How long does Ole Smoky moonshine last?

Ole Smoky moonshine is an unaged whiskey made by the Ole Smoky Distillery in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. As an unaged spirit, Ole Smoky moonshine does not have as long of a shelf life as aged whiskeys. However, with proper storage, an unopened bottle of Ole Smoky moonshine can last 1-2 years or potentially longer.

What is the shelf life of unopened Ole Smoky moonshine?

An unopened bottle of Ole Smoky moonshine has a shelf life of around 1-2 years from the date it was produced. Since Ole Smoky moonshine is unaged, it does not continue to age and smooth out in the bottle like other aged spirits. Once bottled, the flavor and quality remain stable as long as the bottle remains sealed.

Ole Smoky does not provide an exact expiration date for their products. However, distilled spirits like moonshine have a relatively long shelf life compared to other consumables. As long as the bottle remains sealed and is stored properly away from direct light, heat, and humidity, the moonshine inside should maintain its quality and taste within a 1-2 year period or possibly longer.

How to tell if unopened moonshine has gone bad?

Although moonshine can last up to 1-2 years, some signs that an unopened bottle may have gone bad include:

  • Discoloration – The moonshine may darken or change hue over time.
  • Cloudiness – The once clear liquor may become opaque or cloudy.
  • Sediment – Chunky particles or flaky sediment may form in the bottom of the bottle.
  • Off aromas – The scent may change and have unpleasant odors when you open the bottle.
  • Off flavors – The taste may change significantly, become unpleasant or have an off chemical-like flavor.

If you notice any of these signs when opening a new bottle of Ole Smoky moonshine, it is best to err on the side of caution and discard the moonshine.

Does unopened moonshine expire?

Unopened moonshine does not exactly “expire” in the sense of spoiled milk or rotten food. Distilled spirits don’t spoil in the same way as perishable goods.

However, moonshine does start to slowly degrade in quality if not stored properly. It’s best to drink unopened moonshine within 1-2 years for maximum flavor and enjoyment. Over time, the taste and aroma can start to change subtly.

So while an unopened bottle won’t necessarily “go bad”, its taste and quality can start to slowly diminish after 1-2 years. Ole Smoky moonshine won’t make you sick if it’s a few years old, but it may not taste as great.

How long does opened Ole Smoky moonshine last?

Once opened, Ole Smoky moonshine has a much shorter shelf life. An opened bottle should be used within:

  • 1-3 months – Stored at room temperature.
  • 6-12 months – If refrigerated and stored in an airtight container.

When exposed to air, the alcohol in moonshine starts to oxidize and evaporate. This causes the flavor to change more rapidly. Refrigeration helps slow oxidation and evaporation somewhat.

Signs opened moonshine has gone bad

Signs that opened moonshine has spoiled include:

  • Change in color – May darken or fade over time.
  • Flat or off taste – Loss of flavor notes and sharpness.
  • Decline in alcohol content – Won’t cause as strong a burn.
  • Cloudiness – Liquid becomes opaque.
  • Growth of mold – Visible mold growing in the bottle.

If you see any mold, it is best to discard the remainder of the opened bottle.

How to store Ole Smoky moonshine properly

To maximize the shelf life of Ole Smoky moonshine, both opened and unopened bottles should be stored properly. Here are some moonshine storage tips:

  • Store bottles upright and tightly closed.
  • Keep away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
  • Ideally store around 60-70°F if possible.
  • Opened bottles can be refrigerated for longer shelf life.
  • Place in a cool dark place like a cabinet or pantry.
  • Allow a small amount of airspace in partly emptied bottles.
  • Don’t let bottles repeatedly get warm then cold as this can introduce condensation.

Avoid storing moonshine anywhere that gets hot like near a stove or in a hot garage or shed. Temperature fluctuations and heat quicken the oxidation process.

Short-term moonshine storage tips

For short-term storage under 6 months:

  • Store unopened at room temperature out of direct light.
  • Refrigerate opened bottles and use within 3 months.

Long-term moonshine storage tips

For long-term storage over 6 months:

  • Unopened can be stored for 1-2 years in a dark cabinet away from heat.
  • Open and refrigerate, using within 6-12 months.
  • For collectible unopened bottles, can store in a wine fridge or cellar.

Does putting moonshine in the freezer extend its shelf life?

Putting moonshine in the freezer can help extend the shelf life of an opened bottle by slowing down oxidation. It can keep for 6-12 months in the freezer compared to only 1-3 months at room temp.

For unopened bottles, the freezer isn’t necessary. The shelf life of unopened moonshine relates more to the liquor’s quality rather than safety. An unopened bottle will last 1-2 years stored properly without freezing.

There are some downsides to freezing moonshine:

  • Can dull the flavor notes slightly.
  • Liquid becomes thicker and more syrupy.
  • Bottle may crack if left too long.
  • Requires defrosting before drinking.

So freezing can extend the usage window a few months but isn’t a perfect solution. Refrigeration works nearly as well without the downsides.

How to revive oxidized moonshine

Unfortunately, once moonshine oxidizes and loses its flavor there aren’t reliable ways to reverse it. However, here are some ideas that may help improve the taste of oxidized moonshine:

  • Filtering – Running it through a charcoal or carbon filter can remove some impurities.
  • Diluting – Adding water or club soda can mask off flavors.
  • Mixing – Using strong juices or sodas as mixer can cover up bad taste.
  • Infusing – Adding new flavors like fresh fruit or spices can improve the flavor profile.

