This article is more than 1 year old

Hungover this morning? Thought 'beer before wine and you'll be fine'? Boffins prove old adage just isn't true

Better to drink plenty of water, we reckon

Beer before wine and you’ll feel fine; wine before beer and you’ll feel queer, as the old saying goes. Well it isn’t true, it doesn’t matter what order you down your drinks, you’ll be hungover all the same.

Ninety human guinea pigs, who were students of course, aged between 19 to 40 years old agreed to discover this the hard way in the name of science.

In the first experiment, 31 people slurped beer until their breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) measured 0.05 per cent, they then sipped wine until their BrAC increased to 0.11 per cent. Another handful of 31 participants repeated the same experiment but consumed wine before beer. The rest of the group, 28 people, acted as the control group and were only given one type of alcoholic beverage to drink.

A week later, the same procedure was repeated but the beverages were switched. Those that started on the frothy brews were now swigging the alcoholic grape juice to reach the same BrAC measurements. And the ones in the control group given only beer were now limited to wine and vice versa.

After each hardcore sesh [Ed: Also known as an aperitif for Reg hacks], the students were asked how to judge how drunk they were on a scale of 0-10. They were also quizzed on how bad their hangovers were in a questionnaire - assuming they could see straight.

The researchers from the Witten/Herdecke University in Germany and the UK's University of Cambridge, analyzed the results, and found no special relationship between what order the different types of alcoholic beverage were consumed and the severity of the resutling hangovers. The results were published this week in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Reg SF holiday test materials

El Reg tests portable breathalyzers: Getting drunk so you don't have to


"Using white wine and lager beer, we didn't find any truth in the idea that drinking beer before wine gives you a milder hangover than the other way around," said first author Jöran Köchling from Witten/Herdecke University.

"The truth is that drinking too much of any alcoholic drink is likely to result in a hangover. 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."

Some participants were harmed in the procedure, but eventually bounced back from their hangovers. Some of the poor sods even reported vomiting. Interestingly, this happened more often in the control group. Women also threw up more than men.

“Unpleasant as hangovers are, we should remember that they do have one important benefit, at least: they are a protective warning sign that will certainly have aided humans over the ages to change their future behaviour,” said Kai Hensel, co-author of the paper and a clinical fellow at the University of Cambridge. “In other words, they can help us learn from our mistakes."

We’re not so sure about that. ®

More about


Send us news

Other stories you might like