The Journal of the American Society of Brewing Chemists rarely fails to be a highly entertaining read, and the latest issue is no exception. Most of the articles are far too technical for the layman to grok; Microkhan’s eyes certainly glaze over at the mere mention of “alpha-acids isomerization yield”. But the issue’s lead piece, by a quintet of Japanese researchers working for both Niigata University and Sapporo Breweries, is nothing short of pure genius.
The researchers set out to measure, with amazing precision, the strength required to swallow various types of beer. Their test subjects were a lucky bunch, assuming they didn’t mind all the electrodes connected to their gullets:
The sensation in the throat while drinking is important for beer. To evaluate this feeling, we developed a noninvasive biometric system for measurement of the swallowing motion while drinking. The system measures movement of the Adam’s apple and provides an electromyogram (EMG) of the throat musculature and swallowing sounds by simultaneously employing pressure sensors, EMG electrodes, and microphones, all mounted on the throat surface. As analytic parameters, we used the period of larynx heave, throat muscular activity, and intervals of swallowing sound.
Their conclusion? Brewers should strive for beers that produce a “short laryngeal movement time.” Obviously.