Can you Drink Expired Beer? The Truth Revealed!

Can you drink expired beer?

Can you drink expired beer, if you’ve ever found yourself with a couple of unopened beers and only a few days left until their best-before date, you might have wondered if you can drink expired beer?

Expiry dates on food are there for a reason – they indicate the last time the food will be at its peak quality. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not safe to consume the food after that date.

While some foods become toxic or unpalatable once they pass their expiry date, this isn’t always true. With that in mind, let’s take a look at drinking expired beer and whether it is safe to do so or not.

Can you Drink Expired Beer?

You can drink expired beer for six to nine months beyond the use-by date when stored at room temperature and up to two years when refrigerated as long as it has intact packaging. Beer that is beyond the expiry date is completely harmless and non-toxic but the flavor and smell will degrade over time because it is a perishable product. Beer thus goes stale when exposed to light, oxygen, and heat over time.

What happens after the sell-by date, the organic compounds in beer degrade thus altering the smell and taste of beer. Thus, a beer that is beyond the sell-by date doesn’t actually become toxic or unsafe to drink, but the taste and smell start to become unappealing or flat.

However, even with changes in smell and taste, the beer is non-toxic and perfectly safe to drink for a period way beyond the printed expiration date on the package. Moreover, some people may even love the different taste and smell of the beer when stored properly way beyond the expiry date.

Thus if you store the beer stored properly, a beer that is old does not have a different effect on your body when compared to a freshly packaged beer. There is an absolute change in taste with time and exposure to light, air, and heat.

Thus, in layman’s terms, beer does not expire after the expiration date that is printed on the bottle or packaging box. Actually, some beers improve with age thus giving them a more appealing flavor meaning you can even take them 3 years out of date.

Let’s go through the way beer is dated and whether the changes make the beer toxic.

Can you drink Expired beer?

Drinking beer that expired 2 years ago

You can drink beer that expired 2 years ago without any harm if stored properly to minimize exposure to air, light, and heat. However, you must be sure that the beer is well sealed to ensure there is no exposure to air.

A beer that expired 2 years ago when stored in the fridge will be perfectly safe to drink and in some beers may even have a better taste. This is because some beers age better than others.

It is important to note that canned beer lasts longer than bottled beer since the content gets minimal exposure to light. Moreover, the chance of air seeping into a canned beer is negligible as compared to bottled beer.

Finally, the sealed beer is shelf-stable and will remain top quality for 6 to 8 months past the best-before date without refrigeration. With refrigeration, the beer remains top quality for up to 2 years or more.

Drinking a 3-month expired beer

As discussed above, when beer is stored properly with minimal exposure to air (oxygen), light and heat, it lasts well beyond the sell-by date. The beer will remain perfectly safe to drink and not toxic even as the taste starts to degrade with time.

Therefore, you can drink a 3-month expired beer without any worry that the beer is harmful or toxic. You may not like the taste since beer is a perishable product but it is harmless and will have no effect on the body compared to freshly packaged beer.

Beer, when stored unrefrigerated, will last for at most a year past the sell-by date while with refrigeration it will be ok to drink for up to two years or beyond. You will, however, find the beer flavor is declining since it starts to lose the hop flavor and off-flavors will start developing as it ages but some beers like the imperial stout taste even better as they age.

The beer may also start developing a skunky smell as it ages past the expiry date. Any exposure to oxygen, light, or heat will start to degrade the organic compounds which make up the great beer flavor and aroma.

Beer best-before (expiry) dating

Almost every beer has a date printed on it, which is called a “best before” date. This date is set by the manufacturer as a guide for how long the beer will be at its best quality.

The date isn’t an indication of how long beer can safely be stored, but rather when it should be consumed. It usually ranges from three to 18 months after production depending on the type of beer.

An expiry date is the last date by which food should ideally be consumed to avoid it going bad. For example, if a milk carton has an expiry date of 1st October 2018 and you drink it on the 5th, then you’ve drunk overripe milk.

This doesn’t mean that drinking expired milk will kill you, but it might not be pleasant. As with all foods, there are exceptions where expiration dates aren’t always accurate.

