Do bubbles in Guinness go down?

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Whole glass animation pageAbout the experimentsWho are we?

We are used to seeing bubbles float up in a glass of beer, but bubbles in Guinness appear to break the rules.

Do the bubbles really sink in Guinness, or is it just an illusion?

If the bubbles go down, where do they go?  Why do they all end up at the head?

Here we show you some video proof  that the bubbles in Guinness do actually go down the inside of the glass just after the beer is poured.  To learn more, click on to one of the bubbles opposite, or use one of the links below.

Why do the bubbles go down?
Does it only happen in Guinness?
Why is this effect important?

About the filming
About the authors
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What the response was in Australlia 3/20/04

Stanford News Service video interview (30mb file)

Riddle of beer bubbles solved in time for St. Patrick’s Day-Stanford Report 3/17/04

St. Patty's Broadcast on ABC Channel 7 news- Interview with Dr. Zare 3/17/04 (30mb file)

First public announcement of understanding the settling of Guinness

... Now for something completely different -- champagne bubbles!

Lecture on "Chemical Fizzics" and James Flack Norris Award ceremonies, MIT, 11/11/2004 is available in streaming video (Users need to have Real Player 9.0 or later)




(c) 2004 Alexander & Zare