Single-Serving Sake Superheating

[ scitech ] Message 1: Sun April 4, 1999  9:33pm
From: jhdiii (johnd@scorch)
Subject: Another bizarre beverage experience

(documentation of the *last* such experience is at:

Soooo, I bought a large bottle of sake and didn't like it.  I can never
remember which ones I like and which I don't.  Irene suggested that I buy a
bunch of those little single-serving bottles of sake and record which I like. 
So I did.  Well, I bought them anyway.  So far, I've tried one of them, and
this is what happened: 

I removed the screw cap from the bottle and, what with it already being in a
heatable vessel and all, put it directly in the microwave oven and turned it on.
I like my sake extremely hot, so I usually heat it to the boiling point.  So I
just peered through the viewport waiting for it to boil.  The liquid level had
been about an inch down from the bottle lip, so it should be obvious when it
boiled.  I waited.  And waited.  Hmm, it should have boiled long ago.  Wait. 
Wait.  OK, there's something going wrong... maybe it's boiling and I just can't
tell?  I opened the door.  There appeared to be a film (bubble) of sake across
the top of the bottle, suggesting that it had indeed boiled.  Without really
thinking, I reached in to dip my finger in the bottle to see how hot it was.  I
touched the "bubble"...


Hot liquid blasted out of the top of the bottle.  A fine warm spray washed over
my hand, arm, and face.  Amazingly, my finger wasn't scalded, though the event
was, to put it mildly, startling.  I suppose I'm lucky that the bottle didn't
burst.  About 1/4 of the contents were lost in that instant as steam and
expelled liquid.  It would appear that the "bubble" was actually the liquid
contents, having been heated to the point where thermal expansion caused it to
reach the lip of the bottle.

So now I've had both the supercooling and superheating experiences.  Both in
the Armory kitchen, where apparently alcoholic beverages *really* like to
remain in the liquid state...
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