Episode 29: Cooling a Six pack

Air Date: March 23, 2005

A six pack of beer can be rapidly cooled by burying it in sand, pouring gasoline on top of it, and lighting the gasoline.


The fire did not significantly alter the temperature of the beer; in fact, the fire actually raised the temperature slightly, not to mention burying the beer made the cans sandy.

(With this myth quickly busted, Adam and Jamie tested other cooling methods. A carbon dioxide fire extinguisher was able to cool a six pack to a satisfactory temperature in approximately 3 minutes. In terms of practicality, though, one’s best bet is to use icy salt water, which cooled the beer to an ideal temperature in 5 minutes. Barring that, normal ice water was next fastest at 15 minutes. The other methods tested (the freezer, ice only, and the refrigerator) did not cool the beer rapidly enough to warrant their use in a spur-of-the-moment event.)

The ancient people of Babylon created a crude battery for use in electroplating.


An overnight plating of zinc over copper seemed to work very well.

The ancient people of Babylon created a crude battery for use in acupuncture therapy?.


The electricity from the batteries was felt through the acupuncture needles, though the needles eventually grew hot, causing the Build Team to theorize this technique also being used as a form of torture.

The ancient people of Babylon created a crude battery for use in testing spiritual resolve.


While the ancient batteries were not used on the recreation Ark of the Covenant due to their weak charge (approximately a third of a volt each, or almost 4 volts for a set of ten), Adam theorized that, if any charge was felt with the batteries, the ancient people would believe it to be of divine origin due to their lack of knowledge about electricity.


  1. Ninja says:

    The icy salt water method of cooling beverages can be sped up if you spin the beverage in the water.

  2. Kyle says:

    The myth I heard about cooling beer was that it was dipped into gasoline several times, allowing it to evaporate between each dip. The evaporation would allegedly suck the heat out of the beer can.

  3. Ali says:

    Adam’s original rig of cooling down the beer was good but it actually worked a bit too well. However I think he was wrong to abandon the dry ice idea. Instead of replacing it with normal ice, he could have shortened the length of the coil just enough so that the six pack would cool down to ideal drinking temperature but not freeze.

  4. Franky says:

    You can make a small current by placing a copper wire and a tin wire in a lot of dissolved salt.

  5. sierra says:

    try aluminum instead of liquid nitrogen and copper

  6. Marty says:

    I think a six pack of beer can be rapidly cooled by burying it in sand, pouring gasoline on top of it, and lighting the gasoline if the sand is wet. I do recall seeing this beening done with wet beach sand.

  7. Nina says:

    how did the ancient people bower the batteries?

  8. Tori says:

    cooling a six pack is an awsome experiment.. my friend and i are doing for a science fair.. hope we win! LOL thanks for the great idea/ hopw you dont mind :D i love your show too! LOLOLOL

  9. Nina says:

    How did ancient people cool their beer?

  10. janice says:

    i was able to print the formula for cooling a six pack amonth ago on episoid 29 sec. season. i need it for a scicene experiment

  11. Micky says:

    Awesome Show lol!! Like Others Ya I’m Doing this for science fair,I’m not gonna use a fire Extinguisher (wrong Spelling} but cool show!!

  12. Keith Harley says:

    Jamie and Adam,
    I was just watching a re-run of Ancient batteries, the part with the recreated Ark of the Covenant. I believe you were using batteries as a source of power. If you read the Bible’s description of how it was built you can clearly see that it was a very large and powerful CAPACITOR charged up by just the breeze blowing over the “sail” attached to the crown. There was a University in the states ( Can’t remember which one) that was trying to build one. They abandoned it because it got too dangerous. Just thought you might find this interesting.

    Keith Harley

  13. Collin and Louie says:

    Thanks for the great science fair project. I think I will do this at all my parties. We used soda instead of beer and boy was it refreshing. MmMmmmMM….

  14. Lance Brydges says:

    Hey guys.
    Watched your testing of the myth that beer can be cooled with gasoline at the beach. I don’t think your reinactment took into consideration all the factors. I believe the way the beer cooled was from the burning gasoline sucking up the cool water buried deep beneath the sand. Your mock up had no depth and no significant cool water in that depth from which to draw on. You could revisit it or I’ll just test it myself this summer and let you know.
    Keep Busting!
    Namarie an si

  15. Brandon says:

    Hey Mythbusters!
    I really liked the experiment in which You tried to cool a 6 pack the fastest! Now my friend and I are going to do the experiment for a science fair project.

  16. Merlin says:

    I like to know more abought the The ancient people of Babylon created a crude battery.

  17. ash says:

    we are doing this for a scincecc fair project. and we need help. the project is due on thursday, we need help to get info. and i really need herlp i m stressin out…PLZ HELP!!!

  18. Donald says:

    My son would like to do the Cooling a Six Pack for a Science Fair project. We would like to get more information on how to perform the project. Can you please provide us with the information on the materials and amounts used to perform the experiments with the coolers.

  19. jate says:

    does it have to be a CO2 fire extinguisher though? because it could be more than 30 bucks if it has to be. can ABC fire extinguisher work instead?

    • Luca says:

      Try it with canned compressed air. You can get it for 1$ and (as any compressed gas) its expansion is endothermic.

  20. brian helm says:

    HEY YOU GUYS!!!!!! try regular ice fresh out of the bag place room beer in ice heres the secret rotate the can with your figers ice cools can beer rotates bringing warm beer into contact with can about 60 seconds and you have a teeth cracking cold beer

  21. bill essary says:

    my father and i discussed the beer chilling ideas and he came up with one that being a chemical engineer he has done himself. dry ice in alcohol WILL chill the beer probably faster than any other tecnique, however you only have about 20 sec and the can will explode. the alcohol does not freeze, rather it gells at extremely low temp and allows the can to be fully submerged. be careful as always. and keep blowing stuff up!!!!!

