Does Whiskey Keep Aging Once It’s In The Bottle?

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Does Whiskey Keep Aging Once It’s In The Bottle?

Glass of Bourbon

The short answer is no. Whiskey is not like wine it does not continue to age once bottled.

The long answer is not so easy. While whiskey doesn’t age in the glass, it does eventually turn bad. It’s not a very predictable process with an old bottle. A bottle can be 20 years old and have turned bad, or like many bottles in the gallery be 80-100 years old and appear to be completely fine. But, not to be difficult, appearances can be deceiving. We don’t definitively know if whiskey is good or not without opening the bottle.

What does whiskey look like that might be bad?

It isn’t clear to see through at room temperature. Whiskey that is cold can sometimes be cloudy and that has nothing to do with the quality, but rather the lipids reacting to the temperature. In extreme situations it whiskey can look like chocolate milk.  DON’T DRINK THIS STUFF!

Other signs that whiskey might be bad are extremely sun bleached labels, water damage near the capsule, fill levels below the shoulder of the bottle, bits of cork in the whiskey and damaged capsules.

What makes whiskey go bad?

Well, it’s not an exact science, but we do know that exposure to extreme temperatures will cause the whiskey to turn as well as prolonged exposure to sunlight and heat. Another cause is whiskey stored on its side. Any spirit 80-proof or higher stored on its side will degrade the cork over time and eventually let air into the bottle that will both oxidize the spirit and allow it to evaporate.

Is there a time limit for how long a bottle should kept sealed?

Not really, just monitor it and store it well and know that it was meant to be drank!