Guinness has finally produced its Guinness 0.0 Alcohol Free Stout and it is spreading about the world. However it is a Guinness so how many of these can you drink before you get drunk and can you drink it and drive home?
It would take around 140 cans of Guinness 0.0, drank over 1-2hrs for the average adult to start to feel any effects of the alcohol it contains. That is about 18.5 gallons or 70 litres of Guinness 0.0. It is not possible to drink that volume therefore you can not get drunk from drinking Guinness 0.0
We can go through the numbers and also take a look at if you can drive after drinking Guinness 0.0, it really is a very safe drink.
For a full range of questions and answers on Guinness 0.0, ready my article here
Can Guinness 0.0 get you drunk? How many would it take?
This is a big question many have when new to the alcohol free beer world. It’s a very valid question too. When you get a pint of Guinness 0.0, it looks and tastes like a Guinness so you would definitely like to check to make sure you can function after a few if you need to.
I think it is best to get a definition of what drunk actually is and then work out how many standard beers it would take to achieve that. Then crunch the numbers to see what that would be in <0.05% ABV beers like Guinness 0.0.
What is the definition of intoxicated?
In the USA, to be legally intoxicated under the law, means having a “blood alcohol concentration” (BAC) of 0.08%.
How you can get your BAC to this level differs for every person. Age, sex, weight, overall health and your past drinking experience or tolerance to alcohol all play huge parts. It is therefore very different to generalise across a population.
As well as person characteristics there is the amount, strength and time the alcohol was drank over.
It can be difficult to give a flat number of the amount of drinks you can drink before you are drunk, but i will try!
What are the effects of alcohol as BAC rises?
As your BAC rises so does the alcohols effect on you.
Lots of informational websites include this data now.
- 0.02% – Probably the lowest measurable BAC where you can track any brain issues. You may feel more relaxed and potentially make poorer decisions.
- 0.05%: When you hit this BAC, your behaviour will may become over exaggerated. Speak louder and gesturing more are common. You may also begin to lose control of small muscles like the ones that control your eyes leading to blurry vision.
- 0.08%: This is the current legal driving limit in the U.S and many areas around the world. It is also the legal definition of intoxicated in the US. You will likely lose some coordination, so your reaction times, speech, balance, and even hearing will deteriorate.
- 0.10%: As we reach this BAC, reaction times and control will be reduced further. Your speech will be slurred, you think slower, and your coordination becomes poor.
This scale goes on and on until death but for the purposes of this article it isn’t needed.
How many standard beers to get you drunk?
As i said above, it is very difficult to say the exact mix of drinks, over a timeframe that gets an unknown person drunk but we can generalise a bit.
If we first think of a “Standard beer” in the USA. It is a 12fl oz (about 350ml), 5% ABV beer.
If you drink 2 standard beers over 1 hour, you will probably get your BAC into the 0.4-0.6% region, person depending.
So it is likely you can drink more than 2 standard beers over 1 hour before you are legally drunk but i will use this going forward. If you are a 100lb female then it will take less than a 240lb man.
How many Guinness 0.0 to get you drunk?
If we translate 2 standard beers (5% ABV) into Guinness 0.0 (max 0.05% ABV) we can work out a rough minimum number you would have to drink over an hour to get your BAC to a level you might feel the effects and have a shot at being actually legally drunk. Although in reality it might take x2 this amount.
|12 Fl 0z Bottle of beer by ABV %||x2 US/Canadian Standard Drinksequivalent||Drinks needed for same alcohol volume|
|5% Regular Beer||2||2|
|1.2% Low alcohol||0.5||8|
|0.5% Dealcoholised/Non alcoholic||0.2||20|
|0.05% Alcohol free||0.02||200|
So you would need to drink x200 12fl oz measures of Guinness 0.0 to have the same effects as 2 standard beers.
However Guinness doesn’t come in 12fl oz, more like 16.9 fl oz (500ml can) roughly. So that x200 would be more like x142 cans of Guinness 0.0
Some more numbers that this equates too are…
- 142 500ml cans
- 125 UK Pints
- 2400 fluid ounces
- 75 Quarts
- 18.75 gallons
So that is the amount of Guinness 0.0 you need to drink per hour to get anywhere near the legal definition of intoxication.
So you think you could do that? I think you would die trying and get absolutely nowhere near.
Consequently, you can drink any amount of Guinness 0.0 you can and never get drunk.
One more way of showing how you can’t physically drink that many is looking at time. You would have to drink at least 1 500ml can of Guinness 0.0 every minute for 2 hrs, likely much faster, to get your BAC up to any sort of level to feel the effects of alcohol. Good luck with that!
Why do you have to keep drinking at that rate for BAC to stay raised?
Now remember that you metabolise alcohol as soon as you drink it and it gets passed to the liver.
As you drink alcoholic drinks, you absorb the alcohol from your gut and it makes its way into your bloodstream. The more you drink, the more you absorb and the higher your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
On the other side of the equation is your liver. It is working away to lower the BAC and break down the alcohol. You have to drink more than the liver can break down over a given time frame for your BAC to rise.
So not only do you have to drink a certain amount of alcohol to feel the effects of it, you also have to keep drinking alcohol at or above the rate at which you metabolise it.
This means that after you have somehow managed to drink 142 Guinness 0.0, you would have to keep drinking that many every 1-2 hours as your body is breaking down the alcohol as you drink.
My dedicated article to how many drinks does it take for both a non alcoholic and alcohol free beer to get you drunk can be read here