Monday, August 17, 2015

Session Science

If you still follow this blog, if you still look to see if I'm doing anything, well...I haven't been, for a variety of reasons. But this article in DRAFTMag by Joe Stange is too important to ignore. It's science, baby, and what it does is show that it's MORE than just the extra alcohol you take in when you're drinking stronger beers, it's the gap between your body's processing that alcohol and you taking on more when you have the next beer.

Here's how Joe explains it.
A 12-ounce beer of 4% strength contains about 1.4 alcohol units. Let’s say you’re drinking only one beer per hour—you’re probably not, but for simplicity, let’s say you are. In that case, your body processes 1.0 units and leaves 0.4 to begin laying down that gentle buzz. Have another beer the next hour, your body handles another unit, and the excess goes to 0.8, and it accumulates from there. The next hour, you’re at 1.2 units excess. It’s a neat (if oversimplified) way to measure intoxication.
Now, a 12-ounce beer of 5% strength has about 1.8 units. That leaves 0.8 after your hour of your body doing what it does. After another beer and another hour, you’re at 1.6. The next hour, you’re at 2.4—that’s double the excess alcohol, and it only continues to accumulate.
Obviously the difference is further exaggerated if we were to compare proper session beers lower than 4%—as they should be—and beers stronger than 5%—like most of today’s novelties.
Chart by Joe Stange, clipped from DRAFT's site.
DRAFT editor: if you want it pulled, just ask
Do I agree with Joe about the 4.0% thing? If you're wondering about that, you're missing the point. The point is...the difference in alcohol is real, and the effects are real. It's not trifling. And 4.8% beers aren't saving you much.

What we want, what we need, are beers that taste good at even lower ABV. Make 'em, brewers, and we'll drink 'em. Consider it a challenge.

Great piece, Joe. Nice work, DRAFTMag.

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