Many people enjoy relaxing at the end of a hard day with a cold beer. But if you’re drinking regularly, it can add up – and that can have serious consequences for your health and relationships.
So can you drink four to twelve beers a day – how much beer is too much? We’re going to answer that question, so you’ve got the information you need to make healthy choices.
How much alcohol is in beer?
The first thing to bear in mind is that the amount of alcohol in beer can vary by brand.
There are, of course, some great non-alcoholic beers out there. But if you’re drinking alcoholic versions, make sure you know how strong they are.
To do that, look at the alcohol by volume (ABV) displayed on the label. The higher the number, the more alcohol it contains.
Low-alcohol beers usually have around 3.6 percent of alcohol by volume. Standard beers have about 5 percent. And some Belgian beers can have as much as 11 percent.
So how do you know how much alcohol you’re drinking?
All that variation means it’s hard to say how much alcohol there is in “a beer”. And as well as the ABV, serving size can vary too. A standard bottle of lager contains 330 milliliters – but bottles can vary. Cans can contain 330, 440, or 500 milliliters. And a pint, of the kind served in British pubs, is 568 milliliters.
All that means it’s not easy to know exactly how much alcohol you’re drinking. But you can calculate it, as long as you know the ABV figure and the volume of drink.
The way you do this is the same as you calculate any percentage. Start with the volume in milliliters, then multiply it by the ABV figure divided by ten. That will give you the amount of alcohol in milliliters that’s in your drink.
So if you were drinking a 330-milliliter bottle of beer, with an ABV of 3.6, the calculation would be:
330 x 0.036 = 11.88 milliliters of alcohol.
How much alcohol is too much?
Now you know how much alcohol is in your favorite beer – but how much is too much? And do you really need to get out your calculator every time you want a drink?
The good news is that there are easier ways to check your alcohol consumption! That’s where the idea of units of alcohol comes in.
Units are just a different way of talking about the amount of alcohol you’re drinking. One unit is the same as 10 milliliters of alcohol.
It’s recommended not to drink any more than 14 units of alcohol a week. (And if you’re a pregnant woman, it’s advised to stay clear of alcohol altogether.)
Some health organizations recommend different maximum amounts for men and women. But everyone’s body is different. A single figure is just as effective at giving an idea of what level of alcohol is low risk.
How many units of alcohol are in beer?
There are 2 units of alcohol in one pint of lower-strength beer – that’s beer with an ABV of 3.2 percent. If your beer is higher strength – around 5.2 percent ABV – that rises to 3 units.
So you could have up to 6 pints of normal, or 7 pints of weaker beer each week and stay within the guidelines. If you’re drinking stronger beer, you should stick to 4 pints per week.
If you’re drinking bottled beer, normal strength options mean you’ll be consuming 1.7 units of alcohol with each bottle. A 440 milliliter can of normal strength beer contains about 2 units. In either case, don’t drink more than 7 in a week.
And whatever type of beer you’re drinking, neither 4 nor 12 beers a day is a good option! In fact, it’s the way to a whole range of problems with your mental and physical health.
Binging on beer
Almost as important as how much beer you drink is the way that you drink it. Saving up your weekly alcohol allowance for a big night out isn’t a good idea!
If you’re drinking 14 units every week, it’s best to spread these out over a few days. A pint of weaker beer at the end of each day is lower risk than binging on a Saturday night.
Drinking heavily in one session means the alcohol will impair your judgment. That might mean you’re more likely to get into risky situations or lose control. It also increases the likelihood of accidents and injury.
Spreading out your alcohol intake over the week is much less likely to bring any of these problems. And if you drink this way, you’ll also escape the dreaded hangover!
What if you’re going out for the evening?
If you’re going to be drinking beer on an evening out, there are ways to reduce its impact. The most obvious one is to drink less!
Alongside that, you can also drink more slowly. That will give your body time to absorb the alcohol, rather than it rushing “straight to your head”. And order food alongside your beer. That will also help your body absorb the alcohol so it has less effect.
Pro Tips: It’s a good idea to switch between beer and water. The water will make sure that you stay hydrated, minimizing the risk of the horrible hangover headache. And if you’re drinking a glass of water for every other round, you’ll also consume less beer – and alcohol – overall.
Another easy option is to switch to lower strength or non-alcoholic beer. Alcohol-free options will give you the appearance and taste of beer, but without the side effects. Just remember that low-alcohol beers do still contain alcohol – so take that into account when keeping track of your drinking.
What are the health impacts of heavier drinking?
If you’re regularly drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week, you’re at greater risk of a host of health problems.
