Beer Math Calculations

You might say I'm a beer lover.

By no means am I an expert, connoisseur, or stuck-up sipper of the hops and barley brews. Simply someone who enjoys and appreciates a good beer, particularly those of the micro-brewery genre. Though I very much enjoy a good domestic bottle or name-brand beer any day of the week, I also love to explore new tastes and beers, and find it fun to not only try new ones that haven’t crossed my palate before but also talk about beers with those who share in that enjoyment. A friend and I regularly talk, a mix of joking and seriousness, about starting our own microbrew someday. We’ve even come up with the brand name, and just have to put it all into play.

With all of that said as background, I recently found myself in the mood for a good brew.

Exploring all the options and deciding against a light pale domestic choice but also not wanting to venture into any exotic or adventurous territories at the time, I narrowed it down to a pair of contenders: a favorite English ale known as Boddingtons and Guinness Stout from Dublin, Ireland. Both come in pints, looking like over-sized cans for the thirsty, and have nitro-tap cans. But they are two different worlds in terms of beer. The Boddingtons is lighter and smooth, with a deep gold color and is creamy and smooth, one that doesn’t weigh you down and is best served cool, not cold. The Guinness is a thicker “meal-worthy” beer that is also malty and creamy, best served cool not cold, and has some sense of chocolate and coffee in it.

Not able to decide between those two wondrous beverage options, I made a decision to purchase both brands that come in 4 one-pint cans.

This is where my Diabetes carb-counting kicked in, and I soon began pondering what each particular brand cost as far as carbs I needed to bolus for. Both are “bolus-worthy” in my opinion, but I just didn’t know off the top of my head what to count for each. The research began.

Boddingtons didn’t list that information on the box or can. So, some quick online research revealed that each was just about 10g of carb. For me, an Insulin To Carb Ratio of 1 unit for every 10 carbs translated to a 1.0 unit bolus for a beer.

Turning to the Guinness, my research intensified as I recalled this common struggle to ascertain what kind of carb-count this particular beer possesses.

On the can, it says: 12 ounces is worth 9.9g of carb.


The pint-sized can does not contain that amount of beer. Instead, it contains 14.9 fluid ounces.

See the confusion there?
So, rather than just telling me what I need to know, it tells me the carb count for LESS THAN THE FULL CAN of beer inside. Rather than just being all simple, Guinness gives me part of the formula needed to calculate the carb count for the full 1.2 servings inside. Um. Yea.

My mind starts analyzing various formulas, addition, subtraction, division, fractions, and all those D-Math nuances that I try to avoid if at all possible. Luckily, my wife came to the rescue with a quick Beer Math Calculation and saved me before my tongue became too parched for a drink.

In total, the carb count comes out to 12.3g, or 1.2 units of insulin. It's not difficult in the grand scheme of D-Math, but seriously, Guinness. Why The Fructose don’t you put the ACTUAL amount of beer in that can on there, rather than listing some other amount and making me figure it out???? Must you complicate the simple pleasures of beer drinking? I'm not sure how it works in Ireland and I certainly get that most beer-drinkers aren't in the habit of basing their beverage choices on the nutrional information, but some of us just don't have a choice in the matter. Please, help a beer lover out.

Of course, there's always the lingering concerns about how beer can raise my BGs up in the short-term but drop me down later on, the length of drink-time could play into my calculations, or that combining it with favorite shelled peanuts or fatty food may change up the effect. All of those are parts of the equation that I must be mindful of.

Mmmm. So, bolus-worthy beer!

Now, this is where I may have to remind that I'm no medical professional and am certainly am not advocating for or against alcohol consumption. That's up to you, and I encourage to consult your own applicable drinking laws, medical professionals, and personal preferences to decide what effect beer or liquor may have for you.

Aside from the D-Math and Beer Math Calculations, I remain convinced that both my Boddingtons and Guinness were and are both totally bolus-worthy.

Whatever the case, I hope you do what's best and most enjoyable in your world. And that, if beer is the choice, that it's not so tough to figure out the boluses as I've found with the above-mentioned beloved beer.

Cheers and Happy Weekend, whether it’s beer-filled or alcohol free!


Unknown said…
Your title "hooked" me and I clicked over! LOL.

I have always been curious about alcohol and "d". I have no experience yet, as Joe (7 years old) hasn't partaken in consuming Guiness and the like. I know it drops you later on, but I didn't know if or how much people end up bolusing for it.

Thanks. This was interesting!
Siobhan said…
My dad is a huge Guiness fan! I've never liked it myself though.
Dude, Great post, I love Guinness, but I believe it`s brewed in Ireland, not Germany...
Unknown said…
If you like the stouts, do yourself a favor and track down the Guinness FOREIGN extra stout, which is their oldest formula, but was only released in the US late last year.

Much higher alcohol content (7.5% ABV) but a world better than the regular Guinness, which I agree is very good.

More info here:

It's pricier, but worth it.

I confess to knowing way more about carb counts of beer than I should. It's for this reason I avoid most Sam Adams beers, which are high 20's or more. I'll drink a beer that high in carbs, but only if it's super-dooper special.
Unknown said…
@Patrick Guinness hq are in Dublin, but they have breweries all over the world. US Guinness is actually brewed in Canada and has a slightly different favor than that brewed in Dublin.
sysy said…
I'd give a unit of insulin for a Budweiser or a Killians at night (back when I had money for beer) and I'd be great before bed and great in the morning. It was awesome and I'm glad you and your blood sugars can thorougly enjoy your beer :)
Karen said…
I'm not much of a beer drinker, but I do love Guiness. And I agree, it's so thick and heavy it is practically a meal!!
Scott Strange said…
I just tried the Guinness Foreign Extra.. and Marcus is dead on, it is a great stout. Maybe my new favorite, but still partial to Murphy's Irish
Scott S said…
I'm really delinquent in reading blog posts, but this is the kind of crap that all food manufacturers do, and it p!$$es the hell out of me, you know the one where a small individual container of yogurt contains 1.5 servings and all of that. This is where the USDA has failed everyone. On a side note, I find that dark beers tend to impact me BG's far more than the lighter, pale pilsners and the like. In my experience 3 Coronas = no bolus, but 1 Guiness = a bolus. But we don't want to analyze this stuff, just drink it. It would be nice if the labeling would cooperate, too!

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