What to Know About Beer & Juice Expiration Dates
Beer does not age like wine. The best by date on your six-pack is there for good reason.
Beer is at its peak freshness within a few months after bottling. Most beers begin to lose their flavor after that time. However, some beers with higher alcohol levels can be aged for longer periods. Although drinking old beer will not cause you any harm, the taste of it will be very unpleasant.
Beer expires, that’s the short answer. However, saying beer is unsafe to consume is misleading. It just becomes unappetizing or flat. Here’s a quick guide to help you answer your most important questions about the shelf life of beer.
Beer is made from organic ingredients, which eventually decompose like other foods. Beer brewers strive to keep beer fresh for as long as possible. They have several advantages, including the low alcohol content and the low pH and antimicrobial activity from hops. Properly brewed and packaged beer will only contain the ingredients and the least amount of air.
Without the proper amount of oxygen, it is impossible to package beer. The beer’s flavor will change over time as oxygen is added to it. With a little sherry, it can impart a bitter taste similar to cardboard. Some malty beers may develop caramel-like, sweet, or toffee flavors. The speed of oxidation is also affected by temperature. Staling is more rapid if the environment is warmer than it should be. Beer is best kept chilled.
The beer’s ability to hop decreases with time…
The beer’s ability to hop decreases with time. Hop-forward beers can produce a variety of hop aromas, including floral, tropical, and citrusy hop aromas. These aromas are highly time sensitive.
Finally, light can cause the “skunky flavor” of beer. Hop chemicals react badly to ultraviolet light, which is why beer bottles and cans are made from light-blocking brown plastic. This is a good thing!
This is a simple one – beer should only be kept in dark and cool places for a brief time. The best place to store beer is in your refrigerator. If your fridge is full, you can keep your beer in the basement or in a cool closet.
It is obvious that the hot trunk of your car or the sunny counter of your kitchen are the worst places to drink beer. So, keep that time to an absolute minimum.
Nearly every beer has a date printed. If the beer is properly treated, it will still taste the same as the day they made it. This date can be labeled in a variety of ways.
Some breweries may use a Julian date code printed on a bottle’s neck. It is often three numerical digits followed with one more. The day of the calendar is represented by the first three digits. The last digit represents the end of the year. For example, 165 0. would be the 165th date of 2020 (June 13th). This number may also appear as 0165, with the year appearing first followed by the date of the year.
Many breweries also include a best-by date on the bottle. This can make it difficult for the customer to know the beer’s shelf life. What is the best time to drink beer? Usually 4 -6 months, however that will vary with craft beers.
Juice Expiration Dates:
One drink may be safer than others after expiration: unpasteurized apple cider. This drink ferments slowly and, if it is contaminated with E.coli, it would die quicker at room temperature as the cider turns to alcohol which will kill it.
Acidic fruit juices, such as orange, grape, tomato and tomato, make it more difficult for bacteria to survive. Fruit juices and vegetable juices should not be mixed together. They are more likely to get contaminated if they are kept beyond their expiration dates. Cold pasteurization is a way to kill food-borne bacteria without heat.
Although there are many methods available, fresh juices are often subject to high-pressure processing. This involves applying high pressure to bottled beverages to kill bacteria and prolong the shelf life, but it is not as efficient as thermal pasteurization. The refrigerated items you purchase at the grocery store will go bad much faster than the shelf-stable stuff.
However, it is important to keep your fridge at the right temperature. Glass recommends keeping her fridge at 38 to 40 degrees because it makes it easier for bacteria and viruses to grow.
Don Schaffner, Rutgers University professor of food science, says that expiration dates can be confusing. There are best-by, expiration, and best-before dates. However, there is not much standardization about what they all mean.
Unpasteurized apple cider, which ferments over time, may be safer than its expiration date. Schaffner explains that if your apple cider was contaminated by E.coli, the bacteria would die quicker at room temperature as the cider would turn into alcohol and kill it.
Most experts agree that fruit juices are acidic. Think apple, grape, orange and tomato. Acid is good for protecting against foodborne pathogens. Acid makes it more difficult for bacteria to survive. Juices made from fresh vegetable juices are less likely to be mixed with fruit juices and can become unsafe for consumption.
Without heat, cold pasteurization kills bacteria from food. There are many methods for cold pasteurization. However, the most common is high-pressure processing (HPP), which is often associated with fresh juices. The consensus is that cold pasteurization is less effective than heat pasteurization.
Avoid 100% vegetable juices Fresh vegetable juices that haven’t been blended with fruit juices can be dangerous if they aren’t filtered out before their expiration dates.
These fruit juices will last longer than you might think. Acidic fruit juices make it harder for bacteria to grow in them. Fresh fruit juice usually lasts well past its expiration date. However, vegetable juice is more likely than fruit juice to expire after that date. However, it can last longer if blended with other juices.
Juices made from non-fresh fruit often contain a lot more sugar which acts as a preserver. Fresh apple cider can only be kept fresh for about a week after expiration, but bottled apple juice can last up to three months. A bad batch of juice will smell bad and grow mold.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, juice is one of 25 top sources of calories in kids’ diets. It doesn’t matter what juice you choose; it is important that your child observes the “use by” date of the container. Drinking expired juice can make your child sick depending on how spoiled it is.
Unopened juice can last for 12 months. Juice can spoil if it is not refrigerated. Drinking spoiled juice can cause stomachaches and diarrhea. Your kids can get sick from improperly pasteurized juice. Pasteurization refers to heating juice to kill bacteria. Unpasteurized juices or poorly pasteurized juices can cause serious food-borne diseases such as E.coli and cryptosporidium.
For more information on tunnel and batch pasteurization contact PRO Engineering/Manufacturing, Inc. at [email protected] or call (414) 362-1500 and ask for Ed Michalski, CEO.
Edward A. Michalski Bio
Ed Michalski started his career in the beverage industry by designing stainless steel, higher flow, spray headers for Pabst Brewing. Along with the header design, he also developed a process to produce the new headers. Ed, along with his brother David, formed PRO Engineering/Manufacturing, Inc.
Based on what they learned by re-designing and refurbishing other manufacturers’ pasteurizers, Ed and PRO started to offer the pasteurizer marketplace superior new pasteurizers.
PRO Engineering/Manufacturing has been designing and manufacturing tunnel pasteurizers and batch pasteurizers for over four decades.
PRO Engineering and Manufacturing was established in 1977 by Ed and Dave Michalski as a steel fabrication shop. For more than 40 years, PRO Engineering and Manufacturing, Inc. has been delivering solutions for beverage product shelf stability and consumption safety. As leading innovators in post-fill pasteurization, our skilled team offers the best in high-quality pasteurization equipment.
Phone: 414-362-1500 | Email: [email protected]
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