How Many Cans Of Beer To Get Drunk

Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is what determines how drunk you get from drinking beer. How many cans of beer to get drunk? That would vary depending on:

  • Your weight
  • Age
  • Gender
  • The type of bear

In the United States (U.S.), a  BAC of 0.10 (one-tenth of a percent) means that you have 0.10 g of alcohol for every 100 milliliters of blood. According to Federal Laws, the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle is 0.08 for drivers 21 and over and a BAC of 0.0 to o.02 if you’re under 21 (depending on the state).

Understanding Beer And Its Effects

Beer is an alcoholic drink with varying amounts of ethanol and other ingredients that can affect the body in multiple ways. Brewers make beer from malted grains, barley, hops, and yeast. Beer’s alcohol content varies between 2-12%, with the average beer containing about 5%.

Alcohol is a depressant drug that slows reaction time and reduces alertness and judgment while having physical effects on the body, such as increasing heart rate and affecting balance.

When consumed sensibly without overindulging, it has been linked to positive aspects such as:

  • Lowered cholesterol levels 
  • Increased cardiovascular health benefits 

All this is possible because alcohol has polyphenol compounds that contribute to its flavor profile, ranging from light florals to sharp bitterness.

Role Of Ethanol In Beer

Ethanol is the main ingredient responsible for intoxication in beer and is a fermentation product. During fermentation, yeast breaks down starches and sugars in grains like barley, wheat, or rye to produce:

  • Ethanol
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Flavor compounds

The amount of ethanol present depends on the percentage of alcohol by volume (ABV) of the particular type of beer, which varies from around 2% ABV to 12%.

Examples of popular beers include Bud Light at 4.2% ABV, Corona Extra at 4.6%, Heineken Lager Beer at 5%, Stella Artois Ale at 6%, and Guinness Draught Stout at 7.5%. A higher ABV beer contains more pure ethanol than lower ones. Consequently, you’ll need fewer drinks to become intoxicated if you choose a beer with a higher ABV content over one with a lower or no ethanol.

When consumed in moderation, beer is a social lubricant and has health benefits, including reducing fatigue. However, excessive consumption can lead to health implications that may be fatal depending on what quantity has been drunk over time.

What Determines Beer Intoxication?

Several factors determine your beer intoxication levels, including:

  • Weight: Your weight has a direct correlation with your tolerance for alcohol. Heavier people can usually tolerate higher amounts of alcohol than lighter individuals due to a higher body mass.
  • Age: Older people are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol than younger drinkers and therefore have lower tolerances. Similarly, older people have slower metabolic rates than younger people and will experience fewer intoxication feelings after consuming beer.
  • Sex: Women typically have a higher BAC than men after consuming the same amount of drinks due to differences in alcohol metabolism. Women have more body fat than men, which increases alcohol absorption into their bloodstream.
  • Rate Of Consumption: Drinking one beer per hour may not lead to drastic increases in BAC levels for most people. However, if you’re gulping lots of beer down, you’ll increase the alcohol content in your blood rapidly, leading to quick intoxication. If you drink slowly, you might not get intoxicated quickly. However, you’ll feel the effects of each drink longer than binge or heavy drinkers because your body cannot process alcohol as efficiently.
  • Food Intake: Eating before or while drinking will generally have lower BAC levels than drinking empty stomach. Foods slow down the alcohol absorption rate into your bloodstream and subsequently reduce their concentration level in blood compared to empty stomachs.
  • Metabolism: The speed at which an individual’s body breaks down and processes what it has ingested affects their overall tolerance for beer, thereby impacting their BAC levels. Some drinkers can metabolize stiff drinks faster, leading them to become drunk quickly. In contrast, others can drink multiple beers without feeling any effects due to speedy metabolisms like those found among athletes or naturally lively individuals, among other things.

Alcohol Content In Different Beers

Alcohol by Volume (ABV) measures the relative amount of ethanol in beers. The measurement is usually expressed as a percentage number and indicates the volume of alcohol contained in one liter (or one centiliter if it’s a smaller bottle or can).

For instance, 4% ABV means that 4 mL of pure alcohol is present in 100 mL of the beverage. The higher the ABV, the quicker it’ll intoxicate you.

Drinking beer frequently with high levels of ABV can adversely impact health due to dehydration and damage caused to liver cells over time.

