Updated at: 18-08-2023 - By: John Lau

As summer temperatures continue to rise, you might wonder how that scorching heat affects your favorite beverage: beer. Does beer go bad when exposed to high temperatures or fluctuating conditions? Understanding the impacts of heat on beer’s quality and shelf life will help ensure that you can always enjoy a refreshing brew at its best.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the effects of heat on different types of beers, factors contributing to spoilage, proper storage techniques, and signs of spoiled beer.

The Effects Of Heat On Beer

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Heat can have both short-term and long-term effects on beer, with prolonged exposure resulting in decreased quality and off-flavors due to accelerated oxidation.

Short-term And Long-term Exposure To Heat

Exposing beer to heat, whether short-term or long-term, can greatly impact its overall quality and flavor. For example, leaving a six-pack in the trunk of your car on a hot summer day may cause immediate changes in taste due to accelerated staling and oxidation processes.

Regardless of the duration of heat exposure, it is crucial for alcohol enthusiasts to maintain proper temperature control when storing their favorite brews.

For instance, if you are hosting an outdoor BBQ party during a heatwave, remember that serving ice-cold beers not only preserves their freshness but also helps prevent dehydration and heat-related illnesses among your guests.

Direct Sunlight And Its Impact On Beer

Direct sunlight has a significant impact on beer, as it can cause “skunking,” which leads to off-flavors and decreased drinkability.

Skunked or lightstruck beer occurs when the sun’s ultraviolet rays break down hop-derived compounds known as iso-alpha acids in the brew.

In addition to affecting taste, direct sunlight can also degrade other aspects of beer quality over time. For example, vivid colors in beers like amber ales or stouts may fade due to UV exposure.

The heat from direct sunlight further accelerates this process, making it essential for brewers and consumers alike to store beer away from excessive heat and light sources.

Factors That Affect Beer’s Shelf Life

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The type of beer, alcohol content, and packaging are all factors that can impact the shelf life of your brew.

Type Of Beer And Its Ingredients

The type of beer and its ingredients play a crucial role in determining the shelf life and stability of the beverage. With various styles of beers available, some are more susceptible to spoilage than others due to differences in their brewing techniques, ethanol content, and hop varieties used.

Additionally, certain ingredients can contribute to spoilage and contamination by promoting microbial growth such as bacteria like Staphylococcus or Zymomonas. Climate change is another factor that affects the chemistry of beer’s primary raw materials – hops and grains.

As global temperatures rise, alterations in these vital components result in noticeable changes not only in the taste but also in the overall quality of your favorite brews.

Alcohol Content And Brewing Method

The alcohol content and brewing method play an essential role in determining the shelf life of beer. For instance, lager beers tend to undergo significant chemical changes after sitting for three to six months at a particular temperature.

The brand can also influence the amount of pure alcohol present in the beer, with variations in alcohol by volume affecting how long it stays fresh. Additionally, filtration is one non-thermal method commonly used for pasteurization, which helps prevent spoilage caused by microorganisms.

Packaging And Storage Conditions

Proper packaging and storage conditions are crucial for preserving the freshness and taste of beer. Beer can be packaged in cans, bottles, or kegs, each with varying shelf lives depending on how well they prevent exposure to light, oxygen and temperature changes.

Resealable bottles or those with twist-off caps help seal in carbonation and reduce oxidation.that impacts a beer’s flavor.

When it comes to storage containers, dark-colored glass bottles offer better protection against ultraviolet light than clear ones.since UV rays can break down hop compounds leading to a skunky smell or off-taste.

Kegs exposed to heat may spoil quickly due to their larger volume compared to bottled beers. It’s essential always to store beer upright at a consistent temperature range between 38°F -55°F (3°C-13°C), avoiding fluctuations caused by placing them near windows or heaters.

Overall, proper packaging techniques enhance a beverage’s shelf life while ensuring optimal taste upon consumption.

Proper Storage Techniques

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Store beer in a cool, dark place between 38-55°F to preserve freshness and flavor, use air-tight containers, and avoid direct sunlight.

Ideal Storage Temperature Range

Storing beer at the right temperature is essential for preserving its quality and freshness. The ideal storage temperature range is between 35-50°F (2-10°C).

If beer is stored above this threshold, it can lead to accelerated aging, off-flavors, and spoilage. For example, storing a lager beer at room temperature rather than refrigerated can significantly impact the aging process and its overall taste.

On the other hand, beer stored too cold can also affect its flavor profile and impair carbonation.

Best Storage Methods And Containers

When it comes to storing beer, there are several options available. Here are some of the best methods and containers to ensure your beer stays fresh:

  1. Glass Storage: Glass containers, typically bottles, are the best option for storing beer as they are reusable, airtight, and prevent the transfer of taste or odors.
  2. Airtight Containers: If you don’t have access to glass containers, opt for airtight plastic or metal containers that can prevent oxygen exposure.
  3. Refrigerated Storage: Beer should always be stored in a cool, dark place with a consistent temperature ranging from 32-45°F. A refrigerator is an ideal storage location.
  4. Avoid Exposure to Heat: Beer should never be exposed to heat as it can speed up oxidation and spoil the taste and texture of the beer. Avoid storing beer in direct sunlight or near heating sources.

Tips For Keeping Beer Fresh

If you’re looking to keep your beer fresh and delicious, here are some tips for proper storage:

  1. Keep it cold: The best way to preserve the quality of beer is to store it at a low temperature. Ideally, keep it between 38-50 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Avoid sunlight: Ultraviolet light breaks down hop compounds in beer, leading to unpleasant off-flavors. Store your beer in a dark area or an opaque container.
  3. Minimize oxidation: Oxygen can lead to undesirable flavors in beer over time. Keep the container tightly sealed and minimize exposure to air when pouring.
  4. Watch the expiration date: While not all beers come with an expiration date, check the label for a “bottled on” or “best by” date. Consume before the date listed for optimal freshness.
  5. Store upright: Storing beer upright minimizes contact between the liquid and the cap, reducing the risk of contamination or off-flavors.

