Thursday, 19 October 2017

Bran Tub # 15: Why is there a ping pong ball in my Guinness?



When my South African friend was over I’d bought what I thought were some tins of Carling beer … as she occasionally enjoys beer – well probably used to enjoy a can … this time it was mostly glasses of rosé Pinot Grigio or some bubbly …



A glass of Pinot Grigio
 Now having cans of beer left in the fridge I thought I should drink them … and not wanting any wine, decided that I’d crack open a tinnie (Australian slang) … this was fine – the Guinness tasted as I thought it should and the evening wandered along …





… a while later as I was trying to empty the can into my glass … it frothily kept blocking up … eventually I thought I should investigate  – perhaps I’d been drinking something mighty odd – my mind had wandered off to poisoning etc …though common sense was in place – so that was a pure waffley thought … perhaps?!



Frothy protrusion
(with some licence!)

Well on tipping up the can there was a white protrusion, covered in froth … the froth was not unexpected in Guinness, the white protrusion was … after a brief thought my deductive powers said ‘a ping pong ball in my Guinness’??



Coloured ping pong balls
So now … the only thing to do – it was night time! … open another tinnie … don’t we rinse and repeat … same result … then my mind turned to toilets – not what you think … but ball cocks … not that either: not what you be thinking … I needed to check this ‘thing’ …


The can, the objet d'art ... and the
spilt Guinness!


Tin opener came next … and what came out - but near enough a ping-pong ball … I was very bemused … it doesn’t take much to amuse me myself!



But could this be some sort of plumbing device put into the Guinness cans … so when the morrow came round … the truth was out via a google or two …




The rocket style widget
They are floating widgets, purposefully added to a tin of beer … and come in two sizes … the 'round ball cock’ type one, and the ‘rocket widget’ found in taller containers …



The Tale of Nitro and the Widget
courtesy of Bespoken Public Relations organisation
 The Guinness drink, to be authentic, has to have a thick, creamy head on the beer, which is less fizzy than regular lager beers.  To ensure this they add a shot of liquid nitrogen to help pressurise the can.


An appropriately named widget!


 Nitrogen gas doesn’t easily dissolve in water, so when I cracked open the beer … I got that frothy head, as most of the gas is released into the air, while the foamy bubbles in the head of beer remain … or remain clothing the ping-pong ball widget in white froth.




A tub of bran
Well that’s it for the story of the widget, the strange froth and the ping-pong ball … all found in the can of Guinness – one is always learning!!


Perhaps this shouldn’t sit in a Bran Tub … but there’s where it has been filed!



A true tale of weirdness.


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

64 comments:

Rhodesia said...

Think Guinness have been doing that for a very long time. I remember something similar even when we bought Guinness in SA. If you have never seen it before though I guess it is a bit of a shock to discover a foreign body in the tin. LOL I am sure I would have been very suspicious. Cheers and have a good day Diane

Elephant's Child said...

How amazing. I am not a beer fan, and didn't like the only sip of Guiness I have ever had, but I loved learning about this.
Thank you.

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

Beeing rather too fond of beer, I've known that several brands, not just Guinness, have something in the can to do this, but never had the curiosity or tenacity to find out. I am relieved it's nothing worse. Get bottled next time...(so to speak). Nice one, Hilary!

RO said...

YIKES! Not being a beer drinker, I would have probably fainted if I came across this oddity. (lol) Now I'm glad I know some insider info! Hugs...RO

Out on the prairie said...

When I first heard that rattle, I thought of many unknowns, could someone have dropped their teeth, or was it really for the foam.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I’m a Pinot Grigio drinker. It sounds like drinking a Guinness is more interesting.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Things you did not expect to find in your beer! While I understand why they do it, it still makes me wonder about the safety of drinking nitrogen.

Joanne said...

Only you would turn drinking a beer into research! Funny and interesting.
Cheers! Now I challenge you to a game of ping pong - I have a wicked lefty curve.

