How Long Does an Unopened Growler Last? Exploring the Shelf Life of Craft Beer

Do you love drinking beer? Have you ever heard of growlers? In case you didn’t, it’s a popular way to transport beer from breweries to your home. Many beer aficionados might wonder, how long does an unopened growler last? The answer might surprise you.

It is not uncommon for bars and breweries to sell growlers filled with delicious and fresh beer. However, once you bring it home, it’s essential to store it correctly. Otherwise, your precious beer might go stale, and you will be left with a flat and undrinkable liquid. The question of how long does an unopened growler last can vary for several reasons. Factors like storage temperature, the condition of the seal, and the type of beer can all play a role.

The freshness of beer is vital for any beer lover. It’s why it’s crucial to know the answer to how long does an unopened growler last. Even an unopened growler can go bad if not stored correctly. In this article, we’ll explore the different variables that affect the beer’s shelf life. We’ll also look at the best ways to store and keep your beer fresh, so you can enjoy it to the fullest.

What is a growler?

A growler is a container for beer, usually made of glass or stainless steel, that is used to transport draft beer from a brewery or a taproom to your home. It comes in different sizes, but the most common ones are 32 and 64 ounces. Growlers have become increasingly popular among beer enthusiasts, as they allow you to enjoy fresh beer straight from the source without having to leave your house.

How is a growler filled?

Before discussing how long an unopened growler lasts, it is crucial to understand the process of filling a growler. Ordering a growler at a brewery or brewpub is a whole experience. The staff will first rinse the growler with cold water to ensure that it is clean and free from contaminants. Then, they will fill it up with beer from the tap.

  • Counter pressure filling – This is the most common method used to fill growlers. It involves filling the growler with carbon dioxide first before adding the beer. The CO2 helps to prevent the beer from coming into contact with oxygen, which can spoil the taste and aroma. Counter pressure filling also ensures that the beer in the growler is carbonated and stays carbonated even after opening.
  • Open tap filling – This is a less common method and is usually used when the beer is intended for immediate consumption. The staff will fill the growler directly from the tap without any additional carbonation or pressurization.
  • Crowler – A newer approach to filling growlers is with a crowler machine. The machine fills a 32oz can of beer on the spot, sealing it for freshness. The result is a tallboy of your favorite fresh craft beer.

Once the growler is filled, the staff will typically cover the top with a cap or foil to prevent the beer from spilling or leaking out. Before sealing the cap, some breweries may add carbon dioxide by purging the growler. This process entails flushing out the oxygen in the growler and replacing it with CO2 to prevent oxidation.

How long does an unopened growler last?

The life span of an unopened growler is subject to several factors such as proper filling, storage, types of beer, and original packaging. Most beer enthusiasts recommend consuming a growler within 48 – 72 hours after filling. Meanwhile, others believe that it can still last up to a week without compromising the taste or quality. Others claim that there is no limit to how long an unopened growler can last if kept in the proper environment.

Type of beerRefrigerated TemperatureRoom Temperature
IPAs and Pales Ales3-5 days1-3 days
Stouts and Porters5-7 days2-3 days
Sours and Wild Ales3-5 days1-2 days
Lagers and Pilsners7-10 days4-5 days

The best way to ensure that your growler lasts as long as possible is to store it in the refrigerator at a temperature between 38 – 45°F. Keeping the growler cold helps to slow down the rate of oxidation of the beer, which can spoil the taste and quality. It’s also essential to handle the growler gently to avoid agitating the beer inside, which can cause it to lose carbonation or taste flat.

In conclusion, the primary determinant of how long an unopened growler lasts is the type of beer itself. With the right storage, most conventional beer types last for about 3-5 days. Finally, if you want to enjoy your craft beer optimally, drink it fresh and within the first 24 hours after opening – after that, the taste and aroma can begin to deteriorate.

What are the common types of growlers?

