4 Lies You’ve Been Told About Skunked Beer

What is a Skunked Beer?

You’ve heard of it, even if it was by a different term. But what is a skunked beer? Skunked beer is what happens when your beer’s improperly stored. It gets an unappealing, musty flavor. It’s bro science 101: You can’t take a beer from iced down to warm and back without skunking it, or so we’ve been told.

Lie #1 Cold/Hot/Cold

Taking a beer from cold to warm and back to cold skunks beer. This is something that was pounded into my head from an early age. Well folks, this isn’t true at all. Light is the enemy, not temperature! To be specific UV Rays are the issue. Now if you are taking your beer from boiling to frozen and back, yeah you might change the flavor, so still handle your brew with care. But this isn’t what causes skunked beer.


Lie #2 It’s Just Bad Beer

Beer is alive, much like a vegetable. Skunked beer isn’t just a bad beer, though – it wasn’t brewed like that, just like a rotten vegetable wasn’t grown like that. Skunking is basically the chemical reaction that takes place with hops and light.


Lie #3 All Beers Skunk Equally

If you are drinking an american lager, you’re most likely not going to get a skunked beer because it has lower hop content. The pale ales and IPAs, on the other hand, are more susceptible to skunking. Every beer brewed in the U.S. has hops, however the more hops the more chance for reaction.


Lie #4 All Bottles are Created Equally

Some things that you can do to help protect you and your beer from skunking are buying in a keg or a can, they’re basically bullet proofed from skunking. If you buy your beer in bottles, make sure it’s packaged in a dark brown/black bottle. The darker the glass, the better protection it provides your beer!

If your beer is packaged in blue, green or clear glass…it’s already too late. Those colors of glass basically give you zero protection from light. So how do they make money on the beer if it’s skunked? They tell you to mask it! They advise you to add lime to it. Drink right from the bottle, giving you basically no chance to smell the skunking. You will smell the citrusy scent of the lime, and it alters the taste just enough so you don’t taste it. Meanwhile they still get to package the beer how they like it. With beers like that, marketing is key. They want you to see their bottle and know what it is without seeing the label. My advice to you is this, be careful of what beer you buy and how you store it. Store it in a cool dark area.

Also if you buy it from a liquor store, they’ll be more likely to store it properly. That gas station might have beer on the shelf for months, just sitting in that light all day. Pro tip, don’t always take the word of someone else as the end all be all.

Y’all know something we forgot to mention about skunked beer? Let us know!


Beers to you Houston!


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Chris loves Beer, Whiskey, Cigars, Music, Sports and Houston! He's worked in the oil industry since 2011. He's an Army veteran and most importantly a husband and father. His favorite beers are hop-forward and unique.

  • Jennifer Fox-Colwell
    Posted at 07:59h, 02 July

    So… beer in cans can’t be skunked, right? No light gets in, so no possibility of skunking. At least that the information I’m looking for. Helpful article. Thanks!

  • Tony D
    Posted at 09:58h, 02 July

    Hey Jennifer! Skunking happens because of light, therefore beer in kegs, cans, and totally opaque bottles are immune. However, heating/cooling can affect flavors.

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