M. Denise C. said...

Who would have imagined? But I have only had one Guinness and one is all I need. Great story, H.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diane – you’re right and as Mike below says other beers too – but I’d never come across the widget in a beer scenario and thought it’d be a fun shortish post! I hadn’t seen it before, nor heard about it – just bemused me and then amused me.

@ EC – I don’t usually drink beer – but recently have one on occasions … but didn’t need four sitting in my fridge – so they needed to be drunk. Just didn’t expect to find a ping-pong ball in the process of my drink! So glad you enjoyed ‘the story’ …

@ Mike – yes I gathered other beers added a widget in … but I was determined to get to the bottom of ‘what’s in my beer can’ … I didn’t want to carry bottles home! Getting bottled … that’s long past … !

@ RO – well I have to say I was very taken aback … and then debated the problem … having been drinking the beer, which seemed to be fine … after the finding of the ‘globule’ I did wonder if I felt ill – but no … so morning research came into play!

@ Steve – I just simply didn’t know what was going on … thankfully not teeth … that’d be monstrous! But we could certainly play with ideas here …

@ Arleen – well certainly that evening having a Guinness disrupted my peaceful time … Pinot Grigio is good too …

@ Alex – oh it was funny … it took me out of context as I’d no idea what was happening! Well the interesting bit the nitrogen is in the bubbles … and nitrogen is in the air we breathe – quite a lot of it … so it’s obviously not dangerous – I guess someone would have jumped on the legal bandwagon by now …

@ Joanne – oh I’d have to relearn ping pong – haven’t played for decades … but with a beer in my other hand – who knows what would happen?! Thanks for enjoying my research …

@ Denise – I was really surprised … I’ve enjoyed having a beer rather than wine on occasions recently …

Thanks everyone – just watch what comes out of your drink!
Cheers Hilary

Sandra Cox said...

Well that's a fascinating bit of trivia I'd never heard before.

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

This was a fun post today. Thanks, I needed that!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That must be something new. I don't remember a ball in the Guinness I tried. Of course, that was back in 1999 when we went to England.

Janie Junebug said...

I had no idea! I've never heard of such a thing. At least it was big enough that you wouldn't swallow it.

Love,
Janie

Marja said...

haha had to laugh at beer pong champion. Never heard about the ball in the beer to make it foam. We drank beer when we were young and I remember that our beer had to have two fingers of foam otherwise the beer was declared dead. So lots of beer was thrown away. ight be the solution lol

Murees Dupé said...

Wow, haha. I didn't know that. I just learned somethong new, even though I don't drink beer. But you made me want to buy a tin of Guiness just to see the ping pong ball for myself. Great post, Hilary.

Nas said...

Definitely not in the beer or in any drink!

Botanist said...

Well, as a veteran beer drinker I can say that widgets have been in use for many years. Certainly they were around before we moved to Canada, so somewhere around the turn of the century I'm guessing.

There was a whole series of adverts for John Smight's bitter by comedian Jack Dee, which involved the widget song ... and dancing penguins :)

Botanist said...

Oops that should be "John Smith's" :)

Karen Lange said...

Well, it's true - you learn something new every day! :) Enjoy hearing about your adventures and discoveries, Hilary. Have a wonderful week!

Liz A. said...

I had no idea. That would have totally freaked me out.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sandra – it was just ‘odd’ … so I thought a post could be made … funny isn’t it!

@ Holly – thanks … and so glad it enlivened your day …

@ Diane – I see it’s not new in tins … you probably had a draught pint (or half!) in a pub … and it’s not necessary in that sort of system … so if you’d had a tin – you’d have found the ping-pong ball ….