  22. Jimmy says:

    I agree with Lance! Tried this on an actual beach and the coolness gets pulled up from down below the sand… kind of like when you burn a fire in your fireplace and the outer rooms in your house get colder.
    Try it again fellas!

    • Luca says:

      With all due respect that seems gibberish. The dire is esothermic, this means it doesn’t “move” the coolness. It just produces warmness. Outer rooms probably seem cooler by comparison (or you switched off the warming System of the house becausr you had the dire going).

  23. Darren says:

    when you put a beer in the fridge and one in the freezer, will they both hit a certain temperature at the same time and then the freezer take over to keep on cooling?

  24. Bob says:

    Awsome job on the Moon Landing myth!

  25. Murph says:

    Adam was right on the money with the copper coil for instant beer cooling — he just didn’t take it quite far enough. Not sure about the USA, but the typical setup for draft beer on UK bars has the beer kegs stored at anything up to room temperature, then the beer is passed through a helical pipe immersed in a water bath cooled by a fridge type cooling circuit (ice in the water would have the same effect). So, if he’d setup an ice water bath with the coil (allowing the copper to cool before first use), he’d probably have been dead on.

  26. Steve says:

    The stories I heard were always on a sandy beach or river bank. There is no way it can work without the moisture from below. Dry sand should not have been used. How about a revisit, at least you can have a couple of beers on the job while testing it.

    • Luca says:

      I finally get what should happen. It’s tricky to say the least. The fire is esothermic and evaporation is endothermic. Question is: could the evaporation take Energy from the sand below (and by extension the beers)? It still doesn’t seem likely.

  27. Lisa says:

    Saw a rerun of the show on New Year’s Day and my son is planning to test a can of soda in the coolers for his science fair project. Could you please email me the info on amounts of ice, salt, and water used in the coolers? I think it will be a great project to discuss freezing point lowering! Thanks for any help you can provide.

  28. wheisker says:

    First id like to say love your show
    and seccond i think reduceing the amount of dry ice in and around the copper coil could help
    im doing a science experiment well trying.
    my teach knows that im “borrowing” the idea
    thanks adam, jamie.

  29. Keith says:

    Cooling a six pack. I think the guys do pretty well at trying a myth from all angles, however in this myth’s case they didn’t do anything. The myth did not say anything about putting the sand in a 10 gallon fish bowl. They said this was in Vietnam. I guess they assumed that everu soldier had fish which they dumped out and then cooled the bear in the bowl??? My simple retest would be to actually duplicate the myth. Dig a hole in the ground (sounds like a good idea to do this next to a cool river or ocean in the fall or winter, and repeat the myth test. My intuition tells me that the heat will pull the colder temperature of the ground through the beer cans and it might actually work. I’m assuming you don’t get ice cold beer but if it is warm I can see it getting colder. Redo the myth Mythbusters.

  30. Tayla M says:

    I trying to do a science project using Adam’s dry ice design but I can barely get info without the clip. Another thing is that my Dad and I had to alter almost the whole thing. Someone HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. Tayla M says:

    Also the Science Fair is in three days.:(

  32. alex h says:

    hey dudes i have decided i am going to do this as my science project does it have to be gasoline or can it be lighter fluid?

  33. Jonathan D says:

    The six pack cooling method will only work with making a wood fire on it not gasoline. The fire constantly burning up top while the cans are burried benieth, dunno how deep, does not cool the can itself. The rising heat lets coolness from within the ground rise up towards the surface. Creating a icy cold bed for the six pack to cool down in. Dunno how long it takes to precisely but my father in law states that the Koi-san or Bushmen people that live here in South Africa showed him the method while he was in the army on the country borders.

  34. felixnoir says:

    I think Mythbusters should test where the interface is between ‘theorising’ and ‘waffling on about anything that comes into your head’.

    Any human being of any period has experienced static electricity. Also, the Babylonians, who knew things like pi and could easily work in base 12, 14, 22 or whatever numbers you care to mention, weren’t necessarily American Hillbillies who believe in creationism and that Lighting Is Made By God.

  35. CRoW says:

    where did the myth of cooling a buried object originate from???

  36. nathan says:

    Lay 1 warm aluminum can of beer, lengthways onto a block of ice. Place the rubber chuck of a cordless drill onto the end of the can. Put medium pressure on the can with the rubber chuck and using a fast setting start Spinning the can on the ice for 1 minute. The can will melt a groove in the ice as it cools, so the next beer will have greater surface contact area with the ice and cool down even faster. If you don’t have a drill, use a two handed slap/spin technique to spin the can – 2 minutes and its icey cold.

  37. Paul Party says:

    I know how to cool a six pack, sealed beverage can or bottle, from room temp from a store floor display in 1 minute. I know Jamie has been waiting to revisit this. I am attempting to patent my idea so let me know if MB is interested to help my invention succeed.

  38. Willie'H says:

    I have made cold beers many a time with the sand method.Dig a hole 12 inches in the sand.Pour one liter of water into hole.Put six pack in.Fill slowly with sand till sand is wet.cover six pack with remaining sand up to one inch.Pour over half a liter gasoline and set on fire.Whala!Onjoy!

    • Willie'H says:

      If you are at the coast or a river just put the cans in the hole and fill it with damp/moist sand.Pour gasoline,set on fire

  39. tanker says:

    What cools soda faster ice or ice water

    • P says:

      When using just plain old ice, there are air pockets between each ice cube, so when your soda cans sit in the ice, they are not receiving 100% contact. With ice water, the water fills in the air pockets created by the ice cubes, and because of this, your cans are able to be 100% submerged and contacted, therefore speeding up the cooling process.

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