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What does etching on the bottom of a beer glass do? What purpose does an etched glass serve?

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The etching provides a nucleation point. To quote a couple paces:

A nucleation point on a beer glass refers to an etched mark or pattern on the bottom of the inside of a beer glass. The etching is called a nucleation point (or a widget in the UK) and helps the release of carbonation and can create a steady stream of bubble emanating from the etched portion of the glass. This works by CO2 releasing (dissolving into gas) when it comes in contact with the rough surface of the nucleation points. This is not a mere marketing ploy and a nucleation point does increase the amount of bubbles released when compared side by side with a non- nucleated beer glass.

And

A laser etched nucleation site within the glass maintains flavor release during the drinking experience. Samuel Adams Unveils the Samuel Adams Boston Lager Pint Glass.

  • The purpose of creating nucleation sites is that it creates and maintains the head. That is for aesthetic purposes, but the head also brings beer aroma to your nose so it adds to the perceived flavor as well. – Dave Oct 9 '16 at 14:10
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    @Dave - that's what my answer said – warren Oct 10 '16 at 12:48
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    I thought the statement "maintains flavor release during the drinking experience" to not be very descriptive as to how that works. – Dave Oct 10 '16 at 13:26
  • @Dave I found the quote pretty clear :) – warren Oct 10 '16 at 13:27
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The widget is for aesthetic purposes only. it looks better with a head. But it flattens larger.

I refuse these glasses in pubs as I like a lively larger.

Test it your self. Test two largers in two glasses. One with a widget and one without. Taste the difference at the end of the pint. The widget flattens the larger by removing CO2.

  • 1
    Where you wrote "larger", did you mean "lager"? I'm having trouble understanding what you mean there. – Monica Cellio Nov 8 '17 at 16:48

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