A Comparison Of ABV In Popular Beer Brands

Knowing a beer’s ABV is crucial in gauging its potency, effects on the body, and potential consequences of consumption. Here is a comparison of the ABV levels of some popular beer brands:

Beer BrandABV
Coors Light4.2%
Miller Lite4.2%
Samuel Adams Boston Lager5%
Stella Artois5.2%
Corona Extra4.6%
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale5.6%
Steel Reserve (Malt Liquor)8.1%

How Many Beers To Get Drunk For an Average Man

The consensus is that once a man’s BAC reaches 0.08%, he can be considered legally drunk and, as such, should not drive or operate heavy machinery.

For an average healthy male weighing 150 pounds (68 kg), consuming four 12 oz cans containing 5% ABV beer in one hour will reach 0.08%.

As this limit suggests, if men want to stay within their legal limits, they must consume no more than 4-5 cans per hour for mild intoxication and 8-10 cans per hour for extreme intoxication.

However, this amount varies based on weight, age, and consumption rate.

How Many Beers To Get Drunk For an Average Woman

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Factors such as body weight, age, environment, and metabolism all influence the amount of alcohol needed for intoxication.

However, an average woman would need to drink two to four beers containing 5% ABV within an hour for her blood alcohol concentration to exceed the 0.08% limit. Women are more likely than men to become intoxicated with fewer drinks due to differences in body composition, including fat percentage and height ratio.

What’s The Impact Of Binge Drinking And Chronic Heavy Drinking

Binge drinking can be defined as consuming five or more drinks in one sitting.  Chronic drinking, on the other hand, is prolonged, frequent, and heavy alcohol abuse. Both have short-term and long-term consequences.

Short-term Effects Of Binge Drinking

Drinking too much alcohol can result in physiological and cognitive effects on the body, including:

  • Euphoria
  • Slowed reaction times
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Reduced coordination and motor control skills
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Slower cognitive processing speed
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Decreased judgment capacity

The physiological effects might include:

  • Body dehydration by diuretic effect. This depletion of fluids across various organs causes fatigue and dizziness associated with intoxication. 
  • Increased heart rate due to vasodilatory effects, which decrease the oxygen supply to other major organs in the body, like the brain leading to confusion
  • Coordination and balance impairment result in fumbles or accidents while walking or standing erect for extended rods. 
  • As a central nervous system depressant, alcohol interferes with memory formation, making it difficult to remember what happened when drunk. 
  • Excessive drinking also impairs better decision-making focuses, affecting social relationships adversely over the long term without conscious attention from affected individuals.

Long-term Effects Of Chronic Heavy Drinking

Chronic heavy drinking can have long-term adverse health effects on the body, including:

  • Liver diseases, such as cirrhosis and inflammation, hepatic steatosis due to increased fat in the liver, memory loss, and brain damage caused by reduced cognitive functions 
  • Alcohol can also harm every bodily system and increase the risk of ongoing health issues like cardiovascular disease, stroke, and anemia caused by iron deficiency.
  • Problems like depression, anxiety disorders, dementia, and cancer
  •  Higher risk of injury from motor vehicle accidents or other hazardous activities that require coordination and reaction time. 

The Risks Of Excessive Beer Consumption

Excessive beer drinking poses several health, social, and legal risks.

Health Risks of Beer Overconsumption

Excessive and chronic heavy drinking can have serious long-term health effects, including:

  • Liver damage: such as fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, and cirrhosis
  • Brain damage: decreased gray matter, affecting cognitive functioning, such as problem-solving skills or memory loss
  • Heart issues: Chronic heavy drinkers are at risk for increased blood pressure that could lead to stroke or other cardiovascular illnesses like an irregular heartbeat or arrhythmias.
  • Addiction: Regularly consuming alcohol creates a physical dependence on it which then leads to alcoholism—a chronic disease characterized by compulsive drinking despite the negative consequences associated with it.

Legal Risks

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense and carries severe consequences for individuals and society. A DUI charge can result in legal penalties such as:

  • Imprisonment
  • Suspension of driving privileges
  • Fines
  • Probation
  • Community service
  • DUIs can lead to escalating insurance rates and employment difficulties in some cases.

To reduce the risks associated with DUI incidents, you should be aware of your limits when drinking alcohol and understand what constitutes being over their limit. Always have a designated driver if they plan to consume any alcohol. 

There are also available resources that help identify warning signs of impaired drivers and organizations dedicated to eliminating drunk driving fatalities by promoting safe transportation habits, such as designated drivers or utilizing ride-sharing apps like Uber or Lyft.


