How Long Does a Keg Last Unrefrigerated?

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At times, you may be in a position where you need to keep your keg of beer unrefrigerated for some time. It’s vital to ensure that your beer stays fresh during this time. So, how long does a keg last unrefrigerated, and what can you do to maintain its quality?

How Long Does a Keg Last Unrefrigerated?

Generally, open kegs of beer will last for a period of eight hours if not refrigerated. After this time, the beer will begin to spoil and develop off-flavors. The warmer the temperature, the shorter the shelf life of the beer. However, some brands can go up to 24 hours, depending on the type of beer.

If you are storing your keg at room temperature, you should plan on drinking it within three to four hours to ensure its quality. Also, avoid opening and closing the keg as much as possible to minimize oxygen exposure.

On the other side, a closed keg will last much longer. It can last for up to six months if stored at lower temperatures. In fact, this is how most breweries store and transport their kegs and how they are filled at the brewery. 

A close-up image of what an unrefrigerated keg looks like

How to Keep Your Keg Fresh Without a Refrigerator

You can do a few things to keep your keg of beer fresh and prevent any off-flavors from developing, even if you don’t have access to a refrigerator.

Keep Your Keg Tightly 

This is one of the most important things you can do to keep your beer fresh. A keg has two valves, a pressure relief valve (PRV), and a tap. You should always ensure that these valves are tightly closed when the keg is not in use.

Doing this will ensure no bacteria and oxygen can enter the keg and spoil the beer. Also, always clean your taps before use to avoid any contamination.

Store Your Keg at the Right Temperature

In order to keep your keg fresh and free of off-flavors, it’s important to store your keg at the right temperature. The ideal temperature for storing and serving beer is between 34-38°F. However, if you don’t have access to a refrigerator, you should keep the keg below 77°F.

If your keg is stored in a hot area and the beer gets too warm, you can place it in a tub of ice water to cool it down quickly. This way, you can easily bring the temperature of your beer back down to a safe level.

Avoid Light Exposure

Light is another enemy of beer as it can cause the beer to develop off-flavors. The UV lights in sunlight can cause a chemical reaction in the hops that produces a skunky flavor.

Always store your keg in a cool, dark place to avoid light exposure. You may also want to consider using a beer koozie to keep the light out when serving the beer.

Monitor Your Keg’s Pressure

Another important factor in keeping your keg fresh is to monitor the pressure. A keg of beer is typically stored at around 10-14 PSI. This keeps the carbonation in the beer and ensures that it doesn’t go flat.

You’ll need a carbon dioxide or nitrogen regulator to keep your keg at this pressure. You should also use a leak test to ensure there are no leaks in the keg and maintain the pressure at all times.

An image of silver keg stacked together

Fill the Keg With Cabon Dioxide

When you first get your keg, it’s important to fill it with carbon dioxide. This will create an inert atmosphere inside the keg that will prevent spoiling. When your keg is tapped, the carbon dioxide will mix with the beer and provide the necessary pressure level to keep it fresh.

Using a carbon dioxide tank and regulator, you can easily fill your keg with carbon dioxide. You’ll need to attach the regulator to the valve on the tank and then open the valve to let the gas flow into the keg. Once the keg is full, close the valve on the tank and then release the pressure from the keg by opening the valve on the regulator.

Related Questions

Can Kegs Be Stored at Room Temperature?

Yes, kegs can be stored at room temperature. However, it’s important to store them in a cool, dark place such as a basement or garage. It is also important to pasteurize the beer before storing it in a keg to avoid spoiling it.

How Long Does a Keg Stay Carbonated?

For a non pasteurized beer, a keg will stay carbonated for about two months. If you pasteurize the beer, it can last up to six months.

Can Kegs Be Refrigerated?

Yes, kegs can be refrigerated. In fact, it’s best to store kegs at cooler temperatures. This will help prevent any off-flavors from developing and ensure your beer stays fresh.


It is important to keep your keg of beer fresh and free of off-flavors if you want to ensure that it tastes good. If you don’t have a refrigerator, you can store your keg at room temperature and cool it down as needed.