Light struck beer at outdoor patios

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by ZAP, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. ZAP

    ZAP Poo-Bah (3,804) Dec 1, 2001 Minnesota

    Nothing like drinking outdoors during the 4 weeks of summer when you live in Minnesota. Just curious if others take precautions with their beer. I've had some beers get skunky within seconds in the sun when in a glass. Lighter colored beers. Porters, stouts etc seem ok.

    I make sure to keep my lighter colored beers in the shade or drink from a can if possible. Still, I see people get some great IPA and let it sit right in the sun and I think "can't they taste the skunkiness? Maybe they think that is how it is supposed to taste" Not sure. Maybe I'm just hypersensitive to this. Curious if others have issues with this..
  2. spicoli00

    spicoli00 Defender (610) Jul 6, 2005 Indiana

    i often have a ballcap on and will put it over the beer to keep it shaded if it's that sunny, typical michael jackson maneuver.
  3. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,036) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I try to drink in the shade if I can, or I'll put something over my beer to cover it.

    I wonder if newer age hops are as susceptible to skunking. Because I see A LOT of people casually drinking their IPAs in the sun out in beer gardens.
    Roguer likes this.
  4. Longhorn08

    Longhorn08 Aspirant (227) Feb 4, 2014 Texas

    I’ve never noticed skunking after just a minute or two in the sun.
  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,089) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Whenever I am outside drinking beer from a glass (e.g., baseball games) I always make sure to keep the beer in the shade. Beers will indeed get skunky (rather quickly in the middle of the day - full sun).


    dcotom likes this.
  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,089) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Do you finish your beer that quickly?


    P.S. Different folks will have varying sensitivity for detecting various off-flavors.
    Roguer likes this.
  7. Bouleboubier

    Bouleboubier Poo-Bah (2,448) Dec 22, 2006 New Jersey

    Was outside at a local brewery yesterday and had an IPA skunk up in minutes. More on the nose than taste. The beer was aged in Spanish cedar though, which did make for an interesting array of flavors.
    AlcahueteJ and dcotom like this.
  8. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Poo-Bah (3,083) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota

    I usually just drink inside. A lot of the nicer beer places in Minneapolis have some sort of door system (usually garage doors) that they open up in nice weather making the place feel like you're outside even though aren't. Plus, I get more sun than I want from running as much as I do so I don't have the desire to get anymore while relaxing with a beer.
    dcotom likes this.
  9. tobelerone

    tobelerone Poo-Bah (2,658) Dec 1, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    I always knew this was a thing but have really noticed it this summer and have begun to be much more cautious when drinking outside. I do like using glassware, even in my back yard, so after having a few beers turn skunky really quickly in the sun i've been keeping them in the shade as much as possible. Interestingly it was most noticed with NEIPA new-fangled hoppy beers where the change seemed to happen in a matter of moments.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  10. VoodooBear

    VoodooBear Defender (633) Aug 25, 2012 Puerto Rico

    Just so I understand correctly, you guys are saying you sense beer getting skunked after seconds in the sun? I mean, I know beer gets light struck but geez. I guess you could always use a koozie or something to cover up the glass.

    Usually I'm more concerned about beer getting warm quickly rather than light hitting it. But I've never noticed any flavor differences when drinking outside on a sunny day.
  11. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,089) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Skunking is a chemical reaction which 'reacts' with the isohumulones provided by the hops used to brew the beers. It should be too big of a surprise that a hoppy beer style like 'NEIPA' would be sensitive here.

    If you like science:

  12. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,507) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Pretty much this for me as well.

    Living in Albuquerque, where the sun is dominating, never noticed any issues with my beer when drinking outside.
    meanmutt, nc41, Oktoberfiesta and 2 others like this.
  13. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,089) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

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

  14. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Poo-Bah (3,083) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota

    Yes, I have experienced beer getting skunked within a minute of exposure to midday sun.
    TheDoctor and steveh like this.
  15. IPAExpert69

    IPAExpert69 Aspirant (209) Aug 2, 2017 Pennsylvania

  16. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,049) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    I spent 4 years in Arizona and I can confirm that I've never had light directly "spoil" my beer from drinking in direct sunshine....and I drank a lot of beer in direct sunshine.

    EDIT: I think @IPAExpert69 just solved the mystery for me. I never really drank directly out of clear glasses or bottles when I was drinking outside. Almost always drank directly from can with a few exceptions. I also don't fuck with those clear bottles so there's that, too.

    EDIT EDIT: But then again I recently spent about 15-30 minutes sipping very hoppy beers @ Treehouse in 90+ degree heat in direct sunlight and had no problems with the beer "skunking". The mystery remains unsolved for me, Youtube videos or no.
  17. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,089) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    As I stated in post #6 above:

    "Different folks will have varying sensitivity for detecting various off-flavors."

    Maybe for your palate you are 'blind' to 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol?

    tzieser likes this.
  18. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,089) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Except that I personally refuse to drink from the can (despite what John Kimmich advocates).

