Written by Lisa Wartenberg, MFA, RD, LD top top September 24, 2019 — median reviewed by Adda Bjarnadottir, MS, RDN (Ice)

If you cleaning out your pantry, you may be tempted to throw away the dusty party of Baileys or high-quality Scotch.

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While alcohol is stated to get much better with age, you might wonder even if it is this hold true for other species of alcohol — specifically once they’ve to be opened.

This short article explains tells you all you need to know around alcohol expiration, exploring various drinks and their safety.


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Alcoholic beverages, such together liquor, beer, and wine, space made using various processes and ingredients.

All indicate fermentation. In this context, it is the process by i beg your pardon yeast creates alcohols by consuming sugars (1, 2).

Other determinants may influence alcohol’s shelf life. These incorporate fluctuations in temperature, exposure come light, and oxidation (1, 2).

Liquor

Liquor is thought about shelf-stable. This group includes gin, vodka, whiskey, tequila, and rum. These are typically made from a variety of grains or plants.

Their base, also called mash, is fermented through yeast before being distilled. Part liquors are distilled several times because that a smoother taste. The result liquid might then be age in casks or barrels of various woods for included complexity.

Once the manufacturer bottles the liquor, it stops aging. After opening, it have to be consumed within 6–8 month for top taste, follow to industry experts (3).

However, you may not notification a adjust in taste for as much as a year — especially if you have actually a less discerning palate (3).

Liquor have to be save on computer in a dark, cool place — or also a freezer, though this isn’t necessary. Store the bottles upright to avoid the fluid from touching the cap, which may cause corrosion that affects flavor and quality.

Proper storage helps protect against evaporation and oxidation, thereby extending shelf life.

It need to be listed that liqueurs — sweetened, distilled spirits with added flavors, such together fruit, spices, or herbs — will last approximately 6 month after opening. Cream liqueurs must be preserved cold, ideally in her fridge, to expand their shelf life (4, 5).

Beer

Beer is produced by unavoidable a cereal grain — commonly malted barley — v water and also yeast (1, 6, 7).

This mixture is allowed to ferment, producing natural carbonation that gives beer its distinctive fizz (1, 7).

Hops, or flower of the hop plant, are added at the end of the process. This impart bitter, floral, or citrus notes and aromas. Furthermore, they assist stabilize and also preserve beer (1).

Sealed beer is shelf-stable for 6–8 months past its use-by date and also lasts much longer if refrigerated. Generally, beer through an alcohol by volume (ABV) better than 8% is slightly more shelf-stable than beer through a lower ABV.

Unpasteurized beer additionally has a much shorter shelf life. Pasteurization kills off harmful pathogens with warm to prolong the shelf life that a variety of food products, consisting of beer (8).

Whereas mass-produced beers room usually pasteurized, craft beers aren’t. Unpasteurized beers should be consumed in ~ 3 months of bottling because that the ideal flavor. You have the right to normally discover the bottling day on the label.

Pasteurized beers deserve to still taste new for up to 1 year after gift bottled.

Beer have to be save on computer upright in a cool, dark ar with a consistent temperature, such together your fridge. Drink it in ~ a couple of hours of opened for peak taste and also carbonation.

Wine

Like beer and liquor, wine is developed via fermentation. However, it’s constantly made indigenous grapes fairly than seed or various other plants. Sometimes, grape stems and also seeds are provided to deepen the flavor.

Some wines space aged in casks or barrels because that months or year to additional intensify your taste. While good wines may improve with age, cheap wines need to be consumed in ~ 2 years of bottling.

Organic wines, including those created without preservatives prefer sulfites, need to be consumed in ~ 3–6 months of purchase (9).

Light and also heat affect the quality and also flavor the wine. Thus, save it in a cool, dry atmosphere away from sunlight. Unlike liquor and also beer, corked wine must be save on that is side. Correctly stored wine deserve to last for number of years.

Once opened, wine is exposed come oxygen, expediting the aging process. You need to drink many wines within 3–7 work of opening for the best taste. Be sure to cork them and also keep in the fridge in between pours (3, 10).

Fortified wines have a distilled spirit, such as brandy, added. These and also boxed wines can last approximately 28 work after opening if correctly stored (11, 12).

Sparkling wines have actually the shortest lifespan and also should be consumed within hours of opened for peak carbonation. To extend their shelf life, store them in the fridge v an airtight wine stopper. You have to use increase the party within 1–3 work (10).

Summary

Alcoholic beverages are made differently and thus have varying shelf lives. Liquor lasts the longest, conversely, wine and also beer are less shelf-stable.


Liquor does no expire to the point of leading to sickness. It merely loses odor — usually a year after gift opened.

Beer the goes negative — or level — won’t do you sick but may upset her stomach. You should throw the end beer if yes no carbonation or white foam (head) after you to water it. You might also an alert a adjust in taste or sediment in ~ the bottom that the bottle.

Fine wine normally improves v age, however most wines no fine and should it is in consumed in ~ a couple of years.

If wine tastes vinegary or nutty, it has actually likely unable to do bad. The may also look brown or darker than expected. Drinking expired wine can be unpleasant but isn’t taken into consideration dangerous.

Spoiled wine, whether red or white, generally turns into vinegar. Vinegar is extremely acidic, i m sorry protects it versus bacterial expansion that can otherwise injury your health (13).

Of course, overindulging in alcohol — no matter the form or expiration condition — may bring about unpleasant next effects, such together headache, nausea, and liver damage over the lengthy term. Make sure to drink it in moderation — approximately one drink daily for women and also two for men (14, 15).

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Summary

Expired alcohol doesn’t do you sick. If friend drink liquor after the been open for more than a year, you usually only danger a duller taste. Level beer frequently tastes off and may upset your stomach, conversely, spoiled wine usually tastes vinegary or nutty yet isn’t harmful.