Is It Safe To Drink Expired Beer?

Expiration dates can be a little confusing. Some foods spoil by their expiration dates while others have more time before going bad. Beer is not so different. According to Cook's Illustrated, beer does not expire — even if an expiration date is marked on the box or bottle. Think of those dates as "best enjoyed by" dates. As Cook's Illustrated explains, beer has already had any potentially harmful things like bacteria removed. But just because you can technically drink "expired beer" doesn't mean you should.

The thing about expired beer is that it does continue to age and change inside the bottle over time, and those changes are not always for the better. Instead, beer tends to lose flavor and other key characteristics that make it so great to begin with (via The Kitchn). Though old beer doesn't tend to be the best, that doesn't mean it should be tossed either.

This is how long you can safely consume expired beer

Fortunately, there are some guidelines on how long you can keep different kinds of beer and enjoy it without risking a seriously gross sip of flat, bland beer. According to The Kitchn, most beers such as craft beer that are bottled in dark glass or cans can be stored and consumed for roughly one year before they begin to degrade. And according to Popsci, beer stored in clear bottles degrades in quality more quickly. Interestingly, beers that have a higher alcohol content, typically above 9%, can be kept for even longer.

You will, however, need to make sure that whatever kind of beer you are trying to store is stored properly. That means you should keep it in a place that is out of reach of bright light and temperature fluctuations. Try keeping it in a relatively cool, shady place such as in your garage, the bottom of your pantry, or even on a shelf under your home bar or bar cart. With some extra care to preserve and store your beer well, you can keep cracking them open for months to come.