Letting beer get too hot is a common experience for most people. It can happen during a pool party on a hot sunny day.
But a lot of people wonder if such a beer is still safe to drink.
Heat would not exactly spoil it in the short term, but it will shorten its lifespan. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures will expedite the aging process.
It would further reduce drinkability and cause it to have off flavors, as well.
To find out about how heat impacts your drink, and the causes of skunking read on. We will also be discussing if chilling it and then bringing it to a high temperature and cooling it again would affect its drinkability.
Is Beer Still Good If It Gets Hot
Beer has a shelf life. Exposure to high temperatures like a car ride on a sunny day won’t spoil the drink.
But what such exposure would cause is reducing the length of time when the drink would be fresh.
Heating for a long time would make it oxidize quicker and cause off-flavors. Refrigeration is better than room temperature or warm temperatures in delaying this process.
How Heat Affects Beer
Packaging containers like cans, kegs, or even bottles contain little oxygen at least. With time the brew chemicals and the oxygen present would react and the result will be oxidation.
This state causes the beer to have a stale taste.
Storing it in cold temperatures like refrigerating the drink impedes oxidation. Refrigerators also protect the content in them from sunlight.
Keeping your drink in a cool dark place slows down oxidation and saves the drink from the light strike. A brew would taste skunked — pungent —musty when it is light-struck.
Brown darker bottles help to shield it from UV rays but may not be able to withstand prolonged exposure to light. Brews in clear and light bottles are more at risk when exposed to natural light.
Most drinks would produce better aroma and flavor with age. During the aging process, there would be oxidation but it would be gradual and it would spice up the beverage.
Hot maturation would give caramel, nuts, and orange zest notes.
At What Temperature Does Your Beer Spoil?
There is no definite temperature that will instantly spoil it. What determines this is time and temperature combined.
When you store brew in a refrigerator it accelerates the expiration of its freshness. Craft Beer USA says “…a rule of thumb is that when the drink is stored for a week at 1000F, its taste is as old as a two-month-old beer kept at 700F or a year old one at 400F.”
All brews have a best-by date when the drink will still have a fresh taste. After that, the drink might become stale.
Will Beer Go Bad If It is Not Refrigerated?
Refrigerating your drink will naturally impede oxidation. Keeping it at room temperature and protecting it from light would also do the same though not as effectively as refrigerating.
Exposure to heat even in moderation like leaving your drink in the garage will not ruin it immediately.
But it would cause it to have off flavors quicker than if it had been kept in a place much cooler for the same length of time.
You can quickly taste the drink if you are in doubt before you throw it away. It might produce off flavors but won’t make you sick when you drink it because of the alcohol in it.
Is the Beer Ruined If The Storage Temperature Keeps Changing From Cold To Hot?
Refrigeration preserves food and drinks. Beer can withstand temperature changes and still won’t be ruined.
Most are bottled at room temp and shipped in a non-refrigerated or a refrigerated shipping vehicle.
Then stored in the supermarket at either room temperature or in the refrigerator before it is purchased by the consumers and would still taste fresh.
This is to say it isn’t fragile and can withstand mild temperature fluctuations a couple of times. However, it may be ruined if it moves from a refrigerator to a 95-degrees environment out in the sun for hours.
This is because in such a case it is exposed to not only heat but light as well.
Does Heat Affect Homebrew
Homebrewers would need to pay more attention to the temperature at every step of the brewing process.
The home brewer should find the ideal temperature to pitch the yeast. It is usually written on the packaging of the yeast.
The brewer should also be mindful of bottle conditioning, the beer can be refrigerated two weeks after it is bottled. Allow bottles to stay at a cool temperature in the meantime.
Refrigerate the drink to keep it fresh, shield it from light strikes, and slow down the oxidation process.
Can You Drink Beer After It’s Hot?
Cool your beverage anytime you can. But if it is warmed up you can cool it again before drinking it.
It’s okay to drink a previously hot beer.
If it wasn’t hot for too long and exposed for too long to natural light then it would most likely retain its flavor.
Leaving your beer to get hot like on a car ride would not automatically ruin it.
Such exposure would expedite oxidation and the aging process.
What this means is that it would shorten its lifespan, reducing its drinkability in the long run and causing it to have off flavors. It would shorten the length of time it stays fresh.
Exposure to heat for too long would make the brew oxidate faster.
Exposing your brew to natural light can also ruin it.
To protect it from sunlight it is best to use brown opaque bottles for storage. And store it in a cool dark place.
Your beverage would still be drinkable even if it was previously warm.
So long as it wasn’t hot for too long it won’t lose its flavor, you can refrigerate it to enjoy later.