Canned Water - How Long does it Last? A Live Taste Test

Topics in this category pertain to planning. Discussions include how to prepare yourself, your family and your community for catastrophes and what you plan to do when they hit you.

Moderator: ZS Global Moderators

User avatar
raptor
ZS Global Moderator
ZS Global Moderator
Posts: 16333
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 10:18 pm
Location: Greater New Orleans Area

Canned Water - How Long does it Last? A Live Taste Test

Post by raptor » Sun Dec 09, 2007 9:41 pm

I obtained several cases of canned water that was canned in December 2005. It was labeled as not for re-sale and was no doubt canned by a soft drink bottler as opposed to a beer company bottler. In the aftermath of Katrina these cases of water were being handed out gratis by many groups.

Any way just for giggles I opened one today. It had turned to what I would describe as a muddy or skunky smell. I tasted it and it had a very distinctive muddy taste even though it was clear and devoid of any obvious solids.

As a further experiment I boiled the water for 10 minutes at rolling boil. The stream was also muddy smelling, but after letting the water cool I tasted the water again and the flavor was still unpaltetable but did taste better. I suspect agitation from the boiling did more to improve the taste that the heat by introducing more oxygen into the water. I also would not hesitate to use the water for sanitation purposes after I boiled it.

I then opened several more cans with the same odor present in all cans I opened. I decided to discard the cans since a problem with potable water in a disaster is the last thing I would want.

Therefore based upon these observations I would say the life of canned water unless indicated otherwise by the manufacturer is less than 2 years.

Since this question seems to come up in this forum often I thought I would post these observations here.

User avatar
IllicitDreams
* * * * *
Posts: 1995
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 7:16 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: Most anything Romero, Shaun Of The Dead, 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, you know the basics...
Location: Central Ohio
Contact:

Post by IllicitDreams » Sun Dec 09, 2007 9:43 pm

Thanks for the info Raptor.

I'll definitely keep that in mind.
ImageImage
My Pocket Survival Kit/My EDC/My Blog

CERT Volunteer, Amateur Radio Operator, SKYWARN Certified Storm Spotter

User avatar
UberMunchin
* * *
Posts: 638
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 10:20 am
Location: North Georgia

Post by UberMunchin » Sun Dec 09, 2007 9:50 pm

When I was doing relief work in Georgia after the floods in 1994, my group was provided with cases upon cases of this canned water phenomenon as well. Pepsi and Budweiser both contributed these I believe.

My experiences paralleled yours.... I have no idea how hey make clear purified water taste so much like canned dirt. But it will keep you hydrated, though some of us experienced mild nausea after consuming it.
"Antive English Speaker"

Image

jeepinbandtrider
* * * * *
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 1:02 pm
Location: MCAS MIRAMAR
Contact:

Post by jeepinbandtrider » Sun Dec 09, 2007 10:20 pm

I can't stand drinking water from a can even when it's fresh.
Image

Image

Fenris
* * *
Posts: 604
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2006 7:42 pm
Location: Fort Smith, Arkansas

Post by Fenris » Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:12 pm

I presume that somehow the chemicals they used to "freshen" it possibly leaked minerals from the can itself, or possibly the water itself did this...

-fenris-
"How quickly a man takes on the qualities of darkness. Men who live by night; the soldier, the thief, the traveller by night, the vagabond... theirs is a different way of thinking, and they do not fear the dark nor what may come upon them by night because they themselves are of the night, a part of it." ~louis lamour

User avatar
ZombieKraft
* * *
Posts: 517
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 7:38 pm

Post by ZombieKraft » Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:38 pm

well maybe zombiesquad should have a get together and see if 45 year old water is any better.

http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/clt/502722565.html

User avatar
Cybrludite
ZS Member
ZS Member
Posts: 1769
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 2:10 am
Location: ZSC: Fo-Tay! Making the dead sit still in the 504!
Contact:

Post by Cybrludite » Mon Dec 10, 2007 7:14 am

Even "fresh", they had kind of a metallic taste to them. Makes you wonder what gets hidden by all the high fructose corn syrup in canned sodas... :shock:
“There are only two ways to sleep well at night, be ignorant or be prepared” – Simon Black

Readiness is all. — William Shakespeare

Senectute Et Perfidia

User avatar
ZombieKraft
* * *
Posts: 517
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 7:38 pm

Post by ZombieKraft » Mon Dec 10, 2007 8:42 am

I really don't get the mud taste. I ate a can of food last year that expired in 1997. I didn't get sick. Anyone have any clue what is going on?

BTW, waterbeds apparently carry 400 gallons. I wish they made them out of food grade material. That way the economies of scale might make them a very cheap alternative.

http://www.fcs.uga.edu/pubs/current/FDNS-E-34-3.html

User avatar
ant69
* * * *
Posts: 897
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2007 12:31 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: 28 Days
Location: PNW

Post by ant69 » Mon Dec 10, 2007 9:36 am

This must be a can only problem? I have consumed 3yo plastic bottles and the coast guard approved packets the bottles had a plastic flavor (not strong) but the packets tasted fresh. I have been stocking up on plastic bottles from Costco and cycling though and stocking up on Coasty approved packets when I can get them. Oddly enough most surplus, sporting goods and boat supply do not stock them but will special order them for you. Apparently they are not that big of a seller until SHTF. Ant

Does anyone know, how does temp or storage conditions factor in or does the canned water just tase like dirt?

