Does Red Bull Expire?

by Charlie
Red Bull Energy Drink

Red Bull has a long life as far as artificial drinks go, but it doesn’t last forever. Critics like to say that energy drinks are just straight chemicals, but they actually contain a lot of organic compounds such as nutrition supplements. Anything organic isn’t going to be shelf-stable forever.

Does Red Bull expire? Yes, Red Bull does expire or “go bad”. Red Bull’s expiration date ranges from 18-24 months after the manufacturing date. Despite that timeframe, the drink can be safely consumed 6-9 months after its expiration date.

Like most drinks in its category, it lasts a lot longer unopened than it does when the can has been popped. After that, a Red Bull’s drinkability is dramatically shortened.

How Do You Read the Red Bull Expiration Code?

The estimated date for the expiration of a Red Bull is printed clearly on the bottom of the can. It’s not like some drinks that have a “born-on” date instead.

How Long Can Unopened Red Bull Last?

The expiration date on Red Bull is typically placed around 18 to 24 months after the manufacturing date. As long as the drink is not open, it will easily last for this duration. Once the expiration date has been reached, the drink can safely be kept around for another 6 to 9 months and still be fit for consumption.

The expiration date on the bottom of the drink is more than just the maker’s consideration for your health. It’s something that’s required by law. 

This is why you see expiration dates on jugs of water. Does water go bad? Of course it doesn’t. But the expiration date is mandated by law and so things that technically don’t expire get dated as if they do. It’s also a legal precaution for the maker.

Many people find through trial and error that the expiration date is very conservative as to when the drink goes bad.

How Long Does Red Bull Last After Opening It?

Opening a can of Red Bull reduces its shelf life from months to hours.

You should try to have the drink consumed within the first two days. After that, there will be a noticeable change of taste and possibly color.

You could consume the drink up to 4 days after opening it. But by then, you might not want to.

How Should You Store Red Bull?

A trip to your favorite grocery store has likely shown you that it doesn’t make a difference if Red Bull is refrigerated or not. It manages just fine in the drink cooler as it does on the shelf with the bottled water.

But that’s not to say that you can help your Red Bull supply by storing it with some consideration. Store your Red Bull in a cool dark place that doesn’t get exposed to extreme temperature and the drinks will last you to the full 6 to 9 months after the expiration date.

So keeping Red Bull in the refrigerator isn’t so much about extending its life as it is about keeping the experience of drinking it enjoyable. Room temperature Red Bull? No thanks.

What Happens If You Drink Expired Red Bull?

That depends on how far past the expiration date you go. If you drink a Red Bull right after the expiration date, you probably won’t notice a single difference between that and a Red Bull that had just been made. You’ll still get to enjoy the taste and the energy boost.

But as you wait even longer, you will end up with a drink that might not taste as good as it could, and also might not supply the energy you expected. The energy boost comes from nutrients that are organic in origin, so they break down over time.

At the extreme end of things, drinking a ridiculously expired Red Bull could put you in the hospital. This is so if the can you drink from was swollen before you opened it.

A swollen can indicates two things.

That the chemicals in the energy drink have started to react with the metal of the can that contains it, which means that the energy drink has started producing hydrogen gas. Drinking an energy drink that has reacted with its container would effectively be poisoning yourself.

A swollen Red Bull could also mean that there’s a presence of bacteria in the drink, and the bacteria have started feeding on the contents and producing carbon dioxide. Consider such a drink to be liquid food poisoning.

Whether the drink has reached the expiration date or not check for discoloration around the cap. This is always an indication of possible contamination of the drink that either occurred in the canning and processing part or it means that it has been on the shelf too long and it’s been on the shelf too long and was not removed in the routine rotation of product. 

Why Does Red Bull Last So Long?

When an energy drink is manufactured, the company wants to make sure that it lasts as long as possible. A drink that leaves the factory without being bought is wasted money for them. So the longer the drink can safely sit on the shelf waiting for a buyer, the more likely it is that the company will make a profit.

And of course, there’s the added benefit that you get to enjoy the drink.

One of the most direct ways that the drink is given a longer shelf life is by adding preservatives. The carbonation in Red Bull? They didn’t put that in there just so you could enjoy a fizzy drink. It also hinders the growth of microbes in the Red Bull.

Then there’s the method of sterilizing the drink. The drink is subjected to extremely high temperatures that guarantee that all the bacteria present in the drink have been killed off. Send the drink is cooled back down and then canned. That way the drink goes into a container free from germs and other unhealthy elements.

Final Thoughts

  • Red Bull has an expiration date clearly printed on the bottom of the can so you can check its suitability for consumption. 
  • The drink is dated for 18-20 months after it’s canned, but if stored properly, it can last for 6-9 months past the expiration date. 
  • Drinks consumed long after they’ve expired could taste terrible, have no energy-boosting effects, and pose a serious health threat. 
  • Opened Red Bull can safely be consumed after 4 days, but it probably will not be enjoyable. 
  • Red Bull is best when stored in cool, dry places with no exposure to extreme temperatures.

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