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How to break a beer bottle with your bare hands

Updated on January 25, 2012

So, how do you break a beer bottle with only your hands?

Breaking a beer bottle with your bare hands isn't as impressive as it sounds. With the right technique you can easily knock out the bottom of most glass bottles to the amazement of onlookers. The bottom will break clean out of the bottle, with little or no glass debris, to the surprise of your friends. Learn how to perform this popular party trick.

The idea is to hit a glass bottle, filled with water, in a particular way so that the bottom separates from the rest of the bottle with a clean break. The bottom literally falls to the ground with the water. I have performed this trick hundreds of times with beer, wine and soft drink bottles ranging from large to small, the largest being a magnum sized wine bottle.

The famous beer bottle trick revealed!

Anyone car perform this party trick

In order to successfully perform this trick, one needs to understand the theory behind it. It is quite simple. When a glass bottle is struck on the mouth with sufficient velocity, it moves down a small distance. This happens very quickly - so quickly in fact that the water inside doesn't move downward with the bottle. For an instant, a vacuum is created between the bottom of the bottle and the water. This vacuum sucks the water down with enough force to break the bottom clean off. This powerful and destructive phenomenon is called cavitation.

Some bottles will break easier than others and some won't break at all. The first step is to choose the right bottle - or rather to avoid trying the trick with the wrong type of bottle. Beer bottles are ideal for this trick because they normally have thin glass and are uniformly shaped. The wrong bottle will hurt your hand and your ego! Here are the rules of choosing a suitable bottle to break:

1. The thinner the glass in proportion to the size of the bottle, the easier to break the bottle. Some beer bottles for instance have thinner walls than others. They are the easiest ones to start practicing with.

2. The more cylindrical the bottle, the better your chances of success. Bottles with odd shapes are hard or impossible to break using this technique. Remember, the bottle has to move downward while the water stays put. With a cylindrical bottle this is easy because the water is not disturbed when the bottle suddenly moves downward.

3. The longer the bottle, the better. To knock out the bottom off a short, fat bottle, requires more energy than that of a long, thin bottle. The more water per square inch coming down on the bottom, the less energy is required to knock out the bottom.

4. The larger the bottle, the harder the trick becomes. This is because the glass is heavier and requires more energy to move down at the required velocity, and there is simply more glass to break.

To perform the trick the bottle needs to be filled with water (not beer!). The bottle should be clear of bubbles or air pockets. Rinse the bottle before attempting the trick. Fill the bottle to the bottom of the neck and make sure that all air bubbles have gone. The optimum level varies from bottle to bottle but the bottom of the neck is a good place to start. Hold the bottle at the neck, with your index finger and thumb tightly squeezed around the next, as high as you can so that the mouth just protrudes.

Now the most important part. The trick is to hit the bottle evenly at the mouth, quite hard but VERY fast. The most important thing here is speed. You don't have to lift your hand high, about ten inches should be enough. If you know martial arts you will instinctively know what is required. The trick is to bring the fleshy part of your palm down on the mouth of the bottle hard enough to hear a "ping" sound. If you hear that sound, you are close. Just keep trying. You may want to adjust the water lever slightly if you are unsuccessful at first. Adjusting the level will change the pitch of the "ping" sound, hopefully closer to that magic frequency at which the bottom will break off.

If you are proficient with this trick, you should be able to break every bottle with the first blow, to the amazement of your friends.

Is this trick safe?

Won't the bottle shatter in my hands?

Yes, it is safe as long as you carefully follow the instructions above and make sure all the broken glass is contained. If your hand is getting sore, try again another day. There's no point hurting yourself if it doesn't work.

Always be careful and only perform this trick over a container in order to catch the falling glass, and have a friend or two nearby at all times (well I guess that's the point, isn't it?). Clean up afterwards and make particularly sure that the broken glass has been disposed of in a safe manner.

Disclaimer: If you try this and get hurt, don't come and sue me. You are herewith warned to be careful, use common sense and not to try this trick if you have reason to believe that you may get hurt, are mentally unstable or otherwise unfit to break glass with your bare hands!

I hope you are able to amaze your friends with this party trick!

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beer gift

Found on the web

Funny beer cap

We came across this rather amusing beer cap, specifically for those who fear no bear! If your friends are less than impressed with your attempts to break a beer bottle, this may just put a smile back on their faces.

Tequila shirt
Tequila shirt

Can you handle your tequila?

We found a funny tequila shirt for you!

I guess we don't have to say anything. Tequila always has the last word.... We're pretty sure you (or at least one of your friends) will relate to this tequila shirt!

Video tutorial - See how it's done!

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    • hntrssthmpsn profile image

      hntrssthmpsn 5 years ago

      Cool trick! I'll do some surreptitious practicing in the the backyard, and then give it a whirl at our next BBQ :)

    • gypsyman27 lm profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 6 years ago

      Interesting trick, unique lens. See you around the galaxy...

    • viscri8 profile image

      viscri8 6 years ago

      What a wonderful trick!

    • A RovingReporter profile image

      A RovingReporter 6 years ago

      Great lens. I learn one new word: cavitation.