How does beer get skunked?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how does beer get skunked” with an in-depth analysis of the factors lying behind the skunked beer. Moreover, we are going to discuss how to prevent beer from getting skunked the effect of oxygen and temperature on the quality of the beer.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How does beer get skunked?

The beer gets skunked when it comes in contact with the light. The UV light present in the sunlight can induce a chemical reaction in the beer once it gets in contact with the beer. Thereby these reactions can degrade the quality of the beer and also results in off-flavors and off-odor.

So what happens is that when the sunlight finds its way to the beer, it breaks the iso-alpha acids (that were formed by the courtesy of hops). The resulting chemical compounds now bind with the proteins that have sulfur-containing amino acids like methionine, cysteine, homocysteine, and taurine present in their formulation. Thus, the compound that is formed as a result of this reaction is 3-Methyl-2-Butene-1-Thiol that is responsible for the skunked beer.  

Why are beer bottles colored?

The beer is stored in green or brown colored bottles to protect it from the harmful effects of the UV radiation present in the sunlight. The brown bottles of the beer protect the beer from sunlight exposure more than the green bottles.

Moreover, care should be taken as moisture, air, heat, and sunlight are the enemies of the freshness and quality of the beer.

How to prevent beer from getting skunked?

You should always store your beer in a cool, dry, and dark place away from direct sunlight and heat. 

So as long as your beer is unopened you can store it in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry but once your beer gets opened, it is recommended to keep it refrigerated. 

Green bottled beer is more susceptible to sunlight as compared to brown bottled beer or the canned beer. Moreover, the barrel or the keg in which draft beer is stored provides an extra layer of protection for the beer against sunlight. 

What is the effect of oxygen on the quality of beer?

As long as the beer is unopened, no air will find its way to the beer, thus no oxygen will get in the bottle of the beer and there will be no oxidation reaction that could otherwise degrade the quality and freshness of the beer. 

So as long as the beer is unopened, storing it even at room temperature won’t make your beer go bad. But once you open your beer bottle, it is recommended to keep it refrigerated in an ait-tight bottle and consume it as soon as possible. 

It is not recommended to leave your opened beer bottle at room temperature as the bacteria can find their way to your opened beer and can degrade its quality. Moreover, the oxygen will enter the opened beer bottle, react with the beer (oxidation reactions), and degrade its color, flavor, and overall quality.

What is the effect of temperature on the quality of the beer?

Now the colder the temperature is the more will be the shelf life of the beer. But it does not necessarily mean that if you keep an unopened bottle of the beer at room temperature it will go stale. No, it does not work like that. An unopened bottle of beer lasts for about 6-9 months if stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.

Storing the beer at too high temperature (above 90 degrees Fahrenheit) can induce some chemical reactions in the beer that can degrade its quality at a fast pace. 

So if you want to keep your beer fresh for a long time, it is better to keep it cold and to store it at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the fridge. An unopened canned, as well as bottled beer, last for about 6 months to 2 years if it is stored properly at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the fridge. 

How to spot a bad beer?

If the beer has some off-flavor (stale or sour taste), off-smell, or if some sediments/ particles are lying in the beer bottle, then it is the indication that your beer has gone bad. If the color of beer changes then it is an indication that the beer is past its prime age. 

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how does beer get skunked” with an in-depth analysis of the factors lying behind the skunked beer. Moreover, we discussed how to prevent beer from getting skunked and the effect of oxygen and temperature on the quality of the beer.

Citations

https://www.businessinsider.com/why-beer-is-skunked-and-how-to-prevent-it-2014-10

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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