Tap or not?
The burning question of whether tapping on the side or bottom of a shaken beer can before opening it lessens the fizz and associated beer loss has been addressed by a Cornell University study.
A group of twelve Cornell University researchers recently published their findings in a seventeen-page report. The group randomly placed 1,000 cans of beer into one of four groups: unshaken/untapped, unshaken/tapped, shaken/untapped, shaken/tapped. Each can in the two "shaken" groups was shaken to simulate a 10-minute bicycle ride. (Do bicycle riders commonly transport their beer on shaky bike rides?)
The researchers then weighed the unopened cans, tapped the cans in the "tapped" groups three times on the side with a single finger, opened the cans, soaked up the overflowed beer with paper towels, and re-weighed the cans.
Here's the answer you've been waiting for!
The report concludes that tapping the can before opening it does not prevent beer loss, stating that "the only apparent remedy to avoid liquid loss is to wait for bubbles to settle before opening the can."
The report detailed the methodology used to maintain the integrity of the experiment, including the use of a butter knife to open the cans, to avoid "finger and nail-bed pain for researchers who were opening cans." It also addressed the "broader social implications" of the study, such as minimizing the potential for "tapping-related finger injuries", and the health benefits of slowing drinkers down by convincing them to wait for a shaken can to settle, rather than tap and drink more rapidly.
Now you know.
You can read the Cornell study and report for yourself by clicking on the links below:
Barry O'Barma says
Somewhere in the world, it is beer o'clock.
I bet they did not try it with cans of Boddingtons Ale, which have the nitro cartridge in them to give the beer a creamy head - open and pour. But Cornell Students would probably not know to pour straight away, nor would they have a pint glass ready.
My favorite experiment in this vein involves bottles of Perrier Jouet's La Belle Epoch: carefully remove the cork from the chilled, unshaken bottle, so that it emits a gentle sigh, and pour two glasses, careful not do spill a drop. Toast life with my lover and imbibe. Regardless of whether the bottle is chilled label up or label down, or bottle upright on ice, it still tastes better than beer.
Wesley Clark says
Loss of all but a trivial amount of beer from a shake beer can can be accomplished, simply by opening the can in the top of a wide-mouthed beer glass, allowing the escaping beer to be caught by the glass.
I hope that this study was not underwritten by a U.S. Government grant!
I don't drink anything out of a can but most definitely not beer.
As a college student many of my friends did extensive research on this. At the end of our research we discovered it more more important to have a ready supply of cold cans, than to worry about how we were going to open & consume them. We were always concerned about our future's.