpose, the gas would, like it normally does, come out steadily. It would make the bubbles last.

Verdict: No. It’s useless to try to make beer with Helium unless you make it so viscous that it won’t let the Helium pass so easily. In that case, it won’t be beer really. Also, I’m not sure if the fermentation process could take place in such a viscous condition.

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21 thoughts on “Is Helium Beer Possible?”

  1. Hi!

    Thank´s for making that clear 🙂
    Helium seems not to be an option. What about any other gasses with similar, or even funnier effects. For exampale Sulfur hexafluoride, Nitrous oxide or Argon? Could they be intoduced to a drinkable liquid of any kind?

    1. I’m not very sure about those Jani. SF6 is again not very soluble in water (about 0.003%), but is far more denser than helium. So, even SF6 wouldn’t come out as small bubbles. Instead it would probably come out at once, however a little slower than helium. But SF6 would be a fun and interesting thing to see.
      Argon might not be that much fun, so why try even. And it is relatively expensive.
      Nitrous oxide could work, it dissolves in water to quite some extent. Plus this might be very very interesting as a beer containing this gas would induce euphoric effects 😀 Nice one. Some one MUST try.

      1. You would have to inhale the beer and not drink it. So yeah. Drowning I have heard, the last moments are euphoria.
        Monster energy makes a no2 drink. The bubbles are tiny. Very smooth. Less “bite”.
        Your above statement voids all you have said before. You are only good as your last. Education obviously has nothing to do with intelligence.

    2. The other thing about infusing beverages with gases that are way heavier or lighter than air would be that they wouldn’t be delivered to the lungs in sufficient quantities to make the voice change. Although, I’d be really interested in the quality of the burps that He or SF6 would make.

  2. The fermentation process would take place long before the helium would have been added. There are specialty stones (Carb Stones) you use to dissolve gases into the beer after fermentation has taken place.

    1. Like Jani said, SF6 would have interesting effects on your voice too. But then SF6 is again not very soluble in water (about 0.003%), but is far more denser than helium. So, even SF6 wouldn’t come out as small bubbles. Instead it would probably come out at once, however a little slower than helium. But it would be an interesting thing to see how it works out…

  3. I have a doubt: The effect of Helium in our voice dont just occur when we innale helium to our lungs? Would the effect still occur when we drink a beer with Helium, of course if this could be possible? Thanks already!

    1. Helium effectively allows sounds waves to travel at greater speeds and more freely. The faster high frequencies tend to take over the ‘looser waved’ lower frequencies which get a bit lost. Thus giving you a flatter, high pitched sounding voice.
      You’re right, helium being in your stomach is NOT going to change the way sound travels outside of your stomach, unless you burp. Though helium burps themselves could be…. fucking hilarious.

      1. Hahaha true. After reading your comment I typed in “Helium burp” in youtube. Interestingly, many videos turned up. It was indeed, as you put it, fucking hilarious 😀

    1. Have you tried it personally? Or know of someone who has? Because I checked their website, and they released that aricle on April 1st (april fools day). I’d not really trust an article from that date, would I?

  4. You mean, besides the fact that breathing too much helium can kill you, and that it hurts like hell when you accidentally swallow it instead? Funny but not worth it to me. Imagine having a “helium beer party”, if this actually worked (which it doesn’t). You and your friends ingest helium all night long. Everyone dies laughing. Epic way to go, I guess. Too bad. This would be a fun thing to do IF it were possible AND it wouldn’t end up killing us all.

    1. If the two gasses where mixed, co2 and helium, before it was injected into beer, it surely would have some effect?

      Maybe it could be blended into some other part of brewing, not just fermentation…..

      As of killing us, it would not happen, as co2 has the same effect when we drink beer, I can not see the big problem here…..

  5. Finally… if it even were possible to dissolve Helium in beer, the beer goes to the stomach, helium would have to pass through the lining membranes into the blood stream in huge quantities… enough to cause high voice! Ain’t gonna happen!

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