Can bourbon go bad in the heat? How to Store Bourbon?

Can bourbon go bad in the heat?

Bourbon is not the type of alcohol you can finish a whole bottle in one sitting. Even if you only drink Bourbon occasionally, the bottle that is half-full will likely remain in storage for a while. It’s reasonable to begin thinking about whether the bottle can go bad if it is found after half a decade! There are questions like “can bourbon go bad in heat?”, “how to store bourbon?” etc that comes into mind. This guide will help you with all of it and much more! Not just bourbon! Find more on how to store food.

Whiskey experts say that any type of whiskey, including bourbon, should be kept dry and cool in order to keep it fresh. If not the bottles that contain the drink can also get damaged. Eventually, the cork can be damaged if the whiskey inside the bottle expands excessively due to high temperatures.

High temperatures can cause alcohol to expand and evaporate. While heat doesn’t cause liquor to “go bad”, direct sunlight can increase its oxidation rate and cause liquor to lose its color as well as its flavor.

This article will answer all your questions regarding spoilage, shelf life, and how to store bourbon for longer shelf life. Let’s start by talking about whether or not bourbon can go off and how to tell if bourbon is bad.

Signs Of Spoilage For Bourbon – How to tell if bourbon is bad?

Perhaps you received a prestigious bottle of Bourbon as a gift and are thinking about keeping it longer to make it even more special. Let me tell you, if that is the case, it won’t work because bourbon can’t age in a bottle.

It probably could, at least theoretically. It can go bad if you leave the bottle open and let a lot of contaminants and temperature get into contact with the beverage. However, if you store bourbon in sealed glass bottles it will not go bad for longer.

Bourbon doesn’t spoil just like any other random alcoholic beverage. If your bourbon develops an unusual odor or drastically changes in taste, you should throw it out. Although it’s unlikely, it could happen. If it does, you should proceed as with any other food or beverage, i.e; throw it away!

Shelf Life Of Bourbon – How long does Bourbon last?

Before we get into discussing the shelf life, let us briefly discuss the aging process for Bourbon. Bourbon is aged for a year in new, charred oak barrels.

Unopened Bottled Bourbon

One way to think about bourbon is that once it has been bottled, it will freeze in time until it is opened. If you have a bottle that was bottled 10+ years ago and you open it today, the alcohol will be just as good as 10 years ago. Even if you didn’t open the bottle today, it would still be good for 10 years!

Opened Bourbon Bottle 

Once you opened the bottle and the bourbon is sure to expose to air and the volatile compounds come into contact. The same process happens with all whiskeys. This is why some whiskeys are better the second day after opening them.

Two things are certain when it comes to shelf-life.

  • The first is that even sealed bottles aren’t perfect seals so there may be some evaporation. Alcohol evaporates faster than water so it will slowly lose its strength. You won’t notice any effects from evaporation for at least a few days, if the bottle is sealed tightly.
  • The presence of oxygen is the second. The taste of spirits is affected by oxygen. You’ve probably left a glass of whiskey unfinished overnight. It tastes different because of both evaporation as well as oxidation. You can see what could happen if your bourbon bottle isn’t properly stored.

It’s impossible to predict how long your bottle will keep its taste. It all depends on many factors, and it also depends on your personal preferences. You might be sensitive to flavor and notice any slight changes in taste, and decide to discard it. Some people won’t feel as sensitive to the flavor and will drink even slightly “stale” Bourbon.

Storage Tips For Bourbon – How to Store Bourbon?

How to Store Bourbon

Here’s a detailed take on how to store bourbon.

  • You can store the bottle in a cool, dark place. You can store it in your pantry or in your kitchen cupboard for years and it will still be fine there.
  • Keep the bottle tightly sealed when not in use. Although crystal whiskey decanters, they don’t offer a tight seal. These are fine if you plan to use the bottle for a few months.
  • Consider transferring alcohol to a smaller bottle if the volume is below half-full. Remember about oxygen affecting taste? This strategy is designed to decrease that effect. It is only sensible to do this if you plan to keep the Bourbon around for a while. It’s worth not bothering if you don’t plan to finish it in a few months.
  • Temperature is last but not least. Most alcohols prefer to be kept cool and avoid temperature fluctuations. The same goes for bourbon. You can refrigerate it if you prefer it cold. You can also serve it on the rocks, instead of in the fridge. It doesn’t need refrigeration after opening.

Key Takeaways

  • Unopened Bourbon can be kept almost indefinitely
  • The alcohol slowly begins to degrade once the bottle is opened. It all depends on how tightly it is sealed after use and how much bourbon you have in the bottle.
  • If you plan to keep a bottle less than half full for a long time, pour the liquid into a smaller bottle and store the bottle in a dark place.

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