How Long Does Beer Last in the Fridge?

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Beer is definitely one of the most popular and widely beloved drinks. It is tasty, refreshing, and a great way to spend time by yourself or with friends. However, there is a difference between cold and warm beer and a huge one at that. 

Beer’s natural state is cold, as there is something off when you drink it warm. There’s a saying, “where they serve the soup cold and the beer warm” it means a place where everything is upside-down. Even though the taste is a very personal and subjective thing, beer seems to have way more fans when served cold. 

Therefore, not only for spoilage but also for taste, you should keep your beer in the fridge. So how long does beer last in the fridge?

At room temperature, beet can hold up nicely for eight or nine months after its expiration day. In the fridge, beer stays safe and tasty for about two or three years.

There are some slight differences in terms of the packaging of the beer, but generally, if you don’t open it in the first place, it will be safe and sound for a long time.

Opened beer is, of course, more vulnerable, and it will be ok at room temperature for up to 24 hours. In the fridge, the open beer won’t hold up longer than two or three days. 

beer bottle

Beer is an intentional drink, which means that the brewer had a precise intention in mind when they made the beer. Some beers are intended to be bitter and strong, more carbonated, or more refreshing. Other beers are meant to be sweeter and less sharp, with a lower carbon amount. 

Once the protective seal is broken, the brewer’s intention slowly transforms. Therefore keeping the beer cold helps keep the brewer’s vision alive longer. However, keeping your beer at room temperature or warmer will start changing its taste even with the protective seal intact. 

More: How Much Beer In A Can, Bottle & Keg?

Unlike the spirits, beer is very susceptible to the chemical processes triggered by the increased temperatures and the light penetrating through the bottle.

Canned bears are not susceptible to light but tend to suffer greater damage from the warmth, as tin heats up way more than glass or plastic. 

Keeping your beer at room temperature means that it will change. Warmth tends to decarbonize beer, make it milder, and tamper with its flavors.

So, you won’t be getting a beer that tastes bad, but, rather, a beer that tastes different from its original intention. It doesn’t necessarily have to mean that it will taste bad, but it will definitely be significantly different. 

Even unopened beer will taste somewhat odd if left at room temperature for a long time. However, the good news is you can salvage unopened beer by refrigerating it and getting its originally intended features back. 

If you refrigerate the beer, it will retain its original taste and carbonation, coming out exactly as the brewer planned. In addition, refrigerated beer lasts far longer. 

In this article, I will explain all about refrigerating beer and what happens if you don’t do so. Keep reading, as you will definitely use the info below. 

beer shots

Does Beer Go Bad in the Fridge?

Beer is a perishable drink that goes bad in the fridge. Beer is often made with yeast, with is what you use to leaven the dough. Well, the dough leavens because the yeast reacts with the flour, which is made of grains. Beer is also made of grains, and yeast reacts in beer, too, creating bubbles and carbonizing the drink. 

Therefore, you have a somewhat live organism in the bottle, multiplying and going on with its natural process. So, leaving your opened beer in the fridge will mean that you have to drink it within the next few days, or it will spoil. 

The protective seal pauses all processes that might occur in the beer because it prevents oxygen from penetrating the bottle. Once the protective seal is broken, the processes restart and do their thing.

As a result, your beer will start getting milder, i.e., losing taste, and will start to develop other tastes that weren’t a part of the initial plan. 

Often, it will start getting bitterer and more intense, with a slight but unpleasant sour note you will definitely not enjoy. It will also start changing its appearance getting blurry, as well as changing its smell, becoming heavier and more pungent. 

Although unopened beer has a very long shelf life in the fridge, it is still possible for it to go bad if you don’t have it within the next couple of years. It will probably still be safe to drink, but it will lose in taste and aroma significantly. 

Think about it as a car; the longer you leave it in the garage without driving it, the less functional it becomes. So, since beer is meant for drinking, you should drink it before it becomes less tasty. 

More: What Temperature Does Beer Freeze?

Can I Drink Beer that Has Been in the Fridge for a Year?

If the beer that’s been sitting in the fridge for a year still has its protective seal on, then go for it. One year is not that long in beer time, so if your beer is sealed correctly, it won’t budge during this period. 

If, on the other hand, your beer has been sitting in the fridge for a year whit a broken protective seal, you shouldn’t come near it, let alone drink it. You can use otherwise, though. 

An opened beer is good for no more than a few days in the fridge, so you shouldn’t drink it past one week, and a year is out of the question. 

The chemical processes triggered by the oxygen impact the beer adversely, so the spoilage process accelerates. Since it contains yeast and grains as its base ingredients, think of beer as a liquid food. It contains sugars and carbs as well, so you feel less hungry after two mugs of beer. 

