Drinking – With Phil The Test Manager

The Sunday Sermon – with the Rev Drunken Bastard

Pttm, Going Postal

A month or so ago I was reading the articles from Grimy Miller:



These were about students drinking until they pass out, cause trouble or in some cases die.  It got me thinking, as having worked in various university towns I have come across many students who were clearly drunk, even at the start of an evening, as they loaded up with cheapish vodka and such like before they hit the pub or nightclub.  I did not go to university, but I have never “loaded up” prior to going out.  This is about as far as I get when it comes to drinking responsibly!

Then Bobo made a comment the other day, saying “I drank twelve pints last night. That’s a sobering thought”.

Recently, although it was an exception, a works “do”, I felt obliged to attend, lots of free beer in pubs in Hereford.  I estimated I drank around 15 pints of various lagers, the most I have drank in one night for a long time.

So even today I know I can drink 12 pints, but it is also about circumstances, drinking alone at home involves drinking less than if at say a party.

Could I drink 12 pints of a fizzy lager in one session, and could I drink the same quantity of a quality beer, even though the AbV% (Alcohol by Volume) was the same?  So, this challenge I accepted, but really it just started me thinking about my own drinking culture, which is way too much.

I already had 12 pints of Hook Norton Flagship pale ale, which is 5.3% AbV, and already had some Stella Artois also at 5.3% AbV% which was the last of my stock I purchased in Belgium.  The Stella was in 550ml cans, so just a little shy of the full pint.

Before the experiment, I should explain about my drinking culture, which as I say will be a lot more than most, but less than some.  It started off when I was growing up in Ilkeston in Derbyshire.  At the age of 15 in 1971 I was given the occasional half pint, and by 16 I was accompanying family members in pubs and regularly drinking 4 pints on a Friday night, often regurgitating it at the end of the night and feeling zombie like the next day.  Shipstones beers (which to this day I do not like much) and my favourite (Double Diamond (works wonders) from Ind Coope were the local beers

I then joined the Army at 17 and really learned to drink.  Enormous quantities on occasion, the record being 32 half litres (about 28 pints) in one session, in a marvellous restaurant/pub in a town called Kempten in West Germany near the Austrian border.  We started about 10 in the morning and piled into taxis around 3 in the morning, having had breakfast lunch and dinner there. Not sure if they still do it, but in them days every beer you had they put a mark on your beermat, then took your beermat to the bar at the end to pay.  I remember this well as it was during Operation Snow Queen, which for those who served in BAOR may also remember.  A great 2-week long exercise where you learned to ski, paying only a tiny amount for 2 weeks food and accommodation, ski equipment and all-day ski-lift passes.

I would not swap my time drinking ridiculous quantities almost every night during the early 70’s, I and my friends enjoyed it, and at that age, you could get your evening meal, showered and ready to go down town by 6 in the evening, back about 2 each morning, up and ready on parade at 8 o-clock, with few after effects.  As you get older, you simply cannot do this!

I am pretty sure that if it were not for 1 to 3-week training exercises, and the operational activities such as 4-month NI tours, where you did not drink alcohol, I would have become an alcoholic.  As it happens on my first posting to the UK, it became very apparent I could not drink my average of 12 to 15 pints per night as it cost too much.  Then I met my good lady wife, had a baby and soon realised you can have a drink, or your wife and kids can starve.

Whilst I never gave up drinking altogether, as there were always various regimental piss-ups being organised, at least my drinking became just a social activity, not a must-do activity, and my wife and many children have never starved.   Also getting promoted made me realise that you cannot drink heavily at night and in the morning, expect to be able to perform professional duties the next day.  This lesson has served me well, and to this day, it is a very rare occurrence that I am not in a fit state to work the following day.  I will always go to work but have on the rare occasion needed to get a taxi, rather than drive.

Today, as a contractor, on various projects that has seen me spend much time all over the country, and most recently over 3 years in Belgium, my life-style is not good.  Get-up about 7, in work by 8, finish about 6, or 7 at night, back to the hotel/guest house, have a few pints, a meal, go to bed, then repeat until the project ends, usually about a year or so later.

From Monday to Friday, each night, I will typically drink between 4 and 6 pints each night, but if I am travelling home the following day, I always limit myself to a maximum of 4, quite often just 2.  On a Sunday night, prior to driving to work the next day, I will often have a night off, no alcohol, or again at the most just 2 pints is enough.

