Baileys Shelf Life: Can It Go Bad? How To Tell…

There’s nothing like a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur, especially during a cold winter night.

It’s a kitchen staple come to Christmas time, with all the adults trying out delicious alcoholic concoctions that taste like the holidays.

Whether it’s spicing up a hot chocolate, coffee, or mixed with ice cream, you’ll love it!

Since it’s usually enjoyed during the winter season, you may have a leftover bottle lying around.

They’ve probably been waiting to be consumed for so long!

This begs you to ask:

  • How Long Does Baileys Last?
  • Can Baileys go bad?
  • How To Store Baileys?
  • And Most Importantly, How To Tell IF It’s Bad.

Read on as we tackle the shelf life of a bottle of Baileys Irish Cream.


What’s Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur?

image of Baileys Go Bad expiration date

Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur is a fantastic blend between milk and alcohol.

Baileys contains an alcohol content of 17%, mixed with homogenized Cream.

Homogenization is a process that combines two liquids of the same thickness until they are one. Once mixed, the mix is then emulsified with oil to prevent the dairy and alcohol from separating.

Baileys Irish Cream contains Cream, cocoa, along with other herbs and spices, making it a perfect addition to your hot chocolate.

And that’s how Baileys Irish Cream is made!

You can find it in local grocery stores sold in 750ml bottles or more.

Because of its alcohol content, you might think that it lasts long, like other liquors.

Does Baileys Go Bad?

Unfortunately, that’s wrong. Take note that Baileys is a liqueur and not liquor, meaning it won’t last forever. It spoils with age, especially because of the dairy content from the Cream. Baileys won’t spoil as quickly as dairy products do, but it does go bad at one point.

What’s great about Baileys is that it lasts the longest compared to other Irish Cream brands. Its best before date is always 2 years after the manufacturing date.

And take note that best before dates are not expiration dates. This means that your bottle of Baileys Irish Cream can last a bit longer after that. However, it’s best consumed before its best by date for best taste.

image of drink curdled baileys irish cream go bad

How Can You Tell If Baileys Has Gone Bad?

We recommend consuming your opened or unopened bottle within two years of purchasing it.

It can last for a few days or weeks after the best by date but expect it to change flavor and consistency.

Before you pour Baileys into your drink, do check it first.

You never know if it’s actually spoiled!

Pour a bit of Baileys into a glass and inspect these characteristics:

1. Smell

Does the liqueur smell different compared to when you first got it? If it has a custardy or musty smell, it’s most likely spoiled.

2. Texture

Swirl the glass and inspect the Irish Cream’s texture. It should be thick and creamy. If it’s congealed or lumpy, then the Irish Cream is curdled and spoiled.

However, the texture can sometimes change over time without it compromising the flavor. Please give it a good shake before pouring the Irish Cream into a glass to get a more accurate answer on whether it’s gone bad or not.

3. Color

If you can see some form of separation between the alcohol and milk, that’s a bad sign. The drink should appear creamy and opaque, NOT dark and cloudy. If it has totally different color compared to what Baileys usually looks like, then it’s gone bad.

4. Taste

If all looks well, but you’re still a bit wary, then take a tiny sip, enough to taste some flavor.

You will immediately notice if your Baileys has spoiled if it tastes sour, like yogurt or sour cream. If it still tastes sweet and creamy, you’re free to use it.

Fun Fact: You should not drink with Baileys anything that would mask the taste of the Bailey’s, such as coffee or cola. Also, you should avoid any drink that is too sweet as it will take away from the taste of the Bailey’s.

image of drink expired baileys bailey's irish cream

Learn more: What does Baileys Irish Cream Taste Like?

How to Store Baileys Irish Cream

Bailey’s Irish Whiskey Cream Liqueur can last a little longer than its best by date. Just be sure to store it properly.

Here are helpful storage tips so your Baileys irish cream won’t go bad too quickly.

1. Refrigerate it

Baileys has its own manufacturer instructions at the back label, showing you how to keep your bottle safe and tasting fresh.

It’s recommended to refrigerate your Baileys after opening to retain its flavor.

Make sure that the bottle stays in storage with temperatures between 0-25C or 32-77F.

We don’t recommend freezing Baileys, as the quality will suffer from the freezing and thawing process.

The only exception to freezing Baileys is if you’re planning to make it into ice cream!

You can churn the Irish Cream and freeze it, then indulge.

2. Keep in the liqueur cabinet.

An opened bottle of Baileys doesn’t need to be refrigerated, though it does need to stay in a cool, dark place to remain fresh.

You can keep it in a liqueur cabinet or home bar, provided that the temperature is cool enough. Keep it at a temperature below 25C or 77F.

Please keep it away from direct sunlight exposure or fluctuating temperature levels.

It’s better to keep it in the liqueur cabinet if it’s still unopened.

Fun Fact: There’s nothing inherently “girly” about Baileys—it’s just a sweet, creamy liqueur that can be enjoyed by men and women alike. However, because it’s often served cold and in smaller portions, it’s sometimes seen as a more “feminine” drink than something like whiskey or bourbon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know more about the shelf life of Bailey’s Irish Cream, what else is there to know about this alcoholic drink?

Check out these frequently asked questions:

1. Is it OK to drink Baileys out of date?

If your Baileys has a curdled texture, it’s still possible to consume it, but you will most likely hate the taste and texture. Furthermore, it’s unsafe to drink curdled milk, causing pain and discomfort.

As for completely spoiled Baileys, we urge you to toss it rather than try salvaging your drink.

You can still enjoy your Baileys Irish Cream a few weeks after its best by date, but give it a taste test. If you still decide to drink expired Baileys with curdles or off-color and taste, you will most likely get sick.

Remember, Baileys contains dairy. Treat your bottle of Baileys as a dairy product. If you have curdled Baileys that tastes off, then it has gone bad. (*)

2. How long does Baileys last when unopened?

Unopened Baileys can last for about 6 months even after its best by date.

It hasn’t had any exposure to oxygen, so the alcohol preserves the Cream for long, staying fresh in sealed environments.

However, the shelf life shortens when you expose your unopened bottle of Baileys to heat. If you store it well, it can even last for years. Just make sure you inspect pouring it into your drink.

3. How long does homemade Irish Whiskey Cream last?

Again, Baileys lasts the longest among all Irish Cream brands. It’s also the most popular brand out there!

But if it’s out of stock or you want a cheaper alternative, expect it to last between 6 months to 2 years. Different brands would have a similar life span to Baileys, though it’s worth checking the best by date and following it.

4. How long does off-brand Irish Cream last?

Yes, it’s possible to make your own homemade Irish Cream; just add various ingredients, like coffee, to suit your tastebuds!

Unfortunately, it may not last as long as Baileys. Expect it to last for up to 2 months maximum when tightly sealed and stored in the fridge properly.

There are ways to lengthen the life span of your homemade Irish Cream, though. The higher the alcohol content is, the longer your Irish Cream lasts. You can also add dairy milk alternatives to last longer, though it won’t be as creamy.

Wrapping It Up

We hope this article helped you learn about Baileys Irish cream, answering your question, ‘does Baileys go bad?

If you have a bottle of Irish Cream, Baileys or not, keep this information in mind and store this whiskey-based alcoholic beverage well for it to taste amazing.

image of does baileys irish cream liquer go bad

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