If you’ve ever cracked open a can of Guinness, you’ve probably wondered “What’s the deal with that little plastic ball floating around inside?” Well, wonder no more.
The little plastic ball called a “Widget” was first patented by the Guinness company in 1969 in effort to provide the optimal ‘head’ on their thick and creamy stout, which is less fizzy than regular lager beers like Bud Light.
During the canning process, the brewers add a shot of liquid nitrogen to help pressurize the can. The nitrogen vaporises and expands in volume after the can is sealed, forcing gas and beer into the widget’s hollow interior through a tiny pin sized hole.
When you open the can, the beer and compressed nitrogen within the sphere depressurize and are shot out into the beer. This disturbance causes the CO2 to bubble up which creates the foamy head at the top of the glass. The only thing left to do next is drink!