If you have brandy that has been in the liquor cabinet for quite a while now, you are possibly hesitant to have it opened. Does brandy go bad? This is probably the question that you have at the back of your mind.
In this post, we will let you know if brandy ever expires. More importantly, we will also discuss how you can be assured that it will remain fresh and at its best state even through the years. We will also briefly tackle some of the signs that you should watch out for to tell if your liquor is still good for drinking.
What is Brandy?
Before we proceed with the rest of the discussions, let us first have a quick look at what brandy is. It is named after a Dutch word brandewijn, which literally means burnt wine. This is in reference to the application of heat to drive out the alcohol from the ingredients that are used.
Brandy results from distilling wine further. It is aged in oak barrels, which is one of the reasons why it has high alcohol content. While alcohol usually has a negative reputation for the health, there are some claims about how brandy is actually good for the heart, weight, and anti-aging, among others.
It is also important to note that brandy is a stable alcohol. This is unlike wine that ages through the years, even when it is already bottled. In the case of brandy, it matures only once it is in the barrel. After bottling, aging stops. This means that whether you open the bottle today or next year, or even after ten years, the taste will remain the same.
Below is a short video that will tell you more about brandy, including how it is made.
Does Brandy Go Bad?
The good news is that brandy does not go bad, at least if your concern is food safety. The main reason for this is the high alcohol content, which has the ability to inhibit the growth of bacteria that could possibly lead to spoilage.
The shelf life of brandy is indefinite, especially if the bottle is left unopened. There is no need to worry about food poisoning or other serious health issues. However, keep in mind that there can be differences in quality if it is stored in the long-term without paying attention to its external environment.
What Happens When Brandy Goes Bad
We have already earlier reiterated that brandy does not go bad. However, this does not mean that quality will remain the same throughout the years. Yes, it will be safe to consume it indefinitely, but chances are, there will be degradation in one way or another.
Among others, one of the signs that it has already gone bad is oxidation. This happens when the liquor is exposed to oxygen, basically because the bottle has been opened and you did not close it properly. Exposure to light or heat can also speed up oxidation, which will have a negative impact on flavor. It will turn bland and flat.
Another thing that could happen is evaporation. This will be the case if you put brandy bottles in a place that is warm. Similar to oxidation, this will lessen the quality of the brandy and will make the flavor less distinct.
How To Properly Store Brandy
The good news is that oxidation and evaporation can be avoided, provided that you pay attention to the proper storage of your brandy. First, avoid opening a bottle unless you are ready to drink it. Once it has already been opened, it becomes more prone to exposure to external elements that could speed up its degradation.
Look for the right place to store brandy in the long-term. The pantry and the basement are two of the best locations. Ideally, it should be cool, dark, and dry. Avoid exposure to the direct heat of the sun or any other heat sources within the household. See to it as well that there will be no temperature fluctuations.
Proper positioning of the bottle is also crucial. Make sure that it is always kept upright. This is as against wine that is stored vertically. In the case of brandy, vertical storage can cause sugar to accumulate around the cork and will inevitably have a negative impact on its flavor.
If oxidation and evaporation has caused the flavor to be lost, one good thing that you can do is fruit infusion. In this case, you simply have to add fruits, herbs, or spices in a jar and pour brandy. Cover it, shake, and let it sit for about three weeks. This will give your brandy a different kind of flavor, yet there is the same kick from the alcohol.
In any case, if you notice that the color, flavor, and aroma of brandy has changed after being stored for a long time, throw it away. Fortunately, spoilage is unlikely to happen even after many years, especially if the liquor is stored and handled properly.
Dos brandy go bad? How would you know if it has already gone bad? What are the best ways to store brandy? Based on the discussions above, here is a summary of the answers to your questions:
- Brandy comes from the Dutch word brandewijn, which means burnt wine. It is wine that is distilled further to increase alcohol level. This is a stable spirit, which means that it will not age once it is already bottled.
- When it comes to food safety, brandy does not go bad. With its high level of alcohol, it is able to inhibit bacterial growth and will make it last through the years.
- However, while it does not go bad in terms of food safety, its quality can degrade overtime. Oxidation and evaporation can happen because of exposure to heat, light, and air. They will cause brandy to go flat, negatively affecting its flavor.
- To keep the brandy in its best state, proper storage is critical. Store it in a cool, dark, and dry place. It should also be stored horizontally to prevent the sugar from accumulating in the cork. Fruit infusion can be a good idea to restore flavor that could have been lost from oxidation and evaporation.