How fast do heat and sunlight damage beer?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by DogbiteWilliams, Jul 10, 2016.

  1. DogbiteWilliams

    DogbiteWilliams Initiate (0) Mar 28, 2015 California

    I do not have a car and I live in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley, where temperatures often exceed 100 degrees. If I have to wait 10 minutes for the first bus and 15 minutes for the next, what kind of heat will beer withstand before going bad? I do try to stand in the shade.

    TIA - I will have to get off the library's computer very shortly.
     
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  2. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,720) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Direct sunlight will skunk the beer eventually so protect it from the sun. You'll know if the beer has been lightstruck since it will smell of skunk when you open it.

    If the beer warms while you are taking it home that should be fine so long as you don't let it sit out and get really hot. Getting it very hot will damage the beer. Storing the beer in warm temperatures will lead to it aging faster (and differently than it would if kept cool. Having the beer warm and then cool a few times won't cause it any noticable harm.
     
    #2 drtth, Jul 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016
  3. johnInLA

    johnInLA Crusader (789) Jun 12, 2005 California
    Premium

    Sunlight is not your friend. It can damage a beer quickly.

    The container matters. Cans, have no fear. Brown bottles give some protection. Green, not much. Clear, none.

    Heat is a slower process. Heat is more a function of temperature and length of time. The result is generally accelerated aging.

    Bottom line: Put your beer in an opaque bag and don't sweat your bus ride home.

    And do stand in the shade. It will probably help you even more then your beer. :slight_smile:
     
  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,813) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium

    Sunlight can damage beer fairly quickly. High temperatures will take longer to damage beer. The optimum way to protect beer on your bus ride home is a closed container which can keep your beer cool. For example:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,095) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    Carry your beer wrapped in a towel in a sturdy backpack. Out of the light and still relatively cool when you get home. Also allowed on buses.
     
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  6. MrUse

    MrUse Aspirant (270) Jun 20, 2015 Minnesota

    I never believed what I've read about sun skunking beer very quickly until this weekend. I was drinking an ipa on a very sunny restaurant patio. It was about half gone when I noticed it getting skunky. So it took about 10-15 minutes of sun to go from a great beer to a skunky one.
     
  7. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,095) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    That's quite interesting. I wonder if you would've noticed it sooner had the beer been a bit warmer, assuming of course it was served chilled.
     
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  8. PourMore

    PourMore Initiate (85) Oct 4, 2014 Florida

    I am not an expert on this but I don't think mild heat is very damaging. Higher temperatures age the beer faster, and you could end up with oxidation from my experience. Of course if you get very high temps this could get more serious. Last summer my A/C died and some of my dark beers, which had been aging fine at room temperature 74F, got up to about 90F for a couple of days. They were not really altered as far as I could tell, but weeks later I did notice they were a little different but not in a bad way. Maybe it was little oxidation because there was some sweetness there. Sunlight is much much worse than heat, I believe.
     
  9. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,095) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    I agree, and fluorescent light in stores does it no good either.
     
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  10. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Meyvn (1,300) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey

    Guarantee light is worse. I work at a liqour store and when we get deliveries its not refrigerated. Thr beer is hot to the touch. It gets cold in our huge cooler doesnt taste off. The sunlight does make it taste like paper though.
     
  11. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Meyvn (1,300) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey

    Honestly. It could have just been the temp of the beer and nothing to do with sunlight.
     
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  12. Cnote_crafty_1

    Cnote_crafty_1 Aspirant (238) Apr 8, 2015 Pennsylvania

    I love the unecessarily large size of this image.
     
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  13. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,720) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

  14. MrUse

    MrUse Aspirant (270) Jun 20, 2015 Minnesota

    Not sure, but I ordered the exact same beer after that one. I set up a sun shield with a menu, zero skunk.
     
  15. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,095) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    I never thought of doing that but next time I'm in Florida . . .
     
