It takes around 11 hours for 3 pints of strong beer or 3 large glasses of wine to leave your system – so you can still be over the drink drive limit the next day.
Alcohol is one of the most predictable chemical reactions for your body. It burns off at an almost perfectly precise rate of .016 BAC (blood alcohol content) per hour, about equal to 1 standard drink each hour (depending on your weight). This rate is true regardless of the size of your body. A 5’2 female burns off alcohol at the same rate as a 6’1 obese male.
The differences, however, are in the rate with which your BAC rises. One drink in a small female of low weight constitutes a much larger percent of her BAC. It may take a male 5 drinks or more in an hour to reach a BAC of .08, while it may take a small female only two or three drinks.
Also, it tends to take longer for individuals with a lot of fat to absorb the alcohol. In other words, if two people of different fat levels but of equal weight drink the exact same amount of alcohol, the one with less fat will absorb the alcohol faster, causing them to feel it quicker. The one with more fat will absorb it slower, all the while the alcohol they are absorbing is still metabolising at the same rate, so they will not experience as much of a sensation.
Be sure to read our How much is a unit of alcohol? page for an explanation of how alcohol units are measured.
How many hours until the alcohol has left my blood?
- under 8 units: number of units + 1 hour (2 pints of 4% lager = 6 units, so 7 hours)
- 8-11 units: number of units + 1.5 hours (3 large glasses of 12.5% wine = 9 units, so 10.5 hours)
- 12 units plus: number of units x 1.5 (5 pints lager/glasses of wine = 15 units, so 22.5 hours)
- Freephone 0800 917 8282 (Drinkline)