Beer Before Wine Not Fine, New Study Says

Scientists say you'll likely get the same hangover no matter what order you have your drinks in.

Glass of red wine next to a glass of beer
Slawomir Fajer / Shutterstock

Scientists say you'll likely get the same hangover no matter what order you have your drinks in.

Have you ever heard the age-old adage “beer before wine and you’ll feel fine; wine before beer and you’ll feel queer”? The Guardian is reporting that this saying has been found to be technically untrue. British and German researchers worked with 90 volunteers between the age of 19 and 40 to test this theory out. They were each given a meal suitable for their own personal energy requirements and then separated into three groups. While all of the groups were provided enough drinks to have the same level of alcohol in their system — 0.11 percent, to be exact — the form this alcohol took varied between groups.

The first group was given two and a half pints of lager followed by four large glasses of white wine. The second group was given the same, but with the wine coming first and the lager coming after. As for the third group, they were given only beer or only wine instead of a mixture of the two. Then, the researchers surveyed the participants and asked them questions about their level of inebriation. Each volunteer was required to drink a glass of water that’s size was tailored to their individual body weight before bed. The volunteers were all supervised sleeping overnight.

Next came the rating of their hangovers the next morning. Volunteers were surveyed and given a ranking on the acute hangover scale, which is determined by factors such as thirst, fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea, stomach ache, a fast heart rate, and loss of appetite. The next week the experiment was conducted again, with the groups one and two switching the order of their drinks. For the third group, the ones who drank only wine previously were then required to drink only beer, and vice-versa.

While the volunteers were said to experience hangovers (and even one in 10 reportedly threw up), it was discovered that there was not much difference in “hangover intensity” between the subjects. The results were subsequently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“The truth is that drinking too much of any alcoholic drink is likely to result in a hangover,” said Jöran Köchling, one of the authors of the study from Witten/Herdecke University in Germany. “The only reliable way of predicting how miserable you’ll feel the next day is by how drunk you feel and whether you are sick. We should all pay attention to these red flags when drinking.”

“We debunked the saying, it’s not true,” said Kai Hensel, a senior clinical fellow at Cambridge University. “You’re going to be the same whatever order you drink these beverages in.”