Growlers are a popular way to transport and store beer. They come in different sizes and materials, including glass, ceramic, stainless steel, and plastic. Here are some of the most common types of growlers:

  • Glass: Glass growlers are the most common and come in different sizes ranging from 32 oz to 64 oz. They are classic and visually appealing, allowing you to see the contents. However, they are fragile and can break easily.
  • Ceramic: Ceramic growlers have become increasingly popular due to their unique design, durability, and insulation properties. They are also heavy and have opaque walls that keep light from affecting the beer quality. They are great for keeping beer cool, making them ideal for outdoor activities and picnics.
  • Stainless Steel: Stainless steel growlers are strong, virtually indestructible, and can keep beer cold for long periods. They come in various sizes, are easy to clean, and are perfect for traveling or camping. They also provide insulation to protect the beer from light.

How long does an unopened growler last?

The lifespan of an unopened growler varies depending on the type of beer, the type of growler, and how long it has been filled. Most breweries recommend consuming growlers within 24-48 hours of being filled to preserve the freshness of the beer.

However, there are some factors to consider when it comes to extending the life of your unopened growler. A well-sealed growler made of ceramic or stainless steel can keep beer fresh for up to a week or even longer in some cases. On the other hand, a poorly sealed growler made of glass or plastic will lose carbonation quickly, making the beer stale and undrinkable within hours.

Type of GrowlerRecommended Shelf Life
Glass24-48 hours
CeramicUp to a week or longer, depending on the seal
Stainless SteelUp to a week or longer, depending on the seal
PlasticA few hours

To ensure the freshness of your beer, it’s crucial to store your unopened growler in a cool and dark place, away from direct sunlight, heat, and oxygen. Also, avoid shaking or transporting the growler too often, as this can cause the beer to lose carbonation and freshness.

What are the differences between glass and stainless steel growlers?

When it comes to storing beer, growlers are a popular choice for many beer enthusiasts. Growlers come in different materials, but the most common are glass and stainless steel. Here are some key differences between the two:

  • Glass growlers are more fragile compared to stainless steel. They are more prone to breakage, which can be a cause of concern for transportation. Additionally, glass is not a good insulator, meaning that the temperature of the beer can change quickly.
  • Stainless steel growlers, on the other hand, are more durable and sturdy. They are not as fragile, making them an excellent choice for transportation. Stainless steel growlers are also more effective in maintaining the beer’s temperature, thanks to its insulating properties.
  • Cleaning and maintaining glass growlers are relatively easy. They are dishwasher-safe, and the glass material is resistant to bacterial growth. Stainless steel growlers also have a simple cleaning process, but the surface is more prone to scratches. Scratches can be a breeding ground for bacteria and can make the growler smell funky over time.

Overall, both glass and stainless steel growlers have their pros and cons. Glass growlers are great for storing beer at home and are visually appealing. On the other hand, stainless steel growlers are suited for transportation and outdoor activities. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and the intended purpose of the growler.

GlassVisually appealing
Easy cleaning and maintenance
Resistant to bacterial growth
Fragile and prone to breakage
Inefficient in maintaining temperature
Can be heavy to transport
Stainless SteelDurable and sturdy
Excellent in maintaining temperature
Lightweight and easy to transport
Not visually appealing compared to glass
Surface prone to scratches
Cleaning can be challenging if not done correctly

Overall, both glass and stainless steel growlers are excellent choices for storing beer, and each has its advantages. Consider the intended use of the growler and make a decision based on personal preference and practicality.

What are some common uses for growlers?

Growlers are a popular choice for craft beer enthusiasts who want to take their favorite beer home from the local brewery. However, they have many other useful purposes as well.