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  16. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,536) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Premium Trader

    I've had it go quicker than that. It's rare, but every now and then the conditions are just right for the super skunky zap. Ordinarily, though, just keep your glass in the shade of a table tent or centerpiece and you'll be fine.
     
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  17. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,720) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    No need to go to FL. A sunny day right where you live will do just fine.
     
  18. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,095) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    Oh I don't go out here in this heat. But I can be talked into heading down to a beachfront condo.
     
  19. elucas730

    elucas730 Initiate (139) Feb 5, 2010 New York

    I cannot drink beer in a glass in the sun. I detect skunkiness within a matter of a couple minutes (+ or -, depending on style).
     
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  20. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Meyvn (1,300) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey


    Ill read it. but in other words i was saying the taste of the beer may have just been different because flavors change as the beer warms up anyway only because 15 min is so quick.
     
    #20 Urk1127, Jul 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016
  21. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,813) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium

    For those who are interested in how quickly beer can get skunked via sunlight:

     
  22. MNAle

    MNAle Meyvn (1,076) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    For my taste, an American IPA needs to be chillled, not necessarily cold, but chilled. Again, for my taste, warm American IPAs are not enjoyable at all. So, a warm IPA that was warmed in direct sun in a clear glass... could be bad on two fronts!
     
  23. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,720) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    So you're suggesting he doesn't really know how to tell the difference between skunky flavors and aromas and the flavors and aromas that develop as a beer warms? I suppose that is possible, but for me any beer that smells like the butt end of a skunk, regardless of how warm or cold it is, isn't one I can get close enough to to be able to stomach it at all. :slight_smile:
     
    #23 drtth, Jul 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016
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  24. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,813) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium

    Tom, did you watch the video I provided above? One of the beer drinkers (Steve Wilkes) was having a violent reaction to the skunked SNPA; just the smell was making him nauseous.

    Cheers!
     
  25. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,720) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Yeah, I saw it quite a while ago. I have the same reaction.

    When I was a kid we had a dog that tangled with a skunk and somebody had to give him a bath. (Guess who got that job. :slight_smile:) Ever since I can't stand the smell of skunk.
     
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  26. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,813) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium

    I just gotta ask, what did you use as a 'cleaning solution'?

    Cheers!
     
  27. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,720) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Well, since it was more than a few days ago ( :slight_smile:) my memory may be off, but I think that all we had available to get the job done was some sort of liquid dishwashing detergent.
     
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  28. MNAle

    MNAle Meyvn (1,076) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Well, I was going to ask how you know what a skunk's butt smells like! :slight_smile:
     
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  29. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,720) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Yeah, see a skunk in action and then clean up the result. Pretty easy to draw that connection. :-)
     
  30. Sanacja2635

    Sanacja2635 Initiate (44) Feb 7, 2016 Connecticut

    Temperatures aren't as bad as people think. Every brewery that I've gone to I have asked that question and all have agreed that the beer would have to go from cold to hot and vice versa like 20+ times for there to be a significant change to the liquid. But if you're talking hot hot hot temperatures, I'd say no more than 30 minutes. But hey, every beer is different. One may hold up better than the other. Cheers!
     
  31. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,813) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium

    Yes, that is correct in that temperature cycling per se is not that damaging but exposure to hot temperatures is damaging. The issue with the temperature cycling is the amount of time the beer is exposed to hot temperatures.

    Cheers!
     
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  32. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Meyvn (1,169) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Someone did a test with Sierra Nevada pale ale and posted the results here years ago.

    I think it took less than a minute in direct sunlight to skunk the beer, that is of course poured in a glass not in a bottle.
     
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  33. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Meyvn (1,300) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey


    Well. Idk the gentleman/woman etc... but no at the same time i didnt mean to come across all snooty. I just dont think 15 minutes in the sun could skunk a beer especially a . im going to have to do a controlled experiment. I Have some SNPA. Not knowing the ipa he was drinking i suppose snpa is hoppy enough for a good middle of the road subject. I drink one and the other ill pour drink and drink half and set it in the direct sun for 15 minutes and see what happens.
     
