Friday, January 12, 2007

How many licks does it take....

Since the rhetorical question, "How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?" was asked in 1970, billions of people have tried. Confess, you and your friends probably tried. As it turns out, there seems to be no correct answer. Even the Tootsie Pop people don't know, despite a few scientific studies.

I've started my own study to answer the question, "How many drinks does it take to empty a beer?" Actually, I am interested in finding out the average volume of a normal drink of beer.

Feel free to join in and report your own data. Just obey the following experiment guidelines:

1) The drink must be a "normal-sized" drink. No gulps or sips. Resist the temptation to drink the remaining liquid in the glass in one large gulp.
2) The liquid ideally should be beer. Although, any carbonated beverage would do.
3) The beer must be drunk from a standard pint glass. Not a bottle or can (Consumption from a bottle or can could be a separate study). A 400 or 500 mL beaker also works nicely (I have a set at home).
4) Drink a standard 355 mL (12 oz) sample and count the number of drinks. Then calculate the average. Repeat as necessary to obtain meaningful results.

My results from last night: 8 drinks per 355 mL, repeated in triplicate (just like any good quantitative analytical analysis). My average swallow volume is 44 mL (1.5 ounces). I am going to repeat the experiment tonight, but I am going to increase my container volume to 709 mL (24 ounces).

According to: Nilsson et. al., the average swallow volume of a healthy adult is about 25.6 mL. If my swallow volume is indeed 44 mL, I am way above average.

The study continues.....


In a second experiment, I consumed 710 mL (24 fl oz) from one container. It required 17 swallows to do so. The average volume was 42 mL. This is very close to the results from experiment #1.


Organic Chemistry said...

One thing that I did not notice within the testing was how far into the night the testing was performed....personally, the drinks taken at happy hour are much smaller than those taken at an after-hours party...just a thought.

Woller's Disciples said...

I have recently taken statistics. I only worry that there isn't enough data points to truly reflect the data you are looking for. The more points the less chance there is for error. I will, in the name of science, help gain many more data points ASAP.

The Disgruntled Chemist said...

I did this experiment tonight. My average volume per drink was only 21.72 +/- 2.3 mL, much less than yours. To arrive at this number, I drank four beers, all 335 mL, all out of the same pint glass.

You might want to investigate the effect of beer type on the average volume per drink too; tonight I had two lagers and two ales, and my volume per drink was larger for the lagers than for the ales. Maybe it has something to do with the stronger flavors, I don't know.

Anyway, thanks for the excuse to drink four beers on a Monday night. It was for science!

Chemgeek said...

This is fantastic. The old axiom is right, "answering questions only raises more questions."

Disgruntled, good work. I think there may be something to this lager/ale conundrum.

And as organic chem. said above, the sequence of events will certainly have an effect. I know for a fact, that my swallow volume increases as the number of beers increases.

Oh, science. How I love you.

The study continues.....