Do you have to refrigerate Jack Daniels after opening?

Whether or not to refrigerate Jack Daniel’s whiskey after opening the bottle is a common question many drinkers have. The short answer is no, you do not have to refrigerate Jack Daniel’s after opening it. However, there are some things to consider when deciding if you want to store your Jack Daniel’s in the fridge or not.

Quick Answers

Here are quick answers to common questions about refrigerating Jack Daniel’s:

  • Do you have to refrigerate Jack Daniel’s after opening? No, it is not required.
  • Does refrigerating Jack Daniel’s keep it fresh? Not really, but it can help avoid evaporation.
  • Should Jack Daniel’s be stored cold or at room temperature? Either is fine.
  • Will Jack Daniel’s go bad if not refrigerated after opening? No, it has a very long shelf life.
  • How long does opened Jack Daniel’s last unrefrigerated? Around 4-5 years stored at room temperature.

About Jack Daniel’s Whiskey

Jack Daniel’s is one of the most popular whiskey brands in the world. It is made in Lynchburg, Tennessee using a charcoal mellowing process that involves filtering the whiskey through 10 feet of sugar maple charcoal before aging it in new American oak barrels.

All Jack Daniel’s whiskey is 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume). The classic No. 7 Jack Daniel’s black label is a Tennessee Whiskey that blends together whiskeys aged 4-8 years.

Other varieties like Gentleman Jack, Single Barrel, and the premium Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof have different ages, proofs, and flavor profiles, but the same overall production process and standards apply.

Shelf Life of Jack Daniel’s

Unopened bottles of Jack Daniel’s have an indefinite shelf life. The whiskey will remain safe to drink as long as the bottle remains unopened and stored upright. Over many decades, the flavor profile may slowly change and become more mellow, but the liquor does not spoil or expire.

Once opened, Jack Daniel’s has a very long shelf life. Industry experts estimate opened bottles of Jack Daniel’s will taste best for at least 4-5 years when stored at room temperature. The 86 proof whiskey is 40% alcohol, which helps preserve it. As long as it remains sealed between pours it will last for many years.


The main enemy of an opened bottle is evaporation through the cork or lid over a long period of time. If too much whiskey evaporates, it can cause oxidation and flavor changes. Refrigeration helps slow down this evaporation process.


The flavor itself does not spoil or go bad per se. However, you may notice the taste becomes slightly flatter or loses some aroma and fruitiness over the course of several years after opening. This is primarily due to oxidation, not safety issues, and many enjoy the mellowed flavor.

Does Refrigeration Keep Jack Daniel’s Fresh?

Cooler refrigerator temperatures between 35-40°F do help minimize evaporation loss in an opened bottle. However, refrigeration does not make Jack Daniel’s stay “fresh” forever once opened.

The primary flavors and quality of Jack Daniel’s slowly change over time after opening no matter how it is stored. The aging process that gives whiskey its color and flavor ceases once bottled. Unlike wine, refrigerating whiskey does not halt the aging process.

So while refrigeration can help slow down evaporation a little, it does not keep Jack Daniel’s fresh forever or maintain the exact same taste for years.

Condensation Issues

One downside of refrigeration is condensation. If you refrigerate Jack Daniel’s, be sure to wait until the bottle warms up to room temperature before opening. Otherwise condensation from the temperature change can dilute the whiskey.

Make sure to tightly seal the bottle between pours, as leaks let in air that causes flavor deterioration.

Should You Refrigerate Jack Daniel’s After Opening?

Whether you choose to refrigerate opened Jack Daniel’s comes down to personal preference. It is perfectly fine to store it either at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Here are some factors to consider when deciding:

  • Evaporation – Refrigeration minimizes evaporation from the bottle over years of storage.
  • Condensation – Prevent dilution from condensation by letting refrigerated bottles warm before pouring.
  • Convenience – Refrigeration takes up refrigerator space and requires letting bottles warm before use.
  • Taste – The flavor profile slowly changes at room temperature but is not negatively affected.
  • Temperature – Jack Daniel’s may taste best lightly chilled, but should not be served freezer-cold.

Room Temperature Storage

Storing opened Jack Daniel’s bottles at room temperature around 70°F is completely safe and provides easy access. The juice may slowly oxidize and mellow over years, but notspoil. Room temperature storage avoids condensation and the need to warm bottles before pouring.

