Does Bourbon Go Bad? How To Tell If Your Bourbon Is Still Good

can bourbon go bad

Do you have a bottle of bourbon that’s been sitting in your cabinet for a while? Wondering if it’s still good to drink? Let’s dive into how long bourbon lasts, and find out does bourbon go bad?

 

Does Bourbon Expire?

Bourbon does not expire, as long as it remains unopened. A correctly stored bottle can last decades as long as it’s kept away from heat and light. If you have an opened bottle of bourbon its shelf life is about 3-6 months before it will start to lose quality and flavor.

 

Can Old Bourbon Make You Sick?

Bad bourbon will not make you sick, but it can taste really gross. If your bourbon has been stored in a hot place or was exposed to sunlight, it may have gone bad. These conditions can cause the alcohol to evaporate and change the flavor of the bourbon.

 

How To Tell If Bourbon Has Gone Bad

If your bourbon has gone bad, you’ll notice a change in color and a loss of flavor. The bourbon will taste harsh and will have lost its smoothness.

Dull Taste

If your bourbon tastes watered down, it may be because it’s been exposed to oxygen. If your bourbon tastes bitter, it may be because it’s been exposed to heat.

Color Change

If your bourbon has changed color, it may be because it’s been exposed to light. If you’re not sure if your bourbon is still good to drink, the best thing to do is to give it a taste. If it doesn’t taste right, or if you’re not sure, it’s best to throw it out.

Mold

If your bourbon smells moldy, it’s definitely gone bad. Mold can grow in any type of alcohol, so if you see mold on the bottle or in the liquid, it’s best to throw it out.

 

How Long Does Bourbon Usually Last?

Typically, bourbon will last about six months after it’s been opened. If you store your bourbon properly, in a cool and dark place, it will last longer. When unopened Bourbon can last decades if it has been kept away from light and heat.

When Opened

Once opened, your bourbon will last about six months. The best way to store it is in a cool, dark place like a cabinet or pantry. You want to make sure the bottle is sealed tight so that no oxygen can get in and change the flavor of the whiskey.

When Unopened

Bourbon does not expire, it can last indefinitely. The key is to make sure it’s stored in a cool, dark place. If you have an unopened bottle of bourbon that’s been sitting in your cabinet for years, it’s still good to drink.

 

Things That Make Bourbons Go Bad

There are a few things that can make your bourbon go bad. Heat, light, and oxygen are all enemies of bourbon. If your bourbon has been exposed to any of these things, it may have gone bad.

Evaporation

If your bourbon has been stored in a hot place, the alcohol may have evaporated and changed the flavor of the whiskey.

Oxygen Exposure

If your bourbon has been exposed to oxygen, it may taste watered down or have a dull flavor.

 

Tips In Storing Bourbons

To make sure your bourbon lasts as long as possible, you want to store it in a cool, dark place. A cabinet or pantry is the perfect spot. You also want to make sure the bottle is sealed tight so that no oxygen can get in and change the flavor of the whiskey.

Keep an Upright Position

You also want to keep the bourbon in an upright position so that the cork does not dry out and let oxygen in.

Away From Sunlight

You want to keep your bourbon away from sunlight or any type of light. Light can cause the whiskey to change color and flavor. A cabinet or pantry is the perfect spot.

Store in Smaller Bottles After Opening

Once you open a bottle of bourbon, it’s best to transfer it to a smaller bottle. This will help reduce the amount of oxygen exposure and keep the whiskey fresh for longer. For example, transferring it to an airtight decanter can extend the life of the bourbon.

 

Don’t Refrigerate Bourbon

There are a couple of reasons you don’t want to refrigerate your bourbon. First, because the cold temperature can cause it to become cloudy, and second because temperature changes can also affect the flavor of the bourbon.

 

Store It In A Decanter

If you’re not going to drink your bourbon right away, another option is to transfer it to an airtight decanter. This will help keep the flavor of the whiskey from changing.

 

In Conclusion, Does Bourbon Go Bad?

Bourbon does not expire, but it can go bad if it’s been exposed to oxygen, light, or heat. If your bourbon has changed color, smells moldy, or tastes bitter, it’s best to throw it out. Bourbon will last about six months after it’s been opened. If you store your bourbon properly in a cool, dark place, it will last much longer.

If you’re interested in aging your own bourbon at home safely, check out our bourbon aging kits and our oak aging barrels in which you can make your home bourbon so much better.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What does ice do to bourbon?

Adding ice to your bourbon can change the flavor of the whiskey. The cold temperature can cause it to become cloudy and affect the taste.

Can you drink 20-year-old bourbon?

Yes, you can drink 20-year-old bourbon. If it has been stored properly in a cool, dark place, the flavor should be fine.

Can bourbon be too old to drink?

Yes, bourbon can be too old to drink. If it has been exposed to oxygen, light, or heat, it may have gone bad. The flavor of the whiskey may also be affected. However, if it has remained unopened and stored in a cool, dry place it will last for decades.

Is 60-year-old bourbon still good?

There is no definitive answer as to whether or not 60-year-old bourbon is still good. If it has been properly stored in a cool, dark place, the flavor may be fine. However, if it has been exposed to oxygen, light, or heat, it may have gone bad. The best way to know for sure is to try it. First smell the bourbon to see if it smells moldy, if not then give it a taste. If it doesn’t taste dull or bitter then it’s absolutely still good.

9 Comments

  1. Steve Mayes on June 6, 2024 at 12:43 pm

    Absolutely! If you don’t want it send it to me. LOL



  2. Bruce McKay on April 29, 2024 at 11:07 pm

    I have a bottle of Booker bourbon a friend gave me forty years ago it has been stored on it’s box in a cool dark basement wax seal is still intact Will it still be worth drinking



  3. Steve Mayes on July 13, 2023 at 10:51 am

    It should be okay to turn the bottle upright. If the cork is damaged they are easily replaced. Shouldn’t have any affect on the cork though.



  4. Jay on July 5, 2023 at 10:35 am

    I have a bottle of bourbon, that has been on its side for probably 12 years in my basement. Cool, dark, protected. – I realize it should have been upright….should I make it upright, or keep on the side? Which will be best for the cork after all these years?!??



  5. Steve Mayes on June 26, 2023 at 6:46 am

    We do offer engraving on these barrels on our website and there is an added cost. Thank you.



  6. Steve Mayes on June 26, 2023 at 6:45 am

    Thanks for your question. I have done that several times and it has not changed the flavor or appearance of the liquor in our experience. We have even removed from freezer and it doesn’t change the liquor. This may be different for lower ABV.



  7. Joe on June 25, 2023 at 8:23 pm

    Question: If a bottle of bourbon has been in the fridge unopened can you store it at room temperature again? A buddy gave me a bottle and had it in the fridge but I don’t want to keep it in the fridge.



  8. Grant Robinson on May 21, 2023 at 12:33 am

    I’ve bought several of your barrels in the last few weeks thru Amazon. Do you offer engraving on your 10&20 liter barrels? Is there an added cost or is it like others that includes engraving?



  9. Terry Wilson on January 13, 2023 at 4:58 pm

    A friend of mine has asked me to empty his Jim beam collection decanters out in the rural area where I live, roughly 30 or so none of them have been opened ever and they’re in ceramic containers. The designs are of classic car’s and trains.



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