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Skunking Beer Experiment


We took five beers - four low carb beers plus one standard beer - and exposed them to sunlight. You'll be amazed to learn how quickly the sunlight completely destroyed the beer's flavor.

We have a friend who makes beer and works in a beer home brew shop. We brought him over for his expert palate, along with his beer drinking wife. We therefore had four tasters for this test.

We bought five sets of beer in sealed cardboard cases, to ensure that no sunlight had touched the beer prior to them coming to our home. Remember, it's not only sunlight that will damage beer, but fluorescent lights as well. These were -

Corona Light - clear bottle
Miller Lite - clear bottle
Heineken Light - green bottle
Michelob Ultra Amber - brown bottle
Smithwicks - brown bottle (non low carb)

We planned out our experiment carefully so that as few variables as possible were introduced into our tests. We put 3 of each bottle out onto a table on our back porch during a sunny afternoon. One of each bottle was sealed in a cardboard box, so they would experience the same temperature fluctuations, but never see the sunlight. A second set of each bottle was left out in the sunlight for a half hour, then put into a separate sealed cardboard box, so again it had the same temperature fluctuations for the remainder of the experiment. The third bottle was left on the table, in full sunlight, for 3 hours.

After this, all bottles were put into the cardboard to shield them from any further light until a few hours later, when we began our test.

For each set of three bottles, we randomized them, giving them only ID numbers. My boyfriend knew which was which, but nobody else did. We then passed them around one at a time. First we just smelled from the bottle to see if anything could be sensed. Then we poured each into a standard pint glass, to smell and taste the beer from the glass. We each gave our impression of each beer. Only after all three of a given set were discussed were the true identities revealed.

Now, on to the results!

Beer Skunking - Results
Basics of Beer Skunking

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Content copyright © 2014 by Lisa Shea. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Lisa Shea. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Lisa Shea for details.

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