You peek into the refrigerator. Sure enough, there are a few beers there. Since you’re thirsty, you grab a cold one, crack it open, and begin to drink it. The flavor is a little off, but it certainly tastes like cold beer going down. You ignore the flavor change and finish the beer.
Then you notice that the “best before” date was two months ago. Your stomach gurgles. Did you just make an epic mistake?
Beer Will Always Be Better When It Is Fresh
Fresh beer is always better to drink than old beer. As beer begins to age, it begins to change its flavor profile. Some of the aromas, the flavors, and the oils that make up the great flavor of a fresh beer go away with an expired beer.
Beer really is a delicate product. Even sunlight shining through a bottle can cause it to prematurely age in an unwanted way.
There is nothing dangerous about drinking beer that has gone beyond the “best before” date. Once the product is fermented, you can drink it whenever you want. The quality of the old beer, however, is going to be questionable.
It could taste fine. It could also taste closer to spoiled milk.
The bottom line is this: if the beer you’ve just cracked open doesn’t smell appealing, don’t try to drink it. If it smells bad, then there’s a good chance that it will also taste bad. It’s not worth the risk.
How to Extend the Life of Your Beer
If you like to have a beer every now and then, but don’t drink on a regular basis, then one of the best beer fridges for your home is a good starting place. By keeping the beer chilled, close to freezing, you’ll minimize the damage that occurs to the flavor profile of the beer. A dark environment is also beneficial, which a fridge can provide.
The type of beer that you choose to drink will also give you more options when it comes to extending the life of your brew. Your standard 3.2% beer isn’t going to have a very long life. It might stay fresh a month or two, with some options lasting up to 3 months with the right kind of storage.
If you invest into a stronger beer with higher alcohol content, you’ll receive a better beer lifespan. Beers that have 5% alcohol content can stay fresh for up to 6 months. If you go to 7.5% beer, then it may last for up to a year. Beer that is above 10% alcohol content can last for up to 2 years if it is stored properly.
Here is the exception. If the container holding the beer has been compromised in some way, then the beer may be unsafe to drink. Air exposure can evaporate the alcohol out of the beer and that can lead to bacteria formation that could make you feel unwell. Aluminum can elements may leach into the beer over a period of several years as well, so drink from a glass, keg, or similar product instead if considering an expired beer.
What happens if you drink expired beer? The beverage might taste a little funny, but all in all, you’re going to have a good time.