Fresh is Best


This is the last week on how to store your beer.  So far we’ve looked at avoiding light and extreme temperatures.  This time we take a look at how soon you should drink your beer.

Unlike other alcoholic beverages, beer will go bad with time.  It has a shelf life. This is why some breweries have put clear born on dates on the labels of their beverages.  They want their consumer to know how long ago their beer was made.  The fresher your beer the better flavor you are going to get from it.

The general rule is that beer will go bad after 6 months.  The amount of time it takes your beer to go bad depends on the level of alcohol and hops in the beer. The more alcohol and the less hops makes a beer better for the ageing process.

My tip to you would be to buy your beer as needed. Nothing tastes worst than a beer that has gone bad (well maybe baked poop…but who in their right mind will do that twice).


  • Erik

    Great post, Greg. By and large, all the beer I purchase is consumed within a month or two of the purchase, so stale beer isn’t an issue. I have found, though, a few beers that age very well.

    The first is Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale. I now have a 2-year buffer of SNCA, so this winter, when they release their 2008 batch, I’ll by two six packs and put ‘em in storage. I’ll then pull out of storage the 2006 SNCA and consume that. Mmmmmm – it gets *really* smooth after 2 years of proper aging. Contrary to what you suggested, this beer (which *is* actually fairly hoppy), still ages quite well. The key is keeping it cool and out of the light.

    The second beer that I keep in my cellar is Sam Adams Imperial Pilsener. In my experience, this beer is quite difficult to drink when it’s young. It benefits *greatly* from a year of aging.

    Eriks last blog post..andersonfam -> feedburner

  • GregQualls

    Great info Erik. I have to say that I don’t have the patience to let beer age. So I have to give you props for that.

  • Brad Ruggles

    My question is, why would you let good beer sit around anyway? ;-)

    I agree with you, just buy what you need and keep trying new stuff. I’m not into stocking up on tons of beer unless it’s a beer that can age well.

    For now, most of the stuff I buy I do one 6-pack at a time so I rarely have a beer that lasts more than a couple of weeks in the fridge.

    Brad Ruggless last blog post..Off The Top Of My Head