Glow in the Dark Beer!

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Glow In The Dark Beer!

So, I was investigating fluorescence standards and I discovered that tonic water is fluorescent - hit it with a black light and it glows in the dark. Turns out that the magic ingredient in tonic water is quinine, which comes naturally from the bark of a South American tree called Cinchona. But it's bitter, which is why you don't find it in many drinks.

You've probably fantasized about different ingredients to beer, but how often do you consider alternative bittering agents? How about one that glows in the dark? If you're wondering why the bark of a tree from South America is in your gin and tonic, it's interesting to know that oil from cinchona bark was discovered in the 1600's to be a cure for the symptoms of malaria, which is first caused by the bite of a mosquito.
Malaria results in a nasty fever, but the symptoms are much milder when consuming a regular regimen of quinine. Several kings maintained this secret remedy, including King Charles of England and the French king Louis XIV. The key to this miraculous herb, and the reason it was secret for so long: the oils from that bark only dissolve into ethanol; ethanol, it's exactly what we have in our beer. Boom!

Back in the early 1900's, the workers on the Panama Canal were provided with quinine every day. That area was a mosquito hatching garden. They got little white chewable tablets with their stale hard tack and pork bit. Quinine is bitter, so they'd mix it with something sweet, maybe some lemonade or sweet beer. Sounds like... hmmm... hops! Sounds like a great "layer" on my next pale ale, too!

So, I says to myself, "self, the local midnight dance club would probably like to have a bunch of clear solo cups full of glow-in-the-dark light lager". Self did not respond readily, cause self was druck. But self did acknowledge the next day with excitement and aplomb! Game on.

I bought a bunch of quinine extract online (ironically, someone from the Amazon had it! ( or something like that). Added it to the fermentor. Cool! And, [drum roll] no more malaria! I'm ready for that Amazonian expedition I've been dreaming about! I'll bring the beer.

Once in the glass, magic. Ready for beer pong!

Take a chance. Jump into the newest brewing craze. It's.... alive! All the cool kids are doing it. Oh, and happy April 1st.

Got me too. Hook line and sinker. In my defense it's not the first yet.
Who am I kidding. Well played sir.
I'd have bought it a little more readily if the glowing tonic water and the glowing fermenter were the same color.
Nice job, though. I'm betting someone will actually try this.
@MrFoodScientist, @FrozenOcean
I actually did try it. The story is true right up to where I added it to the fermentor. I did buy that same quinine extract, added it to a glass of beer, and tried to get it to visibly flouresce under 365nm light. No bueno. I blame the extract, so I'm going to get some of the actual bark and try again. I think it will work, can't see why not. But I don't know of anyone else who's tried so I'm making it up as I go along.
I embellished a little to play an April Fools trick on you guys :)
HA! Nice one. It really does make me curious how the bark would work as a bittering agent and whether it would take so much to make it glow that you'd make your beer terrible.
@ passedpawn, did the extract itself glow under black light before you put it in the beer? If so, maybe it's just a matter of having sufficient concentration.
@cernst151 or settling out of solution. Does tonic water contain anything like gum arabic or some other substance as a stablizer to keep it mixed in solution?
excellent April Fools joke. Would have fallen for it if I didn't have experience using quinine in chemical reactions. it has a UV chromophore, but doesn't fluoresce very well.
@ drunkenjon, The ingredients for Canada Dry tonic water are: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate (preservative), Quinine, Natural Flavors
I don't think any of those are stabilizers. Of course, if the quinine liked to settle out of your beer you'd have the most beautiful (under UV at least) trub you've ever had.
I'm making my own tonic since I don't want high fructose corn syrup and lots of sugar, and will see if a glass of wine will glow if I add a bit of my tonic to it. I have to buy more chichona bark first, though!
Thanks for making me smile, Passedpawn! I needed the laugh today.
Curious why an April Fools joke is dated in March. :) Darned early birds...
Sidenote... We've made glowing jello shots with Tonic water... is there any reason it can't just be added to the boil either partially or entirely (which should eliminate the CO2 already in it) to get the UV reactive trait?
Second sidenote... Turmeric also glows under a blacklight but glows yellow in color. It sucks for Jello shots but for beer (even though the glow is a little weaker) it may be serviceable.
Re: March. I wanted to have it up for the early morning April 1 readers. So I posted the night before.
Tonic water contains a bunch of other stuff, but your idea is a pretty good one. Though, you'd be diluting the tonic water in your beer and the fluorescence would be reduced similarly.
I'll take a look at turmeric - thanks for that idea. I hope to do some more playing around this weekend with this fluorescence idea.
Hmmm, can't say I'm all that interested in glow in the dark beer. As long as it tastes great and gets me buzzed then I'm happy. Why did I click on this article anyways?