  • Sharing Beer: A growler provides a great opportunity for beer lovers to share their preferred beer with others. The capacity of a growler makes it ideal for sharing with friends and family. It’s also a perfect option for parties and gatherings.
  • Craft Beer Collection: Some people collect growlers as a way to showcase their unique and diverse collection of craft beers. This collection may include unique designs, breweries, and regions from around the world.
  • Gifts: A growler can be a thoughtful and unique gift for any beer lover in your life. It’s an excellent way to introduce them to new breweries and flavors or to share your beer favorites with them.
  • Road Trips: Many breweries are located in rural areas, making them perfect for a weekend road trip. A growler can be a convenient way of bringing your favorite beer home instead of having to carry bottles or cans.
  • Home-Brew Beer: Growlers can also be used to store and transport home-brew beer. Whether you are taking your latest batch to share with friends or storing it for future enjoyment, a growler is an excellent option.

Overall, growlers offer a convenient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly option for anyone who enjoys beer. They are not only practical but can also serve as a decorative piece, gift, and conversation starter.

How do temperature and light affect the freshness of beer in a growler?

Beer is a delicate drink that requires proper handling to maintain its freshness and flavor. Temperature and light are two significant factors that can affect the quality and taste of beer in a growler.

  • Temperature: The ideal temperature for storing beer in a growler is between 35°F and 42°F. Any temperature above this range can cause the beer to spoil or go flat. High temperature can also promote the growth of bacteria, yeast, and molds, which can alter the flavor of beer. Therefore, it is crucial to store the growler in a cool and dark place away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
  • Light: Light is another critical factor that can affect the freshness of beer in a growler. Beer exposed to UV light can develop a skunky odor and taste due to the breakdown of hop compounds. Brown glass growlers are preferred over clear or green glass as they are more efficient in blocking out harmful UV light. Therefore, it is always recommended to store the growler in a dark place to prevent exposure to light.

It is important to note that beer is a perishable product, and its freshness can vary depending on the type of beer, brewing process, and storage conditions. To ensure maximum freshness and flavor, it is recommended to consume the beer within 24-72 hours of opening the growler, depending on the type of beer.

Here is a table showing the recommended storage temperature and shelf life for different types of beer in a growler:

Beer TypeRecommended Storage TemperatureShelf Life (unopened)
Pilsner35°F – 40°F3-5 days
IPA38°F – 42°F3-7 days
Stout45°F – 50°F7-10 days
Porter45°F – 50°F7-10 days

In conclusion, temperature and light play a crucial role in the freshness and flavor of beer in a growler. Proper storage conditions, such as cool and dark places away from direct sunlight and heat sources, can help extend the shelf life of beer and prevent spoilage. It is always recommended to consume beer within a few days of opening the growler to ensure maximum freshness and flavor.

Can an unopened growler go bad?

A common question that most beer lovers ask is, can an unopened growler go bad? Well, the answer is that it depends on several factors. Generally, most unopened growlers can last for several weeks to a month if stored correctly.

  • Quality of the beer: The quality of the beer determines how long it will last. If the beer was made with high-quality ingredients and brewed correctly, it can last longer than one that was made with substandard ingredients.
  • Storage conditions: Temperature, light, and moisture are the three major factors that can affect the quality of an unopened growler. Store the growler in a cool, dark place to avoid exposing it to direct sunlight.
  • Type of beer: Depending on the beer’s alcohol and sugar content, some types can last longer than others. High alcohol content beers tend to last longer than those with lower alcohol content.

While an unopened growler can go bad, it’s not very common. The quality and freshness of beer will start to degrade over time and eventually go stale and give off an unpleasant odor. However, it’s essential to know that some types of beer, such as sour and wild ales, are meant to be aged and will change over time. It’s best to check the brewer’s recommendations before aging any beer to ensure the best taste.

Here’s a helpful table to guide you on the shelf life of some popular beer types:

Beer TypeShelf Life (in weeks)
Pale Ale4-6 weeks
IPA4-6 weeks
Stout6-12 weeks
Sour Ale3-6 months
Lambic6-18 months

In summary, an unopened growler can go bad, but it’s not very common. It’s best to store the growler in a cool, dark place and consume it within a few weeks of purchase. Remember, the longer the beer sits, the more likely it will lose its freshness and taste.

