Please explain alcohol legs/feet to me

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by m4ttj0nes, Mar 17, 2012.

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  1. m4ttj0nes

    m4ttj0nes Initiate (141) Feb 21, 2012 Oregon
    Trader

    I've never been able to see this, and people talk about it constantly. Please enlighten me to it, most of what I've found pertains to wine, which I assume it is easy to see the legs on.
     
  2. podunkparte

    podunkparte Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2009 Washington

    Swirl a high abv beer or wine then hold the glass up in front of you. Where the liquid rose up the sides of the glass as you swirled you should see traces of the liquid sort of dripping slowly down the glass. Kinda looks like it's oozing back down to the beer or wine in the glass. These are the legs.

    What they mean and why they are there, you'll have to either Google it or wait for someone else to answer that.
     
  3. Etan

    Etan Initiate (0) Jul 11, 2011 Wisconsin

    It's sort of hard to see if you're expecting something colorful or carbonated. It's transparent, but you can see it distorting the light on the body of the glass after giving it a nice swirl.

    Here's an explanation (it's from a wine site but oh well). And here's a picture:[​IMG]
     
  4. Homebrew42

    Homebrew42 Initiate (0) Dec 20, 2006 New York

  5. xsouldriverx

    xsouldriverx Initiate (0) Aug 5, 2006 New York

    you guys are all so silly, he is talking about when you keep drinking and your legs get heavy and you pass out.
     
  6. bifrost17

    bifrost17 Initiate (0) Dec 16, 2011 Washington

    The legs on a glass of wine are an indicator as to how mature that bottle is. When the legs run down the glass quickly it generally means that the bottle isn't that mature.
     
  7. darkandhoppy

    darkandhoppy Aspirant (265) Dec 26, 2008 Connecticut

    I dont think you could find legs in a glass of beer. as mentioned, the carbonation messes up that possibility. More likely though, there's not enough alcohol in most beers to create legs. The exception would be really flat, high ABV "beer" such as Utopias etc.

    I always heard that legs are an indicator of higher alcohol content. The stronger the legs running up and down in a glass of wine after swirling, the higher the abv. You will also definitely get legs in a snifter containing a fine liquor like brandy, bourbon, scotch, etc.
     
  8. darkandhoppy

    darkandhoppy Aspirant (265) Dec 26, 2008 Connecticut

  9. Homebrew42

    Homebrew42 Initiate (0) Dec 20, 2006 New York

    Most knowledgeable wine people consider this to be complete nonsense. The formation of legs is simply an indicator of the alcohol content of the liquid, and is in no way related to the quality or "maturity" of the beverage.
     
  10. bifrost17

    bifrost17 Initiate (0) Dec 16, 2011 Washington

    Well then I guess it's a good thing I'm a beer advocate and not a wine aficionado.
     
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  11. sfoley333

    sfoley333 Initiate (0) Oct 26, 2006 Brazil

    These are the correct answers. It's all about the alcohol content. And usually it used to refer to wine and spirits not beer but it is possible like he said with beers like Utopia.
     
  12. Etan

    Etan Initiate (0) Jul 11, 2011 Wisconsin

    That's interesting; I could have sworn that I've seen it on certain beers. Could it appear once the beer has gone flat in the glass?
     
  13. BlindSalimander

    BlindSalimander Initiate (0) Aug 16, 2010 Texas

    Yeah, like after you've consumed a few beers while sitting at the bar and you feel fine but then you get up and .....face plant. Never happened to me.....much.
     
  14. jtmartino

    jtmartino Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2010 California

    Either way, you're still misinformed, like some others here. :stuck_out_tongue:

    Alcohol sticks to the glass due to surface tension (as described in some of the links above), but there's a hell of a lot more going on than just that. Protein levels, dissolved sugars, sediment, temperature, carbonation, viscosity, friction and cleanliness of the glass and a bunch of other things are factors in "legs" on a glass. Not simply the correlation between high ABV and more "legs."

    It happens in wine, beer, and many other beverages (even those that aren't alcoholic.) It's not really a good indicator of anything other than the presence of alcohol (usually), and should be used as an aesthetic observation more than anything else.
     
  15. harrymel

    harrymel Initiate (0) Dec 15, 2010 Washington

    You must be reading Angel's Share reviews...

    I will chime though, only still liquids should be showing potential legs. And legs are an indicator of alcohol content, not quality of product.
     
  16. sfoley333

    sfoley333 Initiate (0) Oct 26, 2006 Brazil

    I am curious to what other beverages that don't have alcohol have legs. I am not saying I dont believe you I just wanted to know an example of on of these beverages.
     
  17. jtmartino

    jtmartino Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2010 California

    The Marangoni effect occurs with many liquids that have a surface tension gradient. It's not very noticeable for many beverages, and it doesn't always manifest itself as "legs." Drinks with a high acid content will sometimes display it. It also manifests when you blow bubbles in your drink.

    The point of my comment was to simply indicate that it's far more complicated than just an indicator of alcohol level, and it doesn't really have anything to do with the quality of a beer.
     
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