Is it safe to drink expired beer?

Your beer will last a long time if you store it correctly. If the packaging is intact and the beer tastes fresh, there’s no reason not to drink it. In fact, many professional brewers suggest that you should drink your beer within six months of purchasing it, as they taste best while they are still young.

That said, once you open a bottle of beer and expose it to air then the clock starts ticking. Expiry dates on food are there for a reason – they indicate the last time the food will be at its peak quality.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s not safe to consume the food after that date. While some foods become toxic or unpalatable once they pass their expiry date, this isn’t always true.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at drinking expired beer and whether it is safe to do so or not. Drinking expired beer can be safe as long as the packaging is intact (so check for any cracks or tears) and as long as your best-before date has elapsed with no negative effects on flavor or quality noted.

The best way to test whether it’s still good to drink? Sampling a little bit!

Is expired beer bad for you?

Beer is perfectly safe to drink after the expiration date as long as the packaging is intact. The expiration date on beer is not an indication of when the beer will go bad or become unpalatable.

Even though the expired beer is safe to drink and will not make you sick, it may have an unpalatable taste and flavor.

It’s simply a measure of the last time the beer was at its absolute prime quality. As long as the packaging remains intact, the beer will be safe to drink after its best-before date.

What happens when you drink expired beer?

Yes, you can drink expired beer. It’s completely harmless, non-toxic, and totally fine to drink. The only problem is that it might not taste so good, and it’s likely to smell odd and taste stale or flat.

Unfortunately, it’s not for the best reason: not only will the beer likely taste strange and smell odd, but it might also make you feel unwell. The alcohol content in the beer is most likely going to be lower than usual because of bacteria forming in the beer over time.

This means that drinking expired beer can lead to hangovers and general alcohol-related fatigue.

Additionally, if you consume a large volume of expired beer, drink more than your normal daily allowance while still taking medications, or have certain medical conditions, then there is a chance that you could become intoxicated faster than normal and experience other side effects as a result.

So what should you do with those cases of old beer? If they’re way past their best-before date but are still sealed and look OK you can take it as long as you can stand the taste otherwise, throw them out. If they’re past their best-before date but have been exposed to air or are open, just toss them out.

Effects of Drinking Expired Beer on Your Body- Sickness

In most instances, you will not get sick from expired alcohol as long as it is still safe to drink. Alcohol is one of the few items that you can consume past their expiry date and not get sick.

Alcoholic beverages are treated with preservatives and stabilizers to keep them good for much longer than other food items, and they do not go bad simply because the date has passed.

This means that you can drink expired beer without having to worry about getting sick or risking your health in any way. However, if the beer was past its best before the date when you bought it, there’s no telling how long it will be until it reaches its peak drinking quality.

The flavor of the alcohol might change over time, but this isn’t necessarily a sign that it’s gone bad or is toxic. The taste of alcohol does change over time due to the natural process of oxidation. This process makes the flavors more muted and less vibrant – something we call “mellowing”.

In order for this to happen though, the alcohol needs to be exposed to oxygen in some way: whether through opening a bottle or storing it in an uncovered container like a beer mug.

If you buy your beer from a capped bottle then there won’t be any exposure to oxygen and your beer will taste just as good as when you first opened it

Can expired beer give you diarrhea?

Expired alcohol doesn’t make you sick in the same way that expired produce does. Alcohol is much more acidic than fresh food, which means it’s less likely to breed bacteria and create toxins.

In fact, you can drink alcohol past its expiry date without fear of contracting food-borne illness. That’s not to say that expired beer won’t have an impact on your health.

There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re considering drinking expired beer:

  • Some people might experience mild headaches or nausea as a result of consuming expired beer.
  • The flavor and odor may change, but the taste generally remains similar enough for most people to enjoy it.
  • Drinking expired beer can lead to diarrhea, though this is uncommon because alcohol doesn’t contain any fiber or carbohydrates as other foods do.

Nonetheless, there are risks involved with drinking expired beer – so unless you’ve tried it before and know how your body will react, it’s best to avoid it altogether.

