food

Ultrasonic foam device ensures Japanese continue to give their beer far too much head

57 Comments
By Philip Kendall

When it comes to beer, as many foreigners visiting or living in Japan will no doubt attest, the fondness Japanese have for topping their drink off with an enormous amount of foam sometimes borders on the absurd. “It’s delicious!” Japanese colleagues tell me when I ask why a third of my beer is head. It may well be tasty, but when it takes three gulps of naught but white froth to reach the beer itself, you have to wonder if this is all some kind of hilarious practical joke that the entire country is in on.

But what about when drinking at home? Without a bartender to ensure that beer arrives with a thick head, how can the thirsty foam lover achieve the same results? Enter the Koku Awa beer pourer from Green House.

Retailing for around 2,980 yen, the Koku Awa (literally “thick foam”) clips directly onto any ordinary beer can, delivering thick, creamy foam with every pour, even in the comfort of your own home.

Powered by two AA batteries, the device features a unique ultrasound system that, activated by the flick of a single switch, injects tiny bubbles into the beer as it is poured. This may sound tremendously technical for what is essentially the act of decanting liquid from one container into another, but thankfully maker Green House has also put together an instructional video (see below) so that we don’t get lost along the way and end up with less head on our beer than is required by Japanese law.

First, open your can of beer. Both 350ml and 500ml cans may be used, so there’s no need to buy anything other than your preferred brand to use your new foamer.

Then simply clip the Koku Awa onto the top of the can. The onomatopoeic katakana word “kachi“ may or may not appear before your very eyes as the device clicks into place.

With the Koku Awa attached, get to pouring. The speed the beer can leave the can is limited by the spout, so you should see very little foam at this point, but remain calm; all will become frothy soon.

Green House advises users to fill the glass 70% full before unleashing the power of the frothinator. For anyone who enjoys the taste of beer without having to fight through mouthfuls of pure foam, we’d recommend filling the glass to around 85%. When you’re ready for head, flick the orange switch into the “on” position.

And you’re done! One beer, tons of head.

Source: Netorabo

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- A Perfect Head of Beer at the Touch of a Button -- Frozen Beer and Beer Cocktails -- Something Dark And Bittersweet — Chocolate Beer

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57 Comments
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What a waste.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

With the price of beer as it is here I get rather upset when I go to an izakaya and they bring me a beer that is 50% foam, and I am paying 500 yen for that one mug.

You can keep your foam, I want the beer!

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Notice in the video how the beer is poured down the inside of the glass... to prevent foam!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

give their beer far too much head

Can someone please make a T-Shirt saying "Japanese bartenders give far too much head"?

12 ( +14 / -2 )

I worked as a waiter in an Izakaya and I also worked in a cafe in Europe during my youth days. I remember when serving beer in an izakaya, I was told by the owners to remember to put foam on the beers at the end. I was told to pour beer until the glass was full then reverse the lever and put the foam in. This prevented the beer from getting flat. The glass was kept in the freezer so it was icy. While different than European style, I can´t really say that I think the way of serving beers in Japan or at least at my izakaya was bad at all.

I later traveled to Germany and saw the art of serving beers there and I was well impressed. While the beers in Japan are very good, the beers I tasted in Germany was mind blowing. They really had their beer culture going. I hear Czeck Republic got amazing beers too. And that USA has Budweiser which is a fake version of Budweiser originally from the Czeck Rep.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

If you pour a beer properly (and it's decent beer), you don't need a fancy clip on machine, or to reverse the lever on the tap. As a barman in the UK, I was always told that reversing the lever upset the balance of gas in the beer, making it go flat faster. Speaking of beer, is it still too early?!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Nothing beats a proper poured glass of cold Guinness, now that's requires a real art foam?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I hate the idea that there's only one way of serving a beer in the whole world - just like putting mayonnaise on pizzas or whatever, this is just how they do it over here. If you don't like too much foam on the beer, just say something to the bartender. Japanese beer fans who go to Europe are in the same boat. I personally don't like much foam on my beer, but seeing it doesn't send me into a blind rage like a lot of other people...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Just a very obvious way to reduce the amount of beer that they have to serve each time, which has gradually become accepted and is now considered the right way to do it... similar to food being available in three layers of packaging so that the actual product can be minimized as much as possible, but the box remains the same size.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Yubaru:

With the price of beer as it is here I get rather upset when I go to an izakaya and they bring me a beer that is 50% foam, and I am paying 500 yen for that one mug.

