There is no question that people around the world enjoy their beer in many different ways; one of those different ways involves downing the beer in under 10 seconds and is typically only practiced by the younger university-aged party crowd is called shotgunning beer.
Since you have made it to this post perhaps you are looking to learn how to shotgun a beer or are just interested in what this method of slamming back beers fast and getting soaked in the process is all about.
Either way, we are going to review all of the steps involved in shotgunning a beer as well as provide you with some tips on how to master it so if you ever decide to give it a try you will look like you have been slamming beers and crushing cans for years…
Table of Contents
What is Shotgunning Beer?
For those of you who never had the pleasure of taking part in this time-honored activity and really don’t know what shotgunning a beer is all about we will start with a brief overview of what is involved and then get into more details of how to do it the right way.
The basic concept is that it allows you to chug a beer at lightning speed, much faster than if you simply cracked the top of the beer and started drinking it.
In most cases, it is done as a race between 2 or more people to see who can finish the can of beer first. Other times it is done as simply a way to get intoxicated very quickly or to get over the fact that the cheap beer you purchased on a budget might not taste that great and by shotgunning one or two very quickly you can numb your taste buds to the bad taste.
The basics are you puncture the side of the can, put your mouth over the hole you created, as you are raising the beer up, open the can, and the beer shoots into your mouth at lightning speed while you swallow it as fast as you can. Typically in under 10 seconds, the can is empty, and following the time-honored tradition, you then slam the can on the ground.
Tips on How to Shotgun a Beer
Follow these quick tips if you want to dominate a shotgunning competition or at least have a respectable showing and not spray beer all over the place soaking yourself and everyone around you…
- Pick the right kind of beer, not all beer is suitable for shotgunning.
- Your location matters, choose wisely.
- Position the can horizontally before puncturing.
- Put a dent in the can where you want to puncture it.
- Puncture the can with a sharp-pointed instrument.
- Take a deep breath.
- Put your mouth over the punctured hole (don’t cut yourself).
- As you bring the can up vertically open it.
- Gulp beer down as fast as possible.
- When empty slam beer can on the ground (very important to a successful shotgun!)
Follow those tips and you will be well on your way to mastering this art. However to really up your game the following goes into more detail on each tip and is an important read for anyone looking to take their shotgunning beer game to the next level…
Use the Right Kind of Beer
Step one is to understand that the beer must be a canned beer. Bottle beer does not work; it is a very difficult thing to puncture a hole in the side of a glass bottle.
Next, understand this is not the time to break out your favorite craft beer or beers with a high alcohol by volume percentage (ABV).
Beers that are fuller tasting, have a lot of carbonation, and a large head will not go down quickly or easily and you will end up spitting out foam all over the place if you try. Plus it does not make any sense to waste a delicious tasting craft beer by trying to shotgun it when you will not be tasting or enjoying much of it.
Since you are slamming it back fast, higher alcohol beers are also not recommended as you will become overly intoxicated much too quickly. Drinking responsibly is always the best course of action.
The best beer to use is a light beer typically around 4 – 5% ABV. If you are intended to slam back a few of them you might even consider going to a 3% beer.
Choose Your Location Carefully
The fact is that shotgunning beer can take practice and until you get decent to good at it you are going to spill and spray beer all over the place.
So choose your location carefully. Do not be near any nice furniture or too close to people for that matter. Outdoors a good distance away from people is best when starting out. Once you master this skill you will be able to slam one back anywhere without so much as losing a drop, but give yourself time.
Position the Can Horizontally
Starting out it is recommended to place the can on its side on a hard surface like a table or bar top in front of you, position it so the long side is facing towards you.
As you get good at it you will most likely simply start holding the can in one hand and tilt it up a bit. People with experience hold it this way so that the air bubble in the can moves up and when they puncture the can they do so where the air is which minimizes the beer spilling out.
But starting out don’t worry about this, a little spill is better than messing the puncture up and having to start over with a new can.
Also, position the can as you would drink it. This means if you are right-handed you will want to position it so that the tab is facing towards your right so you can open it with your right hand and vice versa if you are left-handed.
Dent the Can
The next step is to make a dent where you will puncture the can in the next step. Most people will use their thumbnail to do this, but any blunt object of the same size as your thumb will work fine.
