Beer That Won’t Give You a Hangover Isn’t Much of a Beer


Australia is a country of extremes – their alcoholic sports fans bury beer a week before racing events to circumvent the 24-cans-per-day limit, and their spiders are terrifying

But this story from reveals a different side of Australian extremism, because the “no hangover” beer they’ve developed Down Under is extremely silly, for exactly 2.3 reasons.

That’s the ABV of the beer that researchers at Griffith University’s Health Institute in Queensland have concocted to provide “a third more hydration” than a typical 4.8 percent ABV Australian beer. 

While 33 percent more hangover-preventing hydration per beer sounds nice, it begs two important questions:

a) Who the hell wants to bother with a 2.3% ABV beer?

b) Why not just drink a 12 ounce glass of water with every “typical” beer you throw back and get double the hydration?


The answers are as follows:

a) Not me.

b) because SCIENCE!

We all know that drinking alcohol makes you have to pee, but do you know the nerdy reason why?  It turns out that having alcohol in your bloodstream blocks a chemical that helps the body absorb water, so our kidneys pass the fluids in our system right on to the bladder, which we then pass on to sewer pipes and septic tanks, where they do our bodies exactly zero good.

These lost fluids not only keep your body properly hydrated, they also contain electrolytes like sodium and potassium, which your cells need to function properly.  Robbed of moisture, your body steals water from your brain to keep your organs hydrated, which, combined with the lack of cell-restoring electrolytes, can lead to increased intoxication and a morning full of headaches, fatigue and an undeniable craving for a Sausage McMuffin with Cheese.

While drinking extra water with your beer might help to keep you hydrated, it does little to replace the sodium and potassium your body needs. That’s where the Australian science comes in – they’ve added flavorless electrolytes to their brew, in essence creating a beer/Gatorade hybrid that keeps you from waking up and wishing you were dead.

Information on the web makes it unclear if it’s the beer’s low ABV or the addition of electrolytes that makes it a third more hydrating than a normal beer, but one could assume that lowering the alcohol-by-volume to 2.3 percent lowers the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream, thereby lessening the hydration-robbing effects of the beer.  The added electrolytes are probably on board to replace what’s lost to the loo, not stem the flow of fluids.

While this beer might be based on good science, it seems to skirt common sense.  I’d rather go slow, try and match every ounce of beer with an ounce of water, and keep my sodium and potassium levels up with a couple of handfuls of mixed nuts. 

This way I can enjoy my coldies and wake up without feeling the need to chunder on my grundies. It’ll be a g’day indeed!



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Categories: Beer


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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7 Comments on “Beer That Won’t Give You a Hangover Isn’t Much of a Beer”

  1. August 23, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    Reblogged this on Proper_Pour and commented:
    It ain’t worth nothing if t don’t cost anything.

  2. August 23, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    Good job spelling out the steps of the hang over. I didn’t know the specifics about water absorption and how that gets to the step where it impacts brain function. Very interesting and this is something I can repeat to people! Well done.

    That said, I’d also be happy with a 3-4% berliner weisse or rauchbier. Tons of flavor, not killer amounts of alcohol.


    • August 23, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

      Yeah, I learned it from the Time article and will be enjoying a “Cliff Clavin” moment with it myself in the near future…

  3. August 23, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    As I’vr said before, more alcohol won’t improve the taste. But moderately alcoholic beers have been popular for a long time–they’re called session beers. Many of them are damned good. Also, a little moderation in the rate and amount of beer one consumes at a sitting can go a long way towards preventing multiple problems. Slow and easy is the catch phrase.

    • August 23, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

      I know you’re a session beer guy, but I love beers that are a bit boozy – I enjoy the taste of them. Unfortunately, moderation is required!

  4. August 23, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    It has to taste worse than Foosters. and I didn’t think that was possible.

  5. August 23, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    I can put away a lot of beer… or wine for that matter… without too much trouble. Oh, I’ve had some decent hangovers on beer – especially from a few too many of the 7% & 8% IPA’s and imperials – but to wake up wishing I was dead requires liquor… unfortunately I’ve been there once or twice. Drank my weight in Molson one night out… that was a decent hangover.

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