Three Myths About Skunky Beer

There is a whole spectrum of “off flavors” that can plague beer, but there is one flaw that is so common many people feel that it’s an intentional flavor in certain brands — especially a particular brand of Mexican lager.
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Beer with the distinct aroma of skunk seems inescapable, but  the realities of the scourge are simple and (mostly) preventable. There are lots of myths and misinformation surrounding skunky beer, but let’s set the record straight.

Myth No. 1: “Beer gets that skunky flavor because … ”

We’ve heard just about every explanation for why you may get a whiff of skunk when enjoying a cold brew, from the ever-popular theory that letting cold beer warm to room temperature will cause it to skunk (not true, and not particularly harmful to beer), to the idea that brewers add the flavor during the brewing process (we’ll get to this one). The truth is simple: the musky aroma has one cause: a chemical reaction that occurs when ultraviolet light interacts with the bitter hop compounds in a brew.

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