The Importance Of Storing Beer Away From Heat

Proper storage techniques are crucial in ensuring that beer tastes fresh and has a long shelf life. One of the most vital things to remember is to store your beer away from heat sources, especially when you’re in warmer climates or during summer months.

Heat can cause quick spoilage, add funky odors and off-flavors to the beer, ruin carbonation, and even turn it sour. This means that if your beer is exposed to direct sunlight or kept at high temperatures above 70°F for an extended period, it could go bad in as little as a week resulting in negative effects on the taste and smell.

To prevent heat-related damage during storage and transportation, consider investing in proper refrigeration equipment or storing cans/bottles in a temperature-controlled cellar-like environment with minimal light exposure.

Carbon dioxide preservation methods such as using kegerators can also maintain appropriate CO2 levels which are essential for maintaining freshness since too much CO2 can make beers feel harsh while too little causes them to be flat.

Signs Of Spoiled Beer

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Spoiled beer can have a foul smell, cloudiness, off-taste, and flat texture.

Foul Smell, Cloudiness, Off-taste, And Flat Texture

Beer that goes bad due to heat exposure can have a range of unappetizing qualities. Look out for the following signs of spoiled beer:

  • Foul smell: If your beer smells like urine, sulfur, or is skunked, it could be because it was exposed to heat. Oxidation and bacterial contamination can also cause bad odors in beer.
  • Cloudiness: Beer that appears hazy or has sediment at the bottom of the glass could be an indication of bacterial growth in the bottle, which is a sign of spoiled beer related to heat exposure.
  • Off-taste: Spoiled beer can taste off, such as tasting like green apple or mowed grass. This can be a result of acetaldehyde, which is present in all beers but can become more pronounced in spoiled beer.
  • Flat texture: If your beer lacks carbonation and feels flat in your mouth, it could be due to poor storage conditions, including exposure to heat.

Keep an eye out for these indicators when evaluating whether your beer has gone bad due to heat damage or other factors such as oxidation and contamination. Remember that if you notice any of these signs, it’s time to discard the bottle and crack open a new one.

When To Discard Beer That Has Gone Bad

It’s essential to know when it’s time to discard beer that has gone bad. Spoiled beer can cause health issues, so it’s crucial to stay aware of the signs of bad beer. If you notice a nasty smell or an off-taste in your beer, then it might be time to toss it out.

Remember that drinking expired beer doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get sick, but it might not taste as good as before. In general, keep an eye on the expiration dates and storage conditions for your beers.


Can beer go bad if left in a hot car or fridge? How long can beer stay warm before it goes bad? Does keg beer go bad if it gets warm? Learn the answers to these frequently asked questions and more by reading on.

Can Beer Go Bad If Left In A Hot Car Or Fridge?

Beer can definitely go bad if left in a hot car or fridge for an extended period. It is essential to understand that heat and sunlight are the culprits when it comes to beer spoilage.

If your beer is subjected to high temperatures, even for a short time, it will alter the taste and expiration date. When stored at 75 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, you should drink your beer within three months before it starts souring or tasting skunky.

In contrast, cold storage protects your beer’s flavor and freshness by slowing down aging effects caused by bacteria present in beer.

How Long Can Beer Stay Warm Before It Goes Bad?

Beer can go bad very quickly if it gets too warm. Generally speaking, beer should be stored at a temperature between 35℉ and 45℉ to keep it fresh for as long as possible.

When the temperature rises above this range, the beer’s flavor degrades rapidly over time. If your beer is kept at temperatures of around 70-75℉ or higher, you should drink it within a few days (or sooner).

For example, if you leave a case of beer in your trunk on a hot summer day, it could get ruined in less than three days.

Does Keg Beer Go Bad If It Gets Warm?

Yes, keg beer can go bad if it gets warm. If the temperature of the keg rises above 55°Fbacteria can start to grow and spoil the beer quickly.

The shelf life of a keg depends on various factors such as brewing method, alcohol content, and storage conditions. Pasteurized beers can last for three to six months in a keg before going bad.

However, bacteria can still form in a keg if it is stored in hot conditions or if dispensing methods are not properly controlled. Dispensing the beer using CO2 can help extend its lifespan by preserving freshness and preventing oxidation.

How To Prevent Heat Damage During Beer Transportation

Proper beer handling during transportation is crucial to preserving its quality. One of the most important steps is to keep the beer away from heat, as it can accelerate aging and spoilage.

This includes avoiding storage near or in direct sunlight, as well as preventing exposure to high temperatures for extended periods. Beer should be stored at a cool temperature range of 35-55°F (2-13°C), and if possible, shipped in refrigerated trucks.

By taking these precautions, you’ll ensure your beer arrives tasting fresh and delicious. Remember that different types of beer have varying shelf lives due to factors such as alcohol content and brewing method, so always check the expiration date before purchasing or consuming any product.


In conclusion, while heat can definitely impact the quality and taste of beer over time, it won’t necessarily make it spoil or go bad in a short period. However, prolonged exposure to heat can lead to off-flavors and decrease shelf life for any type of beer.

To help preserve your favorite brews, remember to store them in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. If you’re transporting beer on a warm day or leaving it in your car for an extended period, be sure to take precautions that will prevent significant temperature fluctuations.