How Long Does Beer Last in the Fridge? (And How to Make it Last Longer)

Did you purchase some beer forever ago that you just found in the fridge? Are you wondering gif it’s still good? You’ve come to the right place!

In this article we will cover:

  • How long beer can last in the fridge
  • The best way to store beer
  • And much more!

NOTE: This article was reviewed by Melissa Macher, Registered Dietician and Food Scientist for safety and accuracy.

How Long Does Beer Last in the Fridge?

Running out of beer at a family gathering is a catastrophe, but what happens when you buy too much and leave it in the back of your fridge for an extended period?

The good news is, beer can last in the fridge for two to three years past the date listed on the can. This means you can keep beer on hand for a long time, as long as it is unopened.

Not only that, even if it is more than three years past the best by date, you can still drink beer without worrying about it being bad. Just be aware that beer will lose some of its taste and aroma the older it gets. It also varies on the type of beer you are keeping in your fridge. 

Read on to learn more about how long beer can last in the fridge as well as the best way to store beer for maximum freshness.

What’s the Longest You Should Keep Beer in the Fridge?

Although it will take beer a very long time to go bad in your fridge, this doesn’t mean that you should keep beer forever in your fridge.

Most beer connoisseurs recommend consuming beer in your fridge by the best by date on the can or bottle in order to experience maximum freshness and flavor. The best-by date on the can is printed by the manufacturer and is the date that the beer will taste best by.

After this date, the beer will begin to oxidize. This is a process where air begins to get into the beer, changing and lowering its flavor. The beer may also lose carbonation, and a sediment that isn’t very tasty will form at the bottom of the can or bottle.

Bottled beer oxidizes faster than canned beer because glass bottles aren’t as airtight. Beer is also less likely to oxidize when it is stored upright as opposed to on its side Additionally, beer which is left in sunlight, or warm climates will also oxidize more quickly.

Thus, it is better overall to store your beers in your fridge to avoid oxidation. If your beers are stored in the fridge, and are in cans, they will be delicious up to 6 to 8 months after their best by date. But to truly enjoy those beers you should still plan to drink them before the date printed on the can.

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How Long Can Opened Beer Last in the Fridge?

Unfortunately, beer is only shelf stable when it is sealed. Once you open a bottle or can of beer, it’s best to consume it within 24 hours.

Even then, if you wait 8 hours from opening your beer to consume it, it will likely lose some carbonation. While you won’t get sick from drinking an opened beer left in the fridge, we promise it won’t taste nice.

Is It Safe to Drink Expired Beer?

Beer is fermented as it is made, meaning it is, in essence, already a product which has “gone bad” when you buy it. Therefore, beer will never spoil in a way that will make you sick.

Instead, beer just diminishes in flavor and aroma with time as the beer oxidizes. You cannot become sick or ill from drinking oxidized beer, it just may not be pleasant to drink.

So, if you want to enjoy the flavor of beer as the creators intended, it’s best to drink it before the best by date even though you won’t get sick from drinking expired beer.

different types of beer

Can You Drink a 3-Year-Old Beer?

Based on the fact that drinking expired beer won’t make you sick, you can definitely feel free to take a few sips from that 3-year-old beer in your fridge, it won’t harm you physically.

Mentally, however, be prepared that the beer is not going to taste like it once did. Even if it is your favorite beer, the flavor could have changed to something unrecognizable. You should also pour it in a glass to see if there is sediment on the bottom.

But if you don’t mind possibly being appalled by your favorite beer, then feel free to drink it even though its 3 years old.

Editors Note: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should

How Long Will Homemade Beer Last in the Fridge?

Homemade beer is an entirely different ball game. When you brew homemade beer, you are cutting out the middleman as well as altering the preservatives that will be placed in the final product.

Homemade beer should be consumed within 12 months of the completion of the brewing process. Unlike store-bought beer, your homemade beer will likely continue to change in flavor no matter how you store it. Some people claim their beer gets stronger, while others say it gets weaker with time.

Either way, homemade beer should always be stored in the fridge and consumed within 12 months.

For all things homebrew, check out our friends at

How Long Do Different Types of Beer Last?

There are several different types of beer, and it should come as no surprise that they last different amounts of time. While you should always follow the manufacturers recommended best by date, below is how long you can expect different types of beer to last.

Light Beers: 120 days

Pale Ales: 120 days

Stouts: 180 days

Porters: 180 days

IPAs: 180 days

Craft beer: about 2 years, depending on the process

What Should You Do with Expired Beer?

As we’ve covered, expired beer is not the best to drink, but if you have a bunch of it on hand, what should you do with it?

Don’t toss it out!

Turns out expired beer is an excellent meat marinade. You can put your chicken and steaks in it overnight before you grill. You can also put an expired beer in a crockpot with some chicken and make a beer braised chicken or chicken chili.

But that isn’t the only uses for expired beer. You can also make a Beer Barbeque sauce that you can slather on top of all types of dishes.

Beyond the kitchen, you can also use expired beer to clean many things around the house. Check out some of these creative uses for your expired beer:

  • Polishing kitchen pans and pots
  • Cleaning wood furniture
  • Loosening bolts that have rusted into place
  • Getting rid of pesky brown spots on your lawn

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What is the Best Way to Store Beer?

Beer is best stored in its original packaging, whether that be in the can or bottle, in your fridge or basement. It should be stored away from light, and somewhere slightly cool. Beer should also be stored upright if possible, and in a location where it won’t get jostled.

Final Thoughts on Beer Storage

Overall, beers can last in your fridge indefinitely, as they never truly go bad. If you want to enjoy the taste of your beer though, it’s best to drink it before the best by date. And if you’ve managed to find some expired beer on hand, don’t throw it out, but make it into a delicious marinade instead.

As always, please drink responsibly. 

Photo of author

Hope Davis

Born in Denver, Colorado as the oldest of 5 children, I learned at a young age that the grill was one of the best ways to prepare food for a crowd. And during the winter storm months, when the snow was likely to knock out the power to our house, the propane grill was a lifesaver! You wouldn’t believe the number of things you can cook on a grill when necessary. With parents who couldn’t tell salt from pepper unless you told them, I spent my late teen years making my own seasoning mixes and marinades to dress the meat before barbecues. It wasn’t long before I developed a secret marinade that people still beg me to make for them today! When I was 21 years old I bought my first smoker. Picked up some cedar chips for making a cedar plank salmon...and well, the rest they say is history! I’ve been grilling and smoking all kinds of creations ever since and I’m always excited to share my passion with others through my favorite medium--writing!

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