Can You Get Drunk From One Beer?

by Dane Wilson | Last Updated: September 10, 2021

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“Is my brain playing tricks on me, or am I drunk?” Then you stare down at your beer bottle incredulously, because the party’s just started and you haven’t even gotten to your second bottle yet. What gives? Can you get drunk from one beer?

We’re going to examine whether it is possible to get tipsy off a beer.

Table of Contents

How Much Alcohol is in One Beer?

There are many kinds of beer out there, but most of them have between 4-10% alcohol by volume (ABV). Unless the brewer is truly trying to make a very boozy brew. Considering the standard serving size of beer, which is 12 oz, that puts the typical percentage of alcohol at 5%.

High alcohol beers are an exception to this, because you can most certainly get drunk off them quickly. Many range around 20% ABV or higher, but there are some that breach 50-65% ABV.

So if you’re feeling tipsy off a single beer, you might want to check the label to make sure you aren’t downing a high ABV beer without knowing it.

Influences of Drunkenness

If “why do I feel tipsy after 1 drink” is becoming a recurring question during your days and nights consuming beer, you might want to consider factors outside of the alcohol itself. Drunkenness is unique to every individual, because people are different. Your body attributes alter how you react to alcohol.

Here are some factors:


The heavier you are, the more it takes to feel anything from alcohol. Someone who is 100 pounds (45 kg) is going to feel the affects of beer much faster than someone who is 200 pounds (90 kg).


There’s a reason you could drink more at 21 years old than you can at 51 years old. As you age, your tolerance for alcohol decreases. This is due to a decrease in body mass.


People who are taller have expanded circulatory systems. It takes much longer for alcohol to circulate through their blood than it would someone who is shorter.


Women usually take less alcohol to get drunk then men. The main reason? Women carry more fat on their bodies.

Other Influential Factors

Aside from physical characteristics, there are other components to drunkenness. Some people have more difficulty processing alcohol than others due to less enzyme production. People who are getting over illnesses, who haven’t eaten anything, and women who take birth control can all be impacted worse by less alcohol. If you experience insomnia, that too can reduce your alcohol tolerance.

Can You Get Drunk From One Beer_Sound Brewery

Feeling Tipsy After One Drink?

Considering all this, while it isn’t normal to feel drunk after a single beer, it is possible if all the factors line up a certain way. For instance, if you’re a young woman who weighs around 100 pounds (45 kg), hasn’t eaten all day, and you’re now excited and drinking, that alcohol is going to hit you worse than if you’d eaten something.

In short, while there’s no distinct rule for when alcohol affects someone, certain factors can get you drunk after one beer.

Final Thoughts

Can you get drunk off a single beer? Probably not. Most mass produced beers, such as Coors, Budweiser, Heineken, and Corona don’t have enough alcohol to affect blood alcohol levels too dramatically with 1 drink. While some beers are stronger than others and could potentially make you feel tipsy, it’s usually a combination of factors that accelerate your intoxication, not just consuming one beer.