How To Tell If Beer Is Bad

is a beloved enjoyed by many around the world. Whether you're a casual drinker or a beer connoisseur, it's important to know when your beer has gone bad. While beer has a relatively long shelf life, it can still spoil over time. In this article, we will discuss the signs of a bad beer and how to tell if your beer has gone off.

One of the first indicators that your beer may have gone bad is its appearance. Take a good look at your beer as you pour it into a glass. If you notice any unusual changes in color, such as cloudiness or a darker hue, it may be a sign that the beer is no longer fresh. Additionally, if you see any sediment settled at the bottom of the bottle or glass, it's best to avoid drinking the beer as this could indicate spoilage.

Next, let's move on to the taste of the beer. A bad beer will often have a noticeable change in taste. If your beer tastes off, has a sour or vinegary flavor, or simply doesn't taste as it should, it's a clear indication that it has gone bad. Trust your taste buds, as they are often a reliable indicator of spoilage.

The smell of the beer can also give you clues about its freshness. A bad beer will have an unpleasant odor that is different from its usual aroma. If you detect any strange or foul smells, it's best to steer clear of drinking the beer. Remember, beer is meant to be enjoyed, and a bad smell is a sure sign that it won't taste good.

Carbonation is another important factor to consider when determining if your beer has gone bad. When you pour a fresh beer, you should see a good amount of carbonation, resulting in a foamy head. If your beer lacks carbonation and has no head, it's likely that it has gone flat and is past its prime. Flat beer won't make you sick, but it won't taste as enjoyable either.

Lastly, be wary of any signs of heat damage on the beer bottle. Extreme heat can negatively affect the taste and quality of beer. If you notice any seepage around the bottle's opening or if the label appears to be damaged, it could be an indication that the beer has been exposed to high temperatures. In this case, it's best to err on the side of caution and avoid consuming the beer.

It's important to be able to identify when your beer has gone bad. Changes in appearance, taste, smell, and carbonation are all signs that your beer may no longer be fresh. Drinking bad beer is not recommended as it will likely taste unpleasant and may upset your stomach. If you come across any of these signs, it's best to discard the beer and find a fresh one to enjoy. Cheers!

How Do You Know If A Beer Is Spoiled?

There are several ways to determine if a beer has gone bad or spoiled. Here are some indicators to look out for:

1. Appearance:
– Cloudiness: If your beer appears hazy or has sediment floating around, it may be a sign of spoilage.
– Changes in color: If the beer's color has significantly darkened or lightened, it could indicate spoilage.

2. Aroma:
– Off-putting smell: If your beer has a strong foul or sour odor instead of its usual pleasant aroma, it has likely gone bad.
– Vinegar-like smell: A strong vinegar-like smell can be a sign of bacterial contamination.

3. Taste:
– Off-flavors: If your beer tastes flat, sour, or has any other unusual or unpleasant flavors, it has likely spoiled.
– Oxidation: A stale or cardboard-like taste can indicate that the beer has been exposed to too much oxygen.

4. Carbonation:
– Lack of carbonation: Beer that has lost its carbonation and is flat may be a sign of spoilage.

5. Expiration date:
– Check the expiration date on the beer bottle or can. If it has passed, there is a higher chance that the beer has gone bad.

It's important to note that even if a beer is pasteurized, it can still spoil if not stored properly or if it has been contaminated. It's always best to trust your senses and if the appearance, taste, or smell of the beer has changed, it is recommended not to consume it.

how to tell if beer is bad

What Can Happen If You Drink Bad Beer?

Drinking bad beer can have several negative effects on your body. While it may not necessarily make you sick, it can still cause discomfort and potentially lead to some health issues. Here are some things that can happen if you consume beer that has gone bad:

1. Upset stomach: Bad beer can upset your stomach and cause digestive issues. This can manifest as nausea, bloating, abdominal pain, or even diarrhea. The presence of bacteria or other contaminants in bad beer can irritate your digestive system, leading to these symptoms.

2. Unpleasant taste: Beer that has gone bad often has a noticeable change in taste. It may taste sour, rancid, or generally off-putting. This can make drinking the beer an unpleasant experience and may even cause you to vomit if the taste is particularly repulsive.

3. Flat beer: One of the common signs of bad beer is the loss of carbonation. If the beer lacks bubbles or a white foam (head) when you pour it, it is likely flat. Flat beer can be unappealing to drink and can feel less refreshing than carbonated beer.

4. Sediment: Another indication of bad beer is the presence of sediment at the bottom of the bottle. This sediment can be a result of , bacteria, or other particles that have settled over time. Drinking beer with sediment can be unpalatable and may also affect the texture of the drink.

5. Infection risk: While the chances are relatively low, consuming bad beer could potentially expose you to certain infections. If the beer has been contaminated with harmful bacteria, such as certain strains of E. coli or Salmonella, it could lead to food poisoning. However, it's important to note that the risk of infection from drinking bad beer is generally low.

To ensure your safety and enjoyment, it is recommended to discard beer that shows signs of spoilage, such as lack of carbonation, unpleasant taste, or visible sediment. It's better to be cautious and opt for fresh, properly stored beer to avoid any potential health issues.


It is important to pay attention to the appearance, taste, and smell of your beer to determine if it has gone bad. Whether your beer is pasteurized or unpasteurized, drinking bad beer is not recommended as it will taste terrible and may upset your stomach. Signs of bad beer include a lack of carbonation or white foam when pouring, a change in taste, sediment at the bottom of the bottle, or any seepage around the bottle's opening. If you notice any of these signs, it is best to avoid consuming the beer. Remember, bad beer won't make you sick, but it certainly won't be enjoyable to drink.

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Thomas Ashford

Thomas Ashford is a highly educated brewer with years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and a Master Degree in Brewing Science. He is also BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Tom has worked hard to become one of the most experienced brewers in the industry. He has experience monitoring brewhouse and cellaring operations, coordinating brewhouse projects, and optimizing brewery operations for maximum efficiency. He is also familiar mixology and an experienced sommelier. Tom is an expert organizer of beer festivals, wine tastings, and brewery tours.