This is an odd question, but one that I have wondered about for a long time.

When I drink alcohol there is a magic sweet spot where my nose gets very stuffy feeling and I sound stuffy while talking. Drinking less and drinking more result in a clear nose and no stuffiness. It is clearly inflammation as blowing my nose results in no production and nasal spray such as Afrin alleviates it.

Here is what I have found:

  • Beer: results in a stuffy nose after 1.5 - 2 beers. It clears after 3 - 4, like clockwork
  • Wine: I don't drink it often but have noticed stuffiness on par with beer when I drink white wine. I have not experimented enough with red wine, but have not observed stuffiness after 3 - 4 glasses.
  • Liquor: For the most part, stuffiness does not occur with liquor. The occasions it does, it takes more (3 - 4 drinks) to get stuffy and clears relatively quickly

NOTE: I have not observed stuffiness from other non-alcoholic drinks and I do not have any known food allergies.

What is it about alcoholic drinks that could cause this reaction, and why would liquors/red wine be less likely to cause it than beer and white wine?

  • 1
    I have the exact same issue with beer! nowhere online or that I could find anything about beer causing cold like symptoms in general, just "alcohol" related articles but I'm thinking maybe you and I could just be mildly intolerant to hops and or molt. Its been about 10 years since my stuffy drunken escapades lol. I doubt I'll ever find what it is. this thread is the only semblance of an explanation I can find. Cheers! Commented Aug 8, 2020 at 14:55
  • When you drink and pass out, fall down your friend puts tissue paper, if you are lucky, or some food product up your nose and posts the photos on fecesbook . That's what friends are for.
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 20:16
  • @AlaskaMan I checked last time and there was no tissue paper in my nose so this was not the cause of the stuffiness. I will keep checking though! Commented Oct 5, 2020 at 20:48

1 Answer 1


I'll keep it simple. All three of those alcoholic drinks have something different in them. You said wine and booze don't do it very much yet beer makes you stuffy. Hops are very well know to cause stuffiness and allergic reaction. It could be more than hops, it could be something to do with malt. You might try less hopped beers so a Helles Lager vs an IPA and see if one makes you more or less stuffy. Most people have an allergic reaction to the histamines in wine, which causes flushing of the face and neck and nasal congestion.

You could take an anti-histamine (Zyrtec or Benadryl) before you drink and see if that helps.

  • Ya drinking with Benadryl is a great idea. If you don’t want to wake up the next morning. Don’t mix Benadryl and alcohol ☠️
    – Lexi
    Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 7:43

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