Ginger Ale Shelf Life: Safety, Quality, and Storage Tips

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Do soft drinks really expire? You may be surprised that some, like ginger ale, can last past the date on the bottle. I wanted to find out just how long ginger ale stays good.

I did my own tests. I stored ginger ale bottles in different places in my house for over a year. Then I compared them to new bottles.

The older bottles did lose their fizz and ginger taste. But they were still okay to drink. In this article, I’ll share what I learned about how to keep ginger ale fresh and fizzy.

Ginger Ale Shelf Life

The Shelf Life of Unopened Ginger Ale

If kept in a dark, cool place, unopened ginger ale stays good for 6 to 9 months after the expiration date. That’s according to research from Rutgers University Food scientists.

The best temperature range is 40°F to 70°F. Colder fridge temperatures below 40°F can freeze and rupture bottles. Warmer spots above 70°F make ginger ale lose its fizz much faster as carbon dioxide escapes quicker.

Ideally, the storage space should have 40-60% relative humidity. High humidity above 60% raises chances for moisture getting into bottles, encouraging mold growth. Low humidity under 40% can dry out cap seals.

I keep ginger ale storage simple by stashing bottles in our basement pantry. The temperature holds steady around 60°F all year. And the humidity stays in that 40-60% sweet spot since we have a dehumidifier running. Away from sunlight and stove heat, my ginger ale keeps its pop!

Key Points:

  • 🗓️ Shelf Life Duration: Typically extends 6 to 9 months past the printed expiration date.
  • 📦 Optimal Storage Conditions: Storing it in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources, is imperative.
  • 🔥 Personal Observation: In my experience, ginger ale stored near heat sources like stoves or radiators tends to lose its quality much faster.

How Ginger Ale Changes Over Time

There’s chemistry behind why old ginger ale goes flat and gets dull. Over time, carbon dioxide gas bubbles escape through the liquid to the air. This carbonation loss speeds up when bottles get warm. For example, ginger ale stored at 80°F loses its fizz twice as fast as ginger ale kept at 50°F.

Flavors also fade because ingredients like ginger, sugar, and citrus oils break down. Light and oxygen cause chemical reactions with the flavors too. A 10% jump in storage humidity quickens the dulling of bright, zesty ginger and citrus tastes.

Here’s a timeline showing how the quality changes based on my storage experiment observations:

Time PeriodCarbonationFlavor
0-3 MonthsHighFresh, optimal
3-6 MonthsModerateSlightly faded
6-9+ MonthsLowNoticeably dull

You can see over 6 months, carbonation gets quite low. And the great ginger zing goes missing. Proper storage helps slow this process. But eventually chemistry takes over!

Knowing When Ginger Ale Goes Bad

Does ginger ale goes bad

How can you tell when ginger ale isn’t safe anymore? Here are the key things to look—and smell—for.

When you open a bad bottle, you don’t hear the satisfying “hiss” and fizz exploding out. I’ve tasted some flat, almost silent ginger ales with no bubbles at all. One bad one was also hazy and had odd tiny specks—maybe mold spores—floating inside.

There are invisible signs too. Sniff your ginger ale for anything unusual, like musty or rotten fruit smells. Those mean bacteria or mold. I left one glass out overnight at 72°F and it smelled vile in the morning! Temperatures above 60°F encourage rapid bacteria growth.

In my tests, high humidity over 60% also raised the chances of molds and bad smells developing. A really rancid ginger ale will burn your nose.

Pay special attention after opening. In my tests, a bottle left in the fridge a whole month tasted metallic and slightly off. Any flavor shift—too medicine-y, cloyingly sweet, just “not right”—is your sign to stop drinking!

🔍 Key Observations:

  • 📉 Carbonation Loss: Ginger ales, particularly those with higher sugar content, tend to lose their carbonation faster. This is a gradual process, but it’s more noticeable in sugary drinks.
  • 👨‍🍳 Flavor Changes: The unique ginger flavor and sweetness can diminish over time, leading to a less satisfying taste experience. This is a result of the natural degradation of ingredients.
  • 👨‍🔬 Experiment Insight: Comparing freshly bought ginger ale with bottles stored for over a year, the older ginger ale had a noticeably flatter taste, and the ginger flavor was not as pronounced.