@ Janie – it didn’t come out of the tin when I poured out the drink … just protruded very slightly … but I had to know what was there …

@ Marja – isn’t that ping pong ball logo funny. You’d have had draught beer … and a widget isn’t necessary in a ‘pulled beer’ … but you’re right about the two fingers of foam – that’s what it should be in a pub … and yes, the beer was often thrown away when it didn’t match up … wastage was paid for …

@ Murees – it was one of those funny finds – and you’ll find a ping pong ball in the can when you buy one! Just need to open the can – so you can access the ‘ping pong ball’ …

@ Nas – it was there for a purpose – and an effective one apparently …

@ Ian – ah … I see I should have asked you first; in fact they were invented in 1964 … so have been around for a while. I note your second sentence about ads … I’ve never seen that one – but also don’t watch many programmes or cinema with ads in … I gathered ‘John Smith’s’ …

@ Karen – it is true … which I also learnt about … thanks for enjoying the post …

@ Liz – it did surprise me … and I did wonder – so was bemused and somewhat relieved to realise it was meant to be.

Cheers everyone … I’m happy it’s amusing you … I wonder if sales will go up by a few cans?! As you all give the beer a go and then open the can … happy weekend - Hilary

Kim Blades said...

Hi Hilary. What an off-putting experience. I have never liked guiness, too bitter. Thank goodness SA lager and pilseners don't have foreign bodies in them, not that I have drunk one in a couple of years. Cheers, Kim

Lynn said...

I am astounded by that. Amazing that they do that without putting an alert on the can!

My guy friends like a "black and tan" - Guinness and a pale ale layered in a glass - the ale is on the bottom.

bazza said...

I enjoy beer and wine equally but beer is much more of an acquired taste. Rejecting Guinness through just one sip may be pointless! I believe Guinness were actually the inventors of the original widget and it must be considered a very clever trick. Strange, but I feel thirsty now....
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s frolicsome Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

They're in the Guinness cans here. :) Good to read more about *why* they're in there!

Jacqui Murray said...

No--really??? I am going to have to buy a Guinness and see for myself! I can't imagine how shocked I'd have been to find that in my can--twere I you.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Kim - I think I've got fed up with wine ... and started off with Carling - the Guinness was an error of purchase! - but it's provided me with a blog post!! Some other beers have widgets in them - totally to my surprise ...

@ Lynn - well I was somewhat surprised ... but as it's been happening for over 50 years ... no alert is really necessary (I guess). I don't know much about beer ... but have heard of "black and tan" ...

@ Bazza - I don't drink beer often or Guinness ... I remembered the taste ... but sort of wondered, if whatever was in the beer was all right and wouldn't upset my tum ... my brain was muddled too ...

Guinness was the 'first mover' of the 'magic' gadget (widget) ... I hope you enjoyed your drink!

@ Elizabeth - I gather the widgets are more common than I knew about ... and certainly hadn't heard about them in beer. I'm glad I satisfied the thought about 'the why?' are they in there ...

@ Jacqui - yes ... r-e-a-l-l-y ... so enjoy that Guinness. I was somewhat surprised!! At least you're prepared ...

Cheers to you all - enjoy your Guinnesses, or evening drink ... thanks for visiting ... and enjoy the weekend - Hilary

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

HA! Thanks for the laughs. You really had me going, and I always love it when you show your funny side. I'm not a beer drinker, so I had no idea what that strange object was in your can, but now that you've given us the lowdown on it, it makes sense. (It's STILL funny, though...)

Cheers! have a super weekend.

M Pax said...

I would have wondered what was in my tin of beer, too. We have nothing so creative in our beers in the US.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susan - it was funny when I was wondering where I was being led by this white frothy mycelium like spore growth. I'd no idea about the ping pong balls in cans of beer ... but I'm only 50+ years out of date! It is funny and was funny ... glad you enjoyed it ..

@ Mary - it was weird ... but totally understandable - when I realised what was happening.

Cheers to you both ... glad the post amused! - happy weekends - Hilary

Sue Bursztynski said...

I hadn't heard of this either - if it had been me, I probably would have complained to the bottle shop before thinking of doing a Google! I do like Guinness, but have never bought a can, I've only ordered it at the pub, where they poured it for me, maybe on tap. So
I had no reason to know about it.

I do hope the widget is something recyclable!

Technology In The World Of Harry Potter

DMS said...