First locate the perfect spot for the dent, which is approximately an inch up from the base of the can. You will notice that further down closer to the base the metal is a little thicker and is harder to dent.
Next, roll the can slightly while gently pushing down on it (not denting it yet), you are attempting to locate and feel the little air pocket as best as you can. Once you feel it press into the can and create a dent. Do not sweat it starting out if you can not find the air pocket, it’s not a big deal if you spill a little bit of beer.
Puncture the Can
The dent you have just made is where you are going to puncture the can. Although some seasoned shotgunners use their teeth, that is not recommended, as the can is very sharp and you can easily turn a fun (although admittedly ridiculous) event into a trip to the hospital for stitches.
Instead use somewhat of a sharp item, although it does not have to be overly sharp. Some people will use knives however we are hesitant to recommend using knives when drinking, if you do just be careful. Many people will use keys, however, a screwdriver, corkscrew, or scissors will also work.
Once you have chosen your tool, position its sharp end directly in the center of the dent you created. Push down rather quickly but not too hard as you do not want to make the dent bigger or puncture the underside of the can.
Once the hole has been created use the tool to make the hole big enough to drink out of. Once the hole is large enough, take the tool and push all of the metal edges back into the can, this is an important step as you do not want to cut your mouth.
Shotgunning the Beer
The moment of truth has arrived. In reality, the hardest part, which is the preparation of the can, is behind you and all you really have to do now is open your mouth, let gravity do its thing, and swallow.
Start by positioning your mouth over the hole you created. Take a deep breath and when you are ready to go, start to rotate the can from the horizontal position to the vertical (straight up) as you raise your head up.
As you are raising the can and your head up, crack open the beer can, when you do the beer will start to flow very quickly out of the hole you created and into your mouth, start chugging and swallowing as quickly as you can.
Now for the important part… when and only when all of the beer is out of the can immediately slam it on the ground and high-five all your friends!
Shotgun Beer Responsibly
It is important to understand that by shotgunning a beer you are getting the alcohol into your system much quicker than you would be if you were to drink it the “normal” way. When this happens your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) will rise quickly and you will become intoxicated quicker.
So be responsible and don’t overdo it. Know your limit and stick to it. If you know how many beers it takes you to get drunk, understand that by drinking them faster like this it will take less of them.
Shotgunning beer is intended to be fun, so do your best to keep it that way and not end up with any regrets.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Does shotgunning get you drunk?
Like drinking any other alcoholic beverage the answer is it depends. The following are just a few of the many factors that come into play that determine whether you will become drunk and how long you will stay drunk…
- How many beers you shotgun
- Your gender
- Your weight
- Whether you have eaten food and drank water beforehand
- Any medications you are on
What is the point of shotgunning?
It is usually done as a competition between friends, with the winner being the person who can shotgun the beer the fastest. Some people will do it to simply show others in the group they can do it and others will do it because they want to get a quick buzz or perhaps the beer they are drinking tastes terrible and they want to numb their taste buds as fast as possible.
What is the easiest beer to shotgun?
A light beer at about 4% like Budlight will be the easiest starting out.
How do you shotgun without spilling?
When you are starting out, take your time. Outside of that like everything else practice makes perfect shotgunning.
How do you shotgun a beer faster?
Again it really just comes down to practice. However, the skills needed to be really fast are the same skills used to chug beer fast. Taking swallows or gulps slows the process down, the least amount of swallows you have to take the faster you will be. People really good at this are able to open their throats up and let the beer flow without having to swallow a bunch of times.
To Put it in a Nutshell
Long story short, learning how to shotgun a beer is not difficult. However, getting good at it does take practice. By using the right beer, puncturing the right size hole carefully, and lifting and opening the can as explained you will quickly become good enough at this fun drinking game to be able to impress your friends with your skills and more importantly not spray yourself and everyone else with a beer shower. Remember to have fun and know your limits.
Cheers, Big Robb is Out!
P.S. If you make your own beer or want to start, I recommend you grab the recipes for my top 5 best-selling brews from my brewpub. Details are on the side of the blog or the bottom of your smart device. Enjoy!