How to Properly Store an Unopened Growler?

While growlers can last for a week or two after being opened, an unopened growler can last up to a month. However, proper storage is key to extending the life of any growler, opened or unopened. Here are some tips on how to properly store an unopened growler:

  • Keep it refrigerated: The colder the better. Storing your growler at temperatures below 38°F will help keep the carbonation intact and prevent bacteria growth.
  • Avoid direct sunlight: Sunlight, heat, and UV rays can affect the quality and taste of the beer. Store your growler in a cool, dark place, like a refrigerator or pantry.
  • Keep it upright: Carbonation is key for a fresh and bubbly brew. Storing your growler on its side can disturb the carbonation and lead to a flat beer. Keep it standing upright to ensure the CO2 stays in the beer.

Factors That Affect the Shelf-Life of Beer in a Growler

While proper storage is crucial, there are other factors that can affect the shelf-life of beer in a growler. These include:

  • Brewery and type of beer: Different breweries use different brewing methods and ingredients, which can affect the shelf-life of the beer. Certain beer styles, like IPAs and pale ales, tend to have a shorter shelf-life than stouts or porters.
  • Cleanliness of the growler: Dirty growlers can harbor bacteria, which can spoil the beer. Before storing an unopened growler, make sure it is cleaned and sanitized properly.
  • Seal integrity of the growler: A tight seal is vital to preserving the beer’s carbonation and freshness. Check the seal of your growler before storing it and make sure it is properly closed.

Growler Storage Options

Depending on your personal preference and availability, there are different storage options for growlers:

  • Refrigerator: Storing your growler in the refrigerator is the best option for extending its shelf-life. The consistent temperature and lack of light make it a perfect storage environment.
  • Cooler: If you’re on the go, a cooler with ice packs or frozen water bottles can keep your growler cool and fresh while traveling.
  • Dark cupboard or pantry: If storing in a refrigerator is not an option, a cool and dark cupboard or pantry can also work, but the shelf-life may not be as long compared to refrigeration.

Overall, proper storage is crucial in extending the life of an unopened growler. Follow these tips and you can enjoy a fresh and delicious brew whenever you’re ready to crack it open.

How to Tell if an Unopened Growler has Gone Bad?

Growlers are a popular way to transport draft beer at home or to parties without having to worry about the beer going stale. When unopened, growlers have the potential to last for a few weeks, but there are a few tell-tale signs that the beer has gone bad. Here are nine ways to identify if your unopened growler has gone bad:

  • Check the date on the growler: Many craft beer stores, breweries, and taprooms will indicate the fill date of the beer on the growler. Most craft beers are best consumed within 72 hours after the fill date, and some beers may lose their flavor even before that time frame. Check the date on the growler before making your purchase.
  • Inspect the cap: Ensure the cap is tight and properly sealed. If the cap is loose, it indicates that the beer has been exposed to oxygen and has likely gone stale.
  • Listen for the hiss: When you open an unopened growler, you should hear a hissing sound, which indicates that carbon dioxide has been released. If there is no hissing sound, it means that the beer has gone flat.
  • Smell the beer: Take a whiff of the beer once you open the growler, and pay attention to any off smells. If you smell something sour or funky, it indicates that the beer has gone bad.
  • Look for a change in color or clarity: The color and clarity of the beer should remain the same as when it was filled. If you notice a change in color or clarity, it’s a sign that the beer has oxidized and is no longer fresh.
  • Observe the carbonation: The beer should have a good amount of carbonation. If the beer has gone flat, it’s a sign that it has gone bad.
  • Check for sediment: If you see any chunks, sediment, or particles floating in the beer, it’s a sign that the beer has gone off and should not be consumed.
  • Pay attention to the taste: The taste of the beer should be fresh, clean, and crisp. If the beer tastes sour, funky, or flat, it’s a sign that the beer has gone bad.
  • Use common sense: Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t smell or taste right, it’s probably not good to consume. Err on the side of caution and toss the beer if you have any doubts.


