Thomas Brogan, 46, "utterly lost control" of himself when he struck vulnerable Georgina Barnett, known as Doddy, repeatedly on the head and body as she pleaded with him to stop.
Following the case, Mrs Barnett's family authorised the release of images of her bloodied and bruised face during her final days in hospital to make people realise what she and they had been put through.
She died in hospital five days after the assault in June this year, having suffered brain damage, 11 broken ribs, a fractured sternum, extensive bruising and a deep cut to the back of her head.
Unemployed Brogan had previously admitted murdering Mrs Barnett, a mother of one daughter, at her home in Ramsay Road, Kirkcaldy, Fife. He returned to the High Court in Edinburgh for sentence and Lord Pentland jailed him for life and fixed the minimum punishment part at 18 years.
Mrs Barnett's nephew, Thomas Johnstone, 62, said Brogan had received a fair sentence.
He said: "I'm happy enough at the sentence. The judge was fair enough in his comments. It was what I was looking for, and the family.
"I might even take time to go up to where her ashes have been spread and just have a wee quiet word with her later on today and say, 'He's got a just sentence'."
Mr Johnstone said Brogan was a "drunken hooligan, an animal", adding: "Words couldn't describe the injuries, they are that horrific.
"It has been very traumatic for the whole family. We will just have to live our lives and get on with it.
"I am glad to know he (Brogan) will not be seeing the light of day until he is 60-odd."
Despite having osteoporosis, Mrs Barnett had led an independent life. Her nephew described Mrs Barnett as a lovely, friendly woman.
"In hindsight it was her own kindness that brought this about, letting people into her house. She paid for it with her life," he added.
Intoxicated Brogan, a frequent heavy drinker, had shared a litre bottle of vodka with a friend on the day of the fatal attack sparked by the "trivial problem".
Passing sentence for the "horrific" murder, Lord Pentland told the killer: "Mrs Barnett was a friend of yours and sometimes permitted you to visit her. At no time had she done you any harm.
"It is clear you subjected Mrs Barnett to a vicious and sustained assault, in the course of which you repeatedly struck her with considerable force.
"In view of her age and the fact she was frail and slightly built she would not have been in a position to defend herself against you, a much younger and stronger person.
"It seems clear you utterly lost control of yourself and that this was caused by the fact you had allowed yourself to become so heavily intoxicated by alcohol."
Mrs Barnett was a widow for about 30 years. She had lived in her flat for more than three decades and was well-known and liked in the area.
The court previously heard the motive for the attack was unknown but in the hours before the assault Brogan appeared to have been angry with a drinking associate "in connection with a mobile phone".
The fatal attack took place at about 8.30pm on June 25.
That evening, neighbours had heard thuds from Mrs Barnett's living room, then a loud crashing noise. They also heard the accused repeatedly shouting.
They rang police, believing Brogan was fighting a man in the flat, but were shocked to hear Mrs Barnett's voice saying: "Tam, stop please."
When police arrived, they found Brogan at the flat with his hands covered in blood. Mrs Barnett, who was on the floor in the corner of the living room, had severe facial injuries and was bleeding heavily from her head. Blood was spattered on a wall.
When she got to Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, Mrs Barnett told staff Brogan had beaten her up and he had been angry.
She later told detectives he had come to her house drunk "looking for the boy next door" and voiced disbelief he would do that to her "just because of that bloody sim card".
Mrs Barnett died on June 30.
Brogan, who has 10 previous convictions at summary level, offered a public apology via his lawyer at the last court hearing.