Some of my favorite beers come in 22+oz bottles. Typically these are heavier beers and sometimes, I simply cannot finish the entire bottle in one sitting (maybe I had too much to eat previously. Who knows). Because they are nice beers, I want to enjoy them to their fullest extent, and so I will save the remainder for another night.

How can I prevent these beers from losing any (at least a bare minimum) of their quality once they've been opened? And, does this being opened for a duration -- typically 1 to 2 days -- have a noticeable effect on their quality?

  • I'll drink the whole bottle after opening a beer bottle. This reminds me of a quote from Frank Herbert's Dune (the original quote was about water though). "Drink all your beer," Paul said. "Axiom: the best place to conserve beer is in your body. It keeps your energy up. You're stronger." – Dionisio Franca Jul 1 '14 at 2:44
up vote 19 down vote accepted

The short answer is that the beer will not last long after opening, and in most cases you are best off resealing the bottle with an airtight cap/stopper that can withstand mild pressure.

Two things you want to prevent in this situation are:

  1. oxidation of the beer, which will change the taste of a beer.
  2. loss of carbonation.

For non-carbonated drinks such as wine, a common method to combat oxidation in an opened bottle is to remove the air from the bottle using a vacuum pump. This is a bad idea for carbonated drinks, since the lower pressure will force carbon dioxide to out of solution causing it to go flat. One alternative would be to replace the air with an inert gas (perhaps with a product like Private Preserve).

To minimise loss of carbonation, you really only need to reseal the bottle so it is airtight: carbon dioxide will stop coming out of solution once the pressure builds. The smaller the air gap in the bottle the faster the pressure will build, so if it is a large bottle with only a small amount of beer left it might make sense to transfer it to a smaller bottle first.

  • 4
    Grolsch bottles can help with this. I have a couple 12oz ones that I use if I want to drink half of a 25oz bottle today and half tomorrow. – Monica Cellio Jun 8 '14 at 4:37
  • I like the idea @Oliver proposed in combination with this suggested response. Find a bottle with the minimum amount of free space between the beer and the opening, and seal that opening with a cork. That should produce enough of a seal to minimize the loss of carbonation. Maybe a 375ml bottle of wine? Save those corks! It would be interesting to know what the rate of carbonation loss is for resealed beers. – macsmith Jun 6 '16 at 18:51

I typically drink all of the beer in a sitting, or share it with someone.

However, if you need to save it, a good cork will work. Pour the beer you want in a glass, cork it and return it to whatever cooling method you used before.

If you have a sparkling water maker, you could theoretically use it to force-carbonate a flat beer. You should make sure to keep it cold and sealed however, as exposure to oxygen or sunlight will rapidly degrade the flavor.

I put a teaspoon or a fork in the bottle. Empirically it works, but I don't know exactly what physics laws are involved. This method will allow you to keep carbonation longer.

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

I buy growlers and as soon as I open one I will pour what I am not going to drink into containers I can top off. It easily keeps for 2-3 days in the fridge. Even at 7 days it is just a bit flat.

A bigger air gap lets more CO2 escape.

I will drink directly out of the canteen to not lose more CO2 on a second pour. And pour carefully the first time. It may be me but I think a pouring into a chilled canteen has less head.

For small you can use kids canteens - this is 12 oz and you can get a regular lid
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If you have beer left in a screw-top (i.e. twist-off) glass beer bottle, immediately screw the cap back on as tightly as possible. Place in the refrigerator UPSIDE-DOWN. The pressure won't escape because the cap now only has to be liquid-tight, not air-tight.

It should stay fizzy for at least a week upside-down.

Storing right-side up will allow pressure to quickly escape because the re-used cap can never seal as tightly as the original factory seal.

This also works for any other carbonated beverage with a screw top.

By the way, for long term storage, a bottle or case of any carbonated drink in screw-tops should be stored upside-down. Because even the factory sealed caps will leak CO2 over time.

  • Thanks for this interesting info! Have you done this personally? (Just wondering if this is something you know from experience or something you heard somewhere.) – Monica Cellio Sep 16 at 3:34

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