How Many Beers Equal A Shot Of Whiskey? It isn’t intuitive.

It can be incredibly difficult to track how much you have drank and when you should stop. This is especially true if you start of mix drinks or drink something you are unfamiliar with. 

Take a beer for example, most people know where they are with a beer. You know how long it takes to drink and how it might affect you. 

But then you take a shot or 2 of whiskey and you have no clue what that equals or how many beer equivalents you have had. How many beers equals a shot of whiskey?

How many beers equals a shot of whiskey?

One standard beer is defined by the USDA as being 5% ABV and 12fl oz in volume. This contains 14g of pure alcohol. A standard shot of whiskey has 40% ABV and 1.5fl oz which again means it has 14g of pure alcohol. 

This means that one standard beer equals a shot of whiskey in terms of the alcohol it contains.

What is a standard beer?

Beers come in lots of different shapes, sizes and strengths. There is no point in me saying “standard beer” and you imagining some 14% Imperial Stout when i mean a 5% Pilsner.

Luckily for everyone, the USDA have devised a list of “standard” alcoholic drinks. Each one contains the exact same amount of alcohol – 14g of alcohol (0.6 ounces).

Below is a list of the standard drinks, volumes and ABV that all give 14g of alcohol.

Drink and volumeAlcohol content
12fl oz Beer5%
5fl oz Wine12%
1.5fl oz Spirit40%
Standard drinks

So as you can see, a standard beer is a 12fl oz and 5% alcohol by volume beer. I will be using these figures for the calculations.

What is a standard shot of whiskey?

From the information and definitions given to us by the USDA, we can see that a standard shot of whiskey is 1.5fl oz and 40% alcohol by volume

So in the USA, a standard shot is 1.5fl oz of 45ml of whiskey and 40% ABV

This also gives a pure alcohol content of 14g

Are all whiskeys 40% ABV?

40% is used as it gives the magical 14g of pure alcohol but in reality a lot of whiskeys have slightly different ABVs. 

Some whiskeys are 37.5%, others are export strength at 43.5% or cask strength at even higher

Do standard shots of whiskey change in different countries?

Unfortunately, a standard shot of whiskey will change from country to country.

Even within an overall country or single market there can be lots of differences.

Take the UK for example…

A standard shot of whiskey in England and Wales is 25ml (remember a standard US shot is 45ml).

A standard shot of whiskey in Scotland and Northern Ireland is 35ml.

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all make up the UK but there can be various laws, in this case liquor laws, that differ, how weird is that?!

So how many shots of whiskey in a bottle?

There are 16.9 shots of whiskey in a bottle in the USA. For European countries the ratios would be a lot different and the end numbers would also be different.

How many beers or shots of whiskey does it take to get drunk?

The CDC states it takes the average 160lb adult male, 4 standard beers to get drunk. A standard beer is 12fl oz and 5% ABV. 

The 4 beers have to be drank over 1-2 hours. If you are a female or lighter then it will take less beers, if you are a significantly heavier male, it may take 5+ beers to get drunk.

As a standard beer equals a standard shot of whiskey, it would take 4 shots of whiskey to get drunk.

How does beer and whiskey compare in calories?

So far we have looked at how many beers compares to a shot of whiskey in terms of their alcohol content. 

We have seen they have the same or nearly the same with some variance. But what about the nutritional aspect? Which has the fewer calories?

How many calories in non alcoholic beer?

From well over 100 different non alcoholic beers i have reviewed, i gathered all their nutritional data to work out the averages…

The average amount of calories in 100ml of non alcoholic beer is 22.6kcal. This works out at 80.1kcal in a 12fl oz measure.

You can see all this data here

How many calories in alcoholic beer?

The USDA say that the average alcoholic beer has 43kcal per 100ml which works out at 153kcal in a 12fl oz serving, this mirrors my own findings. 

I took a sample of 35 alcohol beers and found that the average calorie count was 43.2kcal per 100ml and 153.3 in a 12fl oz serving.

How many calories in whiskey?

Unfortunately whiskey is not zero calories. The USDA state a standard measure of whiskey has 97 kcal per standard 1.5 fl oz shot. That equates to about 215kcal per 100ml of whiskey. This is based on a 40% ABV whiskey.

So you can see that a shot of whiskey has significantly less calories than a bottle of beer but slightly more than a bottle of non alcoholic beer.

How many calories are in a bottle of whiskey?

If a 1.5fl oz shot of whiskey is 97kcal and there are 16.91 shots in a bottle of whiskey, that means a bottle of whiskey has 1640kcal.

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