The Science of Skunky Beer

Who doesn’t love teh beer? Who, I ask? Who?

You! In the back! Get out!

For those of us that do enjoy the yeasty potable, the frosty barley pop, the drinkable meal, I’ve got the link for you:

A Skunk Walks into a Bar . . . Fighting beer’s fouler flavors

Yep, that’s right, an entire scholarly article on the whys and whatfors of foul brew. From the effects of sunlight to the decrepit degeneration of old age, this one explains them all.

The best pieces of advice for beer lovers?

The customer, too, has a part to play in extending a beer’s life. “The most important way to slow down aging is to store beer at cold temperature,” says Vanderhaegen. “Brewers can’t control that.”

Heat speeds the reactions that produce stale flavors in stored beer. “You can ruin the flavor in a week,” says Siebert, by storing beer in a hot garage. Most brews, kept at room temperature, can be expected to keep their good flavor about 3 months, he says.

But for the best taste, keep storage time to a minimum. “The fresher the beer, the better it’s going to be,” Klimovitz says.

Now I’m no fan of icy-cold lagers or those macro brews from Milwaukee and St. Louis, so I argue in favor of supporting your local brewer (in my case, Sweetwater or Atlanta Brewing Company) at your favorite watering hole (pints!) or grocery store.

So read on and educate yourselves. The more you know, the less bad beer you’ll imbibe.

Plus, science is that much cooler when you get get a buzz off the results!

6 thoughts on “The Science of Skunky Beer

  1. It has been my experience that if you let cold beer get hot, and then try to make it cold again, it gets skunky. So, you should only buy cold beer if you A) plan on drinking it fairly soon; or B) can get it in the fridge/cooler ASAP.

    This is something that everyone should carry around in the back of their mind.

  2. Conniseur says:

    Duane speaks the truth. Beer shipped cold might not be stored cold. Busy liquor stores are your best bet. Stay away from supermarkets, unless you happen to have a Trader Joes in your area, where beer is not chilled untill the consumer chills it. If you ever find a Belgian brew you have found something beautiful.

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