These include poor mental health, brain damage, various cancers, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, gastritis, stomach ulcers, hepatitis and liver cirrhosis. It can also damage your reproductive system.
And it doesn’t stop there. Too much alcohol can affect your sleep and mood. And because it can change the way you behave, it can also damage your relationships with other people.
What about health benefits?
So when it comes to beer and your health, is it all bad news? Well, not quite.
There is some evidence that low to moderate consumption of beer can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. That’s right – too much alcohol increases the risk, small amounts appear to lower it.
A 2016 study found that men drinking up to two 330 milliliter cans of beer a day could see reduced risk. The same effect was found for women drinking up to one can. That would mean men drinking up to 17.5 units per week – slightly higher than the guideline of 14 units.
But it remains the case that drinking above the guideline of 14 units increases your risk in all the ways we’ve discussed already. If there really are benefits to drinking small amounts of beer, stick below that limit. You’ll still get those benefits, and you’ll limit your exposure to other health risks.
What can you do if you need to cut down?
If you’re worried about your drinking, or just want to cut down, there’s lots of help and advice online. And you’ll also find organizations that can give you tailored and one-to-one support.
One simple thing to do is to start thinking about your drinking in terms of your weekly limit. If you drink other alcoholic beverages alongside beer, check how many units they contain.
If you’ve got a favorite beer, you can calculate exactly how many units of alcohol it contains. Or you can get a rough idea using a simple guide. For normal strength beer, remember, you can have up to 7 bottles or cans a week, or 6 pints.
When you do drink beer, pace yourself. Savor the flavor. And if you’re drinking socially, remember that you don’t have to get another drink every time someone else does.
If you’re not sure how much you’re drinking, try keeping a diary. Note down every time you have an alcoholic drink. Keep the diary for a few weeks and then take a look at it. If you’re not happy with what you see, you can take steps to change it.
What about non-alcoholic beers?
You can avoid all the problems associated with alcohol consumption by switching to a non-alcoholic beer. Although they were once hard to come by, there’s now a huge array to choose from.
From IPA to craft ale, to wheat beer, there’s a huge range of great flavors out there. Some are made using yeast-free brewing processes to avoid the alcohol being created in the first place. In other cases, the alcohol is removed after brewing.
Those in the know say that the former gives a better flavor. But why not check some out for yourself? There are lots of reviews online, taking you through the flavor profiles of different non-alcoholic beers. And they’re every bit as refreshing as the alcoholic versions.
Time for a beer?
That brings us to the end of our look at the question of how much beer is too much. We hope we’ve helped you make an informed choice about how much you drink. Stick to those guideline amounts, and you’ll reap the benefits of better physical and mental health.
To reduce the risk of alcohol-related harms, the Guidelines recommend that adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink, or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men or 1 drink or less in a day for women, on days when alcohol is consumed.How much alcohol is too much beer? ›
What is excessive drinking? Excessive drinking includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, and any drinking by pregnant women or people younger than age 21. For women, 4 or more drinks during a single occasion. For men, 5 or more drinks during a single occasion.Is 12 beers a day too much? ›
Heavy drinking – regardless of the type of alcohol selected – can negatively affect health and life in general. The effects of drinking 12 beers a day can be catastrophic. The use of alcohol in the United States is considered a way of life.What is the safe limit for alcohol consumption? ›
It's recommended to drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, spread across 3 days or more. That's around 6 medium (175ml) glasses of wine, or 6 pints of 4% beer. There's no completely safe level of drinking, but sticking within these guidelines lowers your risk of harming your health.How many beers is enough? ›
Number of Beers To Get You Drunk. The number of beers it takes to get drunk varies depending on factors such as a person's weight, gender, and tolerance level. Generally speaking, it takes about 3-4 beers for the average person to feel tipsy, and around 5-6 beers to become legally intoxicated.Am I an alcoholic if I drink 2 beers a day? ›
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking is considered to be in the moderate or low-risk range for women at no more than three drinks in any one day and no more than seven drinks per week. For men, it is no more than four drinks a day and no more than 14 drinks per week.How much alcohol is safe in beer? ›
What are the recommended safe limits of Beer? Men should drink no more than 14 units of Beer per week, these units should be spread out through the week and they should have at least two alcohol free days a week.What is an unsafe amount of alcohol? ›
Regularly drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week risks damaging your health. The number of units in a drink is based on the size of the drink and its alcohol strength. New evidence around the health harms from regular drinking has emerged in recent years.How much beer per week is healthy? ›
What are the recommended safe limits of Beer? Men should drink no more than 14 units of Beer per week, these units should be spread out through the week and they should have at least two alcohol-free days a week.What are the new guidelines for drinking alcohol? ›
The guidance also recommends that if you drink more than 2 drinks a week, make sure you don't exceed 2 drinks on any day. The 2023 guidance recommends that people consider reducing their alcohol use because overwhelming evidence confirms that when it comes to drinking alcohol, less is better.
