Stop Ruining Your Beer By Doing This One Thing
Say you're sitting down to watch TV, or maybe you just grilled up a bunch of burgers—both situations would pair perfectly with a cold beer. But the only bottle you have has been sitting in the back of your fridge for a long time. Did you put it there last year? Or over two years ago? You ask yourself: Is it expired? Does beer even expire?
Does Beer Expire?
This depends on what you mean by "expire." The "best by" or expiration date on most beers indicate a timeframe when it will taste its best. Beer will still be safe to drink even after these dates, but it might not taste as good as it would closer to when it was packaged. Any beer bottle or can has a small amount of air in it, so as it ages, it will oxidize, which can alter the flavor and body of the beer.
In our guide to alcohol expiration, Anthony Caporale, Director of Spirits Education at the Institute of Culinary Education, said that if beer is refrigerated and unopened it can last for several years, but this will depend on style of the beer and its ABV. If you don't finish a beer, he recommends using it for cooking—we have plenty of recipes to inspire you, like beer cheese and beer-battered fish.
How To Store Beer
Oxidation and sunlight are the two things that will cause your beer to go bad. Direct sunlight can give your beer a skunky smell, according to Sierra Nevada. The best way to prolong the life of your beer is to store it in the fridge (perhaps a designated beer fridge). The good folks at Sierra Nevada recommend storing it between 38 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
When refrigerated, Binwise claims that beer can last two to three years past its expiration date. But if stored at room temperature, it will only last four to six months.
A popular belief is that beer will get a skunky smell if it moves between the fridge and room temperature. But this isn't actually true, according to a Vinepair story by Adam Teeter. Exposure to sunlight is what causes beer to get skunky.
So, don't worry if you leave your six-pack out for too long. It's perfectly fine to put it back in the fridge. To preserve your brews, just make sure to avoid extreme heat, sunlight, and just keep them in the fridge.
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