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Good question! It’s the one that will have been on the tip of your tongue from the moment you decided to start creating your own unique brew, and it’s one that we intend to find all the answers to. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in…
Does beer really go off?
It certainly does my friend. The sad truth is that because your beer is really a living breathing thing (not just an ordinary run of the mill beverage) it gradually changes over time. When the yeast in your beer reacts with air it begins to slowly change the colour, texture and of course that all-important taste. It happens so slowly that you won’t notice it for a long time, but it’s going on imperceptibly in the background. Then one day disaster strikes: your beer just doesn’t taste as good as you know it should.
How can you tell when beer is off?
Tasting beer is something we all love to do, and you don’t really have to be a master brewer to know when a pint of the good stuff is no longer up to scratch. It just won’t taste like the brew you know and love — often having a rather bitter aftertaste that you know shouldn’t be there.
What can you do about it?
The grim reality is that once your beer begins to turn, you just can’t do anything to halt the process and undo the damage. It’s irreversible which means there’s simply no getting away from it. What you can do though, is get clued up on just how long your favourite tipple is going to last and then get busy popping it open and savouring every drop of flavour. A little light at the end of the tunnel for your beer lovers who thought this was all going to be too much like doom and gloom!
Help! I don’t know how long my beer should last!
Calm yourself. Take a breath, breathe in and out and then keep reading. We have you covered, I promise.
‘How long does beer last?’ is one of those questions that you might think sounds rather a lot like ‘how long is a piece of string?’ but thankfully that’s where you’d be wrong. Every can or bottle of the good stuff will have a best before date stamped onto it when it’s sealed at the brewery. Most cans will have it on the bottom, and most bottles will have it hidden away somewhere on the label — either on the body of the bottle or around the neck. Either way, you don’t need to be a bonafide Sherlock Holmes to get busy tracking it down — a quick look is all it’s going to take. But there are few tricks of the trade you should be aware of too…
The fridge will be your lifeline
The hotter your beer gets, the faster it’s going to age. In fact, if you store it somewhere too hot for too long, you’ll find that it starts to age a lot faster than the date on the label. The sad truth here folks is that you’ll only have yourself to blame if this happens — everything you need to know about storing it the right way is already right in front of you. It’ll be written in that small print we’ve all spent years holding in our hands and yet never taken the time to read.
So, where does the fridge come into all this? Anyone wanting to know how long does beer last should know just what an impact the big white humming box in the kitchen can have. Keeping your beer ice cool and ready to serve is a real game changer, not just for the taste, but for the shelf life as well. It’ll naturally slow the ageing process down to a snail’s pace, and it’ll also make you want to reach for your new custom bottle far sooner than if it’s just sat on the side. If there’s a better example of a win-win scenario, we haven’t found it yet folks!
Does this apply to custom bottles?
It certainly does my friend, for one simple reason: changing the label by adding your own masterpiece is not the same as rebottling. You could even go crazy and pull the existing label right off if you want to, the sweet contents are still going to age exactly the same way. That’s why when you give it as a gift or treat yourself, you still want to follow all the hints and tips you’ll find in this delightful little article. Make sense?
How much wiggle room do I have?
Another good question, you’re really putting some thought into this! The truth is that in our experience, you won’t notice all that much difference to the taste and flavour in the period 6-9 months after the expiration date. Of course this is going to vary from beer to beer, and be subject to change depending on how well you’ve followed the storage guidelines. In fact, if you keep it in the fridge, safe and secure, the whole time, it can last for up to 2 years past the expiration date with no discernible difference.
Does this mean I can wait longer?
It sure does, but why would you? You’re treating yourself to a beer or giving a gift, and there’s no better way to do it than popping off the cap, pouring it into a glass and taking it easy. You might think that just because you’ve searched ‘How long does beer last?’ you can take your time, and you can to a point, but the truth is you really don’t have to.
Go wild, celebrate, kick back and enjoy your beer as soon as the mood takes you. After all, you can always head back to the fridge for another, or visit us again to create another sticky back work of art!