By following these tips, you can identify whether an unopened growler has gone bad or not. Enjoy the freshness and deliciousness of your growler by ensuring you consume it within the recommended period and avoid any potential risks.

What are the common ways to clean and sanitize a growler?

Having a clean and sanitized growler is important to ensure your beer stays fresh and free from harmful bacteria. Here are the common ways to clean and sanitize a growler:

  • Hand washing: The easiest and most common way to clean a growler is hand washing with soap and water. Make sure to use hot water and a bottle brush to thoroughly clean the inside. Rinse with hot water to remove any soap residue.
  • Dishwasher: Some growlers are dishwasher safe, but always check the manufacturer’s instructions first. Make sure to use detergent and the hottest water setting to properly clean and sanitize the growler.
  • Chemical cleaners: There are specialized growler cleaning products available that use chemicals to clean and sanitize the growler. These products can be effective, but make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and rinse the growler thoroughly with hot water before use.

It’s important to note that cleaning and sanitizing are two different steps. Cleaning removes any residue or debris from the growler, while sanitizing kills any bacteria that may be present. Here are the common ways to sanitize a growler:

  • Hot water: Pour boiling water into the growler and let it sit for a few minutes before pouring it out. This will sanitize the growler with heat.
  • Chemical sanitizers: There are specialized sanitizing solutions available that can be used to sanitize the growler. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and rinse the growler thoroughly with hot water before use.
  • Bleach solution: Mix one tablespoon of bleach with one gallon of water and fill the growler with the solution. Let it sit for a few minutes before pouring it out and rinsing with hot water.

Cleaning and Sanitizing Frequency

It’s important to clean and sanitize your growler after each use to prevent bacteria growth and to ensure your beer stays fresh. If you don’t plan on using the growler right away, it’s recommended to store it dry and upside down to prevent any moisture buildup. Before using it again, make sure to clean and sanitize it again.

After each useBefore each use

By properly cleaning and sanitizing your growler, you can ensure a great tasting beer every time. Don’t cut corners on this step and always make sure to follow proper cleaning and sanitizing procedures.

How Long Does an Unopened Growler Last?

1. What is a growler?

A growler is a container, often made of glass or stainless steel, used for transporting beer from a brewery or bar to somewhere else.

2. How long can an unopened growler last?

An unopened growler can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on several factors like the level of carbonation, temperature, and the type of beer.

3. Can I drink the beer in an unopened growler past the date on the label?

It is not advisable to drink beer in an unopened growler past the date on the label, as it may not be as fresh or safe to consume.

4. How can I store an unopened growler to maximize its shelf life?

You should store an unopened growler in the refrigerator to ensure freshness and maintain its quality for as long as possible.

5. Is there a difference in shelf life between beer in a growler and beer in a bottle or can?

Yes, there is a difference in shelf life between beer in a growler and beer in a bottle or can. The limited capacity of a growler to keep its contents carbonated can shorten the shelf life of the beer.

6. Can I drink the beer in an unopened growler after it has been sitting out for a few hours?

No, it is not recommended to drink beer in an unopened growler that has been sitting out for a few hours. The beer may have gone flat, and there is a chance that bacteria or other contaminants have accumulated in the container.

7. Can I reuse an empty growler to transport beer again?

Yes, you can reuse an empty growler to transport beer again, but make sure to rinse it well with hot water and let it air-dry before using it again.

Closing Thoughts

Thank you for taking the time to read about how long an unopened growler lasts. It is crucial to take precautions to ensure that the beer inside stays fresh and safe to consume. Remember to refrigerate your growler and drink it within a reasonable time frame to enjoy it at its best. We hope you found this article helpful and look forward to seeing you again soon!

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Dadang Oray

Dadang Oray is a blogger who writes about interesting topics on the internet. He has a unique writing style and covers a wide range of subjects. He enjoys exploring new websites and staying up-to-date on the latest trends in technology and social media.