You probably get a lot of life hacks in your email or on your Facebook, particularly if you have either helpful idiots or clueless teenagers in your feed. Life hacks tend to fall into four categories: insanely obvious things that any adult should know, things that don’t work at all, convoluted ways to solve non-problems, and legit tricks.
Here’s one of the legitimate ones: if you need to cool a beer quickly, wet a paper towel, wrap your beer with it, and throw it in the freezer for fifteen minutes. You can test it against a beer you don’t wrap—the wrapped one will be colder after fifteen minutes.
So what’s happening? Two things: water evaporation and increased area for heat transfer.
When you put a damp paper towel in the dry, cool environment of the freezer, the water both cools and equilibrates with the surrounding air. Because water requires a lot of heat to go from liquid to gas, it cools rapidly as it’s rapidly evaporating.
The other thing at work is surface area. Paper towels, being made of cellulose fibres, have much more surface area than your can or bottle. Said surface area is covered in rapidly evaporated and rapidly cooling water, making it pretty efficient at cooling.
So there you go. Not only does this one life hack work, but there are good reasons for it to work. Of course, you could just put your beer in the fridge and be a little patient, but hey—that would be the mature thing to do.