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skunky beer

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skunky beer

Jim Leff | Nov 2, 2001 02:39 PM

In a thread on another board, JasonW wrote:

"Are you sure that degredation of beer due to light includes artificial light? I understood it to be sunlight only, which has many other wavelengths of light than a bulb can produce and is much more intense. I'd be surprised if anything can be damaged by the week flourescent output of the standard deli case. I'm also surprised to hear you describe Heineken in bottles as skunked-tasting -- I've always found it to be one of the more reliable bottled beers.

In fact, I read an interesting Consumer Report blind tasting of beers recently, and they noted Heineken as one of the best, though they did slam Corona and Rolling Rock as being consistently skunked (clear and green bottles), as well as Amstel Light (brown bottle)."

Jason--
I'm not a scientist, so I'm not prepared to argue the fine points, but the consensus among scientifically-minded beer people is that artificial light definitely does catalyze the hops into creating the skunky compound. My empirical experience has agreed.

As for the flavor of Heineken and the quality of Consumer Report's taste testing (they recently rated Lays potato chips higher than Cape Cod, if I'm not mistaken), that's a determination we can all make individually.

I didn't read CR's beer article, but since "skunking" is solely a function of light exposure, and light doesn't enter the equation during the brewing process, I'm having trouble understanding the distinction you say they made between Rolling Rock and Heineken, considering that both are in the hue of green glass which facilitates the skunking of beer.

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