Shelf Life of

How Long Does Beer Last?

Does Beer Go Bad?

Does Beer Expire?

How long does beer last? Does beer go bad?
The shelf life of beer depends on a variety of factors, such as the preparation method and how it is stored. Beer is made from malted barley, hops, water, sugar and yeast to ferment the grains. Because of its relatively low cost for an alcoholic beverage it is widely consumed.

Since beer is a type of alcohol, many people ask, “does beer go bad?” and “does beer expire?” Well, yes, beer does go bad, but exactly when depends on your definition of “bad” (and possibly how many you’ve already had!).

So, does beer expire… when properly stored, the shelf life of beer past its best before date is approximately:

(Unopened) Pantry Fridge
Past Date Past Date
Canned Beer lasts for 6-9 Months 6 months-2 Years
Bottled Beer lasts for 6-9 Months 6 months-2 Years
Homemade Beer lasts for 6-9 Months 6 months-2 Years

ALthough, it lasts for a shorter period of time if it is not stored properly. Cans and bottles are usually stamped with a best before date and not an expiration date, which means it can be consumed after the printed date for the time periods stated above.

How to tell if beer is bad, rotten, spoiled, or expired?

You can usually tell when you open the bottle if your beer has gone bad.
When you open the bottle you should hear the normal “psssst” sound indicating that your beer is fresh and ready to drink. You should also see some white foam rising from the liquid after opening, lack of foam is another indication that most likely your beer has gone bad.

If you have bottles, even before opening you can check the bottle for clues like a dusty bottle, a discolored label and especially any seepage around the cap which indicates prior heat abuse. Some other possible traits of expired beer product are a change in the color of the beer or a “dusty” settlement visible in the bottom of the bottle. If these things are going on in the bottle, the beer has most likely gone bad and the taste will be “flat” and spoiled tasting.

There are, of course, certain health risks associated with spoiled food and drinks, so always remember to practice food safety and enjoy your product prior to the eat by date.

If your beer has gone bad and you need to find a substitute when your recipe needs it, check our page on alcohol substitutes.

How to store beer to extend its shelf life?

Proper storage of beer is the key to extending the expiration date of any drink. It is best kept in the fridge, especially important if it was purchased refrigerated. The change in temperatures is not good for the product. This is essential to the shelf life of beers like Coors that are meant to be constantly chilled. Coors uses a best before date (in the form of JUL2611 where XXX=the month, 26=the day and 11=the year or 2011) that is 17-26 weeks after it was bottled [1].

Beer should always be stored upright to decrease oxidation process and contamination from the cap. If you choose not to refrigerate your beer, be sure it is in a cool dark place that is at a constant temperature. Product bottled in darker bottles are a better choice to increase the shelf life of beer because they block ultraviolet lights that can degrade and break down the quality of the beer. Direct sunlight is worst place for storage, as it causes a chemical reaction in the liquids which begins within an hour, especially if the bottle is clear.
Some benefits of proper beer storage include saving money and helping the environment by avoiding waste.

Any interesting facts about the shelf life of beer?

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  • How long is beer good for when prepared in a dish?

    How long does beer last? That depends. How long does pasta last? In general, it lasts only as long as the quickest expiring ingredient in the recipe. To find out how long those other ingredients are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or search below.

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    What are our shelf life resources?

    Our does beer expire content incorporates research from multiple resources, including the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Food & Drug Administration. In addition, we scoured the web for informative articles and reports related to food safety, food storage and shelf life.

    *An important note about expiration dates …

    Although the does beer go bad information on Eat By Date is generally reliable, please remember that individual cases will vary because conditions are so variable and our shelf life advice should only be taken as an opinion. Please drink responsibly!