Most of us already know how many beers it takes to get us buzzed, or really drunk, on average. To find out all about this, I went out researching and found out the tools and charts that will help us all. First-time starters may find this information especially useful.
How Many Beers Does It Take to Get Drunk? For the average guy of 190 pounds (86kg) it takes 4 to 5 beers in 1 hour to get drunk, while for the average woman of 160lbs or 73kg, it’s 3 to 4 beers. The term “to get drunk” here means above 0.08% of blood alcohol content (BAC), and in the US that means legally intoxicated (or legally drunk).
Keep in mind that this is only an average approximation. How many beers are needed will depend on many factors, listed below.
One of the factors is the alcohol content in beer. Here is the alcohol content for some popular beers:
- Bud Light alcohol content: 4.2%
- Bud Light Seltzer alcohol content: 5%
- Bud light platinum alcohol content: 6%
- Bud light platinum seltzer alcohol content: 8%
- Coors Light alcohol content: 4.2%
- Michelob Ultra alcohol content: 4.2%
- Michelob Ultra Pure Gold alcohol content: 3.8%
- Corona Extra alcohol content: 4.6%
- Miller Light alcohol content: 4.2%
- Budweiser alcohol content: 5%
- Guinness Draught alcohol content: 4.2%
- Guinness Extra Stout alcohol content: 7.5%
- Heineken alcohol content: 5%
- Samuel Adams Boston Lager alcohol content: 5%
This doesn’t mean that you can safely drive after 3 beers, in fact, you’ll start feeling the effects after only one or two beers. And also, keep in mind that you can get charged with a penalty if you have any amount of alcohol in your blood while driving. Any amount above 0.
No, this means that after 3 or 4 beers you’ll get tipsy, it will start impairing your abilities such as speech and movement.
Let’s define “being drunk”.
In this case, drunk means being legally drunk, or having a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or above.
At this point, the alcohol from the beer is affecting your motor skills and impairing your sense of balance. It’s not just that you’re a little buzzed, but you’re actually drunk. Also, keep in mind that it affects your emotions, so you get loud and aggressive, and you may have difficulty in evaluating sexual situations.
It also affects your judgment, in thinking that you are functioning better than you actually are.
- Amount of alcohol & speed of consumption
- Food (have you eaten beforehand)
- Strength of beer (the stronger the beer the faster it gets you drunk)
- Body size (the larger the person the harder to get drunk)
- Gender (women tend to get drunk faster)
- Ethnicity (some ethnicities get drunk easier and for longer)
- Functional tolerance (body’s sensitivity to alcohol’s effects)
- Moods (yes, mood can affect your reaction to alcohol)
- Sleep/fatigue (lack of sleep or tiredness will get you drunk fast)
- Hormones (women on birth control pills may get drunk faster)
- Medications (never drink alcohol while on medications. Alcohol is a drug, and it should be treated no differently than taking any two prescriptions at the same time)
All of these factors affect the rate of getting drunk, some more than others.
Now, let’s see how we can determine the precise amount of beer that will get you drunk.
How Much Beer Does It Take to Get Drunk?
The easiest way to calculate how many beers to get drunk is to use the BAC calculator.
There are many BAC calculators out there. I’ve used three of them, one is at alcohol.org one at calculator.net, and the third one is on clevelandclinic.org. I’ve taken the averages of the three where possible.
They’re used to determine an average percentage of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream with some basic factors taken into account
How to use these calculators?
In the US, the legal driving BAC (blood amount content) limit is 0.08% for drivers over the age of 21, and between 0.00 and 0.02 for those under the age of 21.
This means that we’re legally “not drunk” at below 0.08%.
If we keep that in mind, then we can say that we are typically drunk at about 0.08% BAC and above. And, for the purposes of this blog, I’m assuming just that.
This means that after 4 to 5 beers the average man will start to feel tipsy, and after 3 to 4 beers the average woman will get drunk. Getting buzzed and getting tipsy have similar meanings, but generally, “buzzed” means you are starting to feel the effects, but not drunk, and “tipsy” means the alcohol from the beer is affecting your behavior a bit, speech and movement.
BAC Chart for Men
Based on College of Saint Benedict – Saint John’s University data, I’ve created a BAC (blood alcohol content) chart (or table) for men.
This table shows how many beers will get you drunk on average, taking into account the percentage of alcohol in the beer, and relative weight of the happy soul engaged in this profound activity.
By using this data, you can see how many beers will get you tipsy, under normal conditions (normal sleep, no fatigue, eating regularly, etc).
Just keep in mind these are just average approximations, and no chart in the world can be 100% correct for every person.
However, if we say that 0.08% and above is ‘being legally drunk’, then we can also say that, for some guys even 3 beers is enough to get you drunk. For others it may not be enough to be legally drunk, but you will still feel the effects of being under influence.
Never drive or do any activity that can endanger others if you’ve been drinking.
BAC Chart for Women
Similar to the previous table, this is a BAC table for women, alsowith data from College of Saint Benedict – Saint John’s University.
On csbsju.edu, they also have a nice explanation for various levels of intoxication, from .01 to above .35, which I recommend to read. It’s very useful.
From this table we can see that it takes 1 beer less for women to get drunk. Typically, women get intoxicated much easier then men.
How Much 3.2% Alcohol Drinks to Get Drunk?
For an average sized man of 190lbs (or 89kg), it would take 6-7 beers of 3.2% ABV to get legally drunk in the US.
For an average 160 pounds woman (or 72kg) it would take 4-5 beers of 3.2% ABV to get legally drunk in the US.
Legally drunk means you’ll have equal to or more than 0.08% of blood alcohol content.