What Happens When Beer Expires?

If you’ve ever opened a beer and it smells or tastes off, it is likely that the beer has expired. When beer expires, it might not taste so good, and it’s likely to smell odd and taste stale or flat.

This is because of oxygen levels in the bottle. Beer is often packaged in cans or bottles with a cap that has an airtight seal. Once this seal is broken, oxygen can enter the container and destroy the drink’s flavor profile.

As the beer sits on the shelf or in your fridge, this process starts happening faster as more oxygen seeps into the bottle. Beer can take on an unpleasant sour taste and turn skunky as well over time too.

How long is beer good for after the expiration date?

The beer will last for six to nine months beyond the use-by date if stored at room temperature. This is because alcoholic drinks are carbonated and also acidic thus eliminating most bacteria.

However, if you store your beer in a fridge or freezer, it may last for up to 24 months past the expiry date. A beer that is stored at room temperature can be taken for six to nine months out of date.

Some beers may even be taken 3 years past the use-by date. These beers actually taste better as they age. Sealed beer is shelf-stable and stays top quality for 6 to 8 months past the sell-by date without refrigeration. Thus canned beer, due to minimal exposure to light and oxygen in the internal contents lasts longer past the expiry date compared to bottled beer.

Just because a beer has passed its use-by date doesn’t mean it’s not safe to drink. At that point, it just doesn’t taste as fresh as it did on the day of purchase.

Types of beer you can drink after the expiration date

The first thing to note is that not all beer is the same. Some are pasteurized and some are unpasteurized. This means they have different expiry dates, as the latter will start to sour after a few months while the former will stay good for much longer.

It’s a common misconception that all beer becomes inedible once it expires, but this really depends on the type of beer you buy and how you store it. Generally speaking, lagers are unpasteurized and can last for about 3 years after their best-before date without going off.

Meanwhile, ales are often pasteurized and will only last up to nine (9) months past their expiration date without spoiling. If refrigerated, they will last for up to two years.

If you want to drink expired beer, it’s a good idea to consult the packaging or call your local brewery to find out which type of beer you have and how long it will last safely past its expiry date.

Bottom line

To answer the question of whether or not you can drink expired beer, the short answer is yes. Beer has a long shelf life and it’s usually not dangerous to drink it even if it’s past its expiry date.

That being said, please bear in mind that the taste and quality will decrease as time passes. We recommend drinking your beer within 6 months of opening it for optimal taste and freshness. So go ahead and crack open those beers on the way out to your next party!

You’ve probably noticed that some foods have an expiration date and others don’t. You may also have noticed that expired food is often priced lower than food that is still within its best-before date. The truth is, many expired foods are just as safe to eat as food with a best-before date.

The reason for this is that the expiration date indicates when food will reach its peak quality. Food can still be at its peak quality past the expiration date and in fact, sometimes it’s of better quality because producers make these foods to last so they don’t go to waste. If you want to know whether your expired beer is going to kill you or not, then you need to dig a little deeper into the topic.



  1. I have drunk expired beer several times without any health challenges. While drinking expired beer may not necessarily be harmful, the taste and quality can be significantly compromised. Over time, beer may develop off-flavors, lose carbonation, and become stale. The expiration date on beer is often more about maintaining the intended flavor profile rather than a safety concern. However, if the beer has been stored improperly, exposed to sunlight, or subjected to extreme temperatures, it could spoil and potentially pose health risks. I always check check for any unusual odors, flavors, or changes in appearance before deciding to consume expired beer and to exercise caution, especially if there are signs of spoilage.

  2. Greetings. Thank you Fidelia, Your practice of checking for unusual odors, flavors, or changes in appearance before deciding to consume expired beer aligns perfectly with a responsible approach to beer consumption. It’s reassuring to know that you’ve experienced no health challenges from drinking expired beer, emphasizing that while the taste and quality may be compromised, it may not necessarily pose immediate harm. Your emphasis on factors like proper storage, exposure to sunlight, and extreme temperatures influencing the beer’s condition adds valuable context. Sharing these insights reinforces the importance of being mindful and observant when assessing expired beer. It would be interesting to hear if you’ve developed specific preferences or tips for enhancing the taste of expired beer, given your experience in navigating this aspect of beer enjoyment. Cheers to responsible and informed beer consumption!

