Can I drink it?
August 3, 2021 2:56 PM   Subscribe

Yesterday I bought a 6 pack of a craft beer (bottles) and today i see it says it is unpasteurized and that it is "Best to refrigerate." It's been in my hot car for 24 hours.

It was not refrigerated in the store either. I don't even think you're allowed to sell cold beer in my state actually. The beer comes from a neighboring state with saner alcohol laws.
Anyway, yesterday we brought in one bottle of the beer from the car and each drank a little of it, but we had a lot of groceries and left the carton holding the other 5 bottles in the car til I brought it in just now.
That's when I noticed the smallish print advising refrigeration.
The difference between the beer we drank last night -- which was fine evidently and did not poison us -- and the remaining bottles, is that the one yesterday was unrefrigerated on a shelf in the store, and the other 5 have spent 24 hours in my hot car. It's in the 80s and sunny here, no idea how hot that makes it in the car.
Don't know what risks unpasteurized beer actually entails.
Thanks! It's not the end of the world to throw this out, but would rather not.
posted by nantucket to Food & Drink (11 answers total)
Response by poster: It's amber ale, by the way.
posted by nantucket at 2:58 PM on August 3, 2021

Best answer: its fine. It will just deteriorate more quickly at room temp.
posted by JPD at 3:00 PM on August 3, 2021 [8 favorites]

Best answer: This depends on a lot of factors but my main concerns would be
* Exploding beer (extremely unlikely for that time frame, depends on a lot but it would likely just ferment faster, even fridged beers will explode upon opening at sufficient age, don't do it over your favorite light colored rug)
* Gross beer (due to deterioration mentioned by JDP, also unlikely)

Certainly shouldn't become unsafe, and especially not during that window of time.
posted by love2potato at 3:07 PM on August 3, 2021

Best answer: Most craft beer is not pasteurized. Which is fine, because the combination of pH and alcohol and hops keeps most pathogens out. A standard hoppy craft beer from a reputable brewery will pose minimal risk.

(I once drank a 12-pack of way-expired Helles that contained yeast that were sincerly dead, and I am still alive, though it was more out of spite because dead yeast taste nasty -- you'll know when you drink it)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 3:18 PM on August 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: People used to drink and make beer specifically because it didn't make people sick the way unpotable water does. So you're good.
posted by bradbane at 3:24 PM on August 3, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: It's absolutely fine. And I'm one of the last people to say go ahead and consume it. There's a good chance every beer you ever had spent time sitting on a truck or loading dock somewhere before it ever got to you.
posted by mollweide at 4:39 PM on August 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have brewed beer and then stored it at temperatures in the 80s, it was all fine. If it's bottle-conditioned (carbonated by the yeast) like a homebrew, it may be more carbonated than you'd like, leading to gushers and potentially broken bottles.

But most craft breweries kill the yeast somehow and carbonate with CO2 or nitrogen instead, for consistency.

Direct sunlight can also cause quality issues, if I remember right, which is why most beer bottles are dark. But if it tastes fine, it is fine to drink.
posted by mersen at 6:02 PM on August 3, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Jimmy Buffet says that the warmest beer he ever had was just cold enough. Drink it soon and all will be good.
posted by AugustWest at 8:58 PM on August 3, 2021

Best answer: The rule of thumb for beer in general is that the kind of spoilage that would make it toxic or harmful are uncommon. Problems with brewing or storage usually just lead to unpleasant taste. The advantage to pasteurized beer is a product that stores longer and travels better.
posted by ovvl at 9:23 PM on August 3, 2021

Best answer: It's fine. Notice it says "best to refrigerate", not refrigeration required. Outside of mass produced "macro" beer, almost none is pasteurized since it doesn't need it. If it was in your hot car for a week or more the flavor might go off, but it would still be safe to drink. I've had 20yr old unpasteurized beer and some has tasted a bit gross, but is still safe to drink.

There are some beers that require refrigeration, but that's because they've added a bunch of fruit (and their sugars..) and without pasteurization the yeast will happily keep working, causing the beer to explode after a certain period of time. Not unsafe to drink, but perhaps unsafe to handle and store.
posted by TheAdamist at 4:58 AM on August 4, 2021

Best answer: Some flavors (esp the bittering compounds in hops) degrade faster when it is warm. This is one of the major components of bad tasting beer (assuming it isn't bad to start with). Still, those processes take time, so a short stint at high temp won't matter.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:59 AM on August 4, 2021

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