This investigation was conducted to determine the effect of postexercise ethanol intoxication (21.97 +/- 1.09 mmol/l blood) on the response of selected aspects of the neuroendocrine system to a resistance exercise (Ex) session. Nine resistance-trained men (25.0 +/- 1.4 yr, 179.4 +/- 3.4 cm, 79.7 +/- 3.3 kg) were used to compare three 3-day treatments: control, Ex, and ethanol after exercise (ExEt). Blood was collected serially from an antecubital vein before exercise, immediately after exercise, and for pooled analysis at 20-40 (2 samples), 60-120 (4 samples), and 140-300 (9 samples) min after exercise on day 1 and in the morning (2 samples each) on days 2 and 3. Ethanol did not increase circulating epinephrine, norepinephrine, or cortisol concentration (Cort) above Ex elevations. At 60-120 min, only ExEt Cort was greater than control Cort. Concentrations of testosterone, luteinizing hormone, and corticotropin were not affected by either treatment. It is concluded that, although this blood ethanol concentration is insufficient to acutely increase Cort above that caused by Ex alone, it appears that ethanol may have a prolonged effect beyond the Ex response. This blood ethanol concentration does not further stimulate the sympathoadrenal system during the postexercise response.