  3. Your experience aligns with a common understanding of drinking expired beer. While the expiration date on beer is primarily a measure to ensure the maintenance of its intended flavor profile, it’s crucial to consider factors like storage conditions, exposure to light, and temperature fluctuations. Your practice of checking for unusual odors, flavors, or changes in appearance is a responsible approach, as these could indicate spoilage. It’s essential for individuals to exercise caution and trust their senses when deciding to consume expired beer. Additionally, sharing personal experiences like yours can be valuable for others looking to navigate the nuances of consuming beer beyond its expiration date. Have you found that certain styles or types of beer handle expiration better than others, and do you have any specific tips for identifying signs of spoilage in expired beer?

    • Hi Ramos. Yes, certain styles or types of beer tend to handle expiration better than others. Generally, higher-alcohol and hop-forward beers, such as IPAs and stouts, have better aging potential compared to lighter beers like lagers. However, the aging process can vary depending on the beer’s specific characteristics, including alcohol content, hop presence, and malt profile just as Jayne has indicated.

      Here are some general tips for identifying signs of spoilage in expired beer:

      1. Off Odors:
      If the beer has an off or unpleasant odor, it may be a sign of spoilage. Aroma changes, including a sour or musty smell, can indicate bacterial contamination.

      2. Off Flavors:
      Taste the beer and be alert for off flavors. Common off-flavors in expired beer include oxidation (stale or cardboard-like taste), diacetyl (buttery flavor), or acetic acid (vinegar-like taste).

      3. Cloudiness or Sediment:
      Excessive cloudiness or the presence of sediment in a beer that should be clear might indicate bacterial or yeast contamination. It’s important to note that some styles, like bottle-conditioned Belgian ales, intentionally have sediment.

      4. Unusual Appearance:
      Look for any changes in color that are inconsistent with the beer style. Unusual floating particles or a slimy appearance can be signs of spoilage.

      5. Carbonation Levels:
      If the beer is unexpectedly flat or excessively carbonated, it may have undergone undesirable changes. Proper carbonation is a crucial aspect of beer quality.

      6. Check the Packaging:
      Inspect the packaging for any signs of damage or compromise. Leaks, bulging caps, or broken seals can be indicators that the beer has been exposed to air and contaminants.

      7. Check the Expiration Date:
      Many breweries stamp a “best by” or “drink by” date on their beer. If the beer is past this date, it might not taste as intended.

  4. Ramos, your awareness of the factors influencing the quality of expired beer is commendable and the writer did a great job with this article. Considering storage conditions, exposure to light, and temperature fluctuations is crucial in determining whether a beer has indeed gone bad. Your practice of checking for unusual odors, flavors, or changes in appearance aligns perfectly with responsible consumption. It’s interesting to explore whether certain beer styles or types exhibit varying resilience to expiration, as factors like alcohol content and hop presence could play a role. Sharing insights on specific tips for identifying signs of spoilage in expired beer could certainly benefit others navigating this aspect of beer enjoyment. It’s a reminder that while the expiration date serves as a guideline, relying on sensory cues and being mindful of storage conditions is key to a safe and enjoyable beer-drinking experience.

  5. Expired beer is generally safe to drink, but its flavor may have deteriorated, and it could taste stale or flat. As someone who has tried expired beer, I found that while it may not taste as fresh, it’s usually still drinkable unless it shows signs of spoilage.

  6. Drinking expired beer is generally safe, but the taste might not be as pleasant as fresh beer due to potential changes in flavor. The expiration date on beer primarily indicates when it’s at its peak quality, and consuming it past that date might result in a slightly altered taste or a loss of carbonation. However, if the beer is significantly past its expiration date or shows signs of spoilage like a strange odor or appearance, it’s best to avoid drinking it.

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