How interesting! Always good to know that after investigation further facts could be found on the web. Makes sense based on the consistency of the beer! We really do learn something new every day. :)
~Jess

Silver Willow said...

new to your blog; hi! The OCD Virgo in me wonders how the addition of such an item that probably isn't sterile, keeps from getting creepy crawling growing on it, nekkid to the human eye. But you are alive to tell the story, so I guess all is well that ends well. :)

Jz said...

So now your Project Challenge is to come up with a way to use those widgets!
The beer-drinking world eagerly awaits your idea...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sue - well I certainly thought about walking up to the shop and asking about the 'intruder' ... but then decided to google it - and found my answer. Guinness isn't something I drink ... I just wasn't thinking when I bought the cans -and didn't realise til I was drinking it - it was not the beer I expected! When we have beer in a pub - it is on tap, and the widget isn't necessary ...

The widget did go into recycling ...

@ Jess - I was pleased I found my answer ... and as you say - consistency was there for the next cans ... well that taught me about the widgets ...

@ Willow - good to see you. It'd have been sterile ... coming out of a bottling (canning) plant ... so once I wasn't ill, I realised all was well -my first sip was with fear and trepidation! And I was able to write about the experience ...

@ Jz - the widgets went off into the recycling bin ... I didn't keep them ... I don't think you could use them for ping pong ... as there's a pin-hole in them I gather ... I decided I didn't need to keep them! Sorry - no great ideas ...

Thanks - cheers to you all ... glad you enjoyed the post and story line - Hilary

Patsy said...

I knew about the widgets ... but I don't know how or why I learned about them.

Nick Wilford said...

I'd heard of the floating widgets and knew they were something to do with keeping the beer frothy, but not the exact details. Another enlightening post!

A Heron's View said...

A bit like the ball that aerosol paint cans have - they say it is to keep the paint mixed !

Robert Bennett said...

Gave me a good laugh. Used to drink quite a bit (particularly Guinness as it was my beer of choice) and I remember being f***ing fascinated by those stupid balls the first time I stumbled across one in a can.

Nas said...

Hi Hilary!

Thank you so much for your comment at Sandra Cox's about the wink and a nod she did to my blog.

A Cuban In London said...

Guinness would be my poison of choice if I still drank alcohol. :-)

By the way, you have called me Blogoratti a couple of times now. :-) That's all right, I do enjoy his blog, but we are two different people. In fact, I'll be going to his blog next. :-)

Greetings from London.

Pamela Wright said...

I remember when I first discovered widgets, it was when I first came to the UK and shared a home with someone who loved Guinness. I too thought it was a foreign object that shouldn't be there, and then when I knew what it was I just loved the name 'widget'.
Have a good week Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Patsy - I guessed some people would have come across them ... but I too learnt a little ...

@ Nick - I'm glad I enlightened you - as I did myself ... funny old world!

@ Mel - yes I can see what you're saying ... though hadn't thought about aerosol cans - now I see and presumably lead balls in nail varnish - if they still do that ...

@ Robert - certainly kept me happily occupied for a good few hours while I pondered on the thing rattling around in the beer ... but am glad I'm not the only one confused by 'the intruder' ...

@ Nas - it's a pleasure ... and glad I noticed Sandra's 'wink and a nod' to you and your blog ...

@ ACIL - oh my gosh ... I can't believe I was so stupid, or more likely switched off - so sorry! I hate calling people by their wrong name - oh dear ... silly me - apologies. I will endeavour to get it right in future!

I don't like Guinness much ... and don't buy it - this was a mistake. I still drink ... but am considering giving up: I know it'll be better for me.

@ Pam - it was the name 'widget' that interested me too ... as I know of 'widgets' as 'things' ... but had never known they disguised as sort of ping pong balls resided in cans of Guinness! You must have been bemused when you came across them in your rental home ...

Cheers to you all - thanks for visiting and have good weeks - Hilary

Vinodini Iyer said...

Wow! That's an interesting discovery, Hilary. I'm glad it wasn't big enough to choke on.

Kelly Steel said...

This was interesting. I don't like beer and no wonder.

Christine Rains said...

That is so neat! My husband is a big Guinness fan, and I'm forwarding this along to him. :) Have a lovely week.