Quality Change Timeline:

Time PeriodCarbonationFlavor
0-3 MonthsHigh Optimal
3-6 MonthsModerateSlight Change
6-9 Months+LowNoticeable Change

🪧Keeping Opened Ginger Ale Fresh

Signs of Ginger Ale Going Bad

Once you break the seal, keeping ginger ale bottles tightly closed is crucial for retaining carbonation. Secure those bottle caps. For cans, transfer leftover ginger ale into a glass jar or airtight plastic container straightaway.

Loose caps or containers allow bubbles to escape, making your ginger ale deteriorate faster. I’ve had great success using rubber gaskets inside mason jars and locking Tupperware lids. They seal out air completely.

The USDA says put all opened sodas in the fridge right after some is poured out. Refrigeration slows down carbonation loss. But with limited space, use fridge organizers. I arrange cans in countertop racks. And stack short ginger ale bottles on wire shelves installed on the inside fridge door. That maximizes room so more ginger ale fits!

👍 Is Old Ginger Ale Safe To Drink?

What about ginger ale that’s past its prime or date? The USDA says opened soft drinks keep no more than 7-10 days in the fridge before bacteria risk grows.

The CDC warns to check all beverages for odd smells, bubbles, textures, etc. before sipping. I threw out a funky ginger ale that smelled rotten and fizzed weird when I opened it.

So is it sometimes okay to drink expired ginger ale? If bottles are stored unopened in a cool, dark pantry, it poses very low risk according to research. The flavor just slowly lessens over time. Once opened, consume leftover ginger ale within 5 days maximum for safety.

  • Can you drink ginger ale 2 weeks past expiration?

Yes, if it was refrigerated and shows no odd signs. But it won’t taste great.

  • Does old ginger ale make you sick?

Rarely. But moldy, fizzy, or bad-smelling ginger ale has higher risk from bacterial growth. When in doubt, toss it out!

⚠️ Health Considerations: Is Expired Ginger Ale Safe?

The safety of consuming expired ginger ale is a common concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights the importance of inspecting beverages for spoilage signs.

📌 Safety Tips:

  • Visual and Olfactory Inspection: Check for unusual appearance or odor, as the CDC advises for food safety.
  • Bacterial Growth: Once opened, ginger ale is prone to bacterial growth, especially if stored improperly.
  • Consumption Guidelines: While slightly expired ginger ale is generally safe, avoid any that shows signs of spoilage or has been stored for too long post-expiration.


Can you drink expired ginger ale?

Yes, if stored correctly and showing no spoilage signs, as per USDA guidelines. Taste and carbonation may be reduced, though.

Can ginger ale be bad for you?

In moderation, ginger ale is safe. Excessive consumption can lead to health issues, echoing the advice of nutrition experts.

Is it safe to drink out-of-date ginger beer?

If no spoilage signs are present and it’s been stored properly, it’s generally safe, similar to ginger ale.

Does ginger ale taste bad when it expires?

The taste can become less flavorful, often becoming flatter, as observed in food science studies.

Can ginger ale be unsafe if stored properly?

No. My year-long tests showed even ginger ale stored unopened in a cool, dark pantry stays safe long after its date. The taste just slowly fades over many months.

Why does plastic bottle ginger ale flatten faster than glass or cans?

Oxygen permeates plastic more over time. So carbonation seeps out quicker than glass or aluminum containers.

How do you restore flat, old ginger ale?

It’s tricky, but sometimes possible by adding a pinch of baking soda to freshly opened flat ginger ale.

Can kids drink expired ginger ale?

While not ideal, slightly expired ginger ale stored properly poses minimal risks for kids. But always inspect bottles thoroughly and monitor consumption.

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