The New Zealand Herald reported Tuesday that a Massey University student in Auckland has invented a novel device to quickly chill beer in a fraction of the time, potentially allowing people to leave the cooler at home. It’s one of thirty inventions being exhibited at the three-day Design Exposure 2007, which began Wednesday, at Massey University’s Auckland School of Design.
Twenty-two-year-old New Zealander Kent Hodgson came up with the idea for his device after being frustrated by warm beer at a backyard barbecue earlier this year. He calls it a “Huski,” and it’s described as using a “rapid cooling beverage process” involving dry ice.
“You have plastic cooling cells which are pressed down into the dock which houses the liquid carbon dioxide. The liquid CO2 expands and is pressurized into dry ice in the base of the cooling cells … in a moment.
“You then pop it into your drink and then proceed from there as you normally would.”
With a surface temperature of minus 78.5C, dry ice has a cooling capacity almost four times that of the same amount of regular ice.
“The cooling power is almost instant and is utilized for several minutes and it doesn’t dilute the drink like ice would,” said Mr. Hodgson.
One canister can chill a little more than a case of beer bottles for only about seven cents. But the initial cost of the device will likely be around $50, so you’ll probably have to do a lot of drinking to make it cost effective. Still, if it allows you to not have to lug a cooler around with you that could be a good thing.
The real question is whether or not the rapid cooling using dry ice will damage the beer in the process. Generally speaking, putting beer into the freezer to quick chill it will cause the beer to break down chemically causing chill haze, producing little floating particles in the beer and altering its taste (and not for the better). That’s why it’s never a good idea to put your beer in the freezer. Does dry ice do the same thing? It would logically seem that any method that chills the beer too quickly would similarly damage it, but I’m not a scientist so I can’t really say if using dry ice will cause the same problems. Until then, it’s an intriguing idea, at least.
Inventor Kent Hodgson shows off his “Huski” quick beer chilling device.