Keep in mind that this is not a 100% correct answer for everyone, but an average approximation. This is also assuming the person is healthy, above 21, slept well and not fatigued, and generally in good health.
How Many Beers to Get Drunk?
I’ve taken 4 of the most popular beers in the US and calculated how many of each one is necessary to get legally drunk (0.08% and above).
0.08% is a legal limit for everyone above 21 who is thinking of driving a car. For those below 21 the limit is 0.00% to 0.02% depending the state.
In order to calculate this, I’ve simply taken the percentage of alcohol in these beers and entered it into several calculators above. I’ve also used the charts. I’ve used two periods for drinking for some beers and only 1 for others, and I’ve taken the averages of the calculators and the chart.
It’s very difficult to know the right answer because it depends on how often do you drink, your body size, your habits, your genetics, are you tired, have you slept, and much more.
But, general approximations can be made. So here they are (mostly for men, but there is also general info for women as well):
How Many Bud Lights to Get Drunk?
It takes 7-8 Bud Light cans (8oz) for a 190 pound man to get legally drunk in 1 hour, and 8-9 in 2 hours. For women, it would take 5 to 6 Bud Lights in 1 hour. Bud Light alcohol content is 5%.
For a 12oz Bud Light bottle, it takes 5 Bud Lights, for a 190 pound man, to get legally drunk in 1 hour. For a woman of 160lbs it would take 4 Light Buds in 1 hour.
Bud Light Platinum would get you drunk with only 3-4 bottles.
Here are the various stages of intoxication for 1 hour:
Male, weight (190lbs or 86kg), Bud Light bottle (12oz), 4.2% ABV:
1 Bud Light in 30 minutes = 0.015% (.005% for 8oz Bud Light can)
2 Bud Lights in 1 hour = 0.024% (.01% for 8oz Bud Light can)
3 Bud Lights in 1 hour = 0.043% (.024 for 8oz Bud Light can)
4 Bud Lights in 1 hour = 0.063% (.038 for 8oz Bud Light can)
5 Bud Lights in 1 hour = 0.082% (.049% for 8oz Bud Light can)
6 Bud Lights in 1 hour = 0.011% (.063% for 8oz Bud Light can)
7 Bud Lights in 1 hour = 0.120% (.076% for 8oz Bud Light can)
It would also take you around 6-7 hours to get completely sober, at 0%.
Let’s increase the time, let’s say you’ll be drinking for 2 hours:
2 Bud Lights in 2 hours = 0.09% (.002% for 8oz Bud Light can)
3 Bud Lights in 2 hours = 0.029% (.009% for 8oz Bud Light can)
4 Bud Lights in 2 hours = 0.048% (.022% for 8oz Bud Light can)
5 Bud Lights in 2 hours = 0.068% (.035% for 8oz Bud Light can)
6 Bud Lights in 2 hours = 0.87% (.048% for 8oz Bud Light can)
7 Bud Lights in 2 hours = 0.105% (.060% for 8oz Bud Light can)
8 Bud Lights in 2 hours = 0.124% (.074 for 8oz Bud Light can)
At this rate, it would take you 6 light beers of 12oz (such as Bud Light bottle) to get you drunk in 2 hours.
For women, at 160lbs it would take 5 beers.
How Many Coors to Get Drunk?
Same as Bud Light, it would take you 7-8 Coors cans (8oz) for a 190 pound man to get legally drunk (0.08% and above) in 1 hour, and 8-9 in 2 hours. For 12oz Coors bottles, it would take 5 Coors Light 12fl oz bottles, for the average male (same as Bud Light).
For women, it would take 5 to 6 Coors Light cans in 1 hour and 4 Coors Light bottles in 1h, to get drunk.
Coors Light is a 4.2% beer and comes in 8oz cans or 12oz bottles, same as Bud Light.
How Many Budweisers to Get Drunk?
It takes 4 Budweisers in 1 hour to get a 190lbs man legally drunk, and 3 Budweisers in 1 hour to make a 160lbs woman drunk.
Male, weight (190lbs or 86kg), Budweiser bottle (12oz), 5% of alcohol:
1 Budweiser in 30 minutes = 0.017%
2 Budweisers in 1 hour = 0.035%
3 Budweisers in 1 hour = 0.055%
4 Budweisers in 1 hour = 0.082%
5 Budweisers in 1 hour = 0.104%
It would also take you around 7-8 hours to get completely sober, at 0%.
Budweiser comes in variety of bottles ranging from 7 to 40 US fluid ounces (210 to 1180ml), but the most popular is 12oz bottle at 5% ABV.
How Many Miller Lites to Get Drunk?
To get legally drunk with 190 pounds, male, it will take only 3 to 4 Miller Lites in an hour. These are 16oz cans. For a 160 pound woman, it would take 3 Miller Lites in 1 hour.
Miller Lite comes in various sizes of 12oz, 16oz, 24oz.
To get some variation here, I’m going to calculate for 16oz Miller Lite cans.
Male, weight (190lbs or 86kg), Miller Lite can (16oz), 4.2% ABV:
1 Miller Lite in 30 minutes = 0.019%
2 Miller Lites in 1 hour = 0.038%
3 Miller Lites in 1 hour = 0.064%
4 Miller Lites in 1 hour = 0.091%
4 Miller Lites in 90 minutes = 0.83%
4 Miller Lites in 2 hours = 0.75%
There you have it! These are the average approximations based on several calculators online, including the charts I’ve provided.
Please keep in mind that these are average approximations and in no way should be taken at face value – the amount of intoxication can vary based on many factors, and you should never drive or do anything that might endanger another person while drunk.
Stay safe, and enjoy beer!