Can you drink ginger ale after expired?

Ginger ale is a popular carbonated soft drink flavored with ginger. It has a sweet taste and is often used to help settle upset stomachs. Ginger ale is usually non-alcoholic, however some brands may contain trace amounts of alcohol from the fermentation process. The shelf life of unopened ginger ale depends on a variety of factors, including the best by date and how it is stored.

Does ginger ale go bad?

Like most soft drinks and beverages, ginger ale does not exactly “go bad” in the sense of spoiling or becoming unsafe to drink. However, the quality and taste can degrade over time past the expiration date. An unopened bottle or can of ginger ale stays fresh and retains its carbonation for at least 9-12 months from the printed manufacture date. After this time, the ginger ale progressively gets flatter and deteriorates in flavor.

How to tell if ginger ale is expired

Here are some signs that your ginger ale may be past its prime:

  • Flat taste – Fresh ginger ale should have a bubbly, effervescent quality when poured into a glass. Flat or lifeless carbonation is a red flag.
  • Off odors – Outdated ginger ale may start to smell off, with diminished ginger aromas.
  • Changes in color – The beverage may darken and start looking cloudy or murky.
  • Expired best by date – Check the date code printed on the bottle/can.
  • Damage to container – Rust, dents, or bulging could indicate spoiled contents.
  • Separation – You may see more separation between the liquids and solids compared to when fresh.

Is it dangerous to drink ginger ale after the expiration date?

Consuming ginger ale past its best by date is generally not dangerous or harmful, though the taste and quality may be compromised. Here are some things to consider:

  • Preservatives – Modern ginger ales contain potent preservatives like potassium benzoate and sodium benzoate. These preserve taste and prevent microbial growth for months after expiration.
  • Alcohol content – Ginger ale contains 0.5% alcohol or less, not enough to cause food poisoning issues when stale.
  • pH level – The beverage’s acidic pH prevents pathogenic bacterial growth.
  • Packaging – Unopened containers protect the ginger ale from external contaminants.
  • Refrigeration – An unopened expired bottle kept refrigerated will stay fresher longer.

So while not ideal in taste, even ginger ale 6-12 months past its prime is unlikely to make you sick due to spoilage microbes or toxicity. That said, always inspect the container carefully before drinking and never consume ginger ale that smells odd or is heavily discolored.

How long does unopened ginger ale last after expiration?

Here is a table showing approximately how long ginger ale stays ok to drink after the printed expiration date, if properly stored:

Storage Temperature Time After Expiration
Pantry/Room Temperature (68°F – 72°F) 6 – 9 months
Refrigerator (35°F – 40°F) 9 – 12 months
Freezer (0°F or below) 1 – 2 years

As shown, unopened ginger ale lasts longest when kept sealed in the freezer, retaining good quality and carbonation for 1-2 years past the printed date. The fridge extends shelf life to about a year after expiration. And at room temp, it stays consumable for 6-9 months.

Does ginger ale need to be refrigerated?

Refrigeration is not required for ginger ale, but is recommended for maintaining carbonation and optimal flavor after opening. An unopened bottle can be safely stored at room temperature. Once opened, it’s best to refrigerate and consume within 5-7 days.

Does expired ginger ale still fizz?

While expired ginger ale holds its carbonation surprisingly well if the bottle remains properly sealed, it will gradually lose its fizz and go flat. Over time past the best by date, the CO2 bubbles that provide ginger ale’s signature tingle dissipate. After 6-12 months, the drink tends to lose most of its effervescence.

However, if the bottle has been opened and resealed, the ginger ale goes flat much quicker. An opened bottle only retains decent carbonation for 5-7 days when refrigerated before the CO2 gas escapes.

Can ginger ale be frozen after opening?

Yes, you can freeze ginger ale for long-term storage after opening if you don’t think you’ll finish the bottle quickly. Here are some freezing tips for preserving opened ginger ale:

  • Pour the ginger ale into freezer-safe containers like plastic bottles or jars, leaving 1-inch headspace.
  • Squeeze out excess air and seal the containers tightly.
  • Freeze for up to 6 months.
  • Thaw in the refrigerator before drinking to rechill.
  • Ginger ale may lose some carbonation after freezing and thawing.

