You’ve probably heard that alcohol goes bad over time.
But is this true, and what exactly happens when it starts to go bad?
How long does alcohol last?
Alcohol will keep in the fridge for a few days, but most of us don’t have access to a fridge at home or work.
If you want to drink your favorite alcoholic beverage on the weekend, you need to know how long it lasts.
Alcohol has a shelf life of anywhere from one year to three years, depending on the type of alcohol and where you buy it.
This means that if you buy a bottle of wine on Monday, you can expect to drink it by Sunday – assuming you consume it within that timeframe.
However, there are exceptions.
Beer, for example, doesn’t typically keep as well as spirits, so we recommend storing beer in the refrigerator rather than the cupboard.
The same goes for hard cider, which also tends to spoil faster than other types of liquor.
The only way to be sure about how long any given alcohol will last is to check the expiration date on the label.
Some products have an “expiration” date, while others simply state “best by” or “use by” dates.
You should always use the former, since they indicate when the product was manufactured.
If you look closely, you may notice that some labels say “Best Before” instead of “Use By.”
In these cases, “Best Before” indicates the date the manufacturer recommends you consume the product.
It’s not necessarily the date you should consume it, though, since many manufacturers sell their products with a shelf life of up to two years.
Does alcohol go bad?
It depends on the type of alcohol you consume.
The most common types are beer, wine, and spirits.
Alcohol can be stored indefinitely if it’s in a sealed container with no oxygen present.
However, once exposed to air, it will begin to degrade at a rate dependent on the type of alcohol.
For instance, some varieties of beer (including light beers) will last for up to two years after opening.
On the other hand, hard liquor like whiskey or brandy will only last about six months after opening.
Wine can also last for a long time depending on how much sugar was added during production.
Some wines can last for decades if they are kept properly.
The following chart shows the shelf life of different alcoholic beverages based on their composition:
- Beer: 2-5 years
- Wine: 10-15 years
- Brandy/Whiskey: 3-6 years
- Rum: 4-8 years
- Spirits: 12-18 months
Of course, these numbers are only estimates.
If you store your drinks properly, they could easily last longer than the period shown above.
But if you want to know exactly how long your booze will last before it goes stale, you should open a bottle and check it every few weeks.
What happens if you drink expired alcohol?
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “Alcohol will generally begin to degrade after a few days of storage at room temperature.
This degradation can be accelerated by exposure to light or heat.”
The FDA also notes that the shelf life of an alcoholic beverage is usually three years from when it was first packaged, but some beverages are stored longer than others.
However, even though the FDA says that alcohol doesn’t actually expire, it does have a shelf life.
The amount of time that it stays good depends on how long you keep it in your fridge, as well as how much you consume.
How long should an unopened bottle of wine stay in your refrigerator?
If you store a bottle of wine in the refrigerator for more than six months, it will start to lose its taste.
It won’t get worse over time — just less tasty.
Keep in mind that the flavor of alcohol is affected by many factors, including temperature, humidity, and other food products like vinegar or pickles that are present in the same container.
So while the flavor of your wine might start to fade after six months, it could still be palatable.
As a general rule, the best way to preserve the flavor of alcohol is to keep it in a cool, dark place with minimal moisture.
If you don’t want to open a new bottle every few weeks, you can simply pour leftover drinks into smaller bottles to extend their shelf-life.
How long should you keep your beer in the fridge?
In the United States, beer has a shelf life of 12 months.
That means that it should last until about mid-October before it starts losing its flavor.
If you live somewhere with a shorter summer season, you should consider buying your beer early so that it lasts longer.
For example, you can buy a 12-pack of beer during the spring and save it for the fall and winter months.
Of course, there are exceptions. Some beers, such as barleywines, are meant to age for years.
And then there are craft beers, which often come in cans and bottles that can last up to 30 years without going bad.
Can you drink alcohol after it expires?
No, alcohol does not expire.
However, it may start to lose its potency over time.
Once a bottle of liquor has been opened, the alcohol inside will continue to deteriorate at a steady rate.
This is because the alcohol itself is unstable.
It also contains water and other ingredients like sugar which are susceptible to chemical reaction with oxygen in the air.
These reactions cause the alcohol to degrade into less potent forms.
The amount of time that an alcoholic beverage lasts is determined by several factors including the type of alcohol used and how much was consumed.
For example, wine will last longer than beer or spirits.
Also, if a bottle of whiskey has been exposed to sunlight, it will begin degrading faster than one stored under a dark cover.
While there are no hard and fast rules about how long a particular alcoholic beverage should be kept before it becomes undrinkable, experts generally agree on a few guidelines.
The most important is to consume the alcoholic beverage within six months of opening the bottle (or after the expiration date).
After that point, the alcohol begins to lose its potency and becomes more likely to spoil.
If you plan on storing your bottles for an extended period of time, keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
You can also buy special storage containers designed specifically for storing beverages like beer and wine.
It is best to consume alcoholic beverages as soon as possible after they have been opened.
If you do open a bottle and don’t finish it right away, store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to enjoy it.
Otherwise, the alcohol will continue to degrade at a rapid pace.
How can you tell if alcohol has expired?
Alcohol doesn’t actually “go bad.”
It just loses its potency.
The process of aging in a bottle or can of alcohol is called oxidation.
