Why do IPA make you more drunk?

Answered by Jeremy Urbaniak

IPAs, or India Pale Ales, are known for their higher alcohol content compared to other beers. This is primarily due to the brewing process and the specific gravity of the beer. Specific gravity refers to the density of a liquid compared to the density of water. When brewing beer, specific gravity is used to measure the concentration of sugars in the wort, which ultimately affects the alcohol content of the final product.

During the brewing process, malted grains are mixed with water to create a sugary liquid known as wort. This mixture is then boiled and hops are added for bitterness, flavor, and aroma. After the boiling process, the wort is cooled and yeast is added to start fermentation. The yeast consumes the sugars in the wort and converts them into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

IPAs are typically brewed with a higher specific gravity, meaning there is a higher concentration of sugars in the wort. This higher concentration of sugars provides more food for the yeast during fermentation, resulting in a higher alcohol content in the final beer. The specific gravity of IPAs can range from 1.060 to 1.090 or even higher, whereas lighter beers like lagers may have specific gravities around 1.040 to 1.050.

When you consume an IPA with a higher alcohol content, the alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream through the walls of your stomach and intestines. From there, it travels to your liver, where it is metabolized. The liver can only process a certain amount of alcohol per hour, typically around one standard drink (containing about 14 grams of pure alcohol). If you consume alcohol faster than your liver can metabolize it, it can lead to a higher blood alcohol concentration and feelings of drunkenness.

It’s important to note that individual tolerance to alcohol can vary greatly. Factors such as body weight, metabolism, and overall health can influence how alcohol is processed in the body. Additionally, consuming alcohol on an empty stomach can lead to quicker absorption and a faster onset of intoxication.

Personal experiences can vary when it comes to the effects of IPAs or any alcoholic beverage. Some individuals may feel more intoxicated after consuming an IPA due to its higher alcohol content, while others may not experience a noticeable difference compared to other beers. It’s essential to drink responsibly and be aware of your own tolerance and limits when consuming alcoholic beverages.

The higher alcohol content in IPAs is a result of the brewing process and the use of a higher specific gravity during fermentation. This higher alcohol content can lead to a quicker onset of intoxication if consumed in excess or without moderation. It’s crucial to be mindful of your alcohol consumption and understand your own tolerance to ensure responsible drinking.