Updated at: 09-07-2023 - By: John Lau

Have you ever bought a growler of your favorite beer, only to wonder how long it can stay unopened while retaining its freshness?

Fact is, the shelf life of an unopened growler depends on various factors such as the filling method and storage conditions.

In this article, we’ll delve deep into these aspects for clarity on maximizing your growler’s lifespan. Get ready – we’re about to help make every last drop count!

Factors Affecting the Shelf Life of Unopened Growlers

How Long Do Growlers Last Unopened (1)

How the growler was filled

How your growler is filled plays a pivotal role in determining its unopened shelf life. For instance, if you’re filling your growler with a tube from the bottom and cap it on foam, you can expect the beer to stay fresh for roughly 2-3 weeks.

This method minimizes exposure to oxygen, which is key because oxygen can degrade the quality of beer over time leading to spoilage. On the other hand, if you simply pour beer into an open top growler without any special dispensing system or capping-on-foam technique—as many bars do—the freshness timeframe will be significantly shorter.

Hence, understanding how your growlers are filled paves the way for preserving maximum freshness and optimal flavor of your favorite brews as long as possible; a must-know consideration for aficionados aiming to stretch their sipped delights beyond immediate consumption.

The type of beer in the growler

Different styles of beer have varying levels of stability, with some beers lasting longer than others when stored unopened. For example, hop-forward beers like IPAs tend to have a shorter shelf life due to the delicate nature of hops and their tendency to fade over time.

On the other hand, darker, maltier beers like stouts and porters often have a longer lifespan. Additionally, high-alcohol content beers generally have better longevity compared to lower ABV brews.

When choosing a beer for your growler, it’s important to consider these factors if you plan on storing it unopened for an extended period of time.

The storage conditions

Proper storage conditions play a crucial role in maintaining the freshness of unopened growlers. When it comes to storing your growler, it’s best to keep it refrigerated at all times. The cool temperature helps preserve the beer’s flavor and carbonation, ensuring a longer shelf life.

Additionally, be sure to store the growler away from direct light and heat, as they can accelerate the spoilage process. By keeping your unopened growler chilled and protected from light exposure, you can extend its lifespan and enjoy fresh beer whenever you’re ready to crack it open.

How Long Unopened Growlers Typically Last

How Long Do Growlers Last Unopened

General shelf life for different types of beer

Different types of beer can have different shelf lives when stored in a growler. Here’s a simple guide outlining the typical shelf life for various types of beer when unopened and properly stored.

Type of Beer Shelf Life
IPAs and Pale Ales These are best enjoyed fresh and typically last for about one to two weeks when kept unopened in a tightly sealed growler and refrigerated.
Stouts and Porters These beers can generally withstand a bit more time, often lasting two to three weeks in a well-sealed, refrigerated growler.
Belgian Ales Because of their unique brewing process, Belgian Ales can last up to a month in a properly sealed and refrigerated growler.
Lagers Lagers enjoy a longer shelf life thanks to their brewing techniques and can last for about two to three weeks in a well-stored growler.

Remember, the exact longevity of a growler depends on factors such as how it is filled, the storage conditions, and the specific type of beer it contains.

So, while these guidelines give a general idea, the actual freshness period can vary. Always keep your growlers chilled, tightly sealed, and away from light and heat to extend their shelf life as much as possible.

Signs of spoilage to look out for

Spoilage can occur in unopened growlers, and it’s important to be aware of the signs that indicate the beer inside may have gone bad. Here are some key signs of spoilage to look out for:

  1. Off-putting Odor: If you open a growler and notice a strong, unpleasant smell, it could be a sign that the beer has spoiled. The presence of funky or rotten odors is a clear indication of spoilage.
  2. Cloudy Appearance: Freshly poured beer should generally be clear or slightly hazy, depending on the style. However, if you notice excessive cloudiness or chunks floating in the beer, it could indicate bacterial contamination.
  3. Foul Taste: When you take a sip of beer from an unopened growler and it tastes off or unpleasant, it’s likely spoiled. Signs of spoilage can include flavors like sourness, vinegar-like taste, or even a soapy aftertaste.
  4. Flat Carbonation: Carbonation gives beer its refreshing effervescence and lively mouthfeel. If your unopened growler lacks carbonation or tastes flat, it may have lost its freshness.
  5. Change in Color: Beer typically has a specific color associated with its style. Any significant change in color from what is expected could suggest oxidation or other forms of deterioration, resulting in off-flavors.

Tips for Extending the Shelf Life of Unopened Growlers

How Long Do Growlers Last Unopened (3)

Properly sealing the growler

To maximize the freshness and shelf life of your unopened growler, it is crucial to ensure that it is properly sealed. A tight seal helps prevent oxygen from entering the growler, which can lead to oxidation and spoilage of the beer.

Make sure the cap or lid is securely fastened, creating an airtight seal. This will help maintain carbonation and preserve the flavors of your favorite brew for longer. Additionally, if you have a stainless steel growler with a pressurized system, it can further extend the lifespan of your beer by keeping it fresher compared to non-pressurized alternatives.

So be sure to seal up your growler tightly and enjoy your beer at its best whenever you’re ready to open it!

Keeping the growler refrigerated

To maximize the freshness and shelf life of an unopened growler, it’s crucial to keep it refrigerated. Storing the growler in a cooler or refrigerator helps maintain a consistently cool temperature, which slows down the oxidation process that can cause beer to spoil quickly.

By keeping the growler chilled, you can preserve its carbonation and flavors for an extended period. Remember to avoid exposing the growler to warm temperatures or direct sunlight, as heat and light can accelerate the deterioration of beer quality.

By prioritizing proper refrigeration, you can enjoy your unopened growler’s contents at their best for days or even weeks.

Avoiding exposure to light and heat

To keep unopened growlers fresh for as long as possible, it’s crucial to avoid exposing them to light and heat. Light, especially sunlight and fluorescent lighting, can cause the beer inside the growler to become skunky and develop off-flavors.

Heat can also negatively affect the quality of the beer, leading to flatness and a loss of flavor.

When storing your unopened growler, make sure to keep it in a cool and dark place, such as a refrigerator or cellar. This will help maintain its freshness and prevent any potential damage from light or heat.


In conclusion, the shelf life of unopened growlers depends on various factors such as how they were filled, the type of beer inside, and storage conditions.

Generally, a properly sealed and refrigerated growler can keep beer fresh for several days.

It is important to consume the beer within a reasonable timeframe to ensure optimal freshness. By following proper storage guidelines and keeping your growler chilled, you can maximize its lifespan and enjoy freshly tapped beer whenever you’re ready.