beer go bad

Does Beer Go Bad? Exploring Shelf Life and Freshness

Quick summary: Yes, beer can go bad in the sense that its flavor and quality will deteriorate over time. The shelf life of beer depends on factors like packaging, light exposure, and storage conditions. While it won’t necessarily spoil in the traditional sense, it will lose its desired taste and freshness.

Have you ever found a few bottles of beer in your pantry, not knowing when you bought them? Wondering if aging beer is safe to drink? You’re not the only one. Here are all the answers you might need.

Beer is truly a favorite drink of many around the world. Lately, lovers have gone so far as to make their own craft beer at home. Some prefer lighter, some stronger, some with flavors, and some traditionally classic. Some enjoy the light, while others prefer dark beer. There are a million versions, and probably each of them has its fans.

But despite so much popularity, few people actually know the facts about the shelf life of this alcohol. Some say it spoils down, others that it can last forever. Which of them is right? Actually both.

The beer won’t spoil in the classic sense, but it will definitely be such that you don’t want to drink it. Here is all the aging beer information plus tips for beer storage.

How Long Does Beer Last?

The most significant durability factor for a beer will be the way it is packaged. In the case of barrels, they are often produced without preservatives, and some are not even pasteurized. Such drinks are intended for immediate consumption soon after production, and you will most often find them in pubs or your favorite bar.

Following, we will bring you information about the packaging you usually have at home.

Duration of the bottled beer

The biggest enemy of beer is light and, of course, oxygen. Bottled beverages are thus exposed to light more due to the transparency of the bottle. You will often see brewers choosing dark glass for their intentionally aging beer to preserve the flavor.

Generally, if you have a beer in a bottle, try to keep it away from light. If stored in a dark and cool place, the taste is likely to be persistent for up to six months. In slightly less favorable storage areas, it will last 3 months.

Duration of the canned beer

The can provides much better protection from the light because the material is entirely impermeable. Therefore, the quality of the taste may be better preserved. However, this will not significantly extend the life of the most beer.

It will still be up to six months in good storage conditions and up to 3 months in somewhat more unfavorable ones. If you are a beer lover, you definitely know that the taste is generally different depending on whether it is in a can or a glass brown bottles, so choose the packaging according to your preference.

Can Beer Go Bad?

It is important to note that our recommendations on durability aim to preserve the taste of the drink. Because the goal is to enjoy it the way the manufacturer envisioned it. So it is definitely recommended that you consume the beverage as soon as possible and always secure fresh supplies rather than store it for a long time.

Yet we must say that with the passage of the beer expiration date, the beer will not spoil in the classical sense of the word. So you will not get food poisoning from it. It is still safe for consumption. All that changes is the taste that becomes cardboardy and bland. How to know if that happened and the beer has gone off?

So does beer expire? Here are the signs.

Sign 1: Check the expiration date

In this case, it is really good to follow the deadlines set by the manufacturer. As we wrote, most beers are intended to be consumed fresh. So if the production date is recent, it means you have a fresh drink in front of you. If several months have passed since production, choose newer packaging because the taste may be already ruined.

Sign 2: The packaging is damaged

If this happens, we recommend that you throw the liquid down the drain as it will certainly not be the drink you are used to. Damage to the packaging may mean that bacteria have entered the product, so safety may not be the best.

Sign 3: The taste is bland

Fresh beer really does look fresh. When you pour it, it has a steady foam, bubbles, and a healthy color. If all this is missing, the expiration date has likely passed. Then the taste will be bland, and you will certainly not enjoy it.

Which is the Best Way to Store Beer?

To preserve this delicate flavor, you can apply a few tips. This will mean the difference between whether the drink lasts less than 3 months or will endure half a year. Here are some suggestions on storing beer at home and keeping its flavor.

Tip 1: Keep it away from the sun and heat

We cannot stress this enough. Any sun, heat, and even just light will impair the consistency of the taste. So keep the beer bottles in a darker and cooler place. Also, buying darker bottles is a good idea.

Tip 2: Buy fresh

When buying, choose those bottled beers with a newer production date. This will provide you with a few extra weeks or months so as much as you can keep packaged beer at home.

Tip 3: Drink immediately after opening

You’ve probably learned this from your own experience. Beer is not a good drink for prolonged sipping. It will not behave well if you choose to keep it open for hours. Therefore, drink immediately after opening.


Is it OK to drink expired beer?

Yes, it’s okay if you don’t mind the bland taste it will surely have.

Can old beer make you sick?

Usually no, old beer can’t make you sick. Beer is pasteurized alcohol content, so it is safe to drink for a long time. The exception is the case of damaged packaging.

How do you know if the beer has expired?

You can determine if beer has expired by checking for a stale or “skunky” smell, changes in color, unusual cloudiness, and an off-taste. Additionally, if the beer lacks carbonation or has a flat texture, it might have gone bad.

Does beer go bad if not refrigerated?

No, unopened beer doesn’t necessarily have to stand in the fridge. But a cold and dark place will undoubtedly come in handy.

How long is beer good for unopened?

Unopened beer can remain good for several months to a year or more, depending on the type and storage conditions. Checking the expiration or “best by” date on the packaging can provide a more specific guideline for its freshness.


To conclude, beer spoils and doesn’t spoil, depending on how you look at it. It won’t be bad to consume in the sense that it will cause you indigestion, but it will very quickly lose its initial flavor, and you won’t enjoy it the way you’re used to. The taste of the beer is persistent, surprisingly short, only a few months.

The exceptions are particular types of beer intended to age for a while, but mainly you can be guided by the idea that the newer is better. This drink will have the best taste immediately after production, and over time it slightly decreases. So, buy fresh supplies and drink in a short time. 

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*image by Chretien/depositphotos

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