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.
How is beer dated?
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 a 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.
What Does Expiry Date Mean?
An expiry date is the last date by which a 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. Expiries 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 flavour 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, 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, or 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 past their best before date but are still sealed and look OK otherwise, throw them out!
If they’re past their best before date but have been exposed to air or are open, put them in the fridge to stop them going bad any further, and then drink them within a week or two at the latest.
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 flavour profile.
As 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 temperatures. This is because alcoholic drinks are carbonated and also are acidic thus eliminating most bacteria.
However, if you store your beer in a fridge or freezer, it may last for up to 12 months.
Just because a beer has passed its expiration 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.
Which types of beer can you 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 9 months past their expiration date without spoiling. 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.
Will You Get Sick From Drinking Expired Beer?
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 like 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.
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 the 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.