When Does Beer Expire? – At room temperature, beer lasts about 5 to 9 months beyond the expiration date listed on the label. In a refrigerator, beer can last up to an additional two or three years. This applies to bottled beer, cans, growlers, you name it.
Is it safe to drink beer that has expired?
Yes—but its flavor will degrade over time. Beer is a perishable product that stales when it’s exposed to light, oxygen, and heat, which degrade the organic compounds that make beer smell and taste great. But even when its flavor is declining, it can be perfectly safe to drink.
Can unopened beer go bad?
Beer Storage by Container – Aside from factors like temperature and the type of beer, it’s crucial to know how to store beer based on its container to ensure the beer remains fresh. A general rule is that the best-before date on any type of beer is an accurate guide. It doesn’t mean that the beer will immediately expire by that date but, instead, that the beer will decline in quality only after the listed date — assuming you store it correctly.
Kegs: The clock starts on kegs as soon as they get filled and sealed. Even an untapped keg is best to use sooner rather than later, so first-in, first-out is a good rule of thumb if you plan to store multiple kegs. Make sure to keep kegs in a cool, dry space and away from other foods. It’s essential to avoid freezing the kegs, since freezing the beer will likely alter its taste. Avoid moving them around too much, because that can increase the amount of foam that will spurt out when you tap the keg. Bottles and cans: Store packaged beer in a cool, dry place that isn’t freezing. For optimal shelf life of bottled beer, store beer at a temperature between 45 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit and, if it’s a bottle, make sure it’s upright. You can prolong the shelf life of beer in cans and bottles if you keep them just above room temperature and just below freezing, but if there’s no way to establish that, storing unopened cans and bottles in the fridge or at room temperature is acceptable. Growlers: Keeping growlers upright and in cool, dark spaces is, once again, the best way to go. The airtight lid will ensure the beer remains fresh for several days, and can remain fresh even longer if the bar that filled the growler did so with carbon dioxide. Once opened, the beer will stay fresh for up to 36 hours,
These guidelines are more appropriate for draft and packaged beers. Homebrews and microbrews will likely have a shorter lifespan, even with adequate storage. The lifespan of open beer, regardless of its container, will be notably shorter thanks to the external factors it will come into contact with, like air, light and potentially bacteria as well.
- Leaving unopened beer at room temperature will ensure it’s at its best for four to six months on average.
- After that, the quality will begin to degrade.
- For refrigerated beers, stored unopened, you have six to eight months of peak taste to take advantage of before the quality begins to slowly decrease.
It’s also crucial to maintain the temperature at which you bought the beer. For example, if you bought a six-pack straight out of a refrigerated case, you should put it in your refrigerator when you get home. The flavor of beer can change based on the glass in which you drink it.
Is 1 year expired beer bad?
Does Beer Expire? – Allagash Brewing Company A question we get often: does beer expire? Short answer, no. Beer isn’t like milk. With age, it doesn’t actually expire or become unsafe to drink. Old beer’s taste, however, will absolutely change. But stored properly, an old beer’s effect on your body won’t be different than a freshly packaged beer.
How does that work? The wort—or unfermented beer—is basically Pasteurized by the brewing process, effectively killing off any unwanted organisms. Once the beer is fully fermented, it creates an environment in which the types of pathogens or bacteria that can cause harm aren’t able to survive. This is due to the combination of alcohol, the beer’s low pH, and the antimicrobial activity of hops.
There are quite a few other microbes that can live in these conditions, but they’re not harmful. This means that in a properly brewed and packaged beer, you’ll just find the beer’s ingredients and a teensy bit of air. That tiny amount of air is important.
There’s no way to package a beer without a miniscule amount of oxygen sticking around. At our brewery, we measure this amount in parts per billion. With time, that oxygen inside every bottle, can, or keg, changes the beer. This is called “oxidation” and is responsible for a range of flavors. Some beers will develop a stale, cardboard-like flavor, accompanied by a note of sherry.
More malt-forward beers can develop a sweet, bready, and even toffee-ish flavor. In a beer of ours called —a bourbon barrel-aged Tripel—we’ve noted some of those pleasant toffee and almost caramel-like flavors developing with age. A beer’s “hoppiness” will also dissipate with age.
Hop aromas in particular are notoriously time-sensitive. The bitterness hops impart in the beer will stay in the mouthfeel, but any of those piney, citrusy, or floral hop aromas that characterize a hop-forward beer won’t stick around in an older beer. But what about skunky beer? Light is the culprit there.
Beer ages poorly under any ultraviolet light (thus why a term for properly aging beer is “cellaring” or keeping it in a dark place). Brown bottles and aluminum cans are both effective at blocking out light. But beer in a clear or lighter-colored bottle will develop that signature “skunk-like” flavor if left out.
Another, different staling agent is heat. The higher the heat, the faster the staling. Heat doesn’t create a specific off flavor itself (unlike light). Instead, it acts to speed up the process of oxidation. Our lab actually uses a warm fridge to simulate age in our beer, to get an idea of how it will hold up with time.
Intentionally aging beer is an entirely different subject, and one that’s worth a blog post of its own. But long story short, if you enjoy beer, you’ll want to drink it closer to its release date. It’s the best way to taste the beer as close as possible to the way the brewer intended.
Is beer still good after 2 months?
The Average Shelf Life Of Beer – It is important to note that all beers don’t ‘expire’ the same way. It has a lot to do with the beer’s ABV composition and of course, how it has been packaged and stored. Higher ABV beers (8% and above) like Stouts and Barleywines actually taste better with age so leaving them on the shelf for a few years is ideal, provided you take careful steps to store it properly.
Lambics are also more suitable for ageing as they are wild-fermented and the Brettanomyces yeast consumes the complex sugars over a long period of time. This is why Lambics are aged in oak barrels for three to six months – and sometimes even a year! Opened beer will naturally have a shorter lifespan as it goes flat the moment you break open the air-tight seal, even if you refrigerate it! As a general rule of thumb, sealed beer is shelf-stable for 6 to 8 months without refrigeration.
If stored and refrigerated properly, sealed beer can last beyond its expiration date up to 12 months.
Does beer have to be refrigerated?
Refrigerated storage is best for all beers at all times. Required for draft beer and many craft beers. Non-refrigerated storage accelerates aging and development of off flavors. In a study conducted by one of the large breweries on flavor loss in bottled and canned products resulted in the 3-30-300 Rule.