I find that now I am in my early 60’s, I simply cannot drink the quantities I used to do, but if there is no work the following day, I am more than happy to have a drink, be it in the club, or a pub or at home.  You can see therefore that I drink, and many will say it is way too much and I am an alcoholic.  It depends upon your definition.

Anyway, back to the challenge.  It is Friday, I have finished work now until Monday.  I have dinner about 6 in the evening, and I crack open the first of the lager.  I like Stella, but my roots have always been about drinking pints of bitter.

The first one is drunk in about 15 minutes.  I am making notes; each can is drunk about 5 to 10 minutes slower than the previous one.  About 8 o-clock, I have finished can number 5, and already feel quite drunk, but not falling over drunk, just contented, and enjoying watching a film.  No 6 is opened and goes down rather well and towards the end I start yawning.  I check the comments on GP by not reading them and I am thinking I should post something, but I am suspecting someone has changed the letters on the keyboard, so gave up.  Can 7 and 8 go down, I am drunk, I make my way to the loo, not falling over but using my arms to stay upright by holding the walls.  After finishing No 8, I was feeling guilty I had not posted anything on GP, so thought it would be good to try.  This was my post:

“I just plopped in to say I am writing an article. in real time (I shall correct the spekking later). I ma testing 12 pints of Hooky versus 12 pints of lager, with abou tthe same abv%. Lager tonight, so already 8 pints in, but i suspect it may not get tooo much gurher”

A new film starts on the telly, and I think to myself, I shall get to the end of this by the time I finish all 12 cans.  I cannot remember the film, not even now.  I finished off cans 9, 10 and 11, and about 11 o-clock that night opened can 12 and drank some, but I remember saying to myself that I cannot do this, I need to sleep.  There was about half a can left when I cleaned up the following day.

No chance of getting up at 7 in the morning, I got up about 10 o-clock. Following a nice lie-in, breakfast, some fresh air, by around lunchtime I was feeling fine.  The Flagship beer goes into the fridge, ready for part 2.  Over the years I have tried many craft or “Real Ale” beers and for me, only a few of them I have really enjoyed.  I usually settle for standard tap beers.  I did though manage to pop into the Hook Norton brewery the other week to purchase some beers based on recommendations from the GP fraternity.

Before I start I know from experience that I can drink many more pints of lager in the pub at night than if I drank pints of bitter, but I am determined to rise to the challenge.  I have my evening meal on Saturday so start off at the same time as before,

The first of the Flagship bitter (pale ale) goes down rather well, nice taste and by the end of the first pint I can feel that hit you get from alcohol, not something I feel until about 2 or 3 pints in with lager.

Over the next couple of hours, I have finished off pint No 5 and feel very contented.  I notice that I am not full of wind like with lager.

A put the Kodi box on, telly on Saturday night is rubbish, I am going to watch the latest Fast & Furious film.  The idea being to watch a film I had not seen before to see what I remember the following day.

I am about an hour into the film, and pints of Flagship numbers 6 and 7 are finished and I am well into No 8.  I am enjoying the film.

I open No 9.  I am determined to watch the film until the end.  I decide though, that enough is enough, and go to bed where I finish the beer whilst trying to watch the news on the telly, but there are about 17 news presenters on the screen, none of whom can keep still in their chair.  Sleep beckons.

I shall watch the film later this week, from the beginning.

In terms of AbV% , if a 4% bottle is consumed every hour, after the first hour the average adult would have processed the unit and have 0.4 left in their system. After two hours, this increases to 0.8 units and 1.2 units in the third hour. The same sized bottle of 5% containing 1.8 units would leave 2.4 units – or double- the excess after the third hour.  So AbV% is something to watch for.  I am pretty sure I could easily drink 15 pints or more of “weak” 3% AbV% beer.

I want to know why I can drink stupid quantities of one kind of drink, but not others.  Shirley, it cannot just be about the AbV%, so I did a bit of research, but did not find anything really.  I am sorry to have to say that I have no idea why I can drink more of the fizzy lager containing the same AbV% than proper beer.  Maybe one of our dear readers could assist.

I would say, I much prefer the proper beer, and feel much better the following day.  Even after 9 pints of a quality beer I still got up at 7 in the morning, and after a cup of tea felt fine.   Quality beers, such as in the Hook Norton range are the ones to go for if you like your beer.

Please. Like what I do, drink responsibly.


© Phil the test manager 2018