An Izakaya owner friend of mine let me in on this a few years ago: If you're being served beer with obviously too much head (ie. more than three fingers) again and again, it's a pretty safe bet that either you or someone in your party have done something to piss off the staff. Switch bars or switch to bottles.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan, the only country that knows how to ruin beer. Whats it with Japanese and their obsession for foam anyway.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Surely this has to be an April fool?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

If you cant pour a can/bottle of beer & get as little or as much head as you want you shouldn't be allowed to drink the stuff!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Many of my J-friend ask me to pour their as I/We usually don't like foam or about 1cm.

Back home all beer glasses got a level mark and foam can only be above that mark. So if you order a pint and you get one or report the place to the authorities.

Japanese beers are already over-gassy and you don't need the foam, which is where the alcohol contents is the highest.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I don't personally mind the foam that much, obviously the cheaper the bar you go the worse it gets, but at restaurants I'd say I would even prefer a good fifth of foam.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sorry, but I don't buy into this whole idea that you NEED foam for beer because it "makes the beer look more delicious". I'm afraid it was zero to do with taste, and everything to do with waste, whether that's a waste of your money, or a waste of the beer itself since they often fire air into the beer when it's near full and splash it all over the ground in lieu of some head.

There is an izakaya I used to frequent where the owner knows foreigners don't like head on beer all that much, so when I would walk in and order a draft beer he'd say, "Canadian style?" and bring me a beer with the beer clean up to the top of the glass. It tastes way better than imbibing bitter foam, or waiting for the foam to disappear and realizing you only have half of what you're paying for.

2 ( +7 / -6 )

That's why I don't do izakaya and always order bottled beer at pubs and bars.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

In Germany the head or foam is Kräusen. There too you will find glasses of beer with head. Beer heads is important because they give off the aroma of the beer. If there are things Japan and Germany do well, in fact better than most countries it is beers and technology.

Canadian style?

Excuse my ignorance. WTF is a Canadian style? I would do anything to steer away from it while I´m in Japan.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

I'll stick with Belgium style.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Foam means less beer! Ripoff!

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

There is an izakaya I used to frequent where the owner knows foreigners don't like head on beer all that much, so when I would walk in and order a draft beer he'd say, "Canadian style?" and bring me a beer with the beer clean up to the top of the glass. It tastes way better than imbibing bitter foam, or waiting for the foam to disappear and realizing you only have half of what you're paying for.

I doubt it's foreigners in general. But only some intolerant foreigners who think beers should only be served the same way as they do in their home country which has zero credibility and status at the international level as far as beer is concerned. If some Canadian came walking into my izaiaya and demanded a Canadian style I'm afraid I might had to spit in your beer. Here is your Canadian. I hope you enjoy. I guess Japanese people are nicer and more service minded than me.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

The title to the article is a value judgment straight off.

People get very animated and opinionated when it comes to beer and head, or nitrogen in your tyres/tires, or fluoride in the water.

Japanese purists like to study at the feet of the Meister in Germany and find exactly what amount of foam defines a good glass of beer, not an iota more or less. The machine is designed to deliver just that.

To westerners who are concerned with exact amounts of liquid and the money they are paying for every drop, here is an opportunity to see the other side, just like the barman above who is happy to accommodate western drinkers by adjusting the proportions. Is that too much to hope for?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I resent the implication the "foreigners" don't want a head on their beer. As someone from deepest, darkest northern England, I expect a decent head on any pint I'm served. That's the way decent beer comes, not like the filth they offer down in London, or in North America.

No need to add head artificially, or to unnaturally remove it. Just dring the beer as God intended it to be drunk....

4 ( +7 / -3 )

If some Canadian came walking into my izaiaya and demanded a Canadian style I'm afraid I might had to spit in your beer. Here is your Canadian. I hope you enjoy. I guess Japanese people are nicer and more service minded than me.

I enjoyed this - best comment so far!

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Nice idea but I will not spend money for something I can easily do with my eyes closed (I've done it many times in the past, that darn 13th beer).

As someone from deepest, darkest northern England,

Hahaha, I keep hearing a really sinister background music every time I read this sentence.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

One time I was in UK. Being a long time resident of Japan I've picked up a few habits including tomato juice and beer called red eye. So at ten in the morning I thought tomato juice and beer would be nice so I ask the bar man and he thought I was taking the piss. It got to a point that I thought the bar tender would attack me. He was not going to mix beer and tomato juice. Over his dead body. So as a rule of thumb. When in Rome do as Romans, I ordered a beer instead.

The infamous beverage in America referred to as beer by Americans with no foam and aroma, is actually not considered as beer.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

@ultradarkmelvin Please make sure you only use happoushu if you're making red eyes. I suspect the UK barman considered it a crime against beer.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

And that USA has Budweiser which is a fake version of Budweiser originally from the Czeck Rep.