When an oxygen molecule attaches itself to the alcohol molecules, they become less stable.
This means the alcohol becomes more likely to break down into smaller components, such as ethyl acetate (a compound found in nail polish remover) and methanol (found in antifreeze).
This process is known as autoxidation, and it happens at different rates depending on the type of alcohol and how much light it gets.
For example, beer is more vulnerable to autoxidation than wine, which is more vulnerable than whiskey.
The older the alcohol, the faster it will begin to degrade.
The best way to ensure your alcohol is fresh and potent is to keep it in a dark place with little to no exposure to sunlight.
How long does alcohol stay in your system?
Alcohol doesn’t have an expiration date like other food products do.
Instead, there are ways for drinks to become less potent as they sit on store shelves.
For instance, some beers will develop a “skunky” taste if they haven’t been refrigerated properly.
This is because of the presence of certain compounds called sulfur-containing amino acids (SCAAs), which can combine with oxygen and form sulfates.
These compounds also break down the proteins in beer, leading to off flavors.
In fact, one study found that the average shelf life of beer was only six months.
Another factor is light exposure.
The color of the bottle or can can change due to oxidation.
When exposed to light, ethanol reacts with oxygen, forming ethyl acetate and acetic acid.
As a result, the drink tastes sour and has a lower alcohol content than it did before.
In general, the longer you keep a product on the shelf, the more likely it is that it will spoil.
However, there are exceptions to this rule.
For example, some foods don’t have an expiry date at all.
Expiration dates exist for some things, but not for others
Some items have expiration dates on them because they contain ingredients that degrade quickly, such as milk, eggs, and meat.
If these foods aren’t kept cold enough, bacteria can grow, causing them to deteriorate faster.
However, many people think that expiration dates are just there to trick consumers into thinking something is safe to eat.
In reality, most expiration dates are based on the amount of time the product takes to rot.
Because of this, you shouldn’t be surprised if a food item isn’t good after a few years.
But what about nonperishable items?
Should we expect anything different from pancakes that have been sitting around for five years?
The answer is yes. Some types of food can actually become stale and tasteless even if they’re stored correctly.
There are several reasons why this happens, including changes in the environment and the way the food is transported.
What are the effects of alcohol on the body?
First, let’s talk about the effects of alcohol on your brain.
Alcohol is a depressant, meaning that it affects your nervous system.
When you drink, it makes you feel tired, sleepy, and drowsy.
Alcohol also slows down your reaction times, making it harder for you to think clearly.
When you drink too much, or if you have been drinking for a long period of time, your body may actually stop producing enough serotonin to keep up with your needs.
This can cause depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
It can also cause problems sleeping, which can lead to weight gain.
Next, let’s talk about the effect of alcohol on your liver.
Your liver breaks down alcohol into something called acetate, which then becomes acetaldehyde.
Acetaldehyde is toxic to the body, so your liver tries to get rid of it by converting it into acetic acid.
The problem is that there aren’t many ways to get rid of it, which means that your body stores it in fat cells.
Over time, your liver gets damaged from all of these chemicals being stored in it, and it starts to fail.
The end result is cirrhosis, and depending on how much damage your liver has sustained, it can become cancerous.
Finally, let’s talk about the effects of alcohol on your stomach.
There are two main types of digestion that happen in your stomach: peristalsis (or “the wave”) and gastric juices.
Peristalsis is the movement of food through your digestive tract, and it moves toward the pylorus, where it’s broken down into smaller pieces and absorbed into your blood stream.
Gastric juices break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into smaller parts that your small intestine absorbs.
When you drink, your stomach produces more gastric juice than usual, but it doesn’t produce as much peristalsis.
This causes food to move slowly through your digestive tract, which leads to bloating, gas, and constipation.
If you are prone to heartburn, alcohol may increase your risk of developing ulcers because it interferes with the production of gastric juices.
Is alcohol addictive?
Alcohol is an intoxicant substance, meaning that it can make you feel intoxicated or even drunk.
When you consume too much of it, your body will release chemicals in response to the presence of alcohol in your system.
This causes a feeling of euphoria and relaxation, which is why people drink.
However, if you consume too much alcohol, your body will become dehydrated, leading to headaches, nausea, and vomiting.
If you don’t stop drinking, you could develop a dependency on alcohol, which means you need more and more of it to get the same effect.
You’ll experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop drinking for any reason other than getting sick or dying.
To answer whether alcohol is addictive, we first have to define addiction.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), an addict is someone who has developed a strong desire to use a certain substance despite negative consequences.
The DSM-5 also states that addicts are unable to control their behavior without using drugs or alcohol.
They may experience cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and relapse after periods of abstinence.
Although alcohol is often referred to as a drug, it is technically not classified as one because it doesn’t produce the same physiological effects as some prescription medications.
In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “The U.S. government does not consider alcohol to be a controlled substance like heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine.”
The DSM-5 defines substance abuse as a pattern of substance use leading to psychological and physical problems. It includes behaviors such as binge eating, gambling, shopping, and sex outside of marriage.
Substance abuse is usually characterized by craving and tolerance, which means that the user needs more and more of the substance to achieve the desired effect.
Withdrawal refers to the unpleasant feelings experienced when the user stops consuming the substance.