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How Long Does Beer Last In The Fridge?

Are you wondering how long beer stays fresh once it’s been opened and stored in the fridge?

Beer can be a finicky beverage, and not all types are equal when it comes to shelf life.

Knowing how long it can last and the factors that affect its shelf life is important to know if you want maximum flavor and freshness.

Read on to learn all about the shelf life of beer to help inform your next brew purchase.

What Is The Shelf Life Of Beer?

The shelf life of beer depends on what kind of beer it is, whether or not it’s been pasteurized and stored correctly, and even the temperature of your refrigerator.

Generally speaking, most lighter lagers can last up to four months, while darker beers like stouts have a shorter lifespan of two months.

IPAs generally have an even shorter lifespan since their bitterness is more sensitive to oxidation so they should be consumed within one month.

The Factors That Affect The Shelf Life Of Beer

  • Temperature: Beer that is stored at too warm temperatures will age faster due to increased oxidation which will give it an unpleasant taste. For best results store your unopened beer in a refrigerator between 35°F-38°F (1°C – 3°C).
  • Light Exposure: Allowing light exposure to bottles or cans of beer can cause skunking resulting in an unpleasant taste due to UV light breaking down hop acids in the beer. Keep your beer away from sunlight or fluorescent lights whenever possible.
  • Style: As mentioned above certain styles of beers have different shelf lives due their higher alcohol content or hop content making them more susceptible to oxidation over time which can negatively affect the flavor. Not all styles are equal when it comes to shelf life!

How Long Can You Store Unopened Beer In The Fridge?

Generally speaking, most unopened beers when stored properly between 35°F-38°F (1°C – 3°C) should last for three months for lighter lagers and up to four months for darker beers like stouts.

Keep in mind that lighter lagers may start tasting grungy over time whereas hop-forward styles may lose some of their fresher notes over time as well.

If you find yourself with leftover cans/bottles take note of when you bought them so you know when they expire!

What Happens To Beer After It Is Opened?

Once a bottle or can has been opened its exposure to oxygen causes it to start degrading right away which means its temperature also needs to be controlled if you want maximum flavor preservation.

Refrigeration is especially important after opening as too much warmth will dramatically shorten shelf life so if you are planning on storing opened beer make sure it is cold enough! For best results consumed within two weeks after opening for optimal flavor.

Also, avoid freezing as this will cause permanent damage by expanding the liquid and bursting open cell walls releasing alcohols that were previously trapped inside giving your beer an off taste – no one wants that!

Signs That Your Beer Has Gone Bad

If your once beloved brew tastes sour, metallic, vinegar-like or has off aromas then chances are it has gone bad and should be thrown out! Don’t risk drinking something that could make you sick – better safe than sorry!


In summary, knowing how long unopened and opened beers last depends on a variety of factors such as type/style, storage temperature, and light exposure. Unopened lagers may last up to 3-4 months whereas opened ones should be consumed within two weeks for maximum freshness.

It’s always better safer than sorry – if your beer tastes strange or has any off aromas then throw it out instead of risking getting sick!

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, homebrewer and beer taster. I’m also the editor of Beer100. I love travelling the world and trying out new handcraft beer and different beer styles. I’m not an expert in brewing beer, but I know a few things about beer, which I share on this blog. If you need help or have a question, please comment below.

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