Leftover beer might not sound too enticing, but it’s plausible. If you’ve opened a beer and can’t seem to finish it, there’s still hope for salvaging what’s left for another day.
Leftover beer can easily be saved until the next day. To keep it tasting as fresh as possible, seal the container tightly – either with a stopper, foil, or plastic wrap – and return it to the refrigerator. Even if it was left out, the beer would still be drinkable, although it may no longer be appetizing since it will be warm and flat.
Read on to find out how to store leftover beer, if it’s drinkable, how long its shelf life is, and other uses for it.
Can you still drink opened, leftover beer the next day?
You can still drink your opened, leftover beer from the night before. If not stored properly, the beer will have lost a lot of carbonation, which will cause a substantial dropoff in quality.
If you stored the leftover beer properly – with a stopper, foil, or plastic wrap – you can grab it out of the fridge with minimal loss of carbonation and enjoy it almost just as you did the day before.
Another crucial factor when storing opened, leftover beer is the length of time the beer is open before you put a cap on it and throw it in the fridge. If you know you aren’t going to finish your beer after you open it, close that sucker as fast as you can. The longer it’s open, the more carbonation it loses.
Conclusively, you can still drink the beer the next day, but make sure you store it properly overnight for the best flavor.
Can you drink an opened beer that was left out overnight?
That beer that you left out overnight will not kill you. It likely won’t taste bad, either.
This is a matter of personal preference, though.
By now, the beer will have lost almost all of its carbonation. If you don’t mind drinking a flat, oxidized, room-temperature beer, you can certainly grab it and drink it. I recommend storing it in the freezer or fridge until it’s cold again before you drink it.
Although beer stores better in colder temperatures, alcohol still maintains its preservative qualities at room temperature. Your beer will not go bad overnight, and likely won’t be “skunked.” It will still be drinkable the next day.
Salvage what’s left by putting some kind of cap on it and sticking it back in the fridge. Or, send it down your gullet when you first wake up and realize you’ve left a beer out. I won’t judge.
How to store opened, leftover beer
Once you know you aren’t going to finish what you’ve opened, put a cap on it – the longer a beer is left open, the more carbonation it loses.
Immediately cover your opened, leftover beer and stick it in your fridge.
For growlers and regular 12-ounce bottles, I recommend using a rubber, pressurized stopper. This will minimize the loss of carbonation in the beer and will do the best job at preserving it.
For cans of beer of any size, try using tin foil or plastic wrap. Add a rubber band or two for an extra seal. By no means is this an “airtight” solution, but it will prevent the loss of a lot of the beer’s carbonation.
Even more important than putting a makeshift cap on your leftover beer is storing it in the fridge or a cold place. The beer will lose carbonation at a slower rate when it’s cold than warm.
If you have an airtight container, you can transfer your beer to it before putting it in the fridge without sacrificing any flavors, aromas, or carbonation. If the original container of the beer is large and you only have a small amount left, it’s a good idea to move it to a smaller bottle so that there is less space that needs to be made airtight.
How long can you keep opened beer in the fridge?
Preserving already-opened beer is tough. The fridge is your best friend in this case, but it can only do so much.
Properly stored, opened beer in the fridge will be good for 1-2 days before it loses most of its quality. If it isn’t stored properly, your beer will last even less time before you want to toss it. It won’t go “bad” for a while because of the alcohol, but your decision to drink it just depends on your willingness to consume old, leftover beer.
Without a cap or some kind of lid, your beer will likely go flat overnight.
It will go “bad” quickly without an airtight seal because of the oxidation, which will result in an unappealing taste and aroma.
What can you do with leftover beer?
Leftover beer does not have to be drunk (or even thrown out). Your leftovers can make for great additions to your next time in the kitchen with a new recipe, in the garden as food for your plants, or even in your hair.
If you don’t want to drink your leftover beer, try:
- Marinating meat
- Fertilizing plants
- Making cocktails
- Polishing wood
- Re-upping your hairstyle
Use leftover beer to marinate steaks or other meat
Using leftover beer for cooking is a start.
Marinating your meats with beer is a great way to add unique flavor to your dish. More than just added flavor, beer will also tenderize your meat.
You can marinate steak or other meat with beer for as little as an hour before cooking, or as long as an overnight shift in the fridge.
Add stale beer to your garden to improve the soil
Fertilizing your garden is another great use for old, leftover beer.
Beer is packed with nutrients, making it an inexpensive way to richen your soil.
Since beer is mostly water, it’s a great way to give your hungry plants what they need with a little something extra.
Add stale beer to a new cocktail recipe
Stale beer that hasn’t gone “bad” can make a great ingredient in a cocktail.
Take the beer you left open in the fridge for the last day or two and pair it with the ginger beer or ginger ale on your bar cart for a classic shandy.
Polish wood with leftover beer
Buff and shine a wooden piece in your home with old beer.
Put some on a cloth or microfiber towel and polish away. Use a dry cloth or towel after the beer-soaked one to finish buffing.
Doing this will restore the polish and regain the desirable color and finish of your favorite wooden furniture.
Use flat beer to add shine to your hair
Perhaps the most interesting use for flat beer is using it in your hair. Similar to its use in the garden, the beer will provide an abundance of vitamins and nutrients to your hair to strengthen it and give it a nice shine.
Pour the beer over your roots after a wash and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Rinse it out and apply some conditioner or other finishing product to avoid smelling like a brewery all day.