Freezing stops the deterioration in flavor and flatness once ginger ale is exposed to air. Just be aware it could taste a bit watered down after thawing.

What happens if you drink expired ginger ale?

Here is what happens if you consume ginger ale after the printed expiration date:

  • Upset stomach – The ginger may cause some mild digestive upset, especially if you drink a lot.
  • Flat taste – Lack of carbonation due to CO2 escaping from the bottle.
  • Off flavors – Diminished ginger spice notes and a stale taste.
  • No illness – Consuming expired ginger ale does not directly cause food poisoning or vomiting.
  • Benefits lost – The health benefits of ginger fade over time with loss of compounds.

Overall, drinking old ginger ale is not harmful, but provides less enjoyment due to the degradation in quality and flavor. The ginger content may cause some gastric distress if heavily expired, but cannot make you sick on its own.

How to store ginger ale to extend shelf life

Follow these tips to maximize the shelf life of ginger ale after opening:

  • Refrigerate – Keep ginger ale chilled at 35°F – 40°F once opened.
  • Avoid heat – Store away from hot places like the stove, oven, or dishwasher.
  • Reseal tightly – Always screw the cap back on firmly to avoid losing carbonation.
  • Use quickly – Try to finish opened ginger ale within 5-7 days.
  • Don’t freeze – Freezing causes carbonation loss in already opened bottles.
  • Watch for signs – Discard if you notice a flat taste, changes in color, or odd smells.

With proper refrigerated storage, an opened bottle or can of ginger ale will retain good eating quality for about a week past opening. Freezing can extend shelf life for months once opened, though some fizz may be lost.

Does ginger ale expire?

Yes, ginger ale does expire and has a limited shelf life after the bottling/production date:

  • Unopened – Stays fresh for 9-12 months when stored properly.
  • Opened – Should be consumed within 5-7 days of opening.
  • Refrigerator – Lasts 5-7 days after opening (up to 1 year if unopened).
  • Pantry – Stays good for 6-9 months unopened (don’t store opened containers here).
  • Freezer – Keeps up to 1-2 years frozen unopened. 6 months maximum frozen after opening.

The shelf life of ginger ale depends greatly on storage conditions. Unopened containers last for about a year at room temperature when kept away from heat, light, and moisture. Once opened, ginger ale degrades quickly, so refrigerate and consume within a week. For maximum freshness, do not drink ginger ale past 1-2 years after the printed expiration date on the package.

How to tell if opened ginger ale is bad?

Check for these signs that opened ginger ale has spoiled and should be discarded:

  • Flat, non-carbonated texture
  • Off odors that smell vinegary, rotten, or acidic
  • Visible mold, fuzz, or yeast growth
  • Cloudy appearance or sediment at the bottom
  • Fizzy, gushing hiss upon opening
  • Discolored darker liquid

If your ginger ale exhibits any of those characteristics, err on the safe side and throw it away. While not toxic, flat or foul smelling ginger ale won’t taste good and indicates it is past its prime.

How to revive flat ginger ale

To re-carbonate ginger ale that has gone flat, you can:

  • Add a pinch of baking soda.
  • Drop in a few marble-sized pieces of dry ice.
  • Use a soda siphon to re-inject CO2.
  • Mix in a bit of freshly opened ginger ale.

None of these DIY methods work as well as drinking fresh ginger ale. But in a pinch, adding baking soda or dry ice can impart a light fizz and make flat ginger ale more palatable.


Drinking ginger ale shortly after its printed best by date is generally not dangerous and poses no health risks. While it may lose some carbonation and taste appeal, the preservatives and acidic nature of ginger ale prevent harmful microbial growth for months past expiration.

To maximize freshness and quality, store unopened ginger ale in a cool, dark place and try to use within 6-12 months of the date on the package. Once opened, keep refrigerated and finish within 5-7 days. Look for changes in appearance, texture, and smell to determine if opened ginger ale is past its prime.

With proper refrigerated storage and avoiding extreme temperature fluctuations, ginger ale can retain good flavor and carbonation for up to a year past the printed expiration date. However, for ultimate taste and fizz, it’s best consumed as close to the bottling date as possible.

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