How many beers does it take to get drunk? In general for an average healthy male that weighs between 190 – 200 pounds (86 – 90 kg), it takes 4 – 5 beers in one hour to get drunk. For the average healthy female that weighs between 160 – 170 pounds (72 – 77 kg), it takes 2 – 4 beers in one hour. Now it is important to understand that we are referring to commercial beer with an approximate ABV of 5% and not Craft beer or beers with a higher ABV as there is a significant difference in how quickly they affect you.
It is also important to understand these figures are an approximate amount for the average person, and the amounts can most certainly vary. If you are like most of us and have indulged a time or two in your life then you probably have a rough idea of approximately how many beers it takes you to get drunk.
However, dialing the exact number of beers it actually takes can be a little challenging because not only does the number vary from person to person but it can actually change for you from day to day depending on different factors.
Table of Contents
- How Many Beers to Get Drunk
- Definition of Being Drunk
- Blood Alcohol Concentration Calculator
- Blood Alcohol Concentration Chart
- BAC Chart Men
- BAC Chart Women
- Factors Affecting Your Level of Intoxication
- How to Not Get Drunk Fast
- Can One Beer Get You Drunk?
- How Many Non-Alcoholic Beers to Get Drunk?
- Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Beers to Get Drunk
Many of us can relate to a time or two that we were surprised at how quickly we felt the intoxicating effects of the beer and on other occasions how it seemed we could consume more before feeling anything from them at all.
In this post, we are going to answer the question: “how many beers to get drunk” by taking a look at all of the factors that go into determining how many you can consume before feeling intoxicated and why; as well as reviewing some of the online tools, charts, and calculators you can use to help make this determination.
Knowing your limits is important as we all realize that severe intoxication can have many consequences and alcoholism can negatively affect many facets of your health and life. However, drinking beer responsibly can not only be an enjoyable experience but can also help to reduce your stress and help you relax; consuming small amounts of beer has also been shown to have health benefits.
Definition of Being Drunk
The first step to understanding how many beers it takes to become drunk is to understand what that actually means. For the purposes of this article, we are going with the legal definition of intoxicated. In the United States and Canada if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over 0.08% you are considered legally drunk.
BAC represents the percentage of alcohol, either ethyl or ethanol in someone’s blood. To give you an example let’s say a person’s BAC is 0.10; which is the same as one-tenth of 1%. This results in there being 0.10 g of alcohol in 100 ml of their blood.
When a person reaches 0.08% and above, the beer is impairing their motor skills and their ability to function at 100%. At this point, most people are “feeling good”. Their mood is upbeat and they are feeling no pain as the saying goes.
They become more uninhibited than they would be when sober and may become more friendly than usual (although some people do become aggressive). Their muscle coordination diminishes, their eye coordination is weakened, their reflexes slow, they might stumble or sway a bit and their memory may become forgetful. Their sight and hearing can be negatively impacted, and their self-control may be diminished which can result in bad decisions being made that will later be regretted.
This is why driving at these levels is dangerous and illegal. It is also important to know that a police officer can charge you with impaired driving even if your BAC is lower than 0.08% if he judges that the way you are driving your vehicle is as a result of being impaired.
There are a few tools you can use to help determine the level of your intoxication, such as BAC calculators and charts…
Blood Alcohol Concentration Calculator
A BAC calculator is a helpful tool to help you determine what your blood alcohol level is based on how many beers you have drunk over a certain period of time as well as taking into consideration factors such as your sex, age, and weight.
Most of the calculators will even let you know when your level will reach under 0.08%. This is a helpful aspect of these calculators to allow you to get a good idea of when it will be safe to drive again.
There are many BAC calculators on the internet that you can use. The following are the first 3 that come up when you do a search. I have used all 3 and they work well:
Blood Alcohol Concentration Chart
A BAC chart is another tool to be able to help you determine if you are above the legal limit. Most people have heard the rule of thumb that having one beer an hour will keep you from becoming drunk. The fact is that this rule only works for a couple of hours, afterward, the alcohol starts to build up in your system and your BAC % will rise.
The following charts, one for men and the other for women, come from the MADD site. It shows approximately how many beers it will take you to get to 0.08%, it is based on your weight and what is considered a standard drink as well as a metabolism rate of 0.015% decrease of your BAC in an hour.
They stress to remember that there are many factors (some we are going to cover in this post) that go into determining your BAC, and the amount of alcohol you drink can have a different effect on you as compared to someone else and if you think you are near the limit then don’t drive.
Using the chart to determine if you are drunk is self-explanatory and easy to use…
BAC Chart Men
BAC Chart Women
Factors Affecting Your Level of Intoxication
The following are a number of the factors that can affect how quickly a person becomes intoxicated:
Beer Alcohol Content – How much alcohol is in your beer has an effect on how many of them you can drink before feeling buzzed or tipsy. Craft beers for the most part do have a higher ABV and tend to affect people harder or faster than the lighter commercial beers.
