What causes beer to skunk?

In this short article, we will be answering the question, “What causes beer to skunk?” Further, we will be focusing on how to prevent skunked beer and what effects it causes.

What causes beer to skunk?

Light causes beer to skunk. More often skunky beer is called light-struck beer. This is because the main compound used in beer is very sensitive to light. Isohumulones are bitter alpha acids, these compounds react when exposed to natural light. 

As a result of the chemical reaction, alpha acids are broken down very fast and the smaller compounds react with sulfur compounds present in the beer. So, it produces 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol, which is very smelly. 

How to prevent skunked beer?

Some companies have designed canned beers to prevent them from getting skunky. But if the exposure to light is for long, then it could cause it to be a skunk in even brown glasses. If the glass is clear, then the reaction rate is faster when exposed to light. 

If the beer is stored in green bottles, it would not get skunk because tetra hopes are used instead of actual hops.

How to prevent other off-flavors in beer?

You should store beer in a cool place because it keeps it protected from being skunky. If the beer is not exposed to heat, chemical reactions won’t occur, so it will not get skunky. Keeping it in the refrigerator helps in preserving the flavors.

Other than heat, there could be other factors that could affect the flavor of the beer such as bacteria, acetaldehyde, and dimethyl sulfide. 

Can the skunked beer be un-skunked?

No, the skunked beer can not be un-skunked because the smelly compound that causes bears to skunk can’t disappear. A very small amount of it can be detected in humans so it has a very low threshold. 

One thing that is interesting about humans is, humans get used to skunky beer very easily. If you keep sniffing it you will get used to it, then it will not affect you anymore. 

Is skunky beer safe to drink?

Yes, although due to exposure to light the beer gets skunky it is still safe to use. It does not affect its profile. The skunked beer smells bad, but it is safe like normal beer. The content of alcohol in the beer is not affected by the skunk produced.

Are oxidized beer and skunked beer the same?

The beer that is exposed to air is flat to taste but when the beer is exposed to light it gets skunk. When beer is exposed to oxygen instant chemical reactions occur, resultantly the taste of the beer is diminished. During the process of brewing, sugar is broken down in unfermented wort with the help of yeast.

So, this process results in carbon dioxide and alcohol. With the production of carbon dioxide, a significant crispy flavor. So, due to the exposure to oxygen carbonation is lost thus crispiness and flat taste of beer happens. 

Does temperature affect the beer?

No, the temperature is something that does not affect beer. Beer is not skunked by temperature variation. For fermentation, the process temperature is kept cool. So, the packing of beers is also done at a cooler temperature. 

Can you drink open beer the next day?

You should drink the opened beer within a day or two. There could be some change in the taste of beer when opened. So, you should finish it once opened or discard it after a few days. Beer does not expire but it loses taste.

Is beer bad for kidneys?

The function of the kidneys is altered due to more consumption of beer/alcohol. It makes the kidney less filtered. Kidneys lose their function of regulating fluid and electrolytes in the body. Alcohol can dehydrate the body that’s why the normal function of cells and organs is lost. 

Symptoms of drinking too much alcohol:

Drinking overdose of alcohol causes damage to human health. Following are the symptoms of drinking too much alcohol.

  • Mental confusion
  • Difficulty remaining conscious
  • Vomiting
  • Seizure
  • Troubles in breathing
  • Slow heart rate
  • Clammy skin
  • Dulled responses
  • Extremely low body temperature
  • Brain damage or death

Short-term effects

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in mood
  • Giddiness
  • Head pain

Due to the consumption of alcohol internal body organs are broken down. Consuming too much alcohol causes inflammatory damage. It causes liver diseases. It could cost you your life.

It could cause damage to the pancreas, due to this damage, not enough insulin is produced. Too much sugar is produced in the body that causes hyperglycemia. So, if the blood sugar level is not balanced then you can have side effects related to diabetes. 

It could damage your frontal lobe that is responsible for the main functions of the body.

Other FAQs about Beer that you may be interested in.

Why does beer make you burp?

Why does draft beer cause headaches?

When does beer freeze? ( +5 Ways to use frozen beer)


In this short article, we have answered the question, “What causes beer to skunk?” Moreover, we have emphasized on what are the effects of an overdose of alcohol on human health.



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