Does beer go bad? How long is beer good for after born on date? Discover the signs of bad beer and tips on proper storage of beer.

a case of beer

Beers are either canned or bottled, making them easier to stock. Does beer go bad? Yes. Beer goes bad but it does not expire. Like other alcoholic beverages, beer is labeled with a best-by date. The quality of your beer will decline within six to eight months after it hits the best-by date making it a bad beer.

We love the buzz that comes with beer. Another good thing about beer is that it’s not only for drinking but for making cooking a little more fun and tasty. Just like wine, you can use beer on a wide range of recipes such as these cedar plank beer scallops. Different beers can bring out special flavors for your dishes.

Beer refers to any yeast-fermented beverage made from grain. There are two families of beer distinguished by the type of yeast and temperature of fermentation – lagers and ales.

The brewery industry has consistently evolved over time. Different flavors of beer are now available in the market or even in the smallest bar near you. Here’s a list of the best type of beers to cook with.

Most American beers use codes on their expiration date and decoding beer dates can get pretty confusing. So how are you going to find out if your beer is still in good quality or already bad?

cheers with beer during sunset

How to Tell If Beer is Bad

The easiest way to tell if your beer has gone bad is through the taste and smell test. Don’t worry, it’s safe. There are no after-effects from drinking bad beer since no harmful pathogens grow on beer once fully fermented.

How a bad beer will taste like:

Cardboard or Paper

Of course, old beer will taste old. This stale flavor is caused by oxidation or exposure to air. Over time beers will oxidize, so this flavor is most prevalent on old beers.

Buttered Popcorn or Butterscotch

This flavor is caused by Diacetyl which is a natural byproduct of fermentation. Exposure to heat accelerates the production of this compound. Although in most cases the flavor is not considered an off taste, it’s different when it comes to beer. A subtle presence of diacetyl is considered acceptable in some beers, especially on ales, but unwanted in some styles, mainly lagers.

Mowed Grass or Green Apples

Acetaldehyde is the reason behind this unusual taste. Although this taste is more common when the beer is “too young”, acetaldehyde is a common byproduct of oxidation which happens particularly on old and not properly stored beers.

How a bad beer will smell like:


What is skunked beer? Beers that are skunked are also called “lightstruck.” This foul odor often associated with skunks is caused by exposure to light (sunlight or fluorescent lights). Beers in clear or green bottles are more likely to get skunked, but any beer not stored properly can get skunked too.

Other odd smells associated with oxidation and badly stored beers include leather, wet dog, plastic and rotten eggs.

beer in ice

How to Store Beer Properly

Proper storage plays a big part on how long your beer can last. Take note that beer has three mortal enemies: heat, oxygen, and light. So as a general rule, store your beer in a cool, dry and dark place.

Here are some tips on how to properly store beers:

  1. Don’t expose your beer to light. Exposure to light will give you a skunked beer. Beers in darker bottles are expected to last longer than those in clear or green ones. Darker bottles have more protection against light
  2. Don’t let your beer get too hot. Beer goes bad if it gets hot. Heat will cause a chemical reaction that can alter the taste of your beer.
  3. Keep your beer stored upright. This method minimizes oxidation.
  4. It’s best to store your beer at a temperature between 45°F and 55°F (slightly cooler than room temperature but warmer than a refrigerator) but if this is not possible it’s best to store your beer in the refrigerator.
  5. Don’t freeze your beer. Chances are you’re going to let it melt again so you can actually drink or use it. The melted ice will make your beer taste flat.

Unopened beer will retain its best quality for about four to six months in the pantry and six to eight months in the refrigerator.

How to store opened beer – don’t even try. Opened beer will only last good for a day, carbonation will evaporate and you’ll have a flat beer the next day.

Beer is proven to have some amazing health benefits if consumed in a moderate amount. Aside from also being a good cooking ingredient, there are a lot more reasons why people like beer so much. In fact, there are organizations dedicated to the love of beer and brewery. You might also like to try your hand in brewing your own beer.

Does beer go bad? How long is beer good for after born on date? Discover the signs of bad beer and tips on proper storage of beer.


3 thoughts on “Does Beer Go Bad? Tips on Keeping Your Beer Fresh and Crisp”

  1. I didn’t know that you shouldn’t freeze your beer. I’m planning on having a party this weekend and need beer for it. I’ll have to make sure that we use micro-beers.

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