Can You Drink Beer That Was Left Out Open?

beer that was left out open

Sipping up on opened, left-out beer may not sound too inviting, but it’s something you probably have done at least once in your lifetime. And if you are like most of the drinkers out there, you also probably may not have found it to be a big deal. A lot of times, you just open a can of beer and just do not seem to finish it in one sitting. 

A common practice is to put the opened can in the fridge to gulp it down the next morning. Sometimes you just forget to put a cap on the bottle and wonder whether it’s still safe to drink it the next day. But can I drink beer that was left out open? Without risking my health? After all, it’s just a darn beer. 

Let’s figure out whether consuming an opened can of beer is safe and when and under which conditions a beer goes bad for consumption. 

Can I Drink Beer That Was Left Out Open?

A short and simple answer to the question is yes. You can definitely drink a can of beer that was left out open but not that long ago. Putting an opened bottle of beer and salvaging it the next day won’t make you sick. Even if you put the opened beer on the shelf overnight, it won’t spoil, nor will it taste bad, considering the temperature of the room was moderate. 

A lot of beer drinkers are familiar with the comments people pass about their beer going bad because it was left out open. It might lose some of its flavors and may not taste as bubbly or sparkly as a freshly opened can; of course, it does not go bad. 

When beer is left out open, it begins to oxidize that resulting in changes in its color, appearance, aroma, and taste. The longer it’s left out, the greater the risk of decomposition. 

Does Beer Expire?

Of course, like any other food and drink, beer also does expire, but in most cases, it does not make it unsafe to consume. If you sip on an expired beer, you may feel an unpleasant taste and aroma. But most probably you won’t get sick. But better not take the risk. 

While it’s a fact-based notion that beer is somewhat resistant to decomposition, it does not mean that it will never go bad. All kinds of beer have an expiration date.

 After expiry, the drinks do not stay safe for health and also lose their taste and flavor. But how long does it takes the beer to get spoiled? Under what circumstances is a beer decomposed? 

When Does Beer Expires? Reasons Why Beer Goes Bad

The decomposition of a beer can occur because of several reasons. 

Exposure to Air

The most common cause of beer spoilage is increased exposure to the air. Leaving a bottle or can open for a long exposes the content of the drink to air. If the exposure is prolonged, it may result in the growth of bacteria and other creepy microorganisms, which may spoil the product. This process is called oxidization, and this happens when oxygen molecules come into contact with the beer molecules. 

Light Exposure

Increased exposure to light, especially UV rays, can cause the compounds in beer to break down, and this is why beer bottles are green and brown. The particles can then bind with the sulphuric compounds resulting in a pungent odor. And it does not take long enough for this procedure to occur. A few minutes into the light, and poof, your beer may smell a bit too unpleasant. 

Exposure to Bacteria

Bacterial infestation in beers is not a commonly witnessed phenomenon, but it’s plausible. The alcohol content in the beer acts as a preservative and makes it highly unlikely for bacteria and microorganisms to thrive. However, if bacteria does make its way into your drink, it will begin to rot quite quickly. 

Increased temperatures and unfavorable climates can cause the beer to expire and result in bacterial infections, especially in opened bottles and cans. 

If you find any unfavorable signs like an unpleasant taste, cloudy appearance, or a bad odor, your beer may probably have gone bad, and it’s better to discard it to avoid health complications. 

How Long Can an Open Beer Sit Out?

After you open a can or bottle of beer, it should be consumed within a day or a maximum of two. After 2 or 3 days, it probably won’t make it hazardous for health, but the flavor will be far away from what you would expect. 

This means it isn’t a good idea to purposely leave a beer open overnight. It may taste off, and you will most likely dump it away. 

Beer typically lasts around 7 to 9 months at room temperature after the expiry date mentioned on the packaging. Here we are talking about an air-tight bottle of drink. 

Does Beer Go Bad in The Fridge?

If you keep your unopened beer can in the fridge, it might last up to two or three years beyond the expiration date. This holds true for all types of bottled beers. 

Opened bottles of beer have an average shelf life of around a day, whether in the fridge or over the shelf. Even if the expiry date is far too off, you cannot expect an opened can of beer to last for days. It will go bad after a day or two, especially if left out open in the air and not refrigerated. 


Beer, in most cases, doesn’t go bad if left out open overnight. You can consume an opened can of beer the next morning, but it won’t taste as good as a freshly opened bottle. Keep your drink refrigerated and away from direct sunlight to help maintain its aroma, flavor, and appearance. So need not fret if you have forgotten to cap your bottle of beer or put an opened can of beer in the fridge to gulp it down the next morning. You can absolutely do so without fearing for your life. 

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