Tom's blog

The dumbest drinking test ever performed

Imagine if someone walked up to you, professing to be a researcher and ask if you would participate in an experiment that required you get drunk three times. Would you say, “Hell, ya! Anything for science!”

Apparently, several enthusiastic Germans did just that when researchers for Witten/Herdecke University  wanted to see if the degree of a hangover was influenced by whether you drank beer before wine or vice versa. Only on a campus would they try to prove the theory “beer before wine and you’ll feel fine,” right?

Ninety volunteers were split into two groups. One drank 2 1/2 pints of Carlsberg pilsner followed by four glasses of white and likely weird German wine while the other consumed the same amount but in opposite order. The third group was a control group that mixed it up. They ate the same and stopped once they each a certain blood alcohol content. A week later, the two groups reversed roles. After each test, the participants slept under the careful eye of, say, a roommate, and then in the morning they had to gauge their hangover on a scale of 1 to 10.

The results? Inconclusive. But researchers had to come up with something meaningful, so they suggested you concentrate on “perceived drunkenness” and vomiting. Apparently, several of the participants couldn’t handle their alcohol. I’m sure the weird German wine had something to do with that.