What are the low risk drinking guidelines for ale or stout?

Drinking seven pints of strong ale or stout, over a week, would put you over The UK Chief Medical Officers' low risk drinking guideline of drinking no more than 14 units a week.

If you regularly drink over the low risk drinking guidelines you could be increasing your chances of developing long-term health conditions. Find out more about the effects of alcohol.

Check the strength of your ale or stout

Checking an ale's ABV (alcohol by volume) will give you a guide to how strong it us. The ABV tells you what percentage of the drink is made up of alcohol. For example, an ale with 5% ABV is 5% pure alcohol. The higher the percentage, the more alcohol there is.

A pint of ale or stout contains as many calories as a bagel

Alcohol is made by fermenting and distilling natural starch and sugar. This means that ale and stout can contain a lot of calories. For example, a pint of ale or stout with 5% ABV can contain over 250 calories, the same amount in a whole bagel. Ales and stout, like any type of alcohol, can stimulate the appetite and make calorific post-pub fare like kebabs and chips look really appealing.

Find out why calories in alcohol are extra-fattening and get the truth about how alcohol can contribute to a beer belly.

Things you can do right now to reduce the amount of ale or stout you are drinking

To stay on track, try these top tips:

  1. Drink soft drinks between ales Drinking juice or another soft option between drinks will help you stay hydrated and slow down the rate you're drinking. Ale drinkers appreciate the unique flavours in each brew, so a glass of water can help cleanse the palette between different drinks.
  2. Look at the ABV You’ll usually find the ABV written on the pump at the pub or on the side of the can or bottle. It’s your at-a-glance guide to an ale's strength. Brands with higher ABVs have more alcohol, and more alcohol units – so think about choosing a half rather than a pint.
  3. Opt out of rounds Drinking in rounds means that you're drinking at the speed of the fastest drinker, so you could be consuming your units faster than you'd like. Regain control, and maybe even save some cash, by buying your own drinks instead.
  4. Give alcohol-free days a go If you drink regularly, your body starts to build up a tolerance to alcohol. This is why many medical experts recommend taking regular alcohol-free days off from drinking to ensure you don't become addicted to alcohol. Test out having a break for yourself and see what positive results you notice.
  5. Keep a drink diary If you choose to drink, recording exactly what you’ve drunk during the week will tell you whether you're keeping within the low risk drinking guidelines. Our free Drinkaware: Track and Calculate Units app is perfect for tracking your drinks when you’re out and about.

Discover some more practical ways to cut back on ale with our tips on cutting down.