User avatar
raptor
ZS Global Moderator
ZS Global Moderator
Posts: 16333
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 10:18 pm
Location: Greater New Orleans Area

Post by raptor » Mon Dec 10, 2007 10:51 am

ant69 wrote: Does anyone know, how does temp or storage conditions factor in or does the canned water just tase like dirt?
I cannot speak for the storage conditions before I received them, but I stored the cans in a climate controlled storage area.

I suspect that these cans of water were done cheap and fast. There was no expiration date but other cans from obviously other sources did have an expiration of a about a year. These same "brand" of cans did not have a muddy taste when I used them about a year ago. There was a slight metallic taste, but not the muddy smell or the taste.

In the process of discarding the cases I noted a few cans were lighter than the others. I opened them and they were short filled. I saw no signs of leakage but I would have sworn they were all full? Lets put it this way they were obviously empty when I took them out to remove them. I am sure they would have been obvious putting them up. The pop tops did look intact though since none were carbonated there was no hiss when the seals were broken on any of them.

Anyway I think I will stick to food grade 55 gallon drums from now on for my water storage needs beyond the normal household bottled water consumption.

southalabama
* *
Posts: 195
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:30 pm
Location: Brewton, AL

Post by southalabama » Mon Dec 10, 2007 11:33 am

The cans have an expiration date on them,

I've still got a few from Ivan compliments of Budweiser, the water smells and tastes like aluminum from the can.

User avatar
raptor
ZS Global Moderator
ZS Global Moderator
Posts: 16333
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 10:18 pm
Location: Greater New Orleans Area

Post by raptor » Mon Dec 10, 2007 11:46 am

southalabama wrote:The cans have an expiration date on them,

I've still got a few from Ivan compliments of Budweiser, the water smells and tastes like aluminum from the can.
I have cans from three different sources. This particular batch had no expiration date on them. They were labeled clearly with a "packaged" date and time and a "batch" number. There is no expiration date anywhere on these cans.

Other cans from other sources in my possession do clearly have a manufacture date and an expiration date clearly labeled as such. In all cases the bottler is indicated clearly indicated on the can, but I will not reveal the name since the water was donated and it is not fair to give them any bad PR over this matter.

southalabama
* *
Posts: 195
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:30 pm
Location: Brewton, AL

Post by southalabama » Mon Dec 10, 2007 1:38 pm

The cans I have state..............drink with in one year from date on bottom of can.

On bottom of the can, they have a packaged date.

They are from America's favorite brewer from St. Louis.

After 3 years they taste like the can.............but they sure were good when new.

User avatar
tiktok
* *
Posts: 137
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 2:54 pm
Location: Georgia

Post by tiktok » Tue Dec 11, 2007 3:04 am

I vaguely remember being told during one of my boot camp classes in the Navy that if you take a can of canned water and hit it, it either makes, or does not make, a kind of ringing sound if it is ok to drink. The problem is I can't remember which :x

Big help, I know, but maybe the old search fu will help. I did a quick look and couldn't find it. Maybe someone will have better luck.

I'll try to find my old bluejackets manual and see if it is in there.

P.S. In my defense boot camp was 20 years ago.
The man who would be a warrior considers it his most basic intention to keep death always in mind, day and night, from the time he first picks up his chopsticks in celebrating his morning meal on New Year's Day to the evening of the last day of the year. - Daidoji Yuzan

User avatar
ant69
* * * *
Posts: 897
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2007 12:31 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: 28 Days
Location: PNW

Post by ant69 » Tue Dec 11, 2007 11:18 am

This thread reminded me to check the emergency kit here at work. I new that some of the water packets were past the expiration date when I started here in 2003, I have discovered that two of the coasty approved water packets in our personal survival provisions have a 11/2001 expiration date. I am going to restock the kits with a couple packets from my GHB. Later I'll open and test the contents of the 6 years past due packets and see if it resembles fresh water in anyway. I'll let you know what happens. Wish me Luck :lol: Ant

User avatar
raptor
ZS Global Moderator
ZS Global Moderator
Posts: 16333
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 10:18 pm
Location: Greater New Orleans Area

Post by raptor » Tue Dec 11, 2007 12:09 pm

ant69 wrote: Later I'll open and test the contents of the 6 years past due packets and see if it resembles fresh water in anyway. I'll let you know what happens. Wish me Luck :lol: Ant
That would be interesting, please do post the results.

Midian
* *
Posts: 203
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 8:19 pm
Location: Georgia

Post by Midian » Tue Dec 11, 2007 12:47 pm

"See it is good tasting peaches"

"But, it is a can of creamed corn?"

User avatar
SpaceCoyote80
*
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 5:43 pm
Location: Houston, TX
Contact:

Post by SpaceCoyote80 » Tue Dec 11, 2007 2:34 pm

This thread reminded me of the time I mistakenly bought a case of canned water from Wal-Mart for a 24-hr paintball scenario. I had never before seen canned water and didnt even realize it came that way. If I remember correctly, it did have a metallic taste but was still pure as far as I knew.

