Can one beer get you drunk? The answer is that in most cases no drinking one beer would not make you intoxicated.
Now having said that anything is possible and if the conditions aligned perfectly it is possible that in some cases you might perhaps become drunk after having only drank one beer. However, it is more likely that you are simply feeling relaxed or have a slight buzz.
To be legally intoxicated you must have a BAC (blood alcohol content) level of 0.08% or higher. The generally accepted rule is that a person can consume one standard alcoholic beverage an hour and stay under this level.
The keyword is “standard”. Different drinks like beer come in varying alcohol percentage levels or ABV and are also served in different sizes, all of which play a factor in how fast you become intoxicated.
How Much Alcohol is in One Beer?
The answer is it depends. The typical commercial beer from the big-name breweries has an ABV usually between 4 – 5%. Although from time to time you will see these breweries produce beers on both sides of this range.
Some produce very light beers at 2 – 3.5% making it very difficult to get drunk from just drinking one of these beers. However, sometimes they will produce beers that are in the higher ranges coming in at 5.5 – 6.5%; which when consumed results in the drinker becoming intoxicated quicker.
Craft beer has become a very popular trend not just in North America but around the world. These beers have alcohol levels that can be much higher than the typical commercial beers. Although you can find some craft beer at the 4% level this is very rare; most start at 5% and then climb very quickly into the 6.5 – 8% range. IPA’s are a prime example of this; very rarely will you find an IPA that is under 6% ABV.
The other factor to consider in regards to how much alcohol is in one beer and how quickly you can become drunk is the serving size of the glass. A pint of beer ranges in size depending on where you are. The standard beer serving size in the United States is 12 fluid ounces, whereas a US pint of beer is 16oz and an Imperial pint which most countries around the world sell their beer in is 20oz.
So as you can see the size of the beer glass and the alcohol percentage of the beer you are drinking can vary significantly and clearly play a major factor in whether the one beer you are drinking can get you drunk or at least buzzed and tipsy
However, there are other factors to consider also…
Reasons One Beer Could Get You Drunk
Besides the alcohol percentage and the serving size of the beer, there are other reasons or factors that could come into play if you are feeling intoxicated from just one beer.
If all other factors are equal the fact is that heavier people can typically drink more beer before feeling the effects as quickly as compared to lighter people. A person who weighs 150 lbs is going to feel intoxicated before a person who is 250lbs. One of the main reasons for this is that when you are smaller your body holds less H20 which means there is less in your system to dilute the alcohol and the concentration of beer will be higher.
Height also plays a factor in how fast you will become intoxicated for similar reasons as your weight does, however in addition to those reasons people who are taller also have a larger circulatory system and as a result, it takes longer for the alcohol to circulate through all of their blood system.
Not all things improve with experience and age; consuming alcohol and its effects on you, especially how fast you become intoxicated is one of them. As you get older alcohol can affect you faster. There are two main reasons for this, the first is that as we age our muscle mass is replaced by fat tissue. Fat tissue holds less water than muscle tissue so it will hold less alcohol which means more remains in your bloodstream. The other reason is that as you get older your body processes alcohol slower, which means it stays in your system longer.
Whether you are male or female can determine how quickly you become intoxicated from one beer. The reason for this is that women typically have a higher percentage of fat tissue, which as we discussed results in more of the alcohol remaining in your bloodstream.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can 1 beer make you fail a breathalyzer?
In order to fail a breathalyzer in most countries, your BAC must be at 0.08% or higher, which again would mean you are legally intoxicated. So as discussed in this article it would be very rare and difficult for you to fail a breathalyzer having drank only one beer.
Can 2 beers get you drunk?
Again highly unlikely, but it could happen. It is believed that one standard drink will raise your BAC by .02%. But it depends on how fast you drink the 2 beers as well as the other factors that we have looked at.
What beer gets you drunk the fastest?
The brand of beer is not going to play any factor in how fast you get drunk. It will depend on the alcohol percentage. A 5% beer will have the same effect on you as any other 5% beer. The higher ABV of beer you are drinking the faster you will become intoxicated.
Additional Reading: How long does being drunk last?
The Final Word
Can you get drunk off one beer? Most likely not. The majority of the beers you purchase on the market do not have a high enough ABV to raise your BAC to a high enough level for you to be considered legally impaired. However, as we have covered in this article there are other factors that can come into play and can affect how quickly you can become intoxicated, so it is always best to play it safe.