How long will it take for a 32-ounce beer to metabolize?

In this article, we will answer the question “How long will it take for a 32-ounce beer to metabolize?”, and how does alcohol metabolize.

How long will it take for a 32-ounce beer to metabolize?

A standard beer drink of 5% alcohol equals 12 ounces. This means that 32 ounces equal 2–2/3 standard beers. If you had a single 32oz beer drink in under 30 minutes, it will take about 2 hours to remove you from the system. 

On the other hand, if you had 32oz of beer total, from more than one 12, 16, or 20 oz beers; then you’ll need to give it 1 hour per beer drank, from when each drank, not from the first one.

The rate of alcohol metabolism is the same for everyone but the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) varies from person to person. This is because BAC refers to the amount of alcohol in your blood in relation to the amount of water in your blood. 

The are various factors that determine how you respond to alcohol and your BAC. For example, age, weight, drinking alcohol on an empty stomach, medications, liver disease, binge drinking, etc.

The higher the alcohol content of a drink, the longer it will take to metabolize. The following table shows an estimated time it takes to metabolize different alcoholic beverages, though these times will vary depending on the alcohol content of the beverage. 

Type of alcoholic beverage Average time to metabolize 
Small shot of liquor 1 hour 
Pint of beer 2 hours 
Large glass of wine3 hours 
A few drinks Several hours 

Certain steps can help ease the effects of alcohol. Such as

  1. Food accelerates the absorption of alcohol from your intestine into your blood.
  1. Drinking water can reduce your BAC but it will not impact the time it takes to metabolize alcohol. 
  2. Caffeinated drinks, energy drinks, or any other similar beverages do not affect reducing the effects of alcohol. 

What is considered one drink of alcohol? 

  • 12 fluid ounces of beer – usually contains about 5% alcohol
  • 5 fluid ounces of wine – contains about 12% alcohol
  • One shot of vodka – typically contains 40% alcohol
  • One shot of gin – generally has a 40% alcohol content
  • One shot of rum – also generally has a 40% alcohol content

How is alcohol metabolized? 

When you gulp down the alcohol, it moves into your digestive system from where 20% of the alcohol is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and goes towards your brain. The remaining 80% of alcohol is absorbed through the small intestine. 

Last but not the least, the liver detoxifies your blood of alcohol residues. If you have an ailing liver, the alcohol detoxification process will be slowed down.

What are the differences between Urine and Breath test?

A Urine test identifies the traces of the alcohol metabolites. A urine test can detect alcohol in your blood between 12-48 hours after you had your last drink. If the test is advanced, it can detect the alcohol in your blood even 80 hours after drinking. 

However, a breath test needs to be done within 24 after drinking. The breath test is done via a breathalyzer that measures your BAC. If the breath test result comes out to be greater than 0.02, you cannot drive or perform other tasks where safety may be an issue.

Moreover, alcohol residues can be detected in your hair for up to 90 days. Saliva, sweat, and blood can be used for temporary detection. 

Test How long after drinking can it detect alcohol? 
Urine 12-48 hours 
Breath 24 hours 
Hair 90 days

Breastfeeding and alcohol 

Alcohol is prohibited for pregnant women. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk for decreased motor skills and other developmental abnormalities in the fetus. 

It takes a few hours before the breastmilk is free of any alcohol residues. Consider taking the following safety steps if you do drink alcohol during pregnancy.

  1. Breastfeed before drinking alcohol.
  1. Pump some extra milk when you intend to drink water. This way you feed expressed milk to your baby.
  1. Refrain from breastfeeding within 2-3 hours after a shot or a 12-ounce glass of beer or wine.

Alcohol poisoning 

Alcohol poisoning is marked by drinking excessive amounts of alcohol in a short period. Usually, binge drinking leads to alcohol poisoning. The most common symptoms of alcohol poisoning include vomiting, reduced body temperature, slower breathing, and passing out. 

If your friend or any of your acquaintances is experiencing this symptom after drinking, call your local emergency services. Turn the person on their side to prevent vomiting.

In the worst-case scenario of alcohol poisoning, the person may experience cardiac arrest, brain damage, seizure, asphyxiation, and extremely low blood pressure.

Other FAQs about Beer that you may be interested in.

Can I bottle beer in a growler? (+5 Growler safety tips)

How many liters in a barrel of beer? (up to 5 Beer Barrels)

How much is a pitcher of beer? (3 Sizes)


In this article, we answered the question “How long will it take for a 32-ounce beer to metabolize?”, and how does alcohol metabolize.