How Long Does Beer Last, & What Happens If You Drink Expired Brew?

You love beer. You always look forward to the weekend (or even weekdays) when you can meet your buddies and drink your favorite beer.

You are fascinated by the brewing process and the different beer styles that the world has to offer.

When you get a chance to get a beer that you are not familiar with, you might likely keep it in your shelf, giving birth to your beer collection.

With all this in mind, have you ever thought if your beer would go wrong? What happens to it after it gets expired? What will happen if in any case, we drink expired beer?

In this article, we will answer all these questions to give clarity on what happens in our beer if not consumed for a very long time.

Does Beer Go Bad (Or Expire) If Not Opened?

declining a beer bottleThe longevity of beers depends on its kind, e.g., those have low alcohol content can at least last for 6 months while vintage beers or those with high alcohol content are made to taste good for years.

Besides, every beer has an expiration date. You can also refer to this as a “best by” date. The reason why beer (or any food) has an expiry date is to let the buyers know the timeline as to when they can consume the beer on its best form.

If consumed after the best by date, the flavors might change, making you think that your drink has gone “bad.”

FREE DOWNLOAD: Top 5 Craft Beer Recipes

How Long Is Beer Good for After Opening?

There might be times when we open a beer and forget about it because something urgent came up. When this happens, make sure to drink your beer within 24 to 48 hours. After 2 days, beer will still be beer, yes.

But expect that it will be flat, and the freshness you expected will be gone. If you opened a beer and left it inside the fridge for an hour or two, that would be fine.

Canned vs Bottled Beer: What’s the Difference

bottled and can beersWhen beer is exposed to light, oxygen, and heat, it will inevitably go bad. Cans and bottles have different advantages in protecting your beer in going that route. Here’s why:

As you notice, bottles have space for air. Beer cans are exceptionally designed to form an airtight seal, ensuring that the beer inside will not be exposed to air.

While bottles block 99% of the wavelengths of light, cans are not discouraged because they can also do that. [1]

“Unlike bottled beer, canned beer is airtight. Nothing kills the flavour of a beer easier than oxidation.”
– Josh Counsil, Brewer

How Long Is Beer Good After Expiration Date?

If you were asking yourself, does beer have an expiration date? Well, yes. Yes it does.

To be honest, no golden rulebook tells us until when we can drink a beer that has already expired. Once the beer has been fully fermented, no harmful pathogens will grow into it, making it still safe to drink.

The only downside of drinking an expired beer is that it may not give you the freshness that you will get from drinking a newly-brewed one.

Can You Drink Expired Beer?

disposing bad beerYou will not get sick when you drink expired beer. What will happen is that you might get unsatisfied with the experience because beer is consumed best before its expiration date. But if the beer has a foul odor or an off flavor, you must avoid drinking it. [2]

FREE DOWNLOAD: Top 5 Craft Beer Recipes

3 Tips to Extend the Shelf Life of Beer

Yes, we know that all beers will have an expiration date. But to maintain its freshness and avoid the beer from going bad even if it has not yet expired, here are the following tips on how you can store your drink:

  • Always store beer upright – This is to limit the amount of beer that is being exposed to air. Placing the beer in a horizontal position might also trigger it from creating a yeast ring inside the bottle. Storing the beer upright will let the yeast settle on the bottom of the bottle or can cold beers
  • Follow the right temperature – Lighter beers (Pilsners, Lagers) can be stored at 7-10°C, standard beers (IPA, Stouts) at 10-12°C, and strong beers (Imperial Stouts, Wine) at 12-16°C. Don’t panic when you can’t store these beers in their recommended temperature. As long as the room is cold and dark, there will be no problems.
  • Don’t expose the beer in bright light – As previously discussed, light can make the beer go bad, so we highly suggest that you store them in a dark room.

Drinking Expired Beer: Try at Your Own Risk

By now, we have figured out the factors that can make beer go bad. We have also tackled how best before dates work, and if we can drink beer that has been already expired.

We have also given you guidelines on how to properly store your beer to keep its freshness.

Share these tips with your buddies so we can all take good care of our beer and create more fun and exciting drinking memories.

Speaking of fun, why not create more fun by making your very own homebrew? We’ve got the complete guide on how to make your very own homebrew:

How to brew beer - CTA