  34. MrUse

    MrUse Aspirant (270) Jun 20, 2015 Minnesota

    [QUOTE="Urk1127, post: 4894227, member: 81783didn't ll. Idk the gentleman/woman etc... but no at the same time i didnt mean to come across all snooty. I just dont think 15 minutes in the sun could skunk a beer especially a . im going to have to do a controlled experiment. I Have some SNPA. Not knowing the ipa he was drinking i suppose snpa is hoppy enough for a good middle of the road subject. I drink one and the other ill pour drink and drink half and set it in the direct sun for 15 minutes and see what happens.[/QUOTE]
    It was a Bemidji Brewing Summer IPA. Quite a lot of hops I think. I also didn't think it was possible or I would have shaded my glass. There is no confusing the skunk flavor, skunk is skunk. I'd love to know how your emperiment goes. Cheers.
     
  35. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Meyvn (1,300) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey

    It was a Bemidji Brewing Summer IPA. Quite a lot of hops I think. I also didn't think it was possible or I would have shaded my glass. There is no confusing the skunk flavor, skunk is skunk. I'd love to know how your emperiment goes. Cheers.[/QUOTE]


    I can post it here when i do it. Itll have to be a weekend when im off. I get off work at 10pm so no sun. i wasnt trying to be a dick. Its hard to covey emotion and dialect thru text. Ive never heard of skunking so quick. So ill see for myself. Cheers
     
  36. MrUse

    MrUse Aspirant (270) Jun 20, 2015 Minnesota


    I can post it here when i do it. Itll have to be a weekend when im off. I get off work at 10pm so no sun. i wasnt trying to be a dick. Its hard to covey emotion and dialect thru text. Ive never heard of skunking so quick. So ill see for myself. Cheers[/QUOTE]
    No problem, I knew you weren't. Beer is a crazy thing, always something new to learn.
     
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  37. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Meyvn (1,300) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey

    No problem, I knew you weren't. Beer is a crazy thing, always something new to learn.[/QUOTE]


    Thats why i love it. Im studying to be a cicerone and the amount of info is crazy and every day there's something new to learn. ill not only do it with SNPA, back on topic, ill do it with other styles too and see how quick sunlight effects styles. I encourage others to keep learning. I do every day. I learned sunlight has that quick an effect on beer its a wonder how corona is drank on the beach. The clear bottles are bad enough. Out on the beach is another story. I think they (Grupo modelo) know it too and thats why they created the 7oz coronita so yea, u dont drink as much, get full, whatever but also to drink the beer quick before skunk REALLY sets in either that or i have too much time to think about shit like that. Thanks for the idea and rhe knowledge. Cheers
     
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  38. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Meyvn (1,169) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I just avoid sunlight altogether.
     
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  39. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,388) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    The experiments on the rapidity of bottled beer becoming lightstrunk under direct sunlight were done a century ago:
    And confirmed by legitimate sources numerous times since then, as well. Such as:

    Clear bottles offer very little protection from the damaging light wavelengths - 550 nm and below (not just “UV light” [10 nm to 400 nm] as the modern beer geek myth has it) - while an open glass of beer offers no protection, thus the near-instant effect on beer under all the right (well, "wrong") conditions.​
     
  40. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,720) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Naw, you didn't seem snooty at all.

    BTW, when you do your testing you may only need one bottle, half to drink and half to skunk. My version of the test was with 2 bottles of Yuengling Lager from the same six pack. Skunked one, chilled both, then opened both. Could not even get past the smell of the skunked one to try the flavors. :slight_smile:

    I think you said you work in a store that sells beer. You might also like to know that even in brown bottles a beer can skunk if left long enough on a shelf directly exposed to conventional fluorescent lights.
     
    #40 drtth, Jul 12, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
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