To reduce the risk of alcohol-related harms, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink, or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men or 1 drink or less in a day for women, on days when alcohol is consumed.How much beer should I drink a day? ›
Moderate alcohol use for healthy adults generally means up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men. Examples of one drink include: Beer: 12 fluid ounces (355 milliliters) Wine: 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters)Can you drink 20 beers a day? ›
In summary, if you're wondering how many beers a day is safe, the answer for most people is one to two. Drinking more than that on a regular basis can put you at risk, and often reverse any health benefits of drinking beer. It's a fine line to walk.How many beers a day is bad for your liver? ›
It is estimated that alcohol-related fatty liver disease develops in 90% of people who drink more than 40g of alcohol (or four units) per day. That's roughly the equivalent of two medium (175ml) glasses of 12% ABV wine, or less than two pints of regular strength (4% ABV) beer.Are you an alcoholic if you drink beer everyday? ›
Myth: I don't drink every day OR I only drink wine or beer, so I can't be an alcoholic. Fact: Alcoholism is NOT defined by what you drink, when you drink it, or even how much you drink. It's the EFFECTS of your drinking that define a problem.What happens if you drink beer everyday? ›
Drinking higher amounts of alcoholic beer can cause, blackouts, drowsiness, low blood sugar, vomiting, and other serious problems. Drinking large amounts of alcoholic beer long-term can cause many serious health problems including dependence, liver problems, and certain types of cancer.Can you drink everyday and not be an alcoholic? ›
Nine in 10 adults who drink too much alcohol are not alcoholics or alcohol dependent, according to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).What are the first signs of kidney damage from alcohol? ›
- swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet due to fluid retention.
- loss of appetite.
- change in urine.
- kidney pain.
Heavy Alcohol Use:
For men, consuming more than 4 drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks per week. For women, consuming more than 3 drinks on any day or more than 7 drinks per week.
Red wine, whiskey, tequila, and hard kombucha are healthier options than beer and sugary drinks. The CDC recommends you limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day if you're male and 1 if you're female.
- Social drinking. To date, nearly all the research on drinking motives has been done on teens and young adults. ...
- Drinking to conform. ...
- Drinking for enhancement. ...
- Drinking to cope.
If drinking beer is your thing, it's best to do it in moderation, not every night. While drinking beer every day may relax you during these tough times, there are some significant downsides: weight gain, poor sleep, bad gastrointestinal inflammation, and other issues that can outlast your time spent in quarantine.How much alcohol can cause liver damage? ›
Long-term intake of more than 30 g of absolute alcohol per day increases the risk of alcoholic liver disease; liver disease is nearly certain in long-term consumption in excess of 80 g of absolute alcohol per day.What are symptoms of drinking too much alcohol? ›
Symptoms of alcohol overdose include mental confusion, difficulty remaining conscious, vomiting, seizures, trouble breathing, slow heart rate, clammy skin, dulled responses (such as no gag reflex, which prevents choking), and extremely low body temperature. Alcohol overdose can lead to permanent brain damage or death.Which alcohol is least harmful to your liver? ›
So, now on to the all-important question, which alcohol is easiest on the liver? The quick answer is, none of them. The reason is that the main liver-damaging ingredient in all types of alcohol is ethanol. It doesn't matter which alcohol you chose, be it weak beer or grain alcohol.Is beer good for the liver? ›
Anyone who drinks alcohol regularly or heavily can damage their liver. The damage can be mild, like fatty liver. Or, it can be serious, like alcoholic hepatitis and/or cirrhosis. Mild liver disease, like fatty liver can be reversed completely if a person stops drinking alcohol.Is it bad to drink beer everyday for a week? ›
Heavy drinking can damage the heart muscle, increasing the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and atrial fibrillation. The risk is even higher in weekly heavy drinkers (two times a week) compared to regular ones. That's due to sudden fluctuation in the blood pressure level.What is rule 34 of drinking alcohol? ›
Rule 34. If you bring crap beer to a party, you must drink at least two cans before laying into the semi-hidden craft beer in the frig.What is the 6 alcoholic drink rule? ›
There is a maximum of six alcoholic drinks per person per day that can be served and these drinks will be provided only during lunch and dinner ( 3 each).What is the new 6 drink rule? ›
If you choose to visit the destinations mentioned above, then your all-inclusive alcoholic drinks will be capped at 6 per day. They are often with allowed only with meals, meaning 3 with your lunch and 3 with your dinner.
