You know the feeling – everything that can go wrong has and you can’t wait to get home to drink a beer, kick your feet up, and relax. But, when you get there, you notice that there’s one beer left AND it’s been in the back of the fridge for months.
What do you do next? Is your bad day worth consuming a beer that may potentially be bad news? Before you give in to your feelings of despair, we are going to answer that question today.
Can Beer Expire?
All beers come with an expiration date so, technically, they can expire. But, they don’t expire like other foods. Instead, the quality of the beer goes down over time, which affects both the body and flavor. If you notice that a beer no longer tastes fresh or it doesn’t have any carbonation, check out the expiration date. Chances are, you have a dud beer in your hands.
The good news is, if you drink expired beer, you probably won’t have to make a trip to the emergency room. Although, your taste buds may disagree. Still, as long as you stored the beer properly and it isn’t somehow damaged, expired beer is safe to drink. Possibly the worst thing that might happen is you may end up with a stomachache. The chances of this happening increase based on the length of time the beer has been expired.
You might be happy to know that there are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, some beers (like imperial stouts, lambics, and barleywines) tend to taste better as they age – just like a fine wine. The general rule of thumb is, the stronger or darker the beer is, the better it ages.
How Long Do I Have After it Expires?
The amount of time that your beer lasts after being bottled is dependent on two major factors i.e. storage condition and the type of beer. Generally, beer is at its freshest approximately 3-4 months after being bottled. It’s safe to safe to drink at this point but after that its’ quality will begin to dip.
Most ales that have at least a 9% ABV will typically last for about a year – if stored properly. The taste gets better as well. Still, it doesn’t mean that these beers won’t lose their structure and flavor – only that it takes them longer than it does the pale ales.
Making You Beer Last Longer: What You Need to Know
The technique that you use to store your beer will greatly influence its flavor. To keep it great tasting for as long as possible, follow these simple rules:
- Store your beer in the temperature range of 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Taking this one step will guarantee that it lasts as long as possible. If you are unable to do this, keep the beer in the fridge.
- Beers do best in the dark so make sure you keep them away from the light. When direct light hits your beer for too long, it changes the chemical balance in the bottle. This will make the beer taste skunky – never a good thing.
- Keep your beer from the heat. If it’s left in a warm place too long, it’s possible for your beer to overheat. If it does, it will give your beer a curdled smell and taste.
- Keep it out of the freezer. Just like overheating your beer can make it taste bad, freezing it does the same. When you melt it, the ice changes its flavor, making it flat and flavorless.
One More Thing…
If you’re wondering about the expiration date of your beer then chances are you love this refreshing beverage. And, if that’s the case, you should know that the way you handle the beer tap handle can be the difference between whether your beer is foamy or not.
You wouldn’t believe how many people grab the beer tap handle from the top and jerk it forward – a classic rookie mistake. This does two things:
- Puts excessive leverage on the beer faucet parts, which can damage them
- Agitate the beer so that it comes out foamy
Part of this problem is the way that the beer tap handle is placed on the keg. So, one of the most important things that you must do is make sure that it’s on there properly. To do so:
- Swivel the beer faucet handle in a clockwise direction until it’s tightly sealed. Hand tight is good enough, you won’t need a wrench.
- Use the adjusting knob on the faucet lever until it’s in the desired location. If you want to change this position, turn the adjusting knob counterclockwise until it’s in the desired location. Tighten it with your hand.
Once the beer tap handle is positioned correctly, grab it from the bottom with your index and middle finger, then pull it toward you in one fluid motion. When you close it, simply repeat the process.
Following the advice above will ensure that not only will pour your beer like they do in commercials, it will taste great for a longer period of time as well. Happy Drinking!