Monday, September 16, 2013

Musicians' Beer Drinking Formula

It's fun to have a beer or two while playing some tunes, although there's a fine line between inspiration and sloppiness.  This handy-dandy formula could help you keep things in check.
McGann's Pub, Doolin Ireland, November 2004
What you do is multiply the quantity (in ounces) by alcohol (percentage ABV).  The magic number is 250.  You want to stay at or below 250 for every 6 hours of drinking*.  For example, four 12-ounce bottles of 5% alcohol beer equates to 48 (ounces) x 5 (ABV) = 240. That's under 250 so it's in the safe zone.  Having a 5th one would be a no-no, since it would take you over that 250 mark.  By the same equation, if the beer was stronger than 5.2% alcohol, then 3 would be the max.

*Note: the 250 rule does not apply to Guinness Draught.  Drink a Guinness when you're tired.

A typical American pint glass is supposed to hold 16 ounces of draft beer when filled to the brim, although it's rarely filled to the very brim.   For the sake of the formula, let's say that an American pint is 15 ounces.  A British imperial pint, like the kind you sometimes see in Irish and British pubs, is about 20% larger, so let's assume that it is 18 ounces when filled.

12 oz. bottles
4.1% abv or less – maximum of 5 (60 x 4.1 = 246)
5.2% abv or less – maximum of 4 (48 x 5.2 = 249.60)
6.9% abv or less – maximum of 3 (36 x 6.9 = 248.40)
10.4% abv or less – maximum of 2 (24 x 10.4 = 249.60)

15 oz. American pint
4.1% abv or less – maximum of 4 (60 x 4.1 = 246)
5.5% abv or less – maximum of 3 (45 x 5.5 = 247.50)
8.3% abv or less – maximum of 2 (30 x 8.3 = 249)

18 oz. British pint
4.6% abv or less – maximum of 3 (54 x 4.6 = 248.40)
6.9% abv or less – maximum of 2 (36 x 6.9 = 248.40)

I'll let you do the math for other quantities, such as 11.2 oz. bottles or 16.9 oz. pub cans.  If you are drinking out of a 32 oz. or 64 oz. growler, you'll need to know how much you're pouring into the glass and of course the ABV.  The formula could get complicated if you are mixing different quantities of beer with varying alcohol content.  Another way of telling if you've had too much is if you are unable to mentally calculate the formula.

The 250 rule applies only to the playing of a musical instrument, and should be used with caution when judging whether or not you are capable of performing other actions requiring sharp motor skills.

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