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Why a bottom opened, empty can is the preferred method of saving a collectable beverage can.

Since becoming a collector of beer cans back in the summer of 1973, I still remember acquiring my first can. That first can was a steel Genesee Cream Ale and it was top opened. Most of my cans were top opened at the time. I was happy to get whatever I could find, but when I could, I would request a full can from traveling relatives or others I traded with. The big thing back then was the Iron City Series of cans that came out in the 70's. I had a few full cans of the Pittsburg commemoratives displayed on shelves in the garage. When the local kids came over to check them out, I learned my lesson. Back then cans were made of steel, and when my can hit the cement floor - that was all she wrote. The rim was bashed in flat plus it managed to dent the panel which created a hole that shot warm beer all over us like a pressure washer.  That can was eventually replaced, but it was bottom opened. As for today's aluminum cans, the impact point of a full can hitting the floor is quite messy. A combination of the thin side wall and the force of the fall are sure to ruin any can. It is going to be harder to replace those once full cans as time goes on.  

Collecting full cans can pose other problems as well. When traveling, the extra weight is a factor. If you find six new full cans, you're adding four and a half pounds. You can get over 24 empty cans in your bags for a little over a pound. When traveling, I prefer to bring a roll of package tape and mail my cans back home before I leave. The US Postal Service provides a box; I bring some newspaper, tape and make a label. The US Postal Service will not ship any form of alcohol. The postage is costly as well if you lie. Other issues arise when full cans are exposed to extreme temperature changes. The beverage will expand and deform the top/bottom or sides of the can. Now someone reading this is probably saying" None of these things apply to me...", well let's not forget leakage. It may not always happen, but when it does, it usually is a sticky, smelly mess. Other possible mishaps can occur by earthquakes, dog tails/pets, kids, drunks, etc that can ruin a good can.

These are some of the reasons why bottom opened, empty cans are preferred. An empty can will survive a fall much better than a full can. In most cases it will just bounce. If it gets a small dent, usually it can be popped right out. A can has to fall really hard to damage a empty steel can. Your prized cans can be easily opened from the bottom using a phillips screwdriver, ice pick, or any other sharp pointy tool. If you try to poke a hole with a blunt tool, you risk denting the sides of the can. It has something to do with the fact that it is harder to force the blunt object thru the bottom and the excess energy then buckles the sides where the holes are. You want to keep the hole small, but big enough for adequate beverage flow. Simply poke two inch holes, that are on opposite sides of each other, on the inside rim. Two holes are better than one because air can flow in freely as it is emptied. When making the holes, be careful as to not poke thru the side of the can or worse, into your hand as you hold the can. Never drink out of the can. It is not worth cutting any mouth parts by the holes that you created.  When emptied, do not forget to rinse it out. Fill the can with a few ounces of water and shake it up a bit, then invert and drain.

By using this method, your displayed can will look like full and display nicely. Bottom opened is recommended for all cans except cone tops or 5 Liter/Gallon style cans and the new aluminum bottles. You can remove a cap from a full cone top or canbottle can by putting a US quarter (or similar size coin) over it and then slowly prying off the cap. The cap will then snap back on and still be flat. The newer 5 Liter/Gallon style cans have a pull out pourer. When the big can is empty, turn it upside down, (make sure the top valve is open to allow air flow) and patiently allow water to fill in. Shake it, and drain. I like to leave both valves open for a while to allow some evaporation. You can always tilt the can and blow thru the top valve to force rinse water out the pourer.

Another method to open the newer tab style can discreetly, is from the top. You must carefully spin the tab top 90˚ and poke a tiny hole in a spot that will be covered when the tab top is returned to the original position. Although it will seem that there is no hole in the can, it will take forever to rinse out the can to prevent mold.

I hopes this clears the air as to why I believe in bottom opened cans, Thank you.


Brewdude's World


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