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Can Sake Go Bad?

Sake is a Japanese wine made from fermented rice. The drink is often served during ceremonies and special occasions or to cap off a good meal in restaurants. This traditional drink is also used in cooking! Sake is such a prized ingredient that most Japanese households have a bottle of sake or two on display.

Sake is highly perishable because it is almost always made by hand. Since the product doesn’t contain preservatives, it is prone to spoilage. The good news is, sake won’t spoil easily as long as it is stored properly.

Bottle of sakeImage used under Creative Commons from Tristan Kenney

Can Sake Go Bad?

Can sake go bad? Since sake is fermented, it boasts of a long shelf life. However, there is no alcoholic drink that could truly keep forever. While sake will keep for a long, long time, it will go bad at some point. High-quality sake is not only hard to come by, it’s quite pricey too! That’s why storing the product properly is a must if you want to extend the shelf life of sake.

An unopened bottle of sake has a longer shelf life than an opened bottle of sake because the product is kept sealed. As with most types of fermented drinks, air exposure is the enemy. Always seal the product after every use to extend the shelf its shelf life.

Signs that Sake Has Gone Bad

It is hard to tell if sake has gone bad at a glance. You have to smell or taste the product to know for sure if it is no longer safe to consume. Any slight taste or aroma changes could be a sign that the sake has gone bad. To be on the safe side, try not to store sake for a long time. Consume the product before the expiry date.

How to Store Sake?

The best way to store unopened bottles of sake is to keep them in the pantry at room temperature. Place the product in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, heat, and humidity. Air exposure causes oxidation that can shorten the storage life of the drink.

Bottles of sake on a shelfImage used under Creative Commons from Sean Davis

On the other hand, opened bottles of sake, as well as sake that’s nearing its expiry date, should be kept in the fridge. It’s best to store the sake in the lower rack of the fridge so the chilly temps won’t affect the delicate flavor of the product. An unopened bottle of sake will keep for 6 to 10 years in the pantry. Opened bottles of sake will keep in the fridge for 1 to 2 years. It’s best to consume the product within a year or less for optimal flavor.

Can You Freeze Sake?

You can freeze sake because any type of drink can be stored in the freezer. However, freezing is not a recommended storage method for sake. The harsh temperature will affect the delicate flavors of the drink. Since sake is a fermented product, it doesn’t require freezing at all.


Can sake go bad? Sake will go bad at some point but thanks to its long shelf life, you won’t have any problem using up your supply! Remember, sake is quite pricey so storing the product properly is the best way to get the most out of the drink.