How long is a growler of beer good for? (Plan on drinking soon after you refill)

By Bobby Rock •  Updated: 07/08/19 •  5 min read

Have you ever wondered how long is a growler of beer good for?  Great, by accident I had bought a fantastic growler that I forgot for 3 weeks and worried it wouldn’t be good anymore I did some investigating and eventually drank that growler, the results are below.

Two weeks ago I visited a new taproom I recently discovered was nearby thanks to the untapped app I have on my phone.

I was really impressed and on my way out, I purchased a growler of the beer that I was enjoying.  Thinking I was going to have another pint later that night and the next day, the growler would be perfect.

But after a long week, sleep came first and the next day I wasn’t in the mood.  Two weeks have now passed and it occurred to me that the growler might go bad, oh crap!

How long is a growler of beer good for?

I called the brewer to ask how long is a growler of beer good for?

Head brewer says it is recommended you drink it within 2 weeks of purchasing.  And if Opened, you have 2 days before the beer loses the carbonation and goes flat.

That sounds about right to me, but I’ve also reached out to friends to see what their thoughts were about.  Most of my friends say 2-4 weeks if it’s not open.

I’ve also had a friend who told me that he had a tightly sealed growler for over 3 months and he thought it was perfect.  I’m not sure I’m willing to wait that long.

How long will an unopened Growler last?

How long is growler of beer good for?

An unopened growler will last 2- 4 weeks.  I opened mine around 3 weeks after buying it, and I would guess that there were a few days before that they filled and sealed it.  It is possible that this growler was a month old.

Here is how I found out if my beer was still fresh.

I didn’t want to waste the beer or money, so I was going to open and drink it regardless.  Here is the experiment, will the growler still be good after 3 weeks from when I purchased it at the brewery?

The growler was tightly sealed and still had the plastic wrap around the cap.  I opened it and poured a glass, as you can see in the picture that there is still a decent head to beer.

My initial thoughts were, the carbonation was still pretty good, but defiantly not 100%.  The beer style was a hazy IPA, and I think some of the haziness had settled at the bottom, not a huge deal it was still delicious.

I may have missed the total freshness window by a week but I am confident that the beer will still be tasty and have enough carbonation to pour all four pints.

How was it filled?

Depending on how your growler was filled, it could determine how long your shelf life will be.  Here are some examples:

If you take your own in and they fill it straight off the tapper, I’d give this beer about 2-5 days unopened.

If you buy it at the taproom and they grab it from the back, they might have a filing system that is as good as gold, and this could be the best shelf life up to 5 weeks.

Keep that in mind and feel free to ask your bartender how the growler was filled.

Do you have to drink a whole growler at once?

No, you don’t need to drink the whole thing at once.  The growler will stay carbonated and fresh for up to 3-5 days after opening.  But keep in mind oxygen is now in the beer and it’s a quick decline to having a flat beer.

What I like to do is have a pint with dinner and that will last most of the week.  Pour the beer slowly and re-seal the cap tightly when done, this will help keep it carbonated for the long haul.

If a growler is too much beer for you, some places will sell you a smaller version called the crolwer.  Tha comes in a large can.

Do unopened growlers need to be refrigerated?

Yes, they need to always be refrigerated.  Craft beer is more sensitive than your big brands like miller or bud.

Temperatures above the recommended 38 degrees may turn craft beer sour and cloudy.

If the temp goes above 50 degrees we are in a whole new world of bacteria being activated and start to grow, which again will make your beer look and taste terrible.

7 tips to keep your growler of beer fresh and carbonated

  1. Do not open until ready to pour and drink.
  2. Keep cold, do not leave it at room temperature for any reason.
  3. Drink within 2 weeks if unopened and sealed tightly.
  4. Drink within 2 days of opening it.
  5. Take the cap off to pour and put it right back on when done.
  6. Pour slowly into glass, this will help conserve the carbonation.
  7. Handle this like a kitten or baby, cradle gently when transporting it from the fridge to the table. (joke)

Why should you buy a growler?

The biggest reason is you can’t buy your favorite taproom beer at the store.  This is a great option if you would like to bring the beer to your house or to the next Superbowl party.

Another great reason is, it’s cheaper, and you can reuse the growler which will save you the deposit the next time.

Be careful, there are state laws in place that say you can only reuse the growler where you purchased it.  But the taproom will know more about the rules, be sure to ask before you assume they can use yours.

Bobby Rock