10 June 2014

Spin Chill - A Fairly Scientific Review

I was given the opportunity to try out a new beer gadget called SpinChill. However, it took me a few weeks to actually get around to it. I had some time a week or so ago to take for a test drive.

I had a can of Blakker, and a bottle of Hopstrasse IPA that were at room temperature. I had a SpinChill, and my smartphone. What I didn't have was a cooler full of ice. So I dug out a sauce pan, and added equal parts ice and water until the pan was a little more than half full. I got out a piece of paper and a pencil, because in the words of Adam Savage, "...the only difference between screwing around and science is writing it down." I took an initial temperature of the containers of the beers with my laser thermometer.

The can was 76° and the bottle was 75°.

The SpinChill is a pistol grip with a large rubber cone on the end. There is an outer ring that fits cans
and an inner ring that fits bottles. I put the ring on the Blakker can. I immersed it into the ice water, and took it for a spin.

Now, this device is intended to be used in an ice chest with a lot more thermal mass than my little sauce pan. So I knew my results would not be as advertised.

After three minutes of spinning, the can dropped 9° to 67°, measured on the outside of the can. Not too shabby.

I put the inner ring around the bottle cap, and put that into the saucepan of ice water and turned on the SpinChill. It was at this point that my experimental rig showed its flaws.

A can is short and about the same size from top to bottom. A bottle is tall and is wider at the bottom than at the top. It really didn't matter where I positioned the can in the pan of ice water, it would spin nicely. The bottle however, had to be positioned in the exact center of the pot or it would fiercely wobble when it hit the vortex of water around it. I managed to keep it in place for three minutes with one hand holding the SpinChill and the other controlling the position of the bottle, which explains the lack of pictures. I couldn't get an accurate reading on the bottle, because more of the liquid was out of the ice water. The exterior temperature of the neck was 72°. The exterior of the bottom of the bottle was 70°. I'm sure there would have been a better cooling if more of the bottle was immersed in the ice water.

The SpinChill works as advertised.  I can imagine a scenario where I have an ice chest with ice water and want to cool a beer down quickly, I know from Mythbusters, that putting a warm bottle in ice takes about 30 minutes to cool. Add salt to the water and that time is cut in half. So if I stop at a bottle shop and pick up a warm beer I've never tried, I can cool it down with SpinChill in a few minutes, and be sipping on a refreshing adult beverage while the rest of that six pack cools. down.

The problem that arises at that point, is which of my friends go next? How many will glare at me while I sip a cold beer, while they SpinChill their way to their own frosty drink?

SpinChill. Good for one person. A friendship destroyer on the beach.

Yes. I will carry this on beercations. My little cooler has a mesh pouch just the right size for this thing. But I might need two of them...

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posted by Jeff Holt at 17:20

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