How Many Beers Before My BAC Is .08?

The Marc Lopez Law Firm is set to attend the 23rd Annual Indiana Microbrewers Festival on July 28 Military Park. At the brew fest, beer lovers are invited to enjoy as many three-ounce beer pours as they can “responsibly” drink. And it may take some restraint to be responsible, as there are going to be over 100 Indiana brewers in attendance.

This is the fourth beer fest that the Marc Lopez Law Firm has attended, and we’re often asked, “How many three-ounce beer samples before I am over .08?” The answer is: It depends.

Many things influence a person’s level of intoxication. Some of these factors are obvious. For example, drinking a lot of alcohol very quickly accelerates intoxication, while eating before drinking will slow down the rate of absorption.

But some of the things that affect how quickly you become intoxicated aren’t so obvious—things like your age, weight, body type, prescribed medication, and whether or not you’re tired or stressed when you’re drinking. Even your gender affects your level of intoxication. Men and women may be equal under the law, but beer still treats us differently.

It’s therefore impossible to know with certainty how many drinks it will take before you reach the legal limit of a .08 blood alcohol content (which is a measurement of grams of ethanol per 100 milliliters of blood OR per 210 liters of breath). Despite this fact, we can use some general information to try to make a guess.

Ordinarily, a 200-pound man can drink four 12-ounce beers before his BAC is .08. This assumes a standard alcohol content of about five percent in beer. It’s also safe to assume that the human body eliminates alcohol at a rate of about .015 grams per hour.

So if a 200-pound man drinks four beers, and those beers have an alcohol content of about five percent, his BAC will be .08. If he stops drinking, his BAC will be .065 after about an hour. You can still be charged with DUI / OVWI if your BAC is .065, so this man may want to wait a couple of hours before driving. Two hours after his last drink, and our 200-pound man’s BAC should be approximately .05.

The problem is, this generalized formula is based on a number of assumptions, and if those assumptions don’t apply to the facts, the formula is not very helpful. For example, most craft beers that you’ll find at the Microbrewers Festival have a higher alcohol content than five percent. In addition, you’re drinking three-ounce samples rather than full beers, and there can be a big difference between three ounces from a generous brewer versus three ounces from someone who’s running low. On top of that, the whole point of attending this sort of festival is to sample a bunch of different things. You might try five different beers in an hour, each with a different alcohol content.

All of these variables make your intoxication level difficult to calculate and predict. I do, however, have some good news. The Marc Lopez Law Firm will be handing out $10 Uber coupons at the beer fest. Come find us to say hello and help make your trip home a little easier!

The Marc Lopez Law Firm represents those who have been accused of criminal acts, including drunk driving.  If you have any questions, give Attorney Marc Lopez a call at 317-632-3642.

What’s the difference between a DUI and an OVWI? It might surprise you.

Does Indiana need to lower the legal limit to .05? 

If you are stopped by the police, what do you have to do?