Drunk driving increases the risk of car accidents and injuries to people involved, including pedestrians. One person dies every 51 minutes due to an alcohol-impaired crash in the United States alone; this statistic translates into nearly 10,000 deaths annually (Centers for Disease Control). 

Not only does drunk driving endanger public safety, but it also leads to increased healthcare costs due to associated medical expenses and lost productivity of those injured or killed.

Tips For Responsible Beer Drinking

Developing an awareness of your limits and keeping track of your beer consumption is critical to responsible drinking.

Pace Yourself and Drink Moderately

Moderation and pacing are two critical components of responsible beer drinking. You should know how much beer it takes to get drunk to avoid excessive and potentially dangerous consumption.

That way, you’ll be less likely to succumb to peer pressure. Instead, you’ll:

  • Continuously hydrate with water or other non-alcoholic drinks between every beer 
  • Take regular breaks from drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Enjoy a few brews responsibly without getting intoxicated.

Moderate drinking will rarely get you legally drunk levels while experiencing some light effects of alcohol in your system. That way, you’ll enjoy the feeling of relaxation sought after without necessarily resulting in intoxication.

Otherwise, binge and chronic heavy drinking will harm your liver, brain, and heart and cause addiction.

Go for Alternatives To Beeric Beer

If you’re looking for an alternative to alcoholic beverages, you can leverage non-alcoholic options with the same taste as beer. Mocktails or ‘mock cocktails’ are non-alcoholic drinks that emulate popular cocktails such as Mojitos and Margaritas.

You can also go for soft drinks like cola, ginger ale, lemonade, flavored water, smoothies, juices, and iced coffees. These alternative drinks offer tasty refreshments with none of the pitfalls associated with alcohol consumption which can cause intoxication.

Plan for Sober Transportation

Always plan for sober transportation when consuming alcohol. Due to the impulsivity of altered decision-making that comes with drinking, it can be easy to make an irresponsible decision, such as driving under the influence (DUI).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 30 people die daily in the United States due to motor vehicle crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver.

This equates to one death every 51 minutes related to drunk driving. 

Having improperly designated drivers brings dangers for oneself and those around you – other passengers, pedestrians, or cyclists who may be involved in an accident resulting from DUI driving habits.

FAQs on How Many Cans Of Beer To Get Drunk:

How many cans of beer will I get drunk?

The number of beers necessary to become intoxicated varies based on body weight, age, and tolerance level. On average, one 12-ounce can of beer contains about 0.6 ounces of alcohol — meaning a 140-pound adult would need to consume around six beers before becoming legally intoxicated in the United States (with laws varying by state).

What other factors influence how quickly I might become intoxicated?

Other factors that might quicken intoxication include:
Drinking while exercising
Taking certain medications
Drinking on an empty stomach
Beer carbonation

Can my diet/nutrition affect how quickly I get drunk?

Recent nutritional intake can play a role in influencing your overall susceptibility towards intoxication through overconsumption of alcohol. Therefore, healthy food choices and an exercise regimen may be beneficial for prolonged periods between episodes of drunkenness or hangovers when consuming alcoholic drinks.

Are there any safe ways to enjoy alcoholic beverages without getting too intoxicated?

The safest way to enjoy alcoholic beverages is to avoid people who are more inclined toward excessive drinking. Instead, moderate your consumption – focusing on flavors & aromas while still observing your limits.
Pace yourself during social drinking. Imbibe small amounts several times over an extended period instead of chugging large quantities within shorter intervals. That way, you’ll minimize chances of physical impairment and potential mental risks associated with chugging beer.

Final Take On How Many Cans Of Beer To Get Drunk

The amount of beer it takes to get drunk can vary depending on an individual’s weight, sex, liver health, and drinking habits. As your body weight increases, so does the number of beers you need to become legally intoxicated.

But generally, a healthy male may require four or five beers within an hour to feel the effect, while a woman could feel its effects with two or three drinks.

Since binge drinking poses serious health and legal risks, you should understand your alcohol consumption limit to drink responsibly.

Dan Smullen Beer is my life profile

Hi, I'm Dan, founder of BeerIsMyLife. I've been an avid homebrewer for over ten years, and beer is my true passion. I've traveled all over the world, visiting breweries, tasting beer, as well as making my own batches. I set up this blog to share that experience with you.