Many people all across the world enjoy being able to relax with a cold beer in their hands, but many people also do not realize that beer can, eventually go bad.
If you leave your beer in the fridge, you might think that it can last just about forever, but this is far from the truth.
As time passes, the quality of the beer will degrade and it will become something that you really wouldn’t want to drink.
No matter if you enjoy cooking with beer and adding it to your recipes, or you enjoy having a recreational drink every so often, it is always a good idea to know exactly how long your beer is going to last in the fridge.
After all, nobody wants to ruin a good time because they drank some beer that was well past its expiration date.
The expiration date of beer is normally located at the bottom (for beer cans) or at the neck (for beer bottles). Sometimes, the beer expiration date can be placed on the label.
Beer, however, has no “use-by” date therefore it can be consumed months past its expiration date.
How Long Should You Keep Your Beer in the Fridge?
Some people might think that different kinds of beer, such as canned or bottled beer, will last different amounts of time.
However, the amount of time that beer can last is pretty universal.
Canned, bottled, and homemade beer all last for about nine months at the most when you keep it in your pantry.
With that being said, though, nobody wants lukewarm beer that has been sitting in the pantry for the better part of the year.
Because of this, most people keep their beer in the fridge, and this is actually one of the best things that you can do for your beer.
When you choose to keep your beer in the fridge, no matter if it is cans or bottles, or if you made the beer yourself (assuming you followed all the steps correctly), your beer can last anywhere from six months to two years at the most.
While there are some beers that don’t stand up well to the test of time, keeping your beer in the fridge is just about the best way to preserve it when you purchase a large pack of beer and save it for later.
However, it is still important for you to know what it looks like when your beer goes bad.
Nobody wants to open up a bottle of beer, drink it, and realize that it has been rancid for some time now.
Because of this, it is equally important that you know what spoiled beer looks, smells, and tastes like.
How Can You Tell If Beer Is Spoiled?
Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to tell when your beer has gone bad.
More often than not, you will be able to hear it, smell it, and in a worst-case scenario, you will definitely be able to taste it.
First things first, when you first open your beer, the classic hiss of beer opening won’t be there. This should be your first indication that your beer is no longer good to drink anymore.
Similarly, most people expect there to be a little bit of foam that rises up when you open the beer. If the foam is absent, this is another sign that your beer has passed its expiry date and you are better off not ingesting it.
If you have bottles of beer, you will easily be able to check if the beer has gone bad or not. If the bottle appears dusty, and not necessarily from dust on the bottle itself, you should take a little bit of caution when drinking the beer.
Additionally, the label might become discoloured and there might be some seepage around the cap of the bottle.
These last two signs indicate that the beer has been in the heat far too long, and it is no longer good for anyone to drink.
Some other things that you might want to pay attention to is the bottle. If it looks like there is dust settling on the bottom, you should probably throw the whole bottle of beer out at this point.
If you still feel the need to try the beer at this point, you can expect it to taste pretty bad. More often than not, the taste will be flat, and it can easily become rancid.
At this point, it is no longer good to drink, nor safe to drink, and you are better off purchasing a new case of beer instead of risking your health.
Can Expired Beer Make You Sick?
No! Expired beer or beer that has gone bad cannot make anyone sick.
This is because beer is made through fermentation and filtration processes which remove bad bacteria from the beer. Therefore it cannot cause illness, food poisoning or severe side effects.
The most harm a beer that has gone bad can cause is a stomach upset.
Why Does Beer Go Bad?
There are four main factors that cause beer to go bad:
Temperature: warmth causes good beer to go bad quickly.
Air: oxidation also leads to beer going bad.
Light: beer should not be exposed to sunlight otherwise it will go bad.
Distance from the brewer: the further away the beer travels from its original brewing place, the faster it will go bad.
How Do You Keep Beer Good?
If you have purchased a large case of beer, but are worried about it staying good until you finish it, there are a few things that you can do to make sure that the shelf life of your beer is as long as possible.
As with many alcoholic drinks, you should always make sure that you are storing it in a constantly cool environment, such as the back of the fridge, where there are not any constant, drastic temperature changes.
Beer is particularly affected by large changes in temperature, so you should probably refrain from keeping it in the door of the fridge, where it will be exposed to both the cold of the fridge and room temperature whenever you open the fridge up.
You should also make sure that you are keeping the beer upright whenever you can. Unlike corked wines, which need to be kept at an angle or completely horizontal, beer needs to be kept upright as much as possible.
This is to decrease oxidation as much as possible, and it also prevents any contamination from the cap of the beer as well. As long as your bottles or cans of beer are kept upright in the fridge, you can expect them to last a fair bit of time before they start going bad.
Just remember to always check the printed date on your beer bottles, as this will also be a good way to check whether or not the beer is close to spoiling, or if it will still be good for a while longer.
How Long is Unrefrigerated Beer Good For?
With that being said, there are some people who either can’t or don’t want to keep their beer in the fridge.
If this is the case, then you simply need to make sure that you keep it stored in a cool, dark place.
You should keep it in a place where the temperature remains constant, and you should try to purchase beers in darker bottles if you plan on not keeping them in the fridge.
Darker bottles block out ultraviolet radiation, and the sun is just about the worst thing you can expose your beer to.
Sunlight, especially direct sunlight, can cause a chemical reaction that can start within an hour. This chemical reaction usually spoils the beer, which is something that nobody wants to have happen.
Choosing to keep your beer out of the fridge will absolutely shorten the lifespan of it, so you should think long and hard about whether or not this is the best thing to do.
More often than not, unrefrigerated beer will last between six and nine months, but there are some situations where your beer will only last for about four to six months at the most.
Additionally, the quality can suffer, depending on how exposed to the sun the beer is.
Final Thoughts on “How Long Does Beer Last (in the Fridge)?
Ultimately, your best choice is going to be to refrigerate your beer, but there will always be times where this isn’t the best choice.
Something you can do is think about alternatives to your fridge.
For instance, keeping the beer in a basement or a cooler might be a suitable alternative if you don’t have enough room in the fridge for the pack of beer that you just bought.