JBU > Introductory

Does Beer Go Bad?

You just found a bottle of your favourite beer that got pushed to the back of the pantry and forgotten, now you are thinking “Should I drink this?” “Is it still good?” Read this article, so you can make an educated guess.

Does Beer Go Bad?

All beer can go bad, but the higher the alcohol content of the beer the longer it takes to go bad. Also going bad does not necessarily mean it’ll make you sick. It’s just not the way the beer was meant to be drunk. The best by date or expiration date on beer usually means that if you drink it past that date it will not be at its best quality. Here’s what going bad means for beer:

Flat Beer

Beer goes flat when it is opened and then put in the fridge for more than a few hours. Our best advice, if you’re going to have a beer just finish it. Don’t save some for later. Flat beer much like flat soda has lost its carbonation and gets a stale taste.

Beers with low ABVs stored on a shelf unopened will go flat within about 6 months. Beers with higher ABVs like lambics or stouts are made to be aged, so leaving them on the shelf for a few years actually makes them better. Just make sure they are stored correctly.

Storing Beer Correctly

Beers do not like light, so they should be packaged in dark bottles and stored in a cool, dark place away from sunlight. If they are in a keg or can these are both impenetrable and your beer is safe.

How beer becomes skunked
Image by: All Things Beer

Skunked Beer

No amount of tomato juice baths will bring this beer back to its regular self. Beer that is skunked has been exposed to light for a period of time. While it is not dangerous to drink it is really disgusting both in smell and taste.

The Exception to the Rule

Unpasteurized beer is an exception to the rule. When it’s past its expiration date it’s better not to drink it as it can make you sick. Brewers choose not to pasteurize beers because they think it makes the beers taste better. Unpasteurized beers are meant to be drunk when they are fresh.

Our Advice

If your beer’s color or smell has changed it is safe to say it has gone bad. Whether it is pasteurized or unpasteurized, we recommend not drinking it because it’ll probably taste gross and who wants to drink gross beer. Beer is a terrible thing to waste, so drink it when it’s fresh. The way it was meant to be drunk. Your palate will thank you.

If I B U I’d Seriously Read More:

Beer Styles 201: Gruit Beer (Ancient Herbed/Spiced Ale)

Serving the Perfect Beer: Temperature, Pour and Glassware

Beer Colours: The SRM Color Guide for Beer Styles

What is a Beer Flight?






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