Why does the head on beer taste like pennies?
March 31, 2004 6:37 PM   Subscribe

Why does the head on beer taste like pennies?
posted by tomharpel to Food & Drink (22 answers total)
 
Well I was trying to figure out what, if any chemical process changes when zinc reacts with the saliva in your mouth. Uh I couldn't really find any, so I have no idea why the head of beer tastes like heavy metals. I bet it has something to do with the placement of taste buds that sense CO2 (what would be I would guess mostly present in the head) and those that sense heavy metals. I could be wrong but the taste of beer and pennies both appears to come from the outer edges of my tongue.
posted by geoff. at 7:36 PM on March 31, 2004


I don't think it's due to any reaction in the mouth, because it smells like that too.
posted by abcde at 8:04 PM on March 31, 2004


Note that both of them are also the same metallic smell that one (I) gets just after a sneeze. I coulda sworn I read why that was somewhere, but I can't remember.
posted by abcde at 8:16 PM on March 31, 2004


Off topic: Why are you people eating so many pennies?
posted by esch at 8:32 PM on March 31, 2004


You have never put a penny in your mouth esch? That penny taste should be known by everyone alive with tastebuds.

On topic: The same kind of taste when you smoke too many cigarettes.
posted by Keyser Soze at 9:06 PM on March 31, 2004


Why does the head on beer taste like pennies?

Jeez...when I scanned the page, it looked like "Why does the head on beer taste like penises?"

Yikes.
posted by davidmsc at 9:18 PM on March 31, 2004


When I drink guinness and the foam touches my upper lip I always freak out because when I lick it it tastes like blood.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:22 PM on March 31, 2004


I imagine I have at one point or another, but I don't really remember the taste...

Is this a phenomenon that happens with all beer or just some certain styles/brands?
posted by esch at 9:23 PM on March 31, 2004


All of them. For me beer/isopropyl/just-after-a-sneeze/pennies/some other coins smell/taste similar( mix and match as you like).
posted by abcde at 10:44 PM on March 31, 2004


I don't think it's due to any reaction in the mouth, because it smells like that too.

Smelling and tasting both require chemical reactions. I have no idea how similar they are. But lots of things taste and smell alike, so perhaps they are similar?
posted by scarabic at 3:51 AM on April 1, 2004


Playing quarters?
posted by yerfatma at 5:14 AM on April 1, 2004


I hope you'll permit me a complete lack of an answer in order to say: fantastic question!
posted by nthdegx at 5:16 AM on April 1, 2004


Jeez...when I scanned the page, it looked like "Why does the head on beer taste like penises?"

Me, too! Me, too! And then I was like, what kind of beer are these people drinking???

I get the blood/metallic taste from the head of a Guinness, too.
posted by jennyb at 7:03 AM on April 1, 2004


How many of you penny-tasters have metal fillings? How many do not?

I don't have fillings, and I don't taste pennies (or penises!) when I sip my beer.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:36 AM on April 1, 2004


i can't answer your question, but blood tastes like iron because of the iron in the hemoglobin, which lends more credence to your head tastes like metal... and taste and smell are kinda similar, taste is more a combination of the stimulation of just a few sensors though, while smell is a combination of many many more.
posted by rhyax at 11:24 AM on April 1, 2004


I don't taste pennies in beer-head (or blood in Guiness-head, for that matter). Two tooth fillings way in the back of my mouth. Maybe it's a genetic trait?
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 11:51 AM on April 1, 2004


Ok. Genetically, I can smell asparagus urine and can roll my tongue. I recall there being a bitter taste-test thing, too; I believe I can taste the bitter. I don't taste pennies, though.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:27 PM on April 1, 2004


My unscientific guess would be that the head has a lot of hop taste but little or no malt taste. To my senses, an ultra-hoppy/lower malt beer like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has a distinctly metallic taste.
posted by turbodog at 2:12 PM on April 1, 2004


All beer or beer out of a tap?
posted by modofo at 4:23 PM on April 1, 2004


Most beers. And no fillings.
posted by tomharpel at 10:11 PM on April 1, 2004


Generally, no "penny" taste for me. No fillings.

For homebrewers, a "metallic" taste usually indicates beer that is over-aged or perhaps an off-taste from bad or too much hops.
posted by maniactown at 11:11 PM on April 1, 2004


Is it just American beer? I drink what could be charitably described as a fair bit of the stuff (Korean vintage), and I can't say I've noticed a penny taste. Also, I have fillings.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:36 PM on April 1, 2004


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