Why Is There a Ball in Guinness Beer Cans? It Has Everything to Do With Taste

TikTok users are wondering why there's a ball in the bottom of cans of Guinness beer, and the answer is actually rooted in science.


Mar. 13 2021, Published 3:31 p.m. ET

Guinness Beer
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With St. Patrick's Day on the rise, those looking to celebrate the holiday have started stocking up on their favorite adult beverages for some (COVID-safe!) fun. Some TikTok users have noticed there is a ball installed in Guinness beer cans for seemingly no reason and took to the internet to ask: Why is there a ball in Guinness beer cans? 

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Why is there a ball in Guinness beer cans?

First thing's first: Technically, the little 'ball' which resembles a ping-pong ball is called a widget. Guinness Beer's official website goes in-depth about the reason there's a widget in your beer, but the simplest answer is: to make it taste better!

ball guinness beer
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Traditionally, beer draughts are not served in cans, so to make Guinness taste as delicious in your home as it does on tap at the bar, Guiness explains, tThe world famous Guinness widget uses an ingenious nitrogen filled capsule that surges with bubbles when the ring pull is opened – replicating the draught experience in a can."

To break down the science of it all, The U.S. Sun has some answers. "The Guinness ball is a hollow, spherical piece of plastic with a tiny hole in it. In bottles of Guinness with widgets, the device is more like a rocket, and is around three inches long. Brewers add pressurized nitrogen to the beer during the canning process, which trickles into the widget’s hole - along with a little bit of beer. The whole can is then pressurized." 

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Source: TikTok

The Sun continues, "The pressure inside the can drops when it is opened, to equalise with the pressure in the room. But the pressure inside the widget remains higher than the pressure in the beer around it — due to the tiny hole which allows gas to escape. This process makes the nitrogen inside the widget squirt into the beer, creating a burst of tiny nitrogen bubbles that rise to the top of the beer."

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All of this being said, there's a very important fact that goes into drinking canned beer: You are not supposed to shake the can. Guinness bottles or cans can be chilled the day before, but no shaking is required. Just open, sip, and go! 

why is there a ball guinness beer
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Here's a recipe for famous 'Green Beer' just in time for the holiday.

The nice part about green beer is that no special bartending skills are required to make it! Here's a fun recipe courtesy of TheSpruceEats.com to get you in the mood for St. Patrick's Day without crazy ingredients or extra trips to the grocery store. 

All you need is a 12-ounce can of beer (preferably lighter-colored brew for a better color) and a drop of green food coloring. Then, put the food coloring into a separate glass, and pour the beer into the glass. Fair warning: Darker beers might not turn out the brilliantly green color, so choose your beer wisely.

Remember to stay safe, drink responsibly, and enjoy St. Patrick's Day!

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