John Fergusson was told he must spend at least 16 years in prison before he can ask for parole.
Judge John Morris QC said: "A jury unanimously convicted you of what was, on any view, the brutal murder of a defenceless man. You inflicted 15 blows with a deadly weapon."
An earlier trial heard how victim John Wright, 51, was found lying dead on a couch in a flat in Chestnut Place, Johnstone, Renfewshire, on November 30 last year.
But neither Fergusson, 43, nor another woman, Lynn Pearson, who were in the house has a clear recollection of what had happened.
Defence QC Gary
Allan told the High Court in Edinburgh: "The trio were in what could be described as an alcohol co-operative in that whoever had
money bought drink.
"The circumstances of this drunken event are, in many respects, far from clear."
The lawyer added that Fergusson's own recollection was
"entirely stunted" by the alcohol he had consumed.
Judge Morris noted that it was ironic that at the time of the murder it was Mr Wright's turn to buy the drink.
He told Fergusson: "It is very sad that alcohol addiction has turned you from a responsible working man into a drunken killer."
The earlier trial heard how Fergusson had tried to dodge the blame by asking Ms Pearson to say that Mr Wright had arrived at the flat already injured. But when questioned by police she "got honest" and told them Mr Wright was bleeding heavily as Fergusson hit him with a hammer.
"I was just shouting 'Stop it, stop it," she told the trial.