Does Beer go bad? How Long Does It Last? - The Disney Chef

Beer is one of the most beloved, and oldest, alcoholic beverages on the planet. It's been around for thousands of years and has undergone many changes over time.

What hasn't changed however is beer's shelf life it doesn't get worse with age. Beer will continue to taste great as long as it's kept in a cool environment away from light sources like sunlight or fluorescent bulbs that could cause it to go bad faster.

In this article, we'll cover all your burning questions about how long beer lasts by answering them with scientific facts as well as our own experiences drinking beers past their expiration date!

How Long Does Beer Last?

1. Unopened beer

Unopened beer is best stored in a cool, dark place. Many people keep their beer in the fridge, but that’s not necessary. As long as your beer is kept away from sunlight and heat sources, it can last for years without going bad.

As soon as you open an unbottled or canned product, however, time becomes a factor. You should consume your opened product within 6-8 months of opening it and that’s even if you don't think you'll drink all of it!

2. Opened beer

As with any food or beverage, the best way to store beer is in its original packaging. If you don't have an extra bottle cap, sticking a piece of tape over the top will work just as well.

This applies to both bottles and cans just make sure that whatever you use seals tightly so that no air gets in.

The next best option for storing opened beer is in the fridge. The temperature of your fridge should be between 35 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit (2-7 degrees Celsius), which means it will keep the contents chilled without freezing them solid like freezer mode would do.

Just make sure not to leave your brews sitting on their sides or upside down; this can cause them to leak out into other containers nearby!

3. How long does craft beer last?

Most craft beers are best enjoyed within 6 months of purchase. If you want to keep a few bottles for special occasions (like birthdays), store them in a cool and dark place at a temperature between 50°F and 60°F.

Some brewers recommend storing their products upright rather than laying them on their side or upside down, which can affect how much air gets into the bottle and thus how fast it spoils.

If you're planning on aging your beer, think twice: most ales are intended to be consumed fresh because they're meant to be served at cellar temperatures (around 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit) instead of refrigerated ones (40-50 degrees).

How to Know If Beer Is Bad

Beer is a wonderful beverage that can be enjoyed by anyone. It’s important to know how to tell if your beer has gone bad so that you don’t drink something that tastes awful or gives you food poisoning (we know plenty of people who have been there).

Once you know what signs to look for, it will be much easier for you to decide whether or not your beer is still good enough to drink! Here is what to look out for:

1. Taste

  • Taste: This is the most important indicator of spoiled beer. Beer can taste sour, bitter, or like cardboard or metal. If you're tasting a sour or bitter flavor in your beer, it's probably bad and should be thrown out.
  • Appearance: Oxidation may result in cloudy coloration (even with both bottled and canned beer) as well as a loss of carbonation. Cloudy bottles are usually not dangerous to consume but are often indicative of spoilage.

2. Smell

So you've got a beer in your hand. You've decided to take it out of the refrigerator and give it a smell test. If it smells like vinegar or sour milk, forget about drinking that beer it's likely gone bad.

If it smells like wet cardboard, throw it away immediately it's probably bad as well. But if you get a whiff of something earthy and organic and sweet? That could be good news!

If your beer doesn't smell like either of these three things, chances are good that it's still drinkable (though we recommend keeping track of how long ago you opened the bottle).

3. Color

Color. It's not easy to tell if the beer has gone bad without looking at it, but even then, it's tough because there are factors like exposure to light and air that can affect its appearance.

If you're going to try to assess the condition of your beer based on color alone, make sure you're comparing similar beers if one is dark and one is light, chances are they're not going to be equally spoiled.

4. Foam

Another good thing to look for is foam. The head should be thick and creamy, not thin or watery. If the beer starts out with a thick head but then loses its consistency as you drink more of it, that could be a sign that your beer is bad too.

There are some advantages to having a thinner foam on top of your glass of beer: for example, it will keep dust from getting into your drink. 

However, if there's something wrong with your beer then having too much foam can make things worse by clogging up the pores in which bacteria thrive.

5. Opening Sound

If your beer is bottle-conditioned, it may gurgle or "fizz" when opened. This is normal for a high-quality brew and nothing to worry about in fact, it's part of what makes bottle-conditioned beers so delicious.


3 Easy Beer Storage Tips

1. Keep Beers Out of the Light

Store your beers in a place where they won't be exposed to direct sunlight.

If you don't have a wine cellar or an underground basement, keep your beers in the closet or garage. If you're really lucky, there's probably a room back there that's completely dark and never gets any light whatsoever!

That's perfect for storing beers and it also happens to be one of the best places to store clothes while they're being washed.

2. Storing Beer with Good Packaging

To begin, you want bottles and cans that are not exposed to direct sunlight. This implies you should use darker bottles and cans, such as black, gray, or brown bottles (dark bottles). Avoid using or buying glass bottles, particularly green and clear ones, if you want to keep beer for a longer amount of time.

Second, you want bottles and cans that are resistant to oxidation. Purchase firmly sealed bottles and cans to reduce air leaks. Additionally, it is recommended to store your bottles upright to minimize the surface area in contact with the air.

Storing beer in a keg is also a good option since it keeps your drink in a dark environment. Just make sure it's a nice, well-sealed keg. Reputable brewers may provide you with hermetically sealed kegs.

And the third, If you're one of the lucky ones who have a little extra cash in their pockets, consider paying off your kegerator. If you're not sure what a kegerator is, it's a mini refrigerator that holds beer and it's a lot of fun! Check out our review about the best mini fridge for kegerator for more detail 

3. Optimize Your Storage Temperature

The most important factor in storing beer is temperature. Beer should be stored in a cool, dark place ideally the refrigerator. However, some beers are better stored at higher temperatures than others.

For example, Belgian ales and IPAs can benefit from being stored at room temperature for some time before opening them up so that they don't lose too much carbonation when you drink them later on (like with Champagne).


Nobody enjoys putting away beer. Fortunately, you may not need to. If you keep your beer correctly, you may enjoy it for months or years beyond the expiry date.

The key to storing your beer is remembering that it’s not just about keeping it cold. You also need to keep it out of the light and away from humidity, so that its flavor doesn’t deteriorate over time.

If you follow these tips when buying new beer or planning for a party and take extra care during the holidays! you can ensure that your brews will taste as fresh as ever.

0 ratings
Ivy Cronin
Ivy Cronin
Hi, I'm Ivy Cronin. I'm an editor at The Disney Chef and I love connecting people with their favorite foods. I've been working in the food industry for over six years now, and before that, I was a housewife. My husband is a chef and we have three children: two sons and one daughter. When we're not busy with work or family life, we travel as much as possible usually to Disney World! My favorite thing about working at The Disney Chef is getting to read all the amazing stories submitted by our readers. It's inspiring to see how many people are inspired by our recipes!