These tricks may help make bad moonshine tolerable for drinking. But there is no way to fully restore moonshine’s original taste once it has oxidized and degraded over time.

Does Ole Smoky moonshine go bad?

Ole Smoky moonshine can go “bad” in that it loses quality, tastes worse, and becomes less desirable to drink. However, distilled spirits don’t spoiled or become unsafe to ingest in the same way as perishable foods.

So Ole Smoky moonshine has an indefinite shelf life, but the taste and aroma profile will start to decline after 1-2 years in an unopened bottle. Once opened, it will degrade much more quickly without proper refrigeration and storage.

While old moonshine won’t make you sick, it may lose the bold flavors and smooth taste that make it enjoyable to drink. Ole Smoky fans will find little pleasure in trying bad moonshine.

Can you still drink 2 year old Ole Smoky moonshine?

You can safely drink Ole Smoky moonshine that is 2 years old if the bottle remains sealed. However, its quality and taste will likely start to degrade.

Two years exceeds the recommended 1-2 year shelf life for enjoying Ole Smoky moonshine at optimal quality. But the liquor itself does not expire or spoil.

Before drinking 2 year old Ole Smoky moonshine, inspect the bottle carefully. Look for any discoloration, sediment or off odors. Give it a small taste test for any degradation in flavor.

If it passes visual and taste inspection with no red flags, it should be safe to drink. Just expect the flavor to start fading compared to a fresh bottle.

Does Ole Smoky moonshine need to be refrigerated?

Ole Smoky moonshine does not need to be refrigerated if the bottle remains unopened. An unopened bottle can be stored at room temperature for 1-2 years before quality may begin declining.

However, best practice is to refrigerate any bottle of moonshine after opening. Refrigeration will slow oxidation and evaporation, extending the shelf life of opened moonshine to 6-12 months.

So in summary:

  • Unopened – Shelf stable at room temp for 1-2 years.
  • Opened – Refrigerate and use within 6-12 months.

While not required, refrigeration can also help prolong the shelf life of unopened bottles past 1 year if desired.

How long does flavored Ole Smoky moonshine last?

The shelf life of flavored Ole Smoky moonshine varieties like peach, blackberry, apple pie, etc. is slightly shorter than unflavored clear moonshine.

On average, flavored moonshine will last:

  • Unopened – Around 1 year at room temperature.
  • Opened – Around 3-6 months refrigerated.

The added fruit juices and flavorings in Ole Smoky flavored moonshine tend to shorten its shelf life compared to the clear original version. The added ingredients oxidize faster and can cause the liquor to degrade quicker.

For maximum freshness and flavor, try to use flavored moonshine within 1 year of production if unopened, and within 3-6 months once opened.

How to store flavored moonshine

To optimize flavored moonshine’s shelf life:

  • Refrigerate after opening and use within 3-6 months.
  • Store unopened bottles at room temp away from light and heat.
  • Avoid extreme temperature fluctuations.
  • Keep tightly sealed when not in use.
  • Watch for any sedimentation, haziness or mold growth.

Does Ole Smoky moonshine need to be aged?

No, Ole Smoky moonshine is designed as an unaged whiskey. Unlike bourbon, scotch or other aged spirits, moonshine does not rely on barrel aging to develop its flavors.

Traditional moonshine is bottled right after distillation. The clear, high proof liquor derives its signature flavor directly from the fermented grain mash recipe. The corn and sugar provide sweetness, while the rye and malted barley add spice and complexity.

So while aging isn’t required, Ole Smoky does use various techniques to develop flavor in their moonshine:

  • Quality grains – Using corn, rye, barley in the mash bill.
  • Proper fermentation – Allows flavors to develop naturally.
  • Multiple distillations – Purifies and concentrates flavors.
  • Charcoal filtering – Removes harshness and impurities.
  • Specialty flavors – Added fruits, spices, etc.

Through expertise and precision, Ole Smoky coaxes bold, complex flavors out of their unaged moonshine.

Does Ole Smoky moonshine improve with age?

Unlike barrel aged spirits, Ole Smoky moonshine does not improve with age. Since it is bottled unaged right after being distilled, no further aging or maturation occurs in the bottle.

In fact, the taste and aroma of Ole Smoky moonshine will slowly start to degrade after bottling. While safe to drink, you are not doing the moonshine any favors by letting it sit around.

Moonshine is best enjoyed within the first 1-2 years of bottling while fresh. Leaving it longer risks oxidation, fading of flavors, and decline in overall taste and quality over time.

Some spirit connoisseurs may age and collect luxury bottles of Scotch or Cognac. But when it comes to moonshine, the fresher the better.


While lacking the long shelf life of barrel aged spirits, Ole Smoky moonshine can maintain its quality and taste for 1-2 years when stored properly. Keep bottles sealed away from light and heat, and refrigerate promptly after opening.

Moonshine won’t ever truly “expire” but it will slowly degrade after its peak. For the best experience, enjoy Ole Smoky moonshine within 1-2 years of production and finish opened bottles within months.

With basic refrigeration and air-tight storage, you can keep that mason jar of Ole Smoky shining bright for seasons to come.

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