Anyone who drinks beer has at one point encountered a skunky smell to an otherwise seemingly fresh brew. At Consumer’s we sell only the freshest product and have laid out the following guidelines to help our customers nurse their beer until they are ready to pour a cold one.
1. Exposure to light
Keep your beer from being exposed to light for an extended period of time. Light is a primary culprit for having your beer develop off and unwanted tastes. “Light-struck” beer can develop unwanted flavors in your beer such as a “skunked” taste. In as little as 2 minutes of exposure to bright, direct sunlight, your beer can become light-struck. Fluorescent lights can also cause the same effect, but to a lesser degree.
How the “skunkiness” happens
The exposure to light cause hop-derived molecules in the beer to bind with sulfur atoms to create the â€œskunkâ€ character. These new molecules are similar in character to a skunk’s natural defense and is such a potent compound that parts-per-trillion can be detected and even ruin a beer.
It is best to keep beer refrigerated at all times. Warm temperatures will hasten the spoilage of beer, like any other food. The chemical reactions that occur during beer staling are accelerated by temperature. A common myth is that cycling beer from cold to warm and back to cold temperatures will damage its flavor. This is only true in that warm temperatures are bad for beer. Higher temps and severe temperature swings (cold-warm-cold-warm) can cause an excelerated oxidative process, shorting the shelf life of beer. Keeping beer cool is always good for the preservation of its flavor.
Time will age all things, and beer is no exception. While some beer styles will benefit from extended aging, this is not the case for the majority of beer sold in the united states. Beer tends to lose its hop character age. The flavor transformation that occurs as a beer ages is dependent on the style of beer and the brewing techniques used to make it. If you plan on aging a beer, keep it in a cool, dark place such as your basement or cellar.
Click this link from Beeradvocate.com for a great article on how to properly store your beer for aging.
Most of the chemical reactions that cause beer staling are greatly accelerated when oxygen is present in the package. Beer that has been exposed to air can become wretched in as little as four days if kept warm! Beer that has undergone significant oxidation due to aging and/or storage at high temperatures can develop a paper or stale taste. Remember to recap your growler as soon as you are finished pouring a glass of beer. The less time the contents are exposed to the outside air, the longer your beer will keep.
Motion is damaging to beer flavor in much the same way as warmth. The staling reactions are accelerated by mixing of the beer. Motion and warmth together are truly deadly to beer flavor, which is why beers that are shipped overseas will never taste as good as they might in their home markets. Higher temps and severe temperature swings (cold-warm-cold-warm) can cause an excelerated oxidative process, shorting the shelf life of beer.
Don’t leave your beer in the trunk of you car for two weeks in July and expect a fresh tasting brew. You might get struck with a skunky smelling beer that tastes like the newspaper. And unless you like beer-sickles, the cold of winter will freeze your suds. Extreme temperatures will ruin your beer. To enjoy a refreshing beer year round, it’s advisable to not leave your case of suds sitting out in the sun. Keep it in a cool dark place, like the refrigerator.
By New York State law, Consumers Beverages is prohibited from accepting returns or extending refunds for beverage purchases. This includes the return for a cash refund, a return to purchase a different item or an even exchange.