There is nothing like a nice, ice-cold beer on a hot summer day. Beer is drunk throughout the world by virtually every demographic of person. Whether you enjoy an imported beer or American made, the average adult indulges in beer drinking from time to time. Beer is something you grab when you’ve had a hard day at work. It’s something you drink when you’re out with your friends. It comes in a bottle and a can and everyone has a preference. Simply put, beer is a universal beverage. The last thing you want when reaching for a beer, is discovering it’s undrinkable. Most beverages have an expiration date, but does beer?
Let’s say that you have an imported beer sitting in your refrigerator or somewhere else in your home. You’ve decided to take a break from drinking beer or you’ve moved onto wine for a moment. The time has finally come when you are wanting to enjoy a nice sip of beer. Before you open it up, you’re probably wondering “does beer go bad”? Wine and liquor age well. Milk goes sour. Where does beer fall in between? In this article, we are going to explore if beer expires and if there’s a difference between bottled and canned beer.
Does Beer Go Bad?
The face-value answer to this question is no, beer does not go bad, but it can taste differently. Unlike milk or juice, there is nothing dangerous to drinking a beer that has been sitting in your home for an extended period of time. If you package beer properly, you can “crack it open” at any time. Meaning, you don’t have to worry about having to throw your beer out and waste the money you spent on the beverage.
This is due to the unfermented beer (known as the wort) being pasteurized by the brewing process. The brewing process will kill off unwanted organisms, which results in fermented beer. Once it is fermented, harmful pathogens and bacteria will not be able to survive. How is this possible? This is due to the alcohol, the low pH of the beer, and the antimicrobial activity of hops. All you will find in a proper package beer are the ingredients and a small amount of air.
That small amount of air will always be present in packaged beer. Due to this small amount of air, the taste of beer can change over time. Once again, it is unharmful to the beer drinker, but do keep in mind that beer will taste different if it is stored in your home too long. With time, the hoppiness in your beer will begin to dissipate. This means if your beer is supposed to have any sort of citrus or floral taste to it, this will go away with time. The “mouth feel” will still linger, but time erases the unique flavors of beer.
Expiration – Canned vs. Bottled Beer
As mentioned before, beer is stored in one of two ways. Either in a bottle or a can. Everyone has their preference as to how they like to enjoy beer. Some will only drink out of a bottle. Some will only drink out of a can. Most of the time, beer drinkers don’t mind what they drink the beer out of – as long as it’s cold. And as long as it tastes good.
It was just covered in the previous section that beer cannot go bad. The question now is, does canned beer expire? What is the difference between canned beer and bottled beer when it comes to how long this alcoholic beverage can last?
For many, bottled beer is their preference. It’s really enjoyable on a hot summer day when you are at the beach with friends or enjoying a barbeque with family. But, when it comes to beer that can last longer and maintain the flavor that a buyer looks for, canned beer is actually a better purchase. While bottled beer can be drunk after a long period of time, it loses its flavor. Canned beer, however; limits the light and oxygen intake. This means the beer is able to be enjoyed in the manner it was intended – flavorful and cold.
Why does canned beer prevent beer from losing its flavor and taste after a while? Bottled beer does block out light to a degree, but not as well as canned beer does. Brown and amber glass blocks out UV light, but green and clear bottles are incredibly ineffective when it comes to blocking out light. Aluminum cans reign supreme in the “blocking light” arena, which allows for your beer to remain more in-tact.
Canned beer also is more airtight than bottled beer, because the aluminum is completely sealed during the canning process. This prevents any additional oxygen from getting into the beer – until the can is opened. Bottled beer lets a small amount of air in, which allows for build-up over time. Keep in mind that some beers, such as a traditional Belgian ale needs air to ferment in the bottle, but air is not a beer’s best friend in most cases.
Where Should You Store Your Beer?
Now that we have explored if beer goes bad or not and the differences between bottled beer and canned beer, it’s time to go over where is the best place to store your beer. Where you store beer can also affect the longevity of beer. If you are someone who bought a twelve-pack of beer, it’s presumed that you aren’t going to drink all of that beer all at once. Unless you are throwing a party. Or, let’s say; you’ve imported beer that you are wanting to keep stored for a special occasion – you are going to need to store it in the right place in your home.
First, there is a specific way that you should store your beer. Beer should remain upright and in an area that has a temperature around 55°F. Why should you store your beer upright? If you store your beer horizontally, a yeast ring can form after a three or four month’s time that will not settle. By storing your beer upright, the yeast settles to the bottom, where it should. Also, make sure you store your beer in a dark area to avoid light affecting the beer.
With draught beer, keep it stored in the refrigerator at all time and it is suggested that you drink draught beer within three week’s time. Additionally, do not store opened beer. If you’ve opened a beer, drink it right away because the opened beer will not store properly even if you put it in the refrigerator.
Conclusion – Does Beer Go Bad?
It’s hot out and a nice, cold beer is ideal for drinking. You’re probably expecting to go to a lot of nice beach parties and family get-togethers. Which means you want to stock up with beer. In order to ensure that the beer is fresh each time you decide to drink one, store your beer properly. Hopefully, this article has provided valuable information for you so that you are a little more educated on whether or not beer goes bad. Does beer expire? No, but the taste does change after three to four months. So, enjoy an ale or an IPA this summer or a stout in the winter. Beer is great for any occasion and should be enjoyed all year round.
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