How long is beer drinkable?

Answered by Jeremy Urbaniak

Beer is a beloved beverage enjoyed by many, but how long can it actually be considered drinkable? The answer to this question depends on a few factors, such as whether the beer is unopened or opened, and whether it is stored in the pantry or the fridge. Let’s delve into each scenario and explore how long beer can last.

Unopened beer, whether it is in bottles or cans, can generally last for 6-9 months. This is because beer is typically pasteurized, a process that kills off any harmful bacteria and extends its shelf life. However, it is important to note that this is just a general guideline, and some beers may last longer or shorter depending on factors such as the brewing process and the specific ingredients used.

When it comes to unopened bottled beer, it is crucial to store it in a cool, dark place like a pantry or a cellar. Exposure to light and heat can negatively affect the quality of the beer and potentially lead to off-flavors. As for canned beer, it is more resistant to light and can be stored in the pantry as well.

Once you open a bottle or can of beer, its shelf life decreases significantly. If you keep it in the fridge, it can still be drinkable for up to 6 months, although the taste may start to deteriorate after a few months. However, if you leave the beer at room temperature, it can go flat within a matter of hours, losing its carbonation and becoming unappealing to drink.

Homemade beer, on the other hand, follows similar guidelines to commercially brewed beer. If properly brewed and stored, homemade beer can last for 6-9 months in the fridge. However, it is worth noting that homemade beer may have a shorter shelf life due to potential variations in the brewing process and the absence of pasteurization.

To ensure that your beer stays fresh and drinkable for as long as possible, it is essential to store it properly. Keep it away from direct sunlight and sources of heat, as these can accelerate the aging process and negatively impact the flavor. Additionally, make sure to seal the bottles or cans tightly to prevent any air from entering, which can lead to oxidation and spoilage.

The shelf life of beer can vary depending on whether it is unopened or opened, and whether it is stored in the pantry or the fridge. Unopened beer can last for 6-9 months, while opened beer can be drinkable for up to 6 months if stored in the fridge. Homemade beer follows similar guidelines but may have a shorter shelf life. Remember to store your beer properly to maintain its freshness and enjoy it at its best.