Too much beer is hardly a bad problem to have, but there are times when, yes, you open a bottle and realize you can't finish it. This often happens to me when I open large 750 mL bottles of specialty (and quite often very alcoholic) beers. Unless I open it with friends, it's just too much for one sitting. I used to worry that the leftover would go to waste, but now I just save it for later.
I first realized that beer could be saved when I started buying growlers from a local brew pub. Concerned that I'd need to drink the entire growler right after buying it, I asked the bartender how long the beer would keep. She said it would gradually lose carbonation each time I opened the growler, but would keep perfectly well for several days in the fridge.
I remembered this the next time I found myself with a leftover bottle of beer, and tried sealing it with an old wine cork. The next day, the beer was slightly less bubbly, but still frothy, flavorful, and most certainly drinkable.
I've since come to rely on rubber stoppers and a vacuum pump — the same I use for preserving a half-full bottle of wine. Once secured with the vacuum sealer, these stoppers keep an airtight seal and seem to work very well at holding CO2 in the bottle. (Careful, though: if the bottle is still more than three-quarters full, it can sometimes froth up when you pump the vacuum sealer.)
Sealed and refrigerated, I find that a bottle of beer will keep fairly well for about three days. After that point, the beer starts to taste too flat to be enjoyable to drink.
• Wine Bottle Vacuum Sealer Pump with 2 Stoppers, $4.20 from Amazon.com
(Image: Emma Christensen)