You’ve probably heard that beer lasts longer in the fridge than wine or other types of alcohol. Is this true, or is it simply a myth? Keep reading to find out.
The Average Shelf Life Of Beer
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), beer has an average shelf life of about two weeks when stored at room temperature.
However, if you store your beer properly, you can extend its shelf life significantly. If you want to know how long beer will last in the refrigerator, keep reading!
What Makes Beer Go Bad?
Beer doesn’t go bad because of bacteria, yeast, or any other microorganisms. Rather, it goes bad due to oxidation.
Oxidation occurs when oxygen reacts with certain compounds found in beer, such as amino acids, sugars, proteins, and hop oils.
When these compounds react with oxygen, they turn into carbon dioxide gas, which causes the beer to become flat and lose flavor. This process is called “oxidative deterioration.”
Oxidative deterioration happens naturally over time, but it’s accelerated by exposure to light and air.
Light-exposed beers are more likely to oxidize faster than those kept in dark storage. Also, beers exposed to air for extended periods of time tend to oxidize faster than others.
You can slow down the rate of oxidative deterioration by storing your beer in a cool, dark place.
A good rule of thumb is to store your beer in the back of the refrigerator, where temperatures rarely exceed 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
How To Store Your Beer Properly
To prevent oxidative deterioration from happening, you need to keep your beer away from direct sunlight and in a cool, dark place.
A good rule of thumb is to store your beer somewhere between 40°F and 50°F.
If you’re storing your beer for a short period, you don’t have to worry too much about keeping it cold.
For example, if you plan on drinking your beer within 24 hours, it should be fine to leave it in a warm car trunk or even a hot tub.
But if you plan on storing your beer for several months, you’ll need to make sure that it stays cold.
If you live in a temperate climate, you may not notice a difference in the quality of your beer after six months, but many people prefer to drink their beer fresh.
So instead of leaving your beer in the freezer all year round, consider buying a few extra bottles and storing them in your refrigerator.
How Long Does Beer Last In The Refrigerator?
It depends on what kind of beer you buy. According to NIBU, a standard 12-ounce bottle of craft beer will last anywhere from three to five years in the refrigerator.
But, on the other hand, a 32-ounce bottle of mass-market lager will only last one to two years.
Keep in mind that the amount of oxygen in your home also affects the length of time that your beer will stay fresh.
For example, if you store your beer in a well-ventilated space, it will last longer.
In addition, some beers contain preservatives that slow down the rate at which they go bad. These include hops, barley malt, and wheat malt.
Does Beer Need To Be Refrigerated?
Yes, if you want to enjoy your favorite beverage at its best. Many commercial brewers recommend refrigerating beer before serving it.
They do this for two reasons: first, it slows down the rate at which the beer loses its flavor; second, it stops the growth of harmful bacteria.
However, there are exceptions. Some breweries produce specialty beers that aren’t meant to be served chilled. And there are plenty of craft beers out there that don’t require refrigeration.
So, although most beers are designed to thrive in a fridge, ultimately, whether you keep your brews in the cold comes down to the intended drinking experience as set out by the manufacturer, and of course, your own preferences.
How To Tell If Your Beer Has Gone Bad
The most obvious sign that your beer has gone bad is when it starts to smell sour. This usually occurs because the yeast used to brew your beer has died off.
It could also indicate that your beer has become contaminated with bacteria.
But there are other signs that your beer might be going bad as well. One common problem, as discussed earlier, is oxidation.
Oxidation happens when oxygen comes into contact with the surface of your beer. When this happens, the beer becomes darker and less flavorful.
Another issue is haze formation. Haze forms when proteins in your beer combine together, and as a result, your beer can look cloudy when it wasn’t beforehand.
Another thing to watch out for is sediment buildup. Sediment is just another name for dead yeast cells. Over time, these cells accumulate at the bottom of your beer.
You should toss your beer immediately when you see any of these issues. However, if you let your beer sit around for more than a week, you risk turning it into vinegar.
Can Expired Beer Make You Sick?
If you’re concerned about drinking expired beer, then you need to know that it can make you sick.
According to the FDA, drinking alcohol that isn’t properly stored can cause serious health problems.
For example, if you consume an open container of beer that was exposed to air, you could develop a condition called alcoholic hepatitis.
Alcoholic hepatitis causes your liver to swell up and produce large amounts of fluid.
As a result, you can experience nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and jaundice. You may also get diarrhea, fever, and fatigue.
It’s also worth noting that no alcohol is completely safe, whether fresh or cold, as too much of it can cause damage to your internal organs, especially the liver.
Whether you drink beer regularly or only occasionally, it’s important to store it correctly. That way, you’ll never end up with a spoiled batch.
As mentioned earlier, the main reason why beer goes bad is due to oxidation.
To prevent this from happening, you should keep your beer in a cool place. If you store your beer in the fridge, you can expect it to stay good for a long time!
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