Fort Collins

Colorado Springs

Can Food Cooked with Alcohol Make You Drunk? The Curious Case of Beer-Battered Fish

A curious case from Wisconsin recently made headlines when a man claimed he wasn’t driving drunk but had consumed beer-battered fish, which he believed caused the smell of alcohol on his breath. However, a jury ultimately didn’t buy his fishy defense.

The incident occurred in 2014 when the man was pulled over for erratic driving. The responding officer noticed the odor of alcohol on the man’s breath and an open can of beer in the passenger seat. Subsequently, the police conducted a breath test, revealing a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .06, which is below the legal limit for a DUI. Nevertheless, this marked the man’s tenth DUI conviction, and he was also driving with a revoked license.

Conventional wisdom suggests that when you cook food with alcohol, the alcohol is burnt off during the process, making it impossible to get drunk. However, this notion doesn’t entirely hold true.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the amount of alcohol retained after cooking depends on the preparation method and the cooking time. Extended cooking doesn’t guarantee that all the alcohol will be removed from your dish. For example, baked or simmered dishes with alcohol stirred in lose only about 60 percent of the alcohol after 15 minutes of cooking time. After 2.5 hours of cooking, about 5 percent of the alcohol may remain.

In cases where alcohol is added to a boiling dish and then removed from heat, such as when making a sauce reduction, as much as 85 percent of the alcohol can still be present.

So, in the case of beer-battered fish, some alcohol could be retained since beer batter cooks quickly. However, beer typically doesn’t have a high alcohol content. To reach a BAC of .06, one must consume a substantial amount of beer-battered fish. Additionally, the man, in this case, had an open beer can in the car, which didn’t help his defense.

While this case might sound peculiar, it underscores the importance of understanding the nuances of DUI laws. Suppose you ever find yourself facing drunk driving charges. In that case, it’s crucial to consult with experienced drunk-driving defense attorneys who can carefully evaluate your case and provide the best possible defense strategy.

At Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, we serve the greater Denver area and specialize in alcohol and drug-related driving offenses. We are here to help you navigate the legal complexities and seek the best outcome for your situation. Feel free to reach out if you need legal assistance.

Do you have further questions or concerns? Call us or contact the attorneys at Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, and we will be happy to help.

Skip to content