How many beers does it take to get drunk? There are a number of variables that can affect the answer. For example, one’s weight and sex.
The average guy needs 4-5 drinks in an hour while for women 3-4 is enough on average to get drunk. Remember this is only an average approximation. The number of beers needed to get drunk will depend on many factors, which are discussed in the article below.
What Is “Drunk”?
When you are drunk, it means that your blood alcohol content has reached the legal limit. Being too drunk is the point where you may start feeling unwell, nauseous, and experience extreme cognitive impairment.
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is important to understand when it comes time to determine how drunk you are. There are different levels of intoxication, and knowing the BAC level allows others a better understanding of whether or not you need assistance from authorities if necessary. So what is BAC and how do you calculate it?
What Is Blood Alcohol Concentration?
Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is a formula that determines the percentage of alcohol in your bloodstream. It factors the amount of time that has passed since you started drinking and your body weight.
The formula for BAC is as follows:
BAC = (0.08 x weight in kg) / (kg x hours after drinking) + number of drinks consumed. BAC is evaluated through blood samples, breath, and urine tests.
The higher your BAC levels, the more your level of drunkenness. You should understand the various stages to know when you have had enough alcohol and how much is too much.
Different Drunkenness Levels
Below are examples of symptoms you can experience according to your BAC levels:
• 0.020-0.039%: Not so much alcohol in the bloodstream; you may only experience slight relaxation and an increase in confidence
• 0.040-0.059%: Onset of slight impairments in memory, judgment and feelings of euphoria.
• 0.06-0.099%: Impaired cognitive balance. You may experience slowed reaction time, defective reasoning, and lack of self-control
• 0.100-0.129%: More significant effects in terms of loss of proper judgment, slurred speech, vision, and hearing impairment
• 0.130-0.159%: Major cognitive impairment, vision turning blurry, complete loss of balance.
• 0.160-0.199%: May begin feeling nauseated and can even vomit due to disorientation
• 0.200-0.249%: Can’t walk without assistance, and an increased state of confusion, grows less and less responsive. You may blackout at this point
• 0.250-0.399%: Apparent unconsciousness as you may now experience alcohol poisoning—critical state requiring immediate medical help
• 0.40% and over: Falling into a coma, possibility of death as respiratory arrest sets in
It is important to note that calculating intoxication based on drinks taken can be unreliable as people are affected differently to varying amounts depending on various factors.
7 Factors That Impact How Much You Can Drink Before Getting Drunk
The factors that can influence the rate at which alcohol is metabolized in your bloodstream include:
Men and women usually have different BAC even after consuming the same amount of alcohol. Generally, women display higher points of BAC compared to men. This is because women typically weigh less than men and have a lower percentage of body fat, absorbing alcohol more quickly into their bloodstreams.
People with different body masses have varying BAC levels after consuming the same number of beers. Someone with a higher body mass will typically display lower BAC than one with a lower body mass.
The taller an individual is, the more extended their system is; therefore, it takes longer for alcohol to be distributed, making them more tolerant.
Older persons are more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol; on the other hand, younger people are more tolerant; therefore, if a young and older person drank a moderate amount of alcohol, the younger person may require additional alcohol to get drunk, while the older one will display symptoms of drunkenness.
5. Beer Alcohol Content
The alcohol concentration on the type of drink you consume plays a significant role in determining how drunk you might get. Here are examples of alcohol concentration levels in ABV (Alcohol by Volume) of different beverages:
• Beer: An average of 5%
• Low Alcohol Beer: Contain ABV of around 0.05 to 1.2%
• Light lager: Can be as low as 2.3% to 4.1
• Cream ale: Percentages between 4.2 – 5.6%
• Porter: The average ABV is 6.55%
• Pumpkin ale: 5% average percentage
6. Behavioral Factors
Beer passes through your intestines much quicker when there is no food in your stomach. This means the alcohol content in your blood will be more concentrated as it is absorbed faster.
However, when you eat before drinking beer, your stomach will be absorbing food as well, so beer will be absorbed into the blood gradually.
Rate of Beer Consumption
If you drink at a moderate pace, the rate at which beer is absorbed into your system will be slower than how much beer will get into your bloodstream if you drink at a high pace.
7. Other Factors
Underlying health issues can also influence your BAC because some ailments may interfere with how your body metabolizes beer.
Mixing beer with other substances such as sleep medication or antidepressants may enhance its effects on your body; you may experience stronger and more lasting effects.
Moreover, everyone has a different degree of tolerance and alcohol metabolism rate; thus, BAC varies between each person.
Risks of Excessive Drinking
Several potential risks can arise from excessive beer consumption. These include:
• Risk of stroke and high blood pressure
• Alcohol poisoning may lead to fatality
• Risk of injury and self endangerment as you are helpless when drunk
• When misused, alcohol can weaken your immunity and expose you to illnesses
• Poor judgment and likelihood to exercise less caution; engaging in sexual behavior without the use of protection
• Metal issues such as anxiety and depression
• Liver damage and other diseases, such as cirrhosis and alcoholic hepatitis
• Risk of digestive problems such as pancreatitis and stomach ulcers
Drinking Level Recommendations
Too much beer can be toxic to your health, and to avoid the risks of excessive drinking, it is critical to practice safe drinking. Moderate drinking is specified to be 2 beers a day for men and for women 1 beer a day.
Other safety measures recommended for responsible drinking include:
• Eating Before Drinking: Avoid drinking beer while your stomach is empty. Eating will help slow the rate at which the beer is absorbed into your blood
• Recognize your Limits: Do not get pressured into drinking more beers than you can handle.
• Drink Water: Stay hydrated by drinking a glass of water between your drinks
• Maintain a Slow Pace: Sip your beer slowly to avoid hasty drunkenness