How long does a keg of beer last?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long does a keg of beer last” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of a keg of beer in different conditions. Moreover, we are going to discuss what draft beer is and the factors that affect the shelf life of a keg of beer.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How long does a keg of beer last?

A pasteurized keg of beer lasts for about 3-4 months (90-120 days) if stored properly. Moreover, the shelf life of the keg of beer varies according to the ingredients present in its formulation, the processing techniques, and the storage conditions.

How long does an unpasteurized keg of beer last?

An unpasteurized keg of beer lasts for about 6-8 weeks (45-60 days) if stored properly. The unpasteurized keg of beer has a shorter shelf life than the pasteurized keg of beer.

Moreover, you should always consider the expiry date written on the keg of beer and it is not recommended to drink a draught or craft beer that is past its expiration date.

How long does a tapped Keg Last?

So if you have a draught system that dispenses the beer with the help of pressurized carbon dioxide then it won’t have any negative impact on the freshness of the beer. Thus a pasteurized tapped keg of beer will last for about 3-4 months (90-120 days). While on the other hand, the unpasteurized tapped keg of beer lasts for about 6-8 weeks (45-60 days).

Now, if there is a tap attached to the keg of beer or if you are using a picnic pump or a party pump to dispense the beer from the keg, then each time you are opening the tap, some oxygen from the environment finds its way to your keg of beer. Moreover, in the case of the picnic pump, oxygen is used instead of carbon dioxide to dispense the beer. Due to this oxygen, the shelf life of the keg of beer decreases, and such a beer lasts for only about 12-24 hours depending upon the quantity of oxygen that has entered the keg and the type of the beer.

At what temperature should I store my keg?

So the optimum temperature to store your keg of beer is 38 °F according to the draught beer quality manual. This is the temperature that preserves the quality and freshness of the keg of beer for a long time. 

If you are storing the beer at a temperature higher than 38°F, your beer would be foamy when dispensed in the glass from the keg as the warmer temperature liberates the carbon dioxide more quickly from the beer. On the other hand, if you keep your beer at a higher temperature like 50 °F, bacteria can even spoil it.

It is not recommended to keep your beer at a really cold temperature as the beer is liquid in nature that can freeze at about 28 °F depending upon its alcoholic content.

What are the factors that impact the shelf life of a keg of beer?

Several factors have an impact on the shelf life of a keg of beer.

  1. Material from which keg is made (metal/ wood)
  2. Dispensing system (carbon dioxide/ tap/ manual pump)
  3. The temperature at which the keg of beer is stored
  4. Pasteurized or unpasteurized beer
  5. Condition of kegerator

What is draught beer?

Draught beer is a lager put away into barrels and served directly from the tap that is connected with these barrels. The tap can be pressurized or pumped by hand depending upon the particular technique that is used in the bar. There are a few reasons why draught beer has unrivaled quality than canned or bottled beer. To start with, the barrel blocks daylight away. Thus it acts as a barrier between the beer and the sunlight. So the barrel protects the beer from the ill effects of the sunlight. 

The barrel additionally keeps oxygen from leaking in, in this way keeping the beer fresh for a long time, as it is halting the oxidation reaction. Finally, if you notice, draught beer is generally consumed at a quicker rate, compared to the bottled or canned beer, in the bar.

How to store a keg of beer properly?

  1. You should always store the keg of beer at 38 °F.
  2. It is recommended to use carbon dioxide to dispense the beer out of the keg rather than oxygen (used in manual or picnic pumps). As oxygen can negatively impact the quality and freshness of the beer.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long does a keg of beer last” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of a keg of beer in different conditions. Moreover, we discussed what draft beer is and the factors that affect the shelf life of a keg of beer.

Citations

https://content.kegworks.com/blog/how-long-does-a-keg-stay-fresh

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Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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