Refrigerator Storage

Refrigerating opened Jack Daniel’s around 40°F can help minimize evaporation loss for bottles you want to keep for over 5 years. The lower temperature storage also slows down oxidation reactions very slightly. However, there is still gradual flavor change, and condensation must be avoided by letting the bottles warm up before opening.

Freezer Storage

While refrigeration can be useful, the freezer is too cold for long-term storing open bottles. Extremely cold temperatures near 0°F can cause irreversible flavor loss. Never store Jack Daniel’s in the freezer long-term.

How Long Does Opened Jack Daniel’s Last?

Here is an overview of how long Jack Daniel’s lasts after opening when stored properly in a sealed bottle:

  • Room temperature shelf life: 4-5 years before notable flavor deterioration
  • Refrigerator shelf life: 5+ years before notable flavor deterioration

So a bottle stored in the fridge or at room temperature should taste good for at least 4-5 years after opening. It will technically be safe to drink for even longer, but the flavor profile will decline over time.

Proper Storage

To maximize the shelf life of opened Jack Daniel’s, store it in a cool, dark place in an upright position. Keep the bottle tightly sealed between pours, and do not let it get low enough to allow significant air inside, which causes oxidation.

Signs of Expiration

Over time, evaporation and oxidation slowly change the taste and aroma of Jack Daniel’s. Signs your opened bottle may be past its prime include:

  • Flat, muted aroma
  • Loss of fruitiness and vanilla/caramel notes
  • Harsh medicinal alcohol taste
  • Visibly low fill level
  • Any mold or residues in bottle

An expired bottle of Jack Daniel’s that was not stored properly may also develop a bland or harsh metallic taste.

Does Jack Daniel’s Go Bad Once Opened?

While opened Jack Daniel’s can eventually decline in flavor quality, it does not exactly go bad in a food safety sense. The 40% alcohol content prevents growth of dangerous bacteria and molds as long as the bottle remains properly sealed between uses.

Drinking old Jack Daniel’s that was opened years ago and stored poorly may not taste great, but it won’t make you sick or be unsafe to ingest even decades later because of the preservation power of alcohol.

That said, a bottle that has been left with a very low fill level below the neck or had debris introduced could potentially harbor mold or bacteria. So inspect and smell your Jack Daniel’s before drinking to check for any off-notes if it has been opened a very long time.

How to Tell If Opened Jack Daniel’s Is Bad

Signs that opened Jack Daniel’s may have gone bad and be unsafe to drink include:

  • Cloudy appearance or particles/debris floating around
  • Mold growth in bottle or under cap
  • Rancid or rotten aromas
  • Sour, yeasty, or spoon-like taste

If you notice any of these warning signs, err on the side of caution and dispose of the bottle. Otherwise, old Jack Daniel’s is safe to consume even if the taste is not as good as a fresh bottle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you store Jack Daniel’s in the fridge?

It’s not required, but refrigeration can help minimize evaporation and slow oxidation in bottles you want to keep long after opening (5+ years). Room temperature storage is fine too.

Does Jack Daniel’s need to breathe after opening?

No, Jack Daniel’s does not need to “breathe” or oxidize like wine or other spirits. It’s best to minimize air exposure by keeping the bottle sealed between pours.

Can Jack Daniel’s freeze?

While Jack Daniel’s won’t actually solidify in a home freezer, freezing temperatures can cause permanent flavor loss. Never store bottles in the freezer long-term.

What’s the best way to store Jack Daniel’s?

Store opened Jack Daniel’s in a cool, dark cabinet or refrigerator at consistent room temperature or below. Keep the bottle upright and tightly sealed between uses. An unopened back-up bottle can be kept indefinitely at room temperature.

How long does unopened Jack Daniel’s last?

An unopened bottle has an indefinite shelf life. It will stay safe to consume for many decades as long as it remains sealed and stored upright at room temperature.

In Conclusion

Jack Daniel’s whiskey, like other distilled spirits, has a very long shelf life after opening. Refrigeration is not required, but can help minimize evaporation for long-term storage past 5 years. The flavor will slowly deteriorate over time, but Jack Daniel’s does not spoil or go bad per se. With proper storage techniques, an opened bottle of Jack Daniel’s can easily remain enjoyable for 4-5+ years at room temperature and does not need to go in the fridge.

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