Sitka Sound Science Center to host beer density discussion at Baranof Island Brewing Company


Liquids can have different densities or gravities depending on a variety of conditions, such as temperature or ingredients. That’s one reason frozen water (ice) floats in water at room temperature, because the warmer water is more dense than the ice.

From 6-7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 30, the Sitka Sound Science Center will host visiting Scientists in the Schools presenter Julia O’Hern as she leads a discussion and experiments about beer density to adults at the Baranof Island Brewing Company taproom at 215 Smith St. O’Hern has been in Sitka this week doing a series of presentations on marine science and liquid density knowledge to third-graders at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School.

Various types of beer have different densities, and they can change during the brewing process. During Friday’s presentation, you’ll be able to pour a bit of one type of beer into another, then watch to see how the beers separate from each other so the denser beer is on the bottom. A good example of this is the half and half (or black and tan), which has a pale ale or lager on the bottom with a darker and less-dense stout or porter on the top as a layered drink. Another experiment includes mixing a cold beer with a warm version of the same beer. After the experiments, O’Hern will be around to chat about her exploits as an oceanographer.

“Density is important to oceanography because density drives ocean currents, nutrient cycling, and therefore biological habitat preference,” said Ashley Bolwerk, Sitka Sound Science Center Education Coordinator. “We are just going to briefly discuss how density works by using beer to separate layers, which actually happens in the ocean with different temperatures and salinities.”

Also, the Sitka Sound Science Center is excited to introduce its monthly Volunteer Day on one Saturday a month. We’re asking volunteers, who have always wanted to give back to the Science Center, to swing by from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Jan. 31, to help out with our various volunteer projects. This month, we’ll be tackling some painting projects. Volunteers of all ages are welcome to join. Painting supplies will be provided, but wear your painting clothes.

For more information, contact education manager Ashley Bolwerk or 747-8878, ext. 22 or

About Charles Bingham

I build community and health project websites in Sitka, Alaska. My sites include,,,, and My portfolio site is Since I build and maintain most of these sites on a volunteer basis, feel free to donate to me through PayPal to help with the costs, Thanks
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