Because light, air, and heat break down the organic components that give beer its beautiful scent and flavor, beer is a perishable item that deteriorates when it is exposed to these factors.
However, even if it has lost part of its flavor, it may still be completely safe to ingest in its current state.
Keep reading to find out if drinking expired beer poses any health risk, or if you’re fine to drink that can that you found in the back of your fridge.
Is It Safe To Drink Expired Beer?
The answer to this question is “yes” in a very simple way. Beer is particularly resistant to growing stale because the vast majority of it is either filtered or pasteurized, to eliminate bacteria.
The flavor of the beer is a completely different topic of discussion, however, as this is the biggest issue with expired beer.
What Will The Beer Taste Like?
The “drink-by” dates on beers are normally located between four and six months into the future; this is decided by how long the brewer feels the beer can continue to preserve its tasty freshness.
A bottle of beer that may have expired a year a two ago will typically have a significant maltiness, sweetness, and a “flat” taste.
In contrast, this same beer that has been newly crafted will probably have a robust hops taste as well as a pleasingly bitter quality.
Does Beer Go Bad?
Beer, like other foods, is made from natural ingredients that are taken from plants and eventually brake down into their parts.
Brewers put in a lot of work to ensure that the beer is preserved for as long as possible, and they have several significant advantages at their disposal, including the high alcohol level, the low pH of beer, and the antibacterial activity of hops.
Despite all of these advantages, brewers still have to put in a lot of work. If it was made and bottled properly, the only things that should be in your beer are the ingredients themselves and the very minimal minimum of air.
Beer cannot be brewed if there is even a tiny bit of oxygen remaining after the packaging procedure has been completed.
Because oxygen is present in beer over time, the beverage will go through a process known as “oxidation,” which will result in a greater range of flavors.
When beer expires, is possible for it to add a stale flavor that is similar to that of cardboard combined with a hint of sherry.
Some malty beers can generate flavors and aromas of sweetness, graininess, caramel, and toffee while still being contained in the bottle or can though. These flavors may be attributed to the malt.
Altering the temperature is another way to adjust the pace of oxidation that is taking place. When something matures more quickly, the temperature of its surroundings increases. Because of this, the temperature of the beer affects how it tastes.
In a similar vein, the “hoppiness” of a beer will become less noticeable as time passes.
Hop aromas are particularly time-sensitive, which means that the tropical, floral, or citrusy hop smells that may be found in beers that are more hop-forward will diminish throughout drinking the beer.
Last but not least, light can leave a “skunky taste” in beer, which is a flavor that is not very pleasant. Beer is packaged in cans and bottles that have a dark brown color to shield it from the rays of the sun.
This is done because the compounds that make up hops are sensitive to UV radiation.
Will Drinking Expired Beer Make Me Sick?
The quality of the beer will not have any dangerous effect on your stomach, though beer that has been spoiled can make you feel unwell.
If, after pouring the beer into the glass, there is no formation of a white head (foam), the beverage does not contain carbonation and should be discarded.
The flavor may change, and there may also be sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Both of these things will become visible at some point.
How To Store Beer
Beer should be stored in a location that is cool and dark for the shortest possible amount of time before it is consumed. If you have room in your refrigerator, putting the drink there is the best option.
If there is not enough space in the refrigerator, the next best place to store your beer is in a cold closet or the basement.
The warm trunk of a car and a sunny kitchen counter are among the worst settings for your beer.
What About Beer That Has Been Ages Intentionally?
Some beers become better with age, and intentionally aging beer is becoming an increasingly popular activity in and of itself.
If you enjoy beer, you should aim to drink it as close in time to the day it was brewed as you possibly can. This will allow you to get the most out of the flavor and aroma of the beer.
Because of this, you will get the opportunity to taste the beer exactly how the brewers had envisioned its flavor to be when they first created it.
Saying that a beer that has been allowed to age enables the development of a wide variety of flavors that were not initially present.
Bear in mind, however, that not all beers are ideal for aging, so maybe do your research on your favorite beer brand before you try this.
Dark malt-based beers with a high alcohol by volume (ABV), such as imperial stouts, Belgian-style quads, barleywines, and others may be aged in the cellar.
Even though they have a lower ABV, rauchbiers, and sours, that have been matured in barrels can get better with time.
There are certain styles of beer, such as India Pale Ales as well as any other beers that place a heavy focus on hop taste and aroma, that should not be kept in a cellar.
The majority of session beers and lagers are also bad beers for aging and ought to be consumed quickly rather than preserved for an extended period.
If you want to get the most out of your beer, you should buy it cold, store it in the refrigerator, and drink it within three to six months of the packing date, or before the best-by date that is printed on the bottle.
This will ensure that you get the most out of your beer.