Mythbusting…the real enemies of beer pt 1

Sorting out some of the misconceptions of beer can be a bit tricky, we tend to believe what we believe & can be pretty passionate about it.  Trying to convince someone that there’s more to what they’ve heard all of their adult life about storing beer,  is like trying to argue that the Giants are the best team in the NFC East to an Eagles fan…(sorry I had to)

So lets try to sort all of this out starting with “if it doesn’t all fit in the fridge it’ll get skunky, right?”
Well, the real answer is NO & NO.   The real enemies of beer are Oxygen & UV Light.  Where this seems to have stemmed from is leaving beer in a cooler after the ice has melted away.  Coolers turn in to little saunas after the ice is gone, literally baking your beer.  Heat is an oxidizer, and quickly eats away at the flavor of your beer.  MillerCoor’s formula is 3/30/300, or 3 days at 90 degrees, 30 days at 71 & 300 at 33 degrees.  From this, you can see the same amount of “damage” done to your beer in a 150 degree cooler that you left in the back of your truck last weekend.  The next enemy is time, no matter how much effort & how hi tech you get the canning & bottling process there will always be at least a few parts per million of good ol O2 in there, this time slowly oxidizing your favorite beer, again, every minute you store a beer cold (with an exception, more on this later) & dark you’re preserving its flavor, in fact its recommended by a major player to rotate warm displays (that were delivered cold) back to cold storage after just 14 days, in a perfect world.

The second part of this is the matter of what “skunky” beer is.
The term skunked refers to the trace sulfur compounds in all beers spiced with hops reacting to UV light, witch is technically called “Light Struck”.  This is most commonly prevented by using cans, or coated bottle,  as well as reduced by using brown bottles vs. clear or green bottles.  For the remaining few beers utilizing green or clear glass, special preisomerized hop extracts and perhaps, other flavor stabilizers need to be used to prevent UV light from reacting to  the liquid.   Fact:  This is why back in the day Miller & Rolling Rock came in extra tall 6 pack carriers & the pony bottles came “wrapped” in their carriers.

That pretty much sums it up.  Most all commercially brewed beer has a legible “Bottled on” or “Best by” date.  This is marking the worst case scenario, in a hot summer warehouse or rail car, etc.  In most cases the beer has been stored at least cool for a large portion of their life.  So ideally for perfect brewery fresh taste, beer should at least be consumed by the freshness date, canned beer or bottles protected from UV light, stowed away at cool or cold temperatures beer holds up considerably well.  While there’s no magic or do-dad that will break down your Bud on the 111th day, as the “Age” oxidation is a slower process, there’s no harm in demanding fresh, well kept product when spending your hard earned dough either…I do.


Next up:  Keg beer myths & mysteries, as well as bacteria spoilage

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