The Science of Beer Tapping

Eno Sarris, November 20, 2013

Maybe it's because I prefer my beers off the tap. Or maybe it's because if I'm drinking from a bottle, and I bought it, it's not your average five-dollar six-pack beer -- if you cost me my beer, my wallet would be angry. Maybe it's because I'm willing to laugh at myself, and usually people like you to get angry if they prank you. Maybe it's because my friends aren't dicks.

For whatever the reason, I've never been the victim of 'beer tapping.'

And now I'm probably a target. But apparently this is a thing. You take your beer bottle and you tap the top of another person's beer bottle, and -- this is scientifcally proven -- a millisecond later a process has begun that results in all of the foam coming out of your bottle. Even more interesting than foamy beer calisthenics might be the fact that scientists couldn't explain the phenomenon.


Read what Javier Rodríguez-Rodríguez, assistant professor at the Fluid Mechanics Group of Carlos III University of Madrid, found when he investigated the phenomenon. Or just watch the video below, that's easier than reading all the big words.

For one, I'm glad this terrible mystery has been solved. I'm not super glad that the findings might be applied in the oil business, but people need to get paid I guess.

The best news for craft beer lovers might be that there's a solution to this scourge. Your thumb. From the link above, a paraphrase:

However, you can keep the bubbles from growing and creating plumes by quickly plugging the bottle with your thumb until the carbon dioxide has a chance to dissolve back into the liquid – much like re-capping a soda bottle if it starts to spew everywhere upon opening. Although, that may take longer than you’re willing to wait.

Phew. So, if you're out there, waiting to tap my beer, I'm ready for you. Thumbs up.