Concentration-time profiles of ethanol in capillary blood after ingestion of beer

J Forensic Sci Soc. 1991 Oct-Dec;31(4):429-39. doi: 10.1016/s0015-7368(91)73184-8.


Blood ethanol profiles were determined in experiments with healthy volunteers after they had drunk beer. When 330 ml of light beer (1.8% w/v ethanol) was consumed in 5 min by four men and four women, the average peak blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) reached was 8 mg/100 ml (range 2-11). After nine men had drunk 660 ml of beer (3.0% w/v or 3.6% w/v ethanol) in 25 minutes on an empty stomach, the average peak BAC was 32 mg/100 ml (range 26-44) and 37 mg/100 ml (range 23-54) respectively. When the same two beers were consumed by another nine men together with a meal, the peak BAC was 24 mg/100 ml (range 20-29) and 28 mg/100 ml (range 20-39) respectively. The peak BAC occurred earlier when beer was ingested together with food; mean 32 min (range 30-50) compared with 41 min (range 30-70) with an empty stomach. The rate of disappearance of alcohol from blood (beta-slope) was 12 mg/100 ml/h in the fed state and 15 mg/100 ml/h when subjects were fasted. The apparent volume of distribution of ethanol (Vd) was 0.65 l/kg (SD 0.07) for the empty stomach condition but exceeded unity when beer was ingested together with food. It seems that part of the dose of alcohol when consumed with food never reaches the systemic circulation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / metabolism*
  • Beer*
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Ethanol / pharmacokinetics*
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Food
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Ethanol