Keith's Ramblings said...

If you'd only asked me, I could have saved you getting your can opener out! Having been a purveyor of beers various for many a year I could write a book on strange facts! Nice one Hilary.

Click to visit Keith's Ramblings

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Vinodini - it was an interesting find!! I'm glad it didn't pop out - but I was surprised when I found the 'ping-pong' ball though ...

@ Kelley - it's something different to write about ... I don't drink much beer - but on occasions ...

@ Christine - oh what fun ... I wonder what your hubby said?? You too have a great week ...

@ Keith - if only I could have asked you ... no email and no phone - so only the blog ... I'd love to find out more about your pub life etc ... and those miniatures of your Dad's .... but one day -

Cheers to you all - so glad the ping pong ball amuses! Have good weeks - Hilary

Sandra Cox said...

Definitely a true tale of weirdness:)
You have a great week, Hilary.

Rhonda Albom said...

I've never heard of that. The ball would make it hard to get the beer out.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

I’m telling you, Hilary, you always have the most interesting posts here. Although I don’t drink beer, I am going to pass this along to those in my extended family who do. It’s always fun to read your blog. Enjoy your day!

Pat Hatt said...

Would have left me wondering at my sea, not that I like beer. Funny what you can find when going for a drink.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

The things I learn when I visit your blog. Interesting chemistry and clever beverage makers, but I'll take the Pinot.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sandra - one of those strange tales, but true ... funny old life and yes a good week to us all ...

@ Rhonda - the beer came out quite easily til about the last 1/3 then the protrusion came into play ... making it frothily difficult!

@ Victoria - just so glad you enjoy coming by - thank you ... I expect your family and friends will know about it ... as they are obviously into having a beer or two ... but a good discussion point, I'd agree ...

@ Pat - I don't often have a beer - but having the Guinness left it couldn't go to waste ...

@ Susan - well I like to do (write) different. It's amazing what's invented as we go along our lives ... I'd heard the term widget - but thought it was an accounting term ... never expecting one to appear in a can of Guinness. Usually I'll have the Pinot Noir ...

Cheers to you all and thanks for enjoying the post - funny old life - ping pong balls in the beer ... Hilary

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

I used to drink lots of cans of Guinness and knew all about widgets. But I didn't know what one looked like because in all that time it never occurred to me to attack an empty can with a tin opener! Not as inquisitive as I thought I was.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I seem to recall someone once telling me there was something in the cans, but I didn't know more than that. My husband's gotten to tour the factory while over there for work, so maybe it was him.

Chrys Fey said...

I don't drink beer, so I had no idea. How funny.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ John - I guess if you knew that there was a widget inside you'd not worry to look ... I'd no idea what was in the beer ... or what it might be ... I just wanted to know before I took things further ... so I was quizzy.

@ Shannon - I'm sure you're right about your husband being your 'eyes into the Guinness can' - the tour of the factory sounds really good ... lucky him.

@ Chrys - me too I hardly drink beer ... but was bemused by the widget.

Thanks for your comments ... cheers Hilary

Emily Bloomquist said...

Wow that is fascinating. I have never had a can of Guinness so I had no idea. Thanks for the explanation.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Emily - it was certainly a strange 'thing' to find in the can - completely unknown to me ... but fun to find out about ... glad you enjoyed the read and explanation ... cheers Hilary

Deborah Weber said...

How fascinating and amusing. I don't drink beer very often, and I've only had Guinness served to me, but now you have me wanting to hunt out the cans. I'll be sure to toast you when I raise my can. :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Deborah - it certainly bemused and amused me ... I don't drink beer very often either - but I do hope you can find a can and enjoy drinking it - knowing your reward is a ping-pong ball while you finish your can - but remember to open it!!

Cheers - Hilary

K.L. Allendoerfer said...

Wow. I don't drink Guinness very often, and I think when I do it has always been on tap rather than out of a can. Some engineer or team of engineers must have spent a long time dreaming that up. It seems like an awful lot of bother to go to!