Later on, when I thought to get some as emergency supplies, I never saw them again. I figured they might be a little more durable than a plastic bottle with a plastic seal.
"Smokie, this is not Nam. This is bowling. There are rules." - Walter Sobchak "The Big Lebowski"

User avatar
FriedCheese
* * * *
Posts: 930
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 11:31 pm
Location: Flatland near some 13k ft hills, USA.

Post by FriedCheese » Tue Dec 11, 2007 11:54 pm

Zombiekraft - good resource! 8)
Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must.
Duke of Wellington

"Lucky is the man who has to never confront what he is truly capable of"
CSI


Got One?
,——'¯¯';=====±—-
!‚–’¯¯ƒ¹¶

User avatar
ant69
* * * *
Posts: 897
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2007 12:31 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: 28 Days
Location: PNW

Post by ant69 » Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:04 pm

Okay it's been 24 hours and no "ill" effects. When I opened it there was no funky smells or explosions and the vapors didn't burn my eyes. It was actually kind of exhilerating as I gathered enough nerve to taste it. I took a sip and waited no severe bitterness or chem taste. It really didn't even have that flat taste like there was Amoeba's in it. :wink: About the same amount of plastic aftertaste you would expect from a water bottle opened then left out on a sunny day, barely noticable. A mouth full with swizzling and lip smacking didn't do much to increase the plastic flavor. The water was perfectly clear and there was no slime left behind in the pouch after drinking.

Just for background these packages are left over from a attempt by a former building facilities manager to provide a 48 hour cubical survival kit in 96. There is supposed to be one per person in located in a drawer in every work area. These kits have been robbed from time to time and most are gone altogether. I'm told they had a nature valley granola bar in the orginal kit. I may have to pass on trying an 11 year old granola bar if I find one though.

The greater part of the facility being underground with no windows the idea of a survival kit is a good one though I believe that my proximitey to the exit and my provisions in my vehicle will be sufficiant for the majority of disasters liekly to arise.

I will be acquiring more CG approved emergency water pouches. This is definately a viable alternative for water storage IMO. The added security of individual rations and small packaging is definately a plus also.

11 year old water and I'm not pukeing FTW!

Ant

User avatar
raptor
ZS Global Moderator
ZS Global Moderator
Posts: 16333
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 10:18 pm
Location: Greater New Orleans Area

Post by raptor » Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:49 pm

Good information ant69.

Based on the non-statistically significant tests conducted by you and me; I would say with a high probability of accuracy that canned water has a palatable life of between 1 but not more than 2 years and that properly sealed USCG approved pouches of water have a palatable life of at least 11 years.

I would assume the USCG approved pouches are geared toward long term storage whereas the canned water is geared toward immediate distribution and consumption.

One final point:
I would not hesitate to use unpleasant tasting canned water for things like washing/rinsing dishes, personal hygiene, washing clothes & cleaning equipment which need only uncontaminated water.

The only thing that worries me about drinking the muddy tasting canned water is the source of the taste. It was still clear. I am not sure if the taste was due to chemicals or metals dissolved in the water. Chemicals may (or may not) be removed by boiling the water. Metals will not boil out unless you set up a condensing unit to capture the steam and convert it back to liquid water. Therefore I would probably limit old (2+ year old) canned water to cleaning, hygiene and grey water uses only.

southalabama
* *
Posts: 195
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:30 pm
Location: Brewton, AL

Post by southalabama » Wed Dec 12, 2007 2:37 pm

There is still some Hurricane Ivan (2004) water floating around town........most of the guys just keep some around to wash their hands with or radiator problems. I've tasted it............if thirsty enough, its drinkable.

User avatar
sheddi
ZS Global Moderator
ZS Global Moderator
Posts: 3426
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2007 6:33 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: 28 Days Later
Shaun of the Dead
Location: Hampshire, England

Post by sheddi » Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:47 pm

raptor wrote:The only thing that worries me about drinking the muddy tasting canned water is the source of the taste. It was still clear. I am not sure if the taste was due to chemicals or metals dissolved in the water.
You get a funny taste to water (possibly the one you describe) if it's lacking dissolved air. Boiling won't improve this either.

Try taking a sample of the water and pouring it vigorously from one pan to another half-a-dozen times, to get some air dissolved in it. You could probably achieve the same end by shaking half a pint of it in a sealed 2-quart soft drink bottle, but then there's a chance it will take up the taste of the soft drink too.
Be Pure!
Be Vigilant!
Behave!


Member
ZSC:010 - UK Chapter
My EDC / GHB (needs updating)
Foundation licence holder - Mike-Six-mumble-mumble-mumble.

ka5gtc
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2007 5:56 pm

Post by ka5gtc » Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:57 pm

After hurricane Rita I got 48 cases of canned water. The water taste like crap but I stored it anyway. I have a Big Berky filter and ran a few cans through and I can out with no funky smell or taste. A good filter can be a life saver.

Post Reply

Return to “Contingency Planning & Preparation”