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How no more sideways beer foam?
June 6, 2009 3:54 PM   Subscribe

Is there a trick to having my bottle of beer NOT foam over when I open it?

The reality of our fridge is that I have to stack the bottles of beer on their sides on the bottom shelf. It doesn't happen every time but it seems like one out of every 6 bottles or so will foam over when I open it; unnoticeably at first, then the rush of foam splattering onto the floor when I'm about two-thirds of the way from the kitchen to the couch. I know the solution is to store the bottles upright but the size and layout of our fridge prevents this.
I don't care so much about the physics of this problem, more I'd just like to know if there's a quick solution to avoid the foam and still have my beer in a timely manner, like "run it under the tap for 3 seconds before you open it" or "toss a small bean into the bottle immediately after opening."
posted by chococat to Food & Drink (16 answers total)
 
I don't think there's any way around the cruel physics of carbonation, although that just may be a cue for someone to show up here with a brilliant solution. You could slowly pour the beer into the side of a large glass and drink from the glass. (I know I may have just lost my Canadian citizenship saying that.)

You probably won't get very much more foam, and if the glass is large enough, even if it foams more, you won't waste a drop or mess up the floor. Once you get the hang of it, you could pour while walking to the couch.
posted by maudlin at 4:05 PM on June 6, 2009


You can you keep one beer upright and always have that one next, replacing it with another beer when you take it.
posted by stavrogin at 4:06 PM on June 6, 2009


then the rush of foam splattering onto the floor when I'm about two-thirds of the way from the kitchen to the couch.

The easiest solution to the problem is what you should always be doing anyway: Pour your beer into a glass.
posted by dhammond at 4:19 PM on June 6, 2009


How cold is your refrigerator? Colder beer retains more carbonation.

Maudlin is right that you should pour into a glass.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 4:19 PM on June 6, 2009


I saw an episode of that show, "Food Detectives" on the Food Network where Ted Allen claimed that tapping on the side of a soda can that's been dropped helps keep it from fizzing over when opened. I couldn't find any clip of that episode, but I did find this website that explains why:

Although this method is for cans, perhaps it works for bottles too?
posted by Gonestarfishing at 4:20 PM on June 6, 2009


Ugh, link didn't work...here it is again:
Why do people tap on soda cans before opening them?
posted by Gonestarfishing at 4:22 PM on June 6, 2009


I know this works with screw-top bottles of carbonated water: Open the cap SLIGHTLY just until you hear a hiss. Wait for 5 seconds or so until the hiss slows or stops. Open up a bit more until you hear more hiss. Again, wait for hiss to stop. Now try opening the rest of the way.

I'm guessing your bottles aren't screw tops, but could you still try loosening the cap slowly, a little bit at a time instead of popping the cap off all at once?
posted by marsha56 at 4:42 PM on June 6, 2009


I think it is the nature of the beast. Happens to me that's why I like cans.
posted by patnok at 5:52 PM on June 6, 2009


1. Turn the can upside down.
2. Tap the bottom (the exposed silver and aluminum concave bottom) about 5 times. Strongly hold the can so it doesn't move when you tap it.
3. Slowly tip the can back upright on an axis parellel to the top and and bottom (or, rotate it so it's upright again).
4. Open. The C02 bubbles are back in the liquid.
posted by sleslie at 7:37 PM on June 6, 2009


Well, after you pour, a little grease from your inner ear or the side of your nose, applied with the fingertip, will act as a great de-foamer. Just don't let your mother-in-law see you do it.
posted by reverend cuttle at 7:38 PM on June 6, 2009


Oh crap... bottles. Sorry. Does anyone have a spare bottle of beer to test to see if this works for bottles?
posted by sleslie at 7:38 PM on June 6, 2009


The easiest solution to the problem is what you should always be doing anyway: Pour your beer into a glass.

That "solves" it by having the beer run over on your counter-top.
posted by smackfu at 1:08 PM on June 7, 2009


Could it have anything to do with the speed at which you're pulling the bottle out of the fridge and uprighting it? Or the speed at which you're taking your first sip - on your way to the couch?

I've noticed when drinking beer from a fullish bottle, if you go from the horizontial-drinking-position to the upright-sitting-on-the-table-position too quickly, the beer will foam over.

I think it has to do with the speed at which the air goes back into the bottle, burbling around the indent where the neck meets the bottle. The faster you tip the bottle back upright, the more the air sloshes around in the beer - creating the shaken-up soda can effect and subsequent spillage.

You'll see it happen with non-fullish beer too, but since it's non-fullish it doesn't overflow.
posted by youngergirl44 at 3:18 PM on June 7, 2009


Could it have anything to do with the speed at which you're pulling the bottle out of the fridge and uprighting it

I think there might be something to this. But then what's the solution? Tip it upward really slowly, I guess. I'll try it. It will be hard to gauge the success of this method because, as I mentioned, it doesn't seem to happen every time and I guess there's too many variables for me to figure out why it happens when it does.
Using a glass is an idea but that's adding a whole other vessel to deal with and another step. I like drinking out of the bottle. I do, however, always use a pint glass or the big mug I got at the Munich Hofbrau Haus when I have the big cans of imported beer, for some reason.
The nose grease thing is interesting but I'd be frightened that it would become ingrained so I did without thinking and that would be kinda gross in public.
posted by chococat at 4:29 PM on June 7, 2009


I think youngergirl44 has it. Though I do think beers taste better in a glass.
posted by pointilist at 6:15 PM on June 7, 2009


My research is still in its very early stages but it seems as though a combination of taking the bottle out of the fridge with less of a jerky motion and opening the cap very slowly has produced encouraging results. However, this research was based on a particular brand with a twist-off cap (Upper Canada Lager), so results may vary with a bottle-opener or a different brand.
posted by chococat at 3:39 PM on June 15, 2009


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