Drinking beer is a great way to relax and celebrate, but how many beers do you need to get drunk? Well, the answer isn’t an exact science like brewing beer since different people may have wildly different reactions. However, if you want to get drunk without getting too drunk, here is a science-based guide to help you.
How To Determine If You Are Drunk
It is obvious that most of us know when we have had too much to drink, but it can be difficult to tell at what point you will actually get drunk. As a general guide, you can assume that someone is drunk if their physical coordination does not operate at full capacity. For some people, it may take only one beer to get to that point; for others, it may take more (We’ll get to this point later).
Nonetheless, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of.08% or greater is what the law considers to be intoxicated.
What is Blood Alcohol Concentration?
According to NHTSA, when a person drinks alcohol, the alcohol molecules go into the bloodstream through the mouth, stomach, and small intestine. The circulatory system then transports the blood throughout the body, which causes the alcohol to impact the brain and other organs, making you feel its effects.
The alcohol amount in your bloodstream is measured by Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). This number is a percentage. It shows how much alcohol is in the body compared to how much water is in the body.
According to the CDC, people exhibit numerous common symptoms at different BAC levels.
- 0.02%BAC- At 0.02% BAC, people often experience a loss of judgment, relaxation, slight body warmth, and an altered mood.
- 0.05%BAC- At 0.05 BAC, people may demonstrate exaggerated behavior, lose small-muscle control (such as focusing their eyes), have impaired judgment, a usually good feeling, lowered alertness, and a release of inhibition.
- 0.08%BAC- At 0.08 BAC, muscle coordination becomes poor (such as balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing), it is harder to detect danger, and judgment, self-control, reasoning, and memory are impaired.
- 0.10%BAC- At 0.10 BAC, people usually have slurred speech, poor coordination, and slowed thinking. They may also demonstrate a clear decline in reaction time and motor control. In some cases, individuals may even pass out.
- 0.15%BAC- At 0.15 BAC, most people experience significant mental impairment and lack of physical coordination. They may also have difficulty standing or walking, and their vision is significantly blurred. This can also result in vomiting and loss of consciousness.
ABV and The Standard Drink
ABV stands for “alcohol by volume” and describes the strength or potency of an alcoholic beverage. ABV is the amount of alcohol present in a drink as a percentage of the total volume of the drink. Speaking of beer, generally, beer has an ABV of 4-7%.
A standard drink stands for a measure of alcohol that contains a specific amount of pure alcohol. The standard drink in the U.S. is about 14 grams (or 0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol, which is roughly the amount in 12 ounces of beer of 5% ABV.
Blood Alcohol Concentration Chart
Several organizations and universities have released charts to determine the BAC level in different people of various weights and gender with the number of standard drinks consumed. The effects of alcohol may vary from person to person, but these charts can help you determine when it’s time to stop drinking.
For example, the following chart is published by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. It uses the weight and the number of standard drinks as a reference.
Number Of Beers To Get Drunk
Here comes the long-awaited answer. According to the above chart, for an average person of 160 pounds, it takes about four standard drinks to reach the 0.08 BAC limit (to officially get drunk). But the same person can easily reach this level with just 2-3 drinks if they are female (More on this later)!
Factors That Can Alter Intoxication
Although the above chart is fairly accurate for the average person, it doesn’t take into account all the factors that can affect one’s level of intoxication. Several factors can alter how quickly one gets drunk and how long it takes to sober up, ranging from body weight and gender to even the type of alcohol consumed. Here are some factors to consider.
Beer Type and ABV
As you know, beer comes in all shapes, sizes, and types, from light beers to IPAs to double stouts. And each type of beer also comes with a different alcohol by volume (ABV). Generally, beers with higher ABVs will make you drunk faster than beers with lower ABVs. Further, the larger the size of beer (think: pint vs. can), the more alcohol you consume, which will make you drunk faster.
For your reference, here is a chart outlining the range of ABVs and how they correspond to different types of beers:
Light Beer: 2.0 – 4.2% ABV
Pale Ale: 3.2 – 5.5% ABV
IPA: 5.0 – 7.5% ABV
Stout: 5.0 – 8.0% ABV
Double Stout: 7.5 – 13.0% ABV
Note: Non-alcoholic beer typically has an ABV of 0.5% or less. Therefore drinking several cans of non-alcoholic beer won’t get you drunk at all (for most individuals). So, if you want to enjoy the beer without getting drunk, non-alcoholic beer may be a better option for you.
Of course, your drinking speed can also affect how quickly you get drunk. Research has shown that drinking faster can raise your BAC in a shorter period of time, while slow drinking can help keep you sober longer. This is because the body can metabolize only one standard drink per hour, no matter how quickly you consume it. So if you drink beer too fast, the body won’t be able to cope with the intoxication process – and you will get drunk quickly.
Generally speaking, the smaller your body weight, the quicker you’ll feel the effects of alcohol. According to the BAC chart presented above, a 200-pound man might reach a BAC of 0.08 after five drinks, while a 120-pound man reaches that same level with only three drinks.
