I drink; therefore, I reek?
April 21, 2008 6:51 AM   Subscribe

How much beer do I have to drink to "smell like a brewery" the next day?

Occasionally I enjoy drinking beer. I also occasionally encounter people who have consumed so much alcohol that they reek the next day. I wish to avoid this.

How many drinks (esp. beer) would a 5'9, 220lb (but otherwise healthy) man in his mid-thirties have to drink to stink the next day (after noon). Assume drinking would take place between 5:00-10:00pm.
posted by anonymous to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I feel like that smell is less about how many drinks you consume than it is how much beer you manage to spill on your clothes and shoes.
posted by saladin at 6:58 AM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think if you've drunk enough you can be wearing clean clothes and still stinkin the place up. But I don't know how much, exactly, that is. Watching with interest!
posted by tiny crocodile at 7:12 AM on April 21, 2008

I have smelled like beer the day after but it was primarily due to spillage by me, and others onto my clothes and shoes. (Judging by the absence of smell following a shower and change of clothes). It does take a lot of beer to get to "spilly-drunk". We're students and we don't have enough beer money to go sloshing it on the ground and each other. That's amateur-hour and rather unprofessional, wouldn't you say?

You may wish to consider the fact that if you drink enough beer to smell like it the next day, you will likely not possess adequate faculties to remember how much you drank. I guess you could calculate from your bar-tab or count the number of empties but I presume you would not be drinking skin-reeking quantities by yourself.
posted by KevCed at 7:30 AM on April 21, 2008

I have mostly noticed that in people who drink daily things like vodka or whiskey. Just make sure to take a shower and wear clean clothes the next day.
posted by meeshell at 7:30 AM on April 21, 2008


20 - 25 ;)
posted by unexpected at 7:33 AM on April 21, 2008

Just my opinion, no evidence to back it up. I think it is more a matter of long-term consumption than how much you drink on any given night. When I was in active alcoholism, I drank beer every night after work. There were times I would drink 15 beers in a night, pass out, and smell perfectly fine the next morning. Other times, I may only have 3-4 and reek to high heaven the next day. Basically, beer permeated my pores all the time.

If you are asking your question for professional reasons (i.e. don't want to reek at work), or perhaps hiding your consumption from a girlfriend or SO, you have to ask yourself how much the beer drinking really means to you. Which is more important?
posted by netbros at 7:37 AM on April 21, 2008

Take a nice hot shower and brush your teeth really well the next day. Beware the beer fart, however - it's a killer. Eat sometime before, during or after and stay away from PBRs and other cheap beers of doom and you should be ok.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 7:53 AM on April 21, 2008

It varies based on how your body digests beer and long-term consumption.

Anecdotally, a painter I met through a friend who was likely a habitual beer drinker (i.e. beer alcoholic) had the tendency to smell like beer when he would sweat. We swore that he must have been hiding a can of beer somewhere, but he really did just smell like beer any time he'd start perspiring.
posted by mikeh at 8:05 AM on April 21, 2008

The standard assumption is that your liver can rid the body of 0.2 % blood alcohol content per hour (for those into such things this implies zero order kinetics). For a 180 pound man this is about the amount of alcohol in a 12 oz. beer, 4 oz. wine or 1-1.5 oz. of distilled spirits. From 6pm to 8am (I used 6 pm as a approximation of when you would start metabolizing the alcohol after having had time to drink a little and absorb it) is 14 hours. Since you are eliminating about 1 beer/hour from your body, if you have 14 beers in a night (a few more for you, since you are more than 180 lbs.) you will still have detectable alcohol in your breath at 8 AM. This is not necessarily the same as smelling like a brewery, but it should give you a ball-park idea of how much beer we are talking about. I have simplified somewhat; there are number of blood alcohol calculators on line if you want more personalized results but they are also only estimates.
posted by TedW at 8:08 AM on April 21, 2008

For me, reeking of beer the next day requires an awful lot of work and the sort of endurance which I thankfully have less of nowadays.

That said, one day last year I got pretty trashed at a game, which turned into a bbq, and ended with a late night trip to the bar. Figure I consumed 20 beers over a 10 hour binge. The next morning I was told, even after getting out of the shower, that I still smelled like alcohol.

I think the alcohol content of the beer plays a big role too. If I know I'm going to a game or some other event where I'll be drinking with friends for an extended time I try to steer toward the low content American piss beers like Miller Lite. My personal taste is for high content brews, but that's just asking for trouble. The point is, the content is just as important as the quantity. Less alcohol in = less out gassing later.
posted by wfrgms at 8:12 AM on April 21, 2008

A proportion of alcohol in blood is excreted via sweat, saliva. It's also present in breath, because it diffuses into air in the lungs (which is how breathalysers work. So this is probably why people smell of alcohol after they've been drinking.

As to how much alcohol it takes for this to happen the next day? That'll depend not only on how much is drunk, but how fast your liver works at breaking down the alcohol. Blood Alcohol Content at Wikipedia gives some general guidelines for this. Blood alcohol levels drop at approximately 0.01% per 40 minutes. Since there's 14 hours between your stopping time of 10pm and noon the next day, this means that in order to have alcohol remaining in your blood, you would need to have a 0.21% BAC at 10pm.

According to the charts at the Wikipedia page, that's about That's about 10 drinks for someone of your weight. Which is possible, but definitely excessive. It's around the point where you fall over and pass out.

So the answer to your question is (with an appropriate amount of handwaving), if you finish up your night unconscious, then you'll probably smell like a brewery the next day.
posted by xchmp at 8:16 AM on April 21, 2008

It seems to depend a lot on individual body chemistry. My college roommate seemed to exude the scent of whatever she was drinking the night before regardless of whether she'd had just a couple of drinks or waaay too many, how many hours she'd slept, or how many showers she took. Me? I have it on good authority that a good hot shower steams any residual liquor from my pores.

Breath can be tricker, as there is a post-drunk smell that is not exactly the smell of drink, but certainly recognizable to anyone who's been drunk. However, I've mostly encountered (and a couple of times unfortunately possessed) this only after a major binge with VERY little sleep. If you're drinking between 5-10 pm and getting eight hours of sleep you most likely shouldn't have a beer-breath problem.
posted by desuetude at 10:14 AM on April 21, 2008

A good buddy of mine's wife can smell when he's drunk even a few cheap beers (High Life, PBR, Schlitz, etc.), but detects no odor whenever he's drinking higher quality fare. This is crazy to me, but I've seen him get called out for stinkin' after just a can or two of bargain basement brew (when she would have no other way of knowing what exactly he drank).

Personally, I've never noticed a beer smell on a person who took a shower and changed clothes unless he/she had drunk more than fifteen beers or so.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 10:24 AM on April 21, 2008

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