Brandy is a type of distilled wine made from fermented fruit juice. If your bottle of brandy has been sitting in the cupboard for a while you may be wondering if brandy goes bad?
If unopened and properly stored, brandy will stay good indefinitely. It will not spoil or degrade in flavor until it is actually opened. After opening a bottle of brandy, it will last about a year before it goes bad. Brandy that has gone bad will lose its flavor and potency. It is safe to drink brandy that has gone bad.
So how long will brandy last once opened? Let’s take a look at varying conditions and how to keep your brandy fresh for the longest amount of time.
Does Brandy Go Bad? How Long Does Brandy Last?
The alcohol content of brandy keeps bacteria, pathogens, and mold from spoiling the contents. However, brandy will eventually lose its flavor and the alcohol content will degrade.
How Long Does Brandy Last Outside?
Brandy will last longest when it is unopened and kept in a cool, dry place with no sunlight. It’s not uncommon to keep brandy outside of the fridge.
Opened brandy will last up to a year outside the fridge. This time could be shorter if the brandy is not stored properly. If stored in a basement pantry, away from sunlight, it will last up to a year.
If exposed to sunlight or temperature fluctuations, opened brandy will only last about 6 months. If kept outdoors, such as for a party or wedding, brandy will only last about 3 months.
How Long Does Brandy Last in The Fridge?
Alcohols like beer, cream liqueurs, and hard cider are always stored in the fridge. But what about brandy? Experts say brandy does not have to be stored in the fridge. It’s more of a preference.
Storing brandy in the fridge is a personal preference. If you enjoy your brandy chilled, keep it in the fridge. Just make sure not to keep changing from fridge to room temperature.
Brandy stored in the fridge will still last up to a year. The colder temperatures will not increase the longevity of brandy’s flavors or alcohol content.
How Long Does Brandy Last in The Freezer?
If you prefer your brandy chilled when drank, there’s no harm in putting it in the freezer. However, this will not prolong the shelf life of your bottle of brandy.
Opened brandy in the freezer will last about a year before it begins losing flavor. This time will be shortened if the bottle is repeatedly moved from freezer to the counter.
If you plan to keep brandy in the freezer, it’s best to take it out for as short amount of time as possible. This will avoid temperature fluctuations, which can cause brandy to lose its flavor.
Typically, opened brandy lasts about a year. You can store it at room temperature, in the fridge, or in the freezer. It all depends on your personal preference.
How to Tell If Brandy Has Gone Bad / How to Know Brandy Is Fresh?
You may be wary of that old bottle of brandy in your cupboard. There are easy ways to tell if that old bottle is fresh, or if its better thrown out.
Smell: This is a simple test to start scoping out your brandy’s freshness. Open the bottle and give the contents a smell. If anything smells off or wrong, your brandy might be better thrown out. It won’t be toxic to drink, but it won’t be as flavorful either.
Taste: The ultimate test. Pour some of the brandy into a glass and give it a taste. Even if you’ve never had brandy before, you will be able to tell that the taste is flat and lacks flavor.
Visual inspection: Take a good look at your brandy. If the color seems off, it could mean it was exposed to fluctuating temperatures. This will leave the alcohol tasting flat, and it will actually lose some potency. You can also pour the brandy into a glass to take a closer look. Make sure there are no particles floating in your alcohol. This is rare, but in the right conditions mold could grow under the cap.
How to Store Brandy?
Storing brandy is important to keep the alcohol fresh and flavorful.
Liquor Cabinet: Liquor cabinets are a great way to store your alcohol. This includes brandy! Liquor cabinets offer a dark and dry location that is usually kept at a steady room temperature.
Pantry: Similar to a liquor cabinet, but located in the kitchen instead of the living room. Pantries are a great choice to store brandy. It’s a steady temperature, dry, and away from sunlight.
Fridge: You can store brandy in the fridge. Store the bottle away from the door to avoid fluctuating temperatures as you open the doors.
Can You Freeze Brandy?
Freezing brandy is a great way to enjoy a chilled drink without having to water it down with ice.
Store near the back: Store your brandy at the back of the freezer, or whatever location is furthest from the door. This will avoid exposing the alcohol to warmer temperatures from the room your freezer is stored in. Fluctuating temperatures can cause brandy to go flat, lose its color, and even lose its potency.
Keep it at 0°F: Most home freezers are kept at zero degrees Fahrenheit. This is the ideal temperature to store brandy. You don’t want to go any lower, as the freezing point of brandy is somewhere around -10°F
Use Freezer-Safe Container: Although alcohol contracts when frozen, non-tempered glass will expand and contract with the temperature. This can cause cracks or even explosions. It’s best to use the bottle your brandy came in to store in the freezer.
How to Thaw Brandy?
Here are some ways to safely thaw brandy and keep the flavor:
Infuse with dried fruit: Add the brandy and fruit to a sealable jar, leave as little air as possible, and seal. Leave the jar in a cool, dry place for three weeks.
Infuse with spice: spice is another option. Repeat the same steps as above, but use vanilla beans, cinnamon, or cloves.
Frequently Asked Questions About Brandy’s Shelf Life
We all want our alcohol to last. Here are some answers to your questions about brandy’s shelf life.
Does brandy have an expiration date? No. Unlike your bread or boxed mac and cheese, brandy does not have an expiration date on the label. Some manufacturers will imprint a 2-digit number on the bottom of the bottle. This indicates the year the alcohol was bottled, plus or minus a year.
Is it safe to drink old brandy? Yes. You can drink brandy even if it’s been sitting on a shelf for twenty years or more. Unless there are obvious signs of mold growth, strange color, or strange smell, brandy is safe to drink even if it’s very old, especially if it hasn’t been opened.
Unopened brandy will last indefinitely, and opened brandy will stay fresh for up to a year. Make sure to store your brandy properly to ensure a long-lasting beverage.