In this article, we will answer the question “How long does beer last in a keg untapped?”, and what is the ideal storage temperature for keg beer?
How long does beer last in a keg untapped?
Non-pasteurized draft beer will last 45-60 days in a keg untapped. While the pasteurized draft beer will last longer i.e 90-120 days. This only applies If the keg beer is kept at a specific temperature, pressure, and is injected with carbon dioxide.
When injecting the keg beer with a party pump, expect it to last no longer than 8-12 hours. The fresher the beer in the keg, the better it tastes.
To estimate the quality of the keg beer, an expiration or a “born-on” date is printed on the cap of the side of the keg. It is not recommended to drink beer past the printed date.
Given the following rough timeframes, a keg will only have a shelf life of 25-40 days at home or a retail store.
- Days 0-10 (Transit / Satellite Warehousing)
- Days 10-20 (Distributor Warehouse / Retail Delivery)
- Days 20-60 (At Retail / Home)
Daft beers do not have a specific shelf-life. This also applies to craft beer whose shelf-life greatly depends on what style is the craft beer. As mentioned above, pasteurized beer will naturally have a longer shelf-life than its unpasteurized counterpart.
If you are unsure about the pasteurization status of your beer, store it like an unpasteurized beer to be on the safe side. The shelf-life includes the time your beer spends at the brewery and it starts right after filling.
Dispensing method affects the shelf-life of beer
If you are using a picnic pump, party pump, or keg tap for dispensing your beer, know that the beer will go flat quickly. It is because these pumps inject oxygen along with carbon dioxide.
And oxygen is the biggest threat to the quality of the beer. A tapped keg dispensed with a picnic pump will only last 12-24 hours spending on the beer type and the amount of oxygen.
What is the ideal storage temperature for keg beer?
Ideally, draft beer should be stored at 38 degrees as per the Draught Beer Quality Manual. Warm beer has a foamy appearance when pouring. Therefore, pour the beer chilled.
Keeping the keg at room temperature might encourage bacterial growth and spoilage of beer especially If the temperature goes above 50 degrees.
Similarly, freezing temperatures are not required for storing keg beer. Beer has different freezing temperatures that change because of the varying alcohol content of different types of beer. An average freezing point of a beer is minus 28 degrees.
Why storage temperature matter?
Temperatures above and below 38°F have deleterious effects on the quality of the beer. Higher temperatures will result in the excessively foamy and stale beer.
Temperatures above 55°F promote the growth of spoilage bacteria. After that, everything goes downhill pretty quickly.
Too cold storage temperatures will indeed preserve the carbonation of the beer but the taste and flavor won’t be as good.
Nobody likes their beer frozen. The freezing takes place when the temperatures drop below 28°F. It is recommended to store your beer in a converted refrigerator to counter all these problems.
An unopened and chilled growler will keep the beer good for several days. The shelf-life is significantly increased If the growler bombards carbon dioxide into the beer through a filler. Once the growler is opened and the seal is broken, you only have 36 hours before the beer goes flat.
Growler storage tips
Put the growler in the fridge as soon as you get home. Make sure that the growler is not exposed to direct sunlight during its transport to your home. Dark-colored growler bottles help block the sunlight from reaching the beer in the growler.
The shelf-life of the beer in the growler is drastically reduced. Therefore, do not open the growler unless the beer is to be consumed within 36 hours.
- When burning beer in glass growlers, make sure they are pressure rated. Make sure that the growler is approved for carbonated beverages.
- A growler should have at least 5% headspace. Overfilling might sound tempting but It compromises the quality and the safety of the beer.
- Place the growlers in a cool and dark place away from heat sources like direct sunlight and the stovetop.
- Before refilling the growler, check to see If the growler has any cracks or dents.
- Besides, wash the growler thoroughly for refilling. Prior contamination of the growler will cause the refermentation of the beer.
Other FAQs about Beer which you may be interested in.
In this article, we answered the question “How long does beer last in a keg untapped?”, and what is the ideal storage temperature for keg beer?