Can you live off Beer?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you live off Beer?”, and how to make Beer Can Chicken? 

Can you live off Beer?

No, you cannot live off beer. If you strictly adhere to an only-beer diet, you will likely die of dehydration in a few weeks or days, depending upon your overall health and the strength of beer you are consuming. 

There is a mistaken myth that beer is an effective beverage for replacing fluid and supplying high energy. However, beer will actually have the reverse effect, and will worsen dehydration due to the diuretic effect alcohol has on the renal system. Beer is inappropriate as a carbohydrate replacement, as the 7g of energy is ‘empty calories’ and does not provide available glucose (2).

Every 100 ml of beer contains 40 calories. To fulfill your daily 2000 calorie intake, you will have to gulp down 11 pints of beer every day. With no fat, no protein, and no vitamins, drinking 11 pints of beer per day is a dangerous and unhealthy idea. The bottom line is you cannot live off any single food, let alone beer. 

Studies have shown that light-to-moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages, including beer, can provide various advantages to human health due to the presence of protein, B vitamins, certain minerals, phenolics (antioxidants), ethanol, dietary fibers, and even prebiotic compounds. However, an excessive amount of alcohol consumption leads to adverse effects on the individuals and also on society (3).

Brazil is the third country in global consumption, after China and the United States, with 12,654 thousand kl consumption, representing 6.8 percent of the global beer market (1).

What happens when you drink on an empty stomach?

The absorption rate of alcohol differs with sex, liver health, body weight, and age. Young people, men, and those with a small body weight tend to absorb alcohol at a faster rate. On an empty stomach, blood alcohol concentration peaks about one hour after consumption, depending on the amount drunk; it then declines in a more or less linear manner for the next four hours. Alcohol is removed from blood at a rate about 3.3 mmol/ hour (15mg/ 100ml/ hour), but this varies in different people, on different drinking occasions, and with the amount of alcohol drunk (4).

Alcohol is processed in your small intestine and the processing takes much longer if there is food in the intestine. Drinking on an empty stomach will quickly propel the alcohol from the stomach to the small intestine and into the bloodstream. Rate of absorption of alcohol depends on several factors. It is quickest, for example, when alcohol is drunk on an empty stomach and the concentration of alcohol is 20-30%. Thus, sherry, with an alcohol concentration of about 20% increases the levels of alcohol in blood more rapidly than beer (3-8%) (4).

Light to moderate drinking on an empty stomach may not be very dangerous but drinking large quantities of alcohol on an empty stomach will significantly cloud your cognitive functions and hack your body movements. In the worst-case scenario, it can even lead to death.

How to make Beer Can Chicken? 


  • 1 (4-pound) whole chicken
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or other vegetable oil
  • 1 (12-ounce) can beer, room temperature, opened and half-full
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt or sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper


Prepare the grill 

If you opt for charcoal grilling, fill one side of the grill with charcoal while leaving the other empty. To use a gas grill, fire up only half of the burners.

Season the chicken and rub it with oil 

Prepare the chicken by cutting its neck and removing its internal organs (evisceration). In a small mixing bowl, combine oil, salt, pepper, and thyme to make the dressing.

Lower the chicken onto a half-filled beer can 

The can should be opened and only half-filled. Feel free to add a sprig of thyme rosemary, sage, or any of your favorite herbs in the beer can. Place the chicken onto the beer can such that the chicken cavity is covering the beer can and the chicken is sitting upright. 

Grill on indirect heat 

Use the legs and the beer can as a tripod to balance the chicken on the cool side of the grill. Cover the chicken and leave it to cook undisturbed for about an hour. When the time is up, check the chicken and change the coals if you opted for a charcoal grill.

To check for the doneness, stick a thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken thigh. The chicken is done if the thermometer reads 165℉. The cooking time is determined by the size of your chicken, and the internal temperature of the grill.

Do not fret if the thermometer is not available. You can also check the doneness of the chicken by cutting the chicken at the thighs using a sharp knife. Your chicken is all set and done if the juices run clear instead of pink.

Transfer the chicken to a tray or a pan 

This is a critical step because both the beer and chicken are piping hot at this stage. Cover the bottom of the beer can with a metal spatula and lift the chicken using tongs to safely transfer the chicken to a tray or pan. 

Let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes before removing the beer can from its cavity. If the beer can does not come out easily, lay the chicken on one side to excavate the beer can for it.

Recipe notes 

  1. To make Roasted Chicken using this recipe, place the chicken over the half-filled beer can, place it onto a roasting tray and slide the tray onto the lower rack of the preheated oven. Roast at 350°F until done (about an hour fifteen to an hour and a half for a 4-pound chicken).
  2. For an alcohol-free variation, swap the beer with a can of baked beans. The beans will bake while the chicken drippings flavor the beans. Use the baked beans as a side dish for the baked chicken. 

Other FAQs about Beer  that you may be interested in.

What happens to beer when it freezes?

What happens when beer expires?

What causes a hard beer belly?


In this article, we answered the question “Can you live off Beer?”, and how to make Beer Can Chicken? 


  1. de Oliveira Dias, Murillo, and Davi Falconi. The evolution of craft beer industry in Brazil. J Econom Business, 2018, 1, 618-626.
  2. O’Brien, Conor P., and Frank Lyons. Alcohol and the athlete. Sports Med, 2000, 29, 295-300.
  3. Sohrabvandi, S., A. M. Mortazavian, and K. Rezaei. Health-related aspects of beer: A review. Int J Food Prop, 2012, 15, 350-373.
  4. Paton, Alex. Alcohol in the body. Bmj, 2005, 330, 85-87.