I began making a few gallons of mango wine a few months back, and it was fermenting very well. I got all of the fruit and debris out a week or so after I started it, but I kept it fermenting in the primary fermenter. As things turned out, before it was finished with the primary fermentation, I decided to take a break from drinking for a while, and I ended up neglecting it for a long while. When I finally got around to checking on it some 6 months or so later, the air lock had dried out. I went to go pour it out, but when I opened the lid, the wine was clear, smelled of alcohol and mango, and I think it might be good still, even though the airlock was probably gone for a long time. I'm wondering, is it still safe to drink?

2 Answers 2


Short answer Yes

No known harmful pathogens can survive in beer or wine.

From your disciption there seems to be no sign of acetobacter which can sour the wine, usually it will have a pellicle on top. But even then is safe to drink.

Let us know how it is, sounds like a nice wine.

  • 2
    "No pathogens can survive in beer or wine" - this is really dangerous oversimplification. Up to 70% alcohol some pathogens may survive. Below 40% not all even form spores. So while I agree his wine is probably safe, your answer may cause harmful mislead.
    – Mołot
    Jan 28, 2016 at 8:50
  • @Mołot thank you. Edited to reflect how John Palmer stated it in How to Brew. Jan 28, 2016 at 12:03
  • @Mołot alcohol alone isn't the only featurer of beer and wine, that keeps it safe. The low pH plays a big role. What people offten forget is that this stuff has been made for 1000's of years with far less sanitary conditions. Fermentaion is what allowed humans to safe drink when water sources would litterally kill you. And make old rotten fruit and vegetables useable, or even directly eatable. Jan 28, 2016 at 13:28
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    So you're both right. Thanks for the exchange, I learned something, no kidding...cheers. drinks beer perhaps with harmful pathogens that aren't known to be harmful to injest
    – ty733420
    Jan 29, 2016 at 2:24
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    I tasted it, and to my surprise, it was very good. I racked it into three gallon sized bottles and affixed proper air locks.
    – Chad Long
    Jan 30, 2016 at 2:02

It's probably ok, but try a sip first before guzzling it. How does it taste? Does it have enough alcohol to preserve it? The magic number for that is 12.3% ABV.

Airlocks don't guarantee freedom from contamination and nor does lack of fluid in an airlock guarantee contamination. The water just helps. The bend in the pipe is really enough to stop most contaminants, and the water will remove some more but not necessarily all.

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