Does Brandy Go Bad or Expire? (How To Tell For Sure…)

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When was the last time you opened that bottle of brandy that has been sitting in your liquor cabinet for who knows how long? Now you’re wondering if the bottle you bought some years ago is still good for consumption. (*) So, does brandy go bad?

A bottle of brandy can last for almost forever as long as it is still unopened. It won’t even spoil because of its high alcohol content, especially if it is properly stored. However, as soon as you open the bottle, its quality will start to diminish as the months pass.

Before you hit yourself for realizing that you have forgotten your old bottle that has been kept in the storage for a long time, let us help you to understand everything you need to know about:

Keep reading to learn more!

What is Brandy?

Liquor cabinets won’t be complete if it’s missing a bottle. It is also the most popular spirit that you can find in bars.

It is a type of spirit distilled from wine, and it can also come from other fermented fruit mashes or fermented fruit juice such as apples or peach. This alcohol is aged in wooden containers until an amber-colored liquid is achieved.

Paraffin-lined casks or earthenwares are used to maintain the original clear color. Then, a caramel solution is added to darken it.

It is about 40 to 50 percent alcohol by volume or 80 to 100 proof. Examples of different types of brandy include grappa, pomace, fruit brandy, marc, and eau-de-vie.

The name Brandy is derived from a Dutch name, which means “burnt wine.”

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How Long Does Brandy Last?

Known for its high alcohol content, it does not go bad if we talk about food safety. In other words, bacteria or other microbes cannot survive in this type of alcoholic environment.

  • An unopened brandy can be kept for an indefinite period as long as you store it properly.
  • Once opened, you can still store it for decades but expect that there will be some changes to your brandy’s taste and quality.

If you want to enjoy a glass of the best-tasting quality of your drink, you should consume it within 6 to 12 months.

Take note that the quality of the bottle you bought and the storage condition can help you determine how long you may want to keep a bottle.

Signs of Spoilage: How To Tell

The moment you have opened the bottle of brandy, be aware its quality will slowly diminish moving forward.

To make sure your bottle is still good for consumption, all you have to do is inspect the contents of your opened bottle of brandy using your senses. It is also best if you’re aware of how a good brandy should taste like.

Testing your drink is easy! Here’s how to do it:

  1. Get a glass and pour a small amount of brandy into it.
  2. For quality purposes, take a little sip of the alcohol to taste it. If you think it tastes fine, then go ahead and enjoy your drink.

Just in case you might notice that you’ll have a flat-tasting brandy, it indicates that the flavor compounds have disappeared as went by.

Just simply discard it if you think it does not taste good at all.

On the other hand, if a brandy tastes somewhat flat but seems okay, people mix it in cocktail drinks instead of throwing it away. The combination with other ingredients will help cover up the old poor taste of brandy.

Aside from cocktails, you can try infusing your flat-tasting brandy with herbs, spices, or fruits that have low moisture content.

You can infuse it with vanilla beans, cinnamon, cloves, and dried fruit.

To do that, you’ll need to:

  1. Prepare the fruits, herbs, or spices and put them in a glass jar. Make sure that this is a sealable jar
  2. Pour into the dried fruit-filled glass jar until the liquid has reached the neck.
  3. Close the jar’s lid tightly and give it a few shakes
  4.  Keep your dried fruit-infused brandy in a cold dark place and let it sit for a few weeks.

You can then use the infusion as soon as your desired flavor is achieved. Later on, you can have a nicely infused brandy that you can use as an extract for your baking needs.

Again, the decision on whether or not to use an old-stored brandy will depend on your judgment.

How To Store Brandy?

Proper storage is essential to protect the flavor and quality of your brandy for as long as possible.

Following the storage guidelines below will help your bottle last for months or even years after you have opened it. These are the tips:

  1. You should keep in a tightly sealed container to minimize evaporation and maintain its potency for a longer time.
  2. Store your bottle in a dry, cool, and dark place. A designated spirit or liquor cabinet is the best place to keep your bottle. You can also store it in your basement, in the food storage, or in the coolest place of your kitchen – away from temperature fluctuations.
  3. Keep your bottle away from heat or light to prevent oxidation.
  4. You may also store the bottle in either the freezer or refrigerator.

And if you have about one-fourth of the alcohol left in its bottle, we advise that you should transfer it to a smaller bottle to help minimize evaporation. We need as little air as possible to get into the bottle.

Frequently Asked Questions


The great thing about brandy, we can safely say that it does not spoil as its high alcohol content is not the ideal environment for molds or other pathogens to thrive.

You can keep a bottle for an indefinite period. Just keep it in a cool dark place where it can remain safe. But once you have opened the bottle, your brandy can go bad as its quality will slowly drop over time.

If you suspect something wrong with the way your bottle smells or tastes, it will be your call on whether to throw it away or use it in cocktail mixes or infusions.

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