Drinking more than two beers a day can increase chances of developing fatty liver disease, or cirrhosis. Many beers are high in calories, so drinking large amounts frequently can lead to substantial weight gain.What happens if I drink 2 beers everyday? ›
Drinking one or two standard beers per day may have positive effects, such as benefits to your heart, better blood sugar control, stronger bones, and reduced dementia risk.Is 64 oz of beer too much? ›
And Mitch Rubin of the Florida Beer Wholesalers Association echoes that sentiment. “Really the 64 ounce container is a sharing size package,” Rubin says, “it's for more than one person and the 32 ounce is the maximum individual size.”Is beer good for the gut? ›
Beer is rich in healthy compounds called polyphenols, which reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the gut. This creates a good place for beneficial bacteria to grow, Faria says.What beers are the healthiest? ›
Some nutrition experts consider craft beer a more functional beverage since beer imparts medical benefits to the drinker. The healthiest are stouts and porters, and higher hoppy beers, such as DIPAs and Imperial IPAs, Trappist beers, and spontaneous fermented beers, such as Lambics and Gose.Is beer good for high blood pressure? ›
Drinking alcohol increases blood pressure and repeated drinking causes sustained high blood pressure. Alcohol consumption is an entirely preventable cause of severe hypertension (the medical name for sustained high blood pressure) in both men and women.Will 6 beers a day cause liver damage? ›
Having 2 to 3 alcoholic drinks every day or binge drinking can harm your liver. Binge drinking is when you drink more than 4 or 5 drinks in a row. If you already have a liver disease, you should stop drinking alcohol. There is no safe amount of alcohol for people with any type of alcoholic liver disease.How many bottles of beer a day is too much? ›
Moderate alcohol use for healthy adults generally means up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men. Examples of one drink include: Beer: 12 fluid ounces (355 milliliters) Wine: 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters)How do you know if you drink too much beer? ›
Alcohol can deprive you of the energy and mental focus you need to go through the following day. You may also feel sluggish, groggy, and easily irritable, mainly due to disrupted sleep or low blood sugar levels.How many beers a day to get cirrhosis? ›
It is estimated that alcohol-related fatty liver disease develops in 90% of people who drink more than 40g of alcohol (or four units) per day. That's roughly the equivalent of two medium (175ml) glasses of 12% ABV wine, or less than two pints of regular strength (4% ABV) beer.
Heavy Alcohol Use:
NIAAA defines heavy drinking as follows: For men, consuming more than 4 drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks per week. For women, consuming more than 3 drinks on any day or more than 7 drinks per week.
- Red Wine. ...
- Light Beer. ...
- Tequila. ...
- Gin & Rum & Vodka & Whiskey.
Alcoholic beer is likely safe for most adults when used in moderation (two 12-ounce glasses daily). But drinking more than this is possibly unsafe. Drinking higher amounts of alcoholic beer can cause, blackouts, drowsiness, low blood sugar, vomiting, and other serious problems.Is it bad to have a couple beers every night? ›
Two drinks per day for men and one for women is considered as moderate drinking. Going beyond this limit may have harmful repercussions. Drinking beer high in alcohol content can put you at the risk of hypertension and kidney diseases. That's because beer is diuretic and could put extra strain on your kidneys.Is 6 bottles of beer a day too much? ›
In summary, if you're wondering how many beers a day is safe, the answer for most people is one to two. Drinking more than that on a regular basis can put you at risk, and often reverse any health benefits of drinking beer.What are the first signs of liver damage from alcohol? ›
Generally, symptoms of alcoholic liver disease include abdominal pain and tenderness, dry mouth and increased thirst, fatigue, jaundice (which is yellowing of the skin), loss of appetite, and nausea. Your skin may look abnormally dark or light. Your feet or hands may look red.What happens to your liver if you drink too much beer? ›
Drinking a large amount of alcohol, even for just a few days, can lead to a build-up of fats in the liver. This is called alcoholic fatty liver disease, and is the first stage of ARLD. Fatty liver disease rarely causes any symptoms, but it's an important warning sign that you're drinking at a harmful level.How many beers a night is bad? ›
Heavy drinking means drinking four or more drinks per day for men or three or more drinks per day for women. Binge drinking means consuming five or more drinks for men or four or more drinks within two hours.