That’s not only because it fills your stomach but because it feeds you, just like having bread. Therefore, if you consider beer from this angle, it will make sense why it gets south rapidly after opening it, whereas it is extremely durable and unopened, just like milk, for instance. 

Beer pouring

Can You Drink Out of Date Beer?

The best before the date of beer is exactly that, the best before, meaning that it won’t get spoiled after that, but its quality is best before the given date. Therefore, you can drink out-of-date beer as long as it hasn’t been opened. 

Beer can hold up well about seven to eight months after its best-before date, provided you don’t remove the protective seal. At room temperature, you can keep it for seven to eight months, but you need to keep it away from natural light and in dry conditions. 

The humidity in the air can cause the protective seal to weaken, and even though you won’t see it getting damaged, it won’t function as it should. Therefore, air will slowly penetrate the beer, triggering subtle but ongoing chemical processes. 

In the fridge, your beer can hold up even beyond a year after its best-before date. To make sure that your beer remains safe and sound, you should place it on the top shelf in your fridge, where the air is driest.

You should also consider what you put around it on the same shelf, as high-moisture food can be damaging. 

Therefore, always be certain that your beer is not surrounded by moist food and is kept safely on the top shelf. Fridge moisture can be detrimental to the protective sealing, and therefore, your beer may rapidly lose quality, especially if the best-before date is long gone.

Also Read: How Many Beers to Get Drunk?

Does Beer Last Longer in Bottles or Cans?

As I mentioned before, beer tends to have a different lifespan depending on the packaging. Even though cans are more susceptible to warmth and heat up more than glass or plastic, chances are they are kept in the dark spot, making this a non-issue. 

Cans are widely accepted as better packaging for beer than bottles for several reasons. The metal tends to keep beer fresher, as it doesn’t allow for light to penetrate inside the can. Also, have you noticed how water tastes better when you drink it from a metal cup? The same happens with beer too.  

The metal makes the beer taste sharper but not more aggressive. It highlights the taste notes, and it allows them to become more noticeable and impactful. 

Canned beer is more portable than bottled. Cans are much easier to carry since they are smaller and practically shaped. So, whether the beer is being transported in bulk for commercial purposes or you are carrying it in the bag, it will give you way less grief if it is canned. 

The aluminum has one more benefit to the beer; it doesn’t change its taste. So, the taste of canned beer is the how the beer is supposed to taste.

Canned beer and bottled beer kept for the same amount of time, under the same condition, won’t taste the same. The canned beer will taste much more authentic and much fresher than bottled beer. 

Another general benefit of canned beer is that after drinking it and discarding the can, you will do much less damage to the environment. The percentage of recycled cans is much higher than that of recycled plastic. 

How Long Does Beer Last after Bottle Date?

Beer lasts for a long time after the date on the bottle. At room temperature, it lasts for up to nine months, while in the fridge, it can last for up to a year after the bottle date. 

Canned beer tends to last a tad longer than bottled beer, so in the fridge, it can last for about 18 months, and at room temperature, it can last for up to ten or 11 months after the expiry date. 

Whether you keep your beer in bottles or in cans, if you keep it at room temperature, make sure it is in a dark and dry location so that you can preserve it the longest. 

bottle of beer

How Long Can Beer Be Stored at Room Temperature?

Unopened, your beer can last for up to a year at room temperature. Place it in a dark spot, and it will be perfectly safe with great quality. Opened, it won’t go beyond 24 hours, as the oxygenation will do its thing, causing your beer to start spoiling. 

What To Do With Expired Beer?

Expired beer is not all that useless, so if you have some, don’t rush to the garbage can, as there are ways you can use it. Beer is abundant in vitamins B and D, which don’t go away when the beer expires. Therefore, you can use expired beer to make a DIY face or hair mask or give yourself a beer pedicure. 

You can also use it as a natural cleaning product and use it to remove stains, remove rust, degrade grease deposits on your stove or elsewhere, or as a wood polisher. 

You can also cook with expired beer because the thermal processing from the cooking process will eliminate any danger. So you can make beer chicken or an excellent marinade. It also works as a bug repellent, so if you have an insect problem, leave some beer on a small plate. Most insects are attracted to the smell of beer, but once they come close, they fall right in.



Chad Smith

Meet Chad Smith, a seasoned bartender with a passion for mixology. He's the founder of Tin Roof Drink Community, a blog where he shares expert tips, creative recipes, and fosters a vibrant community of cocktail enthusiasts and aspiring bartenders. Join Chad as he takes you on a flavorful journey through the world of drinks. Cheers!

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