Beer, the most widespread beverage worldwide, has been the favorite drink for ordinary folks and even the top brass. This drink may come in various shapes, flavors, sizes, packaging, and even price tags, but you can’t get enough of it.
However, the best before or expiration date on most stuff is there to prevent any adverse effect the spoiled food may have on your health, e.g., food poisoning and such.
So, have you ever wondered what happens if you age the beer like wine or chanced upon a lost bottle that has long passed the expiration date? If yes, the question, what happens if you drink a beer that has long passed its expiration date is a must to be answered!
That is why; here comes the question of what happens when you drink an expired beer.
The answer is nothing much, but it is further dependent on the factors such as the storage condition, whether it was open or not, whether the packaging was damaged or not, and lastly, the type of packaging, i.e., glass bottles or cans.
Here, we will guide you through why drinking expired beer may not be detrimental to your health and which factors you need to be aware of before thinking of drinking an expired beer.
What Happens if You Drink Expired Beer
The taste is why there is “born-on” or “best before” dates on the beer. But it doesn’t mean you will get sick if you drink an expired beer. Although the carbonation in the beer will be gone, and the flavor from hops and lagers too.
However, if the bottle/can have passed the expiry date for a few months, the taste will be stale, but it will be okay to drink, i.e., if you can bear the taste.
So, nothing will happen even if you drink an expired beer, especially if it is just a few days after the expiration date, but that holds even if it is a few months past the expiry date. You will only have to bear the stale taste of the beer, nothing else.
So, even if you drink beer that expired a few months ago, you don’t have to run to your doctor UNLESS it has mold in it.
However, more factors come into play when the expiry date has passed 5-6 months or even years.
Factors Dictating Whether an Expired Beer Is Okay To Drink or Not
Following are several factors that you should keep in mind if you want to drink an expired beer:
Type of Packaging
The most significant factor in the case of beer going stale is the type of packaging they come in. So, when compared, glass bottles have a higher chance of getting spoiled than canned beers.
The reason behind glass bottles going stale faster is that beer is more likely to get exposed to light, so storage conditions need to be more well-thought in that case. Also, glass bottles aren’t filled to the brim, leaving air space at the top, which makes it easier for oxidation to take place.
The rate of oxidation increases with the increase in surface area. So, that’s why; keeping the bottle vertical minimizes the surface in contact with air particles trapped in the bottle.
Where It Was Stored
The second factor is the storage place of your beer. The perfect spot is your freezer/fridge, but if you don’t have space in your fridge, which can always happen, your most likely bet is a dark and dry place.
The second option, in this case, is your basement, but if the basement isn’t available, then something like storing it on the bottom shelf of your cupboard or even under the bed away from sunlight are some options you can try.
But it is best if they are dry because the humidity is as detrimental as sunlight.
Cool or Warm Temperature
The most significant of all is the temperature. The role of temperature influences the other choices, e.g., even if the place isn’t exposed to sunlight but has a higher temperature than ambient temperature, your drinks are at a greater risk of getting spoiled.
Similarly, carbonation in beverages is also dependent on the temperature.
So, the best option you have is to store your beer in a fridge/freezer, and even if it has passed the expiration date, you are good to go unless it was opened.
The more alcohol content in the beer, the longer it will retain the taste. So, if you plan to store beer, opt for the ones with a higher ABV because these act as preservatives and help increase the shelf life of beer.
How To Tell if a Beer Has Expired
Your sense of sight, smell, and taste play a crucial role in determining whether a beer has expired or not.
First, check the label and the condition of the bottle, then get a whiff to see if it still has the same fresh scent or a spoiled one, and lastly, taste it to check if it has expired.
The beer is treated through various processes, such as fermentation (beer formation), filtering, pasteurization, etc. So, it is still safe to drink if the packaging isn’t damaged, stored in the right place, and at the right temperature.
Pasteurization is the key if you want to store your beer for a long time, which kills the bacteria. So, pasteurized beer stays okay for longer, even after expiration. Read the labels to know if it was pasteurized.
To wrap up, you will only have to bear the stale taste of the beer, nothing else, if you drink an expired beer. So, even if you drink an expired one, you don’t have to run to your doctor unless it has mold.
The primary culprits behind spoiling the beer are temperature, packaging, and storage location. So, if you find a sealed can with an expiration date of six or more months, you can always taste test it or even drink it if it caters to your taste buds.
However, the recommended option is to drink the beer before its expiration date or just a few days after if it passes. But never go over six months if you want to enjoy the beer for what it’s worth.