What's this thing inside my can of Guinness beer?

To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, last night I popped open a few tall cans of Guinness stout. Inside each can there was something white, hard, and too large to exit the hole on top. I took it to be a chunk of ice, which seemed odd because beer doesn’t normally freeze. Whatever, I was too drunk to care.

This morning, to my surprise, the white chunks remained rattling inside the cans. Intrigued, I cut open one can (very nearly maiming myself in the process, don’t try this at home kids!!) and what do I find but what appears to be a plastic ping-pong ball, with a few symmetric indentations along the seam. No writing of any kind (I expected it to say something like, “DESSICANT: DO NOT EAT”, but no.)

I checked out the can’s label but all I could find was this cryptic message:

Yeah, ok. I won’t argue with perfect pints. But my interest was piqued and I must know…what exactly IS this thing, and what does it DO??


It’s the “widget”, found in “nitro-beers”. They’ve changed the design of these a few times. When they first came out and I dissected a can I found one that looks like a little gold-colored can, and a flat white plastic thingy. Boddington’s uses them too. Explanation:

A search would have revealed this thread to you.

Some retard spelled Guinness wrong in the title of that thread and again in the OP. Dumbass.

So, to summarize, it makes it foamy like when it comes from a tap.

And Cecil on the topic: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/000526.html

And here I was thinking this question would be too obscure for the SDMB folk…silly me, I should know better by now…

Lance, don’t be so hard on yourself, I thought it was one “N” too, right up until I wrote this post, when I looked at the can and saw it was TWO N’s…hey, you learn something every day, huh?