The craft beer market in the U.S. has never been stronger, and American beers regularly take top spots in international competition. If you travel all the way to the U.S. to drink Budweiser, you deserve what you get.

As for the articificial foamanator of the article, you can get the same result by shaking the can.

If you're getting overfoamed at an izakaya, you've probably pissed off the staff by taking a nomihoudai at face value.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I'm afraid it was zero to do with taste

The head is a barrier to slight oxidation.

It also leaves lacing down the inside of the glass that holds aroma.

Some say it keeps the temperature just a little cooler in hotter climates.

Lastly it is part of the presentation - Guinness looks and tastes great with a head.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

28 comments and only one oral sex reference. What is the matter with you people.? Get your "head" in the game!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The craft beer market in the U.S. has never been stronger, and American beers regularly take top spots in international competition. If you travel all the way to the U.S. to drink Budweiser, you deserve what you get.

As for the articificial foamanator of the article, you can get the same result by shaking the can.

American beers is like George W Bush. It's so terrible that it suffers an image problem abroad. A good question to ask is. Why is the most selling beers in America outright pitiful? It probably has something to do with the time there was alcohol prohibition in the country due to religious fanatics which there are many more of in America than any other civilized country.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

There used to be an ad for Polo mints in the U.K. when I was a kid. The punch line was, "You buy the mints, the holes are free!"

It's a bit like that with Japanese beer.

"You buy the beer, the foam is free."

However, if you go to an Izakaya and they offer you beer with 50% foam, you can ask them to top it up.

If, on the off chance that they will not comply and fill your glass to the amount you pay for, you could wax philosophical and either console yourself with the thought that your glass is half full (optimist) or that it is half empty (pessimist).

Then again, you could always drink up and go to another purveyor of malted hoppy beverages.

Or drink awamori, shochu or nihonshu. At least then you get what you pay for.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Guinness looks and tastes great with a head

But not 1/3 of the beer as head.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Despite all this hullabaloo about head, I really don't leave the beer in the glass long enough to care that much.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Both Belgian and German beer comes with a foam. Two highly respected beer cultures unlike North American fake culture. Or non culture.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

...malted hoppy beverages....

Mmmmmm.....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan, the only country that knows how to ruin beer.

Goodness, you're well travelled.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

With the price of beer as it is here I get rather upset when I go to an izakaya and they bring me a beer that is 50% foam, and I am paying 500 yen for that one mug.

Somebody told me, that in Japan, this is the hidden way to actually raise the price, basically they do not charge more for food or drink but they simply serve you a smaller and smaller quantity of the product.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Ultradarkmelvin As Nessie pointed out, some of the world's best beers come from the US. I recommend anyone who visits Pennsylvania to try a spectacular barley wine called 'Blithering Idiot'. Nothing fake about the taste nor the hangover. A masterpiece.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

What's all this complaining about N American beers. Like others said, there are a million and one microbreweries brewing both headless and headful beers, thank you very much.

And for the budget-minded we also have such classic standbyes as, for example, Golden Anniversary. A very cheap and economical beer.

Anyone remember their ad-line, celebrating said economicality?

"Golden Annie! It's the beer to have, when you're havin' more than one!"

This foam machine is unnecessary. You can just pour different and you will get more head. If you don't and you need a machine, it means your beer is flat.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What's all this complaining about N American beers.

That's the legacy, and it's a hard one to live down. It was certainly true 25 years ago, but these days the USA makes the best beers in the world. More microbreweries in the USA than anywhere else in the world, well over a thousand last I heard.

Some people just like to hang on to negative stereotypes.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

hokkaidoguy,

The USA makes the best beers in the world. More microbreweries in the USA than anywhere else in the world, well over a thousand last I heard.

The U.S.A. makes some excellent brews.

And being in Hokkaido, you can probably enjoy them at Phred's place, right?

The head on his beer is a thin coating, you don't get the 50% foam problem there!

I'm going to have to go back for a visit!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Every country has micro brewery. They have them in Japan too. Go to Nagano.As for big commercial. Ginga Kogen is a good beer and so is Yebisu. Kirin, Sapporo all are fine. But if you do your searching you can find local quality breweries in Japan too.

