Wetten Importers

You Might Think You Understand How Beer Gets Skunked…

But you might be wrong…

This beer is too hoppy. That one is too sweet. You may not like it, but chances are there’s someone else who does. Unless of course that beer is skunked (gross!). Certain beers seem to carry a distinct, inescapable aroma of skunk, and no one wants to drink a skunk.

We’ve heard just about every explanation for why some beers just taste foul and others don’t. Some people think that letting cold beer warm to room temperature will cause it to skunk (Nah.), while others think it’s a process that take much longer; we’ve even heard rumors that some brewers add the flavor during the brewing process.

The truth is, there are lots of myths and misinformation surrounding skunky beer, and we’re here to set the record straight.

“It takes a great deal of light exposure to skunk a beer.”

You might think so, but that’s not exactly true.

A beer that is skunked has fallen victim to a specific, complex chemical reaction that we’re not even sure we completely understand, but the basic idea is this: Ultraviolet light comes into contact with the hop compounds in the beer, and the resulting compound is what creates that awful smell and foul flavor. And the thing is, it doesn’t take all that much radiation to make that happen. The chemical reaction, so aptly known as skunking (gross!) can happen in a matter of seconds when exposed to direct sun.

“Some beer is supposed to taste like the back end of a skunk.”

Oh my gosh, no. No beer is supposed to taste like that.

Unfortunately though, for many mass market brewing companies, lightstruck — or skunked — beer happens so often, consumers begin to think certain types of certain beers are just supposed to taste like that. But the thing is, no brewer wants their beer to taste like that; clear or green-tinted bottles are just more susceptible to UV light, and that’s just the way it is. (For a better representation of that so-called ‘skunked on purpose’ beer, look for cans or versions of the same beer in large, brown bottles.)

Or maybe it’s time to make your next beer a Belgian beer.