Light beer is usually around 4% ABV and a regular commercial beer is around 5% ABV. The higher the ABV the faster you will feel its effects. The following is a list showing the alcohol content of some of the more popular commercial beers.
Your Weight – The heavier you are the more beer it is going to take before you are considered drunk. A lighter person may become intoxicated after a few drinks while a heavier person may not feel any of the effects.
Your Height – If you are a taller person it may take more drinks for you to feel their effects as well. This is because you have a longer circulatory system which means it takes longer for its BAC to build up.
Your Age – This really has more to do with your muscle mass, but as most people get older their muscle mass decreases, the lower your muscle mass the faster you feel the effects of alcohol
Your Muscle Mass – As we just covered, bigger more muscular people do not feel the effects as quickly as skinnier people with less muscle mass.
Your Sex – Men tend to have a higher tolerance for beer than women do. This again has to do with size and muscularity. The more body area the more diluted the alcohol is and the less it is affecting the person. Bigger body space also means there is more water in the system which also dilutes the effects of the alcohol.
Empty Stomach – If you have not eaten before you start drinking beer you are going to feel its effects faster. Eating and drinking water while consuming alcohol will also slow the rate at which a person becomes intoxicated.
Your Tolerance – Experienced beer drinkers tend to be able to drink more and not feel as buzzed as quickly as people who do not drink as often.
Other Factors – The following are some other factors that can play a part in how hard and fast beer will affect you:
- Medications you are on
- Lack of sleep
- Rate of consumption (how fast you drink your beer)
How to Not Get Drunk Fast
Drink Slowly – We talked about the rule of thumb previously, if you space the time between drinks out this will slow the rate of intoxication as it is giving your body time to metabolize the alcohol. The thought is that one beer an hour will allow you to stay sober.
Drink Water – Staying hydrated will slow down how quickly you become intoxicated. Drink plenty of water before you start drinking beer and also aim to have a glass of water between beers.
Drink on a Full Stomach – When your stomach is empty it allows your body to absorb the alcohol into your bloodstream faster. Eating beforehand or while you are drinking slows the rate of absorption down.
Can One Beer Get You Drunk?
Most likely not. As long as you are drinking a standard commercial beer that has an ABV between 4 – 5% it is very unlikely that would be enough alcohol to raise your blood alcohol levels high enough to be considered drunk. However, some beers do have a higher ABV, and people who drink craft beer have been known to feel a buzz after one beer.
How Many Non-Alcoholic Beers to Get Drunk?
Non-alcoholic beer is becoming more popular and the quality and taste of them have improved significantly in recent years. These beers typically have an ABV of 0.05%, yes they have some alcohol in them as it is impossible to brew them without there being some present.
However, at that level, there is pretty much no chance you can become intoxicated from them. Drinking non-alcoholic beer would be very similar to eating your mother’s rum gumdrop cake at Christmas. There is alcohol in it, but your body is able to metabolize it faster than you are consuming it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many Bud Lights to get drunk?
Bud light has a 4.2% ABV, however by following the BAC chart above it would take a man anywhere between 5 – 8 Bud Lights over a 2 hour period to get drunk and a woman 3 -5 over the same time period.
How many Coors to get drunk?
It depends on which Coors you are drinking. A Coors Light has an ABV of 4.2% and Coors Banquet has an ABV of 5%. So you can consume more Coors light before becoming tipsy than a Banquet. However, use the chart above to determine how many you can consume.
How many Budweisers to get drunk?
Budweiser is stronger than Bud light, it has an ABV of 5%. So the how fast it hit you would be similar to Coors Banquet.
How many Miller Lites to get drunk?
Even though they put a twist to the term “lite”, Miller Lite is clearly a light beer coming in at 4.2% ABV. You would be able to drink as many of these as you could a Bud Light or Coors Light. Again refer to the chart to determine how many that would be considering your sex and weight as well as how quickly you consume them.
How long does being drunk last?
Typically it takes 6 hours for the effects of being intoxicated to wear off. However, it is important to understand that just because you are not feeling drunk does not mean that you are legally sober and you can still blow over the legal limit if you are pulled over by the police. Many people have been charged with DUI’s the next morning after a night of drinking. You can use the BAC calculators to help you determine how long it will be before you are sober.
There you have it, you should now have a decent idea of how many beers it will take before you are intoxicated. Please remember that everything shared here is approximated and how fast it takes you to feel the effects of any alcohol will vary based on many factors. Always drink responsibly and never drive when drinking.
Cheers, Big Robb is Out!
P.S. If you are brewing your own beer or are thinking it might be a fun hobby to take up, be sure to take advantage of my limited time offer to get access to the recipes of my top 5 best selling beers from my brewpub, sign up is on the side of the blog or at the bottom on a smart device. Enjoy! (responsibly that is)