Illustration for article titled Keep Your Beer From Skunking -- Using Science!

A cold beer seems made for drinking in the sun, but sometimes those summertime beers inexplicably develop a rotten flavor when served in the heat of the day. Why does that happen? It's not for the reason you may think, and fortunately, there's a way to put a stop to it.

In this video from the American Chemical Society they debunk the notion that it's heat that skunks beers. The actual culprit, it turns out, is sunlight. Sunlight can spark a photochemical reaction with the hops in beer to create a molecule very similar in profile to the one that gives the odor of skunks their distinctive, and unpleasant, quality. (Hence, the name.)


So, does that mean that you have to give up on the idea of a cold beer on a hot day if you never want to be surprised by the flavor of skunk mixed with your brew again? Not at all. You just need to add another summertime classic into the mix: shade.

Top Image: MaxyM / SHutterstock

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