Growler lifespan

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by 3morley, Jul 17, 2012.

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  1. 3morley

    3morley Initiate (0) May 26, 2010 Illinois

    Sorry if this isn't the right forum for this question, but figure'd homebrewers would be the best place to ask about the properties of beer:

    I bought a growler of Belgian Strong Ale from Greenbush in MI ("1825") on 4th of July. I had one pint but had to leave it behind while I traveled the next day. I'm just getting back to it almost 2 weeks later. It's been tightly capped in a fridge, and still shows carbonation when shaken up. Is it safe to drink still? The original ABV was between 8-9%. Are there general rules on the lifespan of beer in growlers, especially amongst different styles, and with regard to refrigeration? Do those plastic seals they put on caps preserve it longer?

    Thanks in advance if any of you can offer any help, or point to previous threads involving this topic.
  2. sarcastro

    sarcastro Disciple (307) Sep 20, 2006 Michigan

    So you opened it, poured a pint, and put the cap back on?
  3. 3morley

    3morley Initiate (0) May 26, 2010 Illinois

    Yes, pretty tight.
  4. HappyHourHero

    HappyHourHero Initiate (0) Jul 8, 2003 Indiana

    Unopened they can last weeks or months. Once you open it and drink some you are letting in oxygen which oxidizes/stales the beer, and the added headroom allows co2 to escape so it won't be as carbonated. None of that should make it unsafe to drink though.

    My guess is that a Belgian Strong will taste pretty good even if it's under-carbonated and a little oxidized.
  5. jbck109

    jbck109 Aspirant (222) May 30, 2010 Michigan

    Usually once opened a couple days is about it, if you want it to taste as it did fresh. It will still be safe to drink, but may not be as carbonated, and some flavors may be muted. Shaking your growler is not a god idea, you are killing the carbonation that is still there by doing so.
  6. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Meyvn (1,166) May 8, 2006 Michigan

    The clock is ticking from the time you first twist that cap. Not only will you have to worry about loss of carbonation but now, since you left a nice pocket of air in the growler, oxidation comes into play. If you are going to open a growler plan on drinking it the same day if possible, stretch it to a second if completely necessary. The quality of the beer will continue to degrade once it has been opened.
    JoeyBeerBelly likes this.
  7. Pinche_Oso

    Pinche_Oso Initiate (0) Jun 25, 2012 California

    I recently bought a growler of Row 2/Hill 56 and a second growler of Hill Farmstead Nor and both had gone pretty flat after two days from first popping them open. I knew I was pushing it but I tried sharing and it ended up bitting me in the ass. To hell with them on the next growler! Haha
  8. NickMunford

    NickMunford Champion (881) Oct 2, 2006 Wyoming

    It'll probably be a drain pour at this point. Shaking it up wasn't really a good idea either.
  9. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Zealot (516) Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    This is the best and most complete answer. /thread
    JrGtr likes this.
  10. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado

    I recall a thread about trying to keep the oxygen out with some sort of other product - I believe it's what is used by restaurants to keep open bottles of wine served by the glass relatively fresh. Has anybody had any experience with 'refreshing' growlers?
  11. sarcastro

    sarcastro Disciple (307) Sep 20, 2006 Michigan

    They should make a carbonator cap for growlers, but that may be dangerous.
  12. sarcastro

    sarcastro Disciple (307) Sep 20, 2006 Michigan

    That will teach you to share.
    JoeyBeerBelly likes this.
  13. BigGene

    BigGene Initiate (0) Oct 30, 2010 Florida

    I recently had a gallon growler off ccb jaialai.. Took me about a well to drink it. I didn't notice a huge difference in taste. And it stayed fairly well carbonated.
  14. tozerm

    tozerm Aspirant (226) Jul 1, 2005 Washington

    What you are referring to is nitrogen injectors. Nitrogen is heavier than oxygen so it forces the oxygen out the top of the wine bottle then you recap it. This obviously won't do anything for "refreshing" the Co2 in the beer, but in theory could prevent oxidation.
  15. jzeilinger

    jzeilinger Poo-Bah (7,769) Dec 4, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    My German style growlers have not been faring well lately, I need to change the seals on them, the jug styles have worked better for me. If the person filling the growler knows what they're doing they will fill it right to the brim to eliminate as much air space as possible. As an added precaution if I know this will be sitting for awhile, I'll make sure the lid is super tight and then wrap it in duct tape before sticking it in the fridge to really seal it in. We cracked an eight day old growler last week and it was every bit as good as if it were just poured. But, from experience, I developed a personal policy: once the growler is cracked open, we drink it that night and don't let it sit, when I have, the results have always been a big let down.
  16. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (13,753) Mar 18, 2010 California

    Most likely bad but just open it and give it a shot.
  17. skunk242

    skunk242 Initiate (0) Mar 1, 2009 California

    Is it safe? Yes. Will it taste good? Probably not at this point.
  18. jeremy13586

    jeremy13586 Initiate (0) Apr 6, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Agreed. Just drink it and find out.
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