The Smokey Soul of Fujizakura Heights Beer

http://japanbeertimes.com/2011/09/smokey-soul-of-fujizakura-heights-beer/

Did you know the first beer brewery in Japan was Kirin? They established in Yokohama by a Norwegian who emigrated from Norway to USA then later emigrated to Japan. The urban myth is said to be the reason why the beer company was named Kirin was because his girlfriend was named Karin.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

As for Budweiser, Coors etc. it's the same situation in Japan for me. I found Japanese beers not awful but pretty generic - basically a fizzy refreshment before getting stuck into the shochu or sake. You can get some very good Japanese beer from some supermarkets - Yonayona, Aooni and Tokyo Black. I've pestered my local izakaya owner to keep a few in the fridge for me.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

One of my favorite beers here is Dragon Ale, from Kurohime, Nagano, which is based on a recipe from Massachusetts, and the brewing company, Shinano Brewery Vanryu imports all the ingredients from Massachusetts.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

http://www.waldhaus-bier.de/index.html?inhalt=12783

I think the best beer is this. Beers in USA and Canada are probably made of GMO grains. Which is banned in Japan and anywhere in the civilized world. And they still have the worst beers in the word.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

In the day and age with GMO. As long as it is not GMO, it´s probably very good. If GMO, then a big no thank you.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Back on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ultradarkmelvin,

And they still have the worst beers in the world.

Yes, they do and they also have some of the best.

And they serve beer that's 99 percent beer and 1 percent foam, so perhaps they could export Koku Awa to the U.S.A. to increase their foam percentage?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Backt home right now. Sitting in The Old Pack Horse in Chiswick with a pint of London Pride from the hand pump, one finger of head. Loveleee.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What if you buy bottles. Aluminum cans are linked to alzheimers. A pint of Guinness is the best froth. American beers suck and are made with GMO grains.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

ultradarkmelvin: Why is the most selling beers in America outright pitiful?

Probably for the same reason the French operation of McDonald's is the second or third most profitable one. People the world over like what is cheap and easy to access and can get used to anything, hence the taste of most bread sold in Japanese grocery stores, the British affection for spotted dick and the Canadian for poutine. People tend to like what is familiar, whether or not someone else sees that as good or bad is beside the point.

It probably has something to do with the time there was alcohol prohibition in the country due to religious fanatics which there are many more of in America than any other civilized country.

You're only partially correct but not really for the reasons you think. "First of all, Prohibition did greatly influenced beer making in America. Most brewers simply went out of business and never returned after Prohibition was repealed. At that time, however, there was a wave of German immigrants entering the country. They brought with them technology and methods for brewing a new kind of light, highly effervescent Bavarian brew, the pilsner. These brewers had names like Busch, Pabst, and Schlitz. Today, in modern-day America, we still see the devastating results of the industry they built throughout the 1940's. Tragically, no other beer makers have been able to gain a solid foothold against those producers who took control after Prohibition.

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, there is the fact that it is more economical to make watery beers. For instance, take the "light beer" phenomenon. Beer producers know that many "light beer" drinkers who are drinking to achieve intoxication will simply drink more beers in order to compensate for each one having less alcohol. This means higher sales. Also, light beer generally costs more to the consumer, which is another boon to the producer. And, even non-light American beers, such as MGD, are much cheaper to produce than dark, premium brews like the wonderful Irish beverage Guinness. So, as long as it's cheaper to produce, and people are willing to purchase it, there will always be suppliers willing to make and distribute it."

The story doesn't end there though as many posters have pointed out, there are now numerous microbrews making great, award winning beer and you'd know that if you weren't so hostile about whatever crap, watery beer it was you tasted once and decided represented all of American beer.

http://www.examiner.com/article/american-craft-brewers-banner-year-international-competitions

Two highly respected beer cultures unlike North American fake culture. Or non culture.

Yawn..... What are you, some 90-year old crank still bitter that a GI got your bird? Get over it, grandpa. She just wasn't that into you.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Its acceptable for the Japanese to server beer with a large head if thats what the customer wants. Where it falls down and becomes unreasonable is when a person (ie gaijin) goes back to the barman and asks for less head more beer but gets refused because "its the way we do beer in Japan."

If you are purchasing a product called beer which has (through gas tap manipulation) an inflated head (and thus reduced volume actual beer) then you are right to demand more beer in the glass if thats they way you like it.

American microbrews in the pacific NW are probably the best in the world. The sheer variety and quality is impressive.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The problem lies in there's no legal requirement on how much beer a glass should contain. For instance, in Britain the law states beer must be served in a legal pint or half pint glass. There's a mark on the glass indicating the level of the beer and a bit more above that for the head. In Japan, bars are free to serve their beers whichever way they want.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Kimokekahuna Hawaii: American beers suck and are made with GMO grains.

Oh, jolly good! You're back and with all of your sweeping generalizations, I see.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Id take some beer n head any day! :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I drink it straight from the can. Who bothers to pour it into a glass at home? I feel so uncultured.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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