I wrote a little about beer foam not too long ago. How the home brewer can ensure a good level of froth seemed to strike a chord and not long after I was sent the Sonic Foamer.

 

Sonic Foamer

Whereas before I was talking about adjusting the recipe and process of making the beer. It seems there is another way to try and produce a nice layer of beer foam.

What you can see in the picture is a fairly large plastic device. You fill it with batteries (six AA’s to be precise) and you sit your beer on it. Press a button and take a look at what happens.

Helping With Beer Foam

There have been attempts before to enhance the head of a beer. The simplest of these is in the way you pour the beer. If you are pouring the beer from a bottle changing the angle of the glass will affect how much foam is formed. The more agitation during the pour the more head.

Glassware is designed to aid head retention. Some glasses have nucleation sites. Etched markings at the bottom of a pint glass for example generate a steady stream of bubbles and lead to bigger and longer lasting heads.

Champagne glasses often use this principle. The number of etchings will ensure enough bubbles are released but not too many to make the Champagne go flat. Studies in this area also suggest that the effervescence created, does directly impact key sensory properties making it more enjoyable to drink.

I mentioned this before, in the UK, a sparkler is often attached to handpulls in pubs that serve cask ale. Cask ale has less carbonation than bottle or keg beer and the sparkler agitates the beer enough to encourage a creamy, thick head.

Many may draw comparison when looking at the Sonic Foamer to a device released by Guinness called the Surger. The Surger unit along with special Surger cans were available in supermarkets in the UK for use at home. They were withdrawn shortly afterwards though.

It would appear the Sonic Foamer works on similar principles to the Guinness Surger. You place the glass of beer on the plinth in a couple of teaspoons of water. Press the button and sonic waves travel through the beer knocking out the CO2 out of the beer. This operation definitely creates a head on the beer but let’s take a look at what other effect it has on beer.

When I tested the Sonic Foamer I tried it on a fairly well carbonated, fridge cold Citra / Cascade IPA. Take a look at the pictures and you’ll see the Foamer created a nice layer of dense foam. I would add that the beer has fairly good head retention anyway but the Sonic Foamer seemed to create a head that lasted slightly longer.

What Effect Did It Have On Flavour?

I tried the beer before I used the Sonic Foamer and then after using it twice on the same beer. The aroma of this IPA is pretty strong anyway but you could definitely smell a little bit more of the hops.

The taste was smoother, primarily I think because some of the carbonation was knocked out. Could you achieve the same thing by swirling the glass, maybe.

I did try the Sonic Foamer on a cask beer that was served via gravity. It didn’t work nearly as well as the bottled beer. I would hazard a guess that there just wasn’t enough CO2 in solution to generate a layer of foam.
Most cask beers have low levels of carbonation so it would seem the Sonic Foamer isn’t really going to benefit those of you taking it down the pub to drink cask beer.

Is it worth buying? If you like gadgets maybe. I am not too fussed with the way a beer looks and couldn’t say it added too much in terms of flavour overall. I do know people who are fussy about these things though, so it maybe something for them. As I said it did enhance aroma.

If you leave your pint for 10 minutes and the head has died down, the Sonic Foamer would definitely reinvigorate it.

Apart from that though, it would definitely start a conversation if you took it out down the pub or if you have your mates round to drink.

If you are interested in buying a Sonic Foamer they can be found here on Amazon.

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