Research has found that the presence of food in the stomach slows gastric emptying, inhibiting alcohol absorption. Specifically, eating meals high in fat, carbohydrate, or protein can reduce the rate of intoxication significantly. On the other hand, drinking alcohol on an empty stomach can lead to faster absorption and increased drunkenness.
As stated in the University of Notre Dame, everyone has a different tolerance level when it comes to alcohol. Factors such as gender, body mass, and genetic makeup can play a role in determining one’s level of tolerance. Although the BAC level does not change significantly, those with a lower tolerance may find themselves inebriated much faster than those with a higher tolerance.
However, this functional tolerance level can be an indication of a much worse health problem, such as Alcohol use disorder.
Research states that women tend to have a lower tolerance for alcohol than men. This is due to the two genders’ body composition and hormonal differences. As a result of these factors, women may experience quicker and more intense intoxication than men.
Alcohol can have a different effect depending on your mood or state of mind. People often turn to alcohol in an attempt to boost their mood when they are feeling down. Unfortunately, alcohol is a depressant and can actually worsen pre-existing mental health issues like depression or anxiety. Since stress emotions cause a change in enzymes in the stomach, it can lead to different intoxicating effects.
According to NIH, alcohol affects people differently depending on their age. In general, teenagers and young adults are more likely to get drunk than adults due to their smaller body size and inexperience with alcohol. On the other hand, seniors may be more sensitive to experiencing intoxicating effects due to aging bodies and metabolisms.
As stated by NIH, drinking alcohol and taking certain medications can be dangerous. Some medications can interact with alcohol, causing alterations in intoxication and even serious and life-threatening side effects.
Alcohol can also affect people differently depending on their overall health status. People with diabetes, heart conditions and other chronic conditions may get drunk easily or experience more severe health problems than those without such conditions.
According to NIH, if you have a family history of alcohol problems, you’re more likely to have effects from alcohol more quickly, such as blackouts and memory lapses. If your family members have a high tolerance for alcohol, you may also find yourself drinking more without being drunk.
How Long Does It Take To Sober Up?
Getting drunk after drinking several cans of beer or glasses of beer takes less time than you think. But sobering up is not as easy as getting drunk. Even after you only have a few drinks, it can take your body 8 hours or more to get rid of all the alcohol. This is because your body can only process as much as 8.5g of ethanol per hour if you are a healthy adult. According to studies, if your body functions at its peak capability, it can take one hour to break down and get rid of 230 milligrams of ethanol from your bloodstream.
Given that a standard drink has 14 grams of ethanol, it can take about 1 to 2 hours for your body to process one drink. So if you have four drinks, it can take up to 8 hours for your body to metabolize the alcohol content completely.
The contrary belief that you can “sober up” quickly by drinking coffee or taking a cold shower is not true. Time is the only factor that will help you sober up, so it’s best to be mindful of how much you’re drinking and remember that your body can only process so much in a given time. In other words, don’t try to speed up the process with any tricks or quick fixes — it won’t work. If you want to be safe and sober, just wait it out!
How Many Beers To Get Drunk Calculator
Now comes the easier part. Reading charts and calculating the number of drinks you need to get drunk can be overwhelming (and boring). As a solution, several organizations have introduced calculators that will help you calculate the number of beers to get drunk. For example, American Addiction Centers provide a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Calculator that measures your BAC count when given the gender, body weight, number of drinks, and the time since your first drink. This calculator helps calculate the amount of beer, wine, or spirits needed to get drunk. But remember, it’s not a one size fits all solution, as everybody has different tolerances when it comes to alcohol. So be careful and make sure that you drink responsibly!
Tips On Not To Get Drunk Fast By Beer
Beer is an addictive beverage. Therefore, if you are not careful, it can be easy to get drunk quickly. Here is some advice on how to avoid getting drunk fast when drinking beer:
- Start off slow: Drink beer slowly and savor the flavor. Try to avoid drinking more than one beer per hour or a few during a night out.
- Stay hydrated: Alternate your beer with non-alcoholic beverages like water to keep your body hydrated while drinking. Doing so will help you pace yourself and keep you from consuming too much alcohol too quickly.
- Eat regularly: Having food in your stomach slows the absorption of alcohol, so make sure to eat before and during drinking beer. Eating a healthy meal helps reduce the effects of alcohol and prevents dehydration.
- Listen to yourself: If something feels wrong, don’t ignore it! Instead, pay attention to how you’re feeling and take steps accordingly, such as having some water or cutting back on the beer consumed for the night to ensure safety for yourself and those around you!
For an average person of 160 pounds, it takes about four standard drinks to reach a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.08%, which is considered legally drunk in the U.S. If it is a female, it takes much less, about 2-3 drinks. Drinking alcohol can be fun but not good for your health. It can also make your relationships with other people worse. This happens when people drink too much alcohol. Therefore, drink responsibly and stay safe!
I am a passionate beer connoisseur with a deep appreciation for the art and science of brewing. With years of experience tasting and evaluating various beers, I love to share my opinions and insights with others and I am always eager to engage in lively discussions about my favorite beverage.