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Can Whiskey Go Bad? (And How To Store)

Quick Answer

Most people think whiskey goes bad after you drink it. But it doesn’t. In fact, some whiskey experts say that unopened bottles of whiskey don’t go bad at all. If you keep a bottle of whiskey upright, away from light exposure, and out of the refrigerator, it won’t go bad.

But what happens to the liquid inside the bottle? Well, according to most whiskey scientists, the alcohol evaporates into the air over time. And since there’s no oxygen in the bottle, the alcohol molecules are reabsorbed into the remaining liquid.

So even though the bottle looks empty, the liquid inside still contains the same amount of alcohol as it did the day you bought it. So, how long does it take for a bottle of whiskey to lose all its alcohol? There isn’t really a standard answer to that question. Some researchers say that whiskey stays good for up to 10 years. Others say it could last forever.

Whiskey has become a favorite drink around the globe.

In fact, according to the National Distillers Association, Americans drank over 3.5 billion gallons of whiskey last year alone.

Whiskey is also known as the oldest spirit in the world.

The history of whiskey dates back thousands of years. Ancient Greeks and Romans enjoyed their drinks from time to time.

Can Whiskey Go Bad

They would mix honey or sugar into their liquor to sweeten it.

Today, whiskey is produced using grains such as corn, barley, rye, wheat, and oats.

These ingredients are then distilled and aged before being bottled. There are several types of whiskeys, each with its own flavor profile.

For example, Irish whiskey tends to be smoother while bourbon has more of a bite to it.

Some people enjoy drinking whiskey neat (i.e., on the rocks) but others prefer adding ice cubes or water to their beverage.

How Do We Know If It Goes Bad Or Not?

If you’ve ever wondered whether whiskey goes bad, you’re not alone. In fact, the question has been asked thousands of times on Quora.

But while most people think that whiskey doesn’t go bad, here are some facts about whiskey aging that you might want to know.

First off, let’s talk about what makes whiskey different from wine.

Wine ages very well because it contains sugar, water, yeast, and oxygen. These four elements combine and make alcohol, carbon dioxide, and ethyl acetate.

Ethyl acetate is a chemical compound found in fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pears, bananas, grapes, strawberries, tomatoes, and potatoes.

When wine ages, the ethyl acetate evaporates into the air. This process is called “acetification.”

Whiskey does not contain any sugars or yeasts, nor does it age like wine. Instead, whiskey consists of grain mash, water, and heat. As a result, whiskey cannot undergo acetification.

However, whiskey does contain ethanol, which is another type of alcohol.

Alcohol is produced during fermentation, where yeast consumes carbohydrates and converts them into ethyl alcohol.

After being distilled, the ethyl alcohol becomes whiskey.

How Do You Store Whiskey?

Can Whiskey Go Bad

Storing whiskey is very simple. All you need to know is how to store it properly. There are many different ways to store whiskey, depending on what type of whiskey you are keeping.

For example, single malt scotch needs to be stored differently than bourbon. If you want to learn how to store whiskey correctly, here are some tips:

  1. Keep your bottles in a dark and cool location.
  2. Do not expose the bottle to light sources such as sunlight or fluorescent lights. This could cause the alcohol inside the bottle to oxidize, affecting the flavor of the drink.
  3. Make sure the air around the bottle does not become stale.
  4. Avoid temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius).
  5. Never refrigerate whiskey; it will ruin the flavor.
  6. Always use good quality glassware.

How Long Does Whiskey Stay Good For?

Whiskey can be stored at room temperature for up to two years. However, if you want to keep your whiskey longer than that, you will need to store it properly.

The best way to do this is by keeping it in a cool, dark place. If you don’t have access to a refrigerator, you can always use an airtight container.

If you plan on storing your whiskey for a longer period of time, make sure to remove all the labels and write down any important information about your bottle.

This includes the date you bought it and how much alcohol was in it when you purchased it. You should also note what type of whiskey it is.

The first thing about the shelf-life of whiskey that you should probably already know is that whiskey doesn’t really age once it’s been bottled.

Sure, it might seem like it does, thanks to those fancy wood barrels where it gets aged, but that’s just marketing. Once it’s out of the barrel, it’s pretty much done.

All the aging happens in the casks. That means there’s no point in keeping it around for as long a period of time as possible. It won’t get better or anything.

In other words, if a bottle of whiskey was purchased in 1970 and kept in a proper storage environment, it should still taste good in 2020 and 2040.

What Happens When Whiskey Goes Bad?

When whiskey starts going bad, there are usually three main signs:

  • A musty smell
  • Dark amber color
  • Musty taste

Once these symptoms start appearing, it means that the whiskey has started to spoil.

It may not necessarily mean that the entire batch is spoiled, so you might still be able to save some of it.

However, once the first sign appears, it is better to throw out the rest of the whiskey.

You can prevent whiskey from spoiling by storing it correctly. As mentioned above, you should keep it in a cool, dark area. Also, avoid letting sunlight shine directly onto your bottles.

If you want to know how old your whiskey actually is, there’s no easy way to tell. It could be anywhere from three months to 30 years old.

And if it smells like gasoline, vinegar, or something else weird, don’t drink it.

The reason why whiskey doesn’t go bad is because of the high sugar levels. Alcohol evaporates over time, but sugars remain inside the liquid.

So even though the alcohol percentage decreases, the sugar level stays the same.

Final Thoughts

The only real way to tell whether a bottle of whiskey is old enough to drink is to buy it and try it yourself.

If you have any doubts, then you’re best off throwing them away.

Since whiskey is stored at low temperatures, the sugar doesn’t oxidize (turn brown) very quickly.

However, the longer a bottle of whiskey sits on store shelves, the more likely it is to go bad. Once the first sign of oxidation appears, it’s best to toss the whole thing out.

Jess Smith
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