How to Make a Rice Krispies Treat Beer Cozy
This beer can cozy, part of our Beer Cozy Experiment, is both functional and a delicious snack. Although its design and the application of this material is original, we do acknowledge a debt of inspiration to the Cockeyed Science Club for their pioneering research into the thermal properties of Rice Krispies Treats.
To make the cozy, we mixed up a regular batch of Rice Krispies Treats using the basic recipe:
Melt the butter in a large pan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir till melted. Mix in cereal.
Before preparing the Rice Krispies, we lined a 3-quart plastic plant nursery pot with a plastic bag and sprayed the inside with nonstick cooking spray. Then we packed about an inch and a half of the Rice Krispies Treat goop into the bottom. We place a beverage can, covered in foil and sprayed with PAM, in the center, and packed Rice Krispies Treats all around it. We made sure to pack the stuff in pretty solidly, but not so hard that the cereal got crushed.
The Rice Krispies set over night. The next day, as we readied our Food Fight experiment, we carefully unmolded the cozy, removed the placeholder can and placed a chilled beer in the center.
Like Styrofoam, but Tastier
The Rice Krispies performed admirably, better than one of the best can cozies we tested. They work well as an insulating material because each individual grain of crisped rice traps multiple pockets of air. And when the Rice Krispies are suspended in molten marshmallows, more air is trapped in the interstices between the cereal. The cereal is a pretty nonconductive material, and the trapped air prevents heating due to convection. The light color of the cereal may also help by deflecting heat radiation. Of course, it probably helped that the Rice Krispies were about 1 ˝ to 2 inches thick – compared to about a half inch of foam in the standard can cozy. But 2 inches is about the average thickness of a Rice Krispies Treat.
Given that it was 103 degrees F in the shade when we tested the Rice Krispies Treat can cozy, we expected it might just melt into a puddle of sticky goo halfway through the trial. But it surprised us by holding together for well over an hour. At the end of the experiment it was a bit stickier on the outside and bottom, but not really any worse for wear. We sampled a portion and found it still edible and delicious.
However, it was beginning to attract ants. We wondered how long it would last in direct sun and went to place it on a concrete pad in direct sunlight. On the way, we jostled the can a bit, spilling some beer and inadvertently discovering a major flaw in the Rice Krispies Treat can cozy: it is highly porous. The spilled beer began to trickle out the bottom of the cozy, as we heard that familiar “Snap, Crackle, Pop” (or was it “Snap, Crackle, Burp”?), signaling the contact of Rice Krispies with liquid. While spilling a beer in another cozy might be inconvenient and messy, in this case it compromised the beer cozy’s functionality, cohesion, and edibility – unless you like beer-soaked Rice Krispies.
We forged on and set the Rice Krispies cozy on the hot pavement, where the surface temperature registered about 130 degrees F. Eventually the blazing sun took its toll, and about half an hour later the Rice Krispies beer can cozy lost its structural integrity and collapsed.
Conclusions: Although the Rice Krispies Treat beer can cozy proved to have superior can-insulating abilities under controlled conditions, ultimately it is not a practical device due to its vulnerability to beer spillage, direct sunlight, and predatory insects. Its large size and sticky surface also detract from its user-friendliness. Due to these factors, we can recommend the Rice Krispies Treat beer can cozy for limited indoor use only.