Beer is probably the most popular and widely consumed alcoholic beverage in the world. It is also known to be the oldest alcoholic beverage in the world and has been around for hundreds of years. On the level of water, coffee and tea, beer has been served to adult women and men around the world in almost every country. In order to create any kind of beer, it needs to go through the brewing process. Different kinds of starches, wheat and grains are fermented during this process creating various kinds of beers. Rice, corn, and barley can also be used during fermentation to add unique flavor and taste to the beer. Hops, fruit, and herbs also are in most beers and act as preservatives which helps the beer to stay in good shape as it is moved to barrels, casks, and later bottles, cans before it shipped to your local supermarket or restaurant. If you’re at the local supermarket one day and you see a big sale for a six-pack of your favorite kind of beer, what should you do? Would it be worth the potential savings in time and money to buy an extra six-pack especially if you have a big party or social gathering coming up? Will you be able to successfully store and preserve your beer for the long-term without any problems or setbacks? The ultimate question remains; does beer go bad?
Does Beer Go Bad Or Expire?
Yes, beer goes bad, however not in the traditional sense. Rather than it loses its freshness. Beer loses it’s flavor when it expires. However, you could still drink it which is great news for consumers. Also, the caveat is that it can definitely go bad if the product is not stored properly. Necessary steps and procedures must be taken in order to make sure your beer tastes good a few months. It’s important to be aware that while beer doesn’t spoil, it will likely go stale, taste bland, and even be unappetizing after a long enough period of time.
Beer will always be safe to drink for the average consumer but you may not like the taste of it after a while. Still though, if you’re interested in keeping your beer tasty and flavorful, you should read on through this article to find out more about the storage process, the shelf life of the product, and the signs to look for to tell when its’ gone bad.
Storing The Beer
The most important thing to consider when it comes to storing beer is that it must be out of the light at all times. It should remain dark, dry, and at room temperature or at colder than average temperatures. Beer is very sensitive to any kind of light because of the hops in the alcohol. Many different kinds of beers come with some kind of hops, which are negatively affected by exposure to light.
If beer is exposed to any sort of light for an extended period of time, both the taste and the flavor of the beer will be less fulfilling and appetizing. A kind of chemical reaction will occur when beer is exposed to the light causing the taste to go sour and be funky instead. While this chemical reaction takes a while to develop with indirect sunlight, exposing the beer to the sun directly will cause this chemical reaction to occur very quickly, sometimes in the span of a few hours.
In order to prevent your beer from losing its’ taste prematurely, you’re going to want to store it in a cool, dark, and dry area. The best places for beer would be the kitchen cabinet or pantry, the wine cellar, the basement or an attic. Also, if you really want to keep your beer cold, it would be best to store it in the refrigerator where there is no exposure to light and you’ll get a cool, refreshing taste. Before you buy a six-pack beer, it’s important to be aware that darker colored bottles that are brown or dark green are less vulnerable to light exposure than transparent or light colored ones.
Beer that is stored in a keg or in a cask will be perfectly fine when it comes to exposure to outside elements like light. As a consumer, you should be focusing on the best conditions for storage. While exposing the beer to sunlight or heat for a short period of time isn’t the worst thing to happen, doing so for an extended period is highly inadvisable and will cause you to miss out on drinking some of the product you bought from the store. Lastly, beer should be kept cool or at room temperature at all times. Beer does not do well when it is kept at warm temperatures for a long time or if there’s a lot of fluctuations between hot and cold environments for the product.
Shelf Life of Beer
While beer doesn’t go bad in the traditional sense, its’ taste can become bland and its’ flavor can dissipate after a while. Every six-pack comes with a “Use by” or “Best before” date on its’ packaging. While this is popularly misconstrued as the product’s expiration date, it is instead the date in time, which the quality of the beer will begin to inevitably decline from that point onwards. The shelf life of beer will obviously depends on its’ alcohol content, whether it contains preservatives or not, and if its’ a dark or light beer.
Usually, light beers will last for about a year total before losing its original quality. After the ‘Use by’ date passes by, light beers will be good for about an additional four to six months after making it viable for about a year total. Darker beers such as stouts and ales are known to have a longer shelf life especially if they still have preservatives within their ingredients. It is estimated that with proper storage these darker beers can last from between two to ten years total and even sometimes longer if the consumer is lucky.
Signs of Bad Beer
Unlike wine, beer does not get better with age but actually worsens as time goes on. Unless it’s barleywines, imperial stouts or lambics, these beers taste better as they get older.
It’s best to drink your beer within a few months of purchase. There are a couple of signs to look out for when it comes to figuring out if your beer has gone bad or not. You should first check to see if the product’s appearance is normal or if mold or clumps have started to develop on the texture or surface of the product. If you are still not convinced, it would be wise to do a small smell and taste test. A pungent odor or foul tasting brew will make it quite clear whether your beer should end up in the trash can or not. Good luck and please drink responsibly!