    Glider, CigarDawg, AlcahueteJ and 3 others like this.
  19. drinkin-beeers

    drinkin-beeers Disciple (362) Jan 29, 2014 Montana

    I would hate to have some of your tastebuds.
    meanmutt and VoodooBear like this.
  20. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,732) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    Simple solution, just drink them faster.... :stuck_out_tongue:

    Never had any beers skunk out but I try and keep them in shade to keep them cooler longer. Also I don't have it sitting for very long, I tend to sip faster than others so my beers are short lived.
    Sabtos, meanmutt, tzieser and 2 others like this.
  21. HoppingMadMonk

    HoppingMadMonk Meyvn (1,225) Mar 3, 2017 New Jersey

    I drink in the shade,keeps beer cold longer and I stay cool
    officerbill likes this.
  22. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,821) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Plus, lots of bartenders or (uptight) party-throwers frown on drinking directly from the container when it comes to draught beer...:grin:
  23. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,089) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Thank goodness there are some 'free spirits' out there!?!

    AlcahueteJ and KarlHungus like this.
  24. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,224) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I've mentioned an experiment I tried bottling a home-brewed Blonde Ale in a clear bottle. Took it to a summer picnic and chilled it in one of those ice-filled, 5 gallon galvanized metal buckets with a bunch of other beers -- plunked right in the sun. I capped the bottle in less than half-an-hour and the skunkiness almost knocked me over!

    Upside was, it aired out pretty well and dissipated the skunk.

    Truth be told, I've consumed a lot of beer in glass vessels out-of-doors over the years and never noticed a big skunkiness. Maybe just the right amount of shade and drinking speed? :wink:
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  25. MikeP64

    MikeP64 Initiate (166) Jan 24, 2015 South Carolina

    First of all,BS....Drink your beer faster...So am I to believe this is light or heat causing this??
    This post should have been in the 'Controversial Beer Opinions 'thread.
    meanmutt and papposilenus like this.
  26. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,089) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I am uncertain what you exactly intend by "believe" but skunking is chemical reaction involving light (otherwise referred to a lightstruck).

    Really no genuine controversy here.

  27. Kinsman

    Kinsman Champion (850) Aug 26, 2009 California

    I generally avoid drinking IPAs outside as it usually takes no more than 5 minutes for me to pick up the smell. Regardless of the beer, I do what I can to keep it in the shade as much as possible.

    What always amazes me here in sunny CA, is come spring time at my local ski resort during apres-ski, people will order IPAs like Fresh Squeezed by the pitcher and let it just sit there in the sun. Just standing near the pitcher I'll get a big of whiff of skunk, yet the consumers of said pitcher seem to happily drink their degraded over-priced beer.
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  28. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (266) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    I'm with @denver10 for Albuquerque.

    Beer gets warmer faster than it does skunking. Never had a issue. But you'd be pretty stupid to be drinking in direct sunlight in NM.
  29. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,224) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I take it you're unfamiliar with skunked (light-struck) beer? It's not BS.
  30. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,089) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    All this discussion about how beers skunk in location A but not in location B reminds me of the grit scene from the movie My Cousin Vinnie. Maybe some areas have ‘magic’ IPAs?:confused:

    CigarDawg, AlcahueteJ and officerbill like this.
  31. TriggerFingers

    TriggerFingers Disciple (343) Apr 29, 2012 California

    True, it's not BS.

    Let me be of some assistance:

    1) Get an ice chest (and place it in the shade)
    2) Put (preferably canned) beer inside
    3) Top with ice
    4) CLOSE THE LID!!!
    5) Drink in the shade
    MikeP64, ZebulonXZogg and bbtkd like this.
  32. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,548) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    Pretty simple, if you drink outside stay in the shade or drink from a can or chug it. Or just drink New Belgium Hemperor, comes pre-skunked. But I don't advise that.
    AZBeerDude72 likes this.
  33. mngermanshepherd

    mngermanshepherd Aspirant (274) Jun 4, 2018 Minnesota

    I live in Minnesota too, and it happens within about a minute. I thought I was losing it the other day when the beer was fresh and about 45 seconds later, smelled of skunk. 90+ degree weather...grrrr
  34. NYR-Zuuuuc

    NYR-Zuuuuc Zealot (582) Jan 1, 2013 Connecticut

    Local brewery near me has growlers on the outdoor tables that have a little umbrella attached to them . This way you can keep your beer shaded when sitting outside. Keeps it from getting light struck. It’s a nice touch. Surprised more places don’t do it.
    AlcahueteJ, frozyn and KarlHungus like this.
  35. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,049) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    I just did a quick blind taste test just to test out this "my beer skunked in 30 seconds!" theory; special thanks to my wonderful fiancee....

    The beer is Cape May IPA, 12oz can packaged 6/21/19. One can was split between two glasses: one glass is in direct sunlight for exactly 2 minutes, the other half was poured indoors in relative darkness. It is currently 86 degrees Fahrenheit outside with a UV Index of 9. My lovely assistant poured each glass into separate unmarked glassware while I looked away in relative embarrassment for what I am asking her to do.

    I won't get into tasting notes because I think flavor descriptors are for assholes (relax, i'm joking..i'm just extremely lazy). Much to my surprise, I correctly guessed the beer that was outside for two minutes. However, the difference was extremely negligible; I really had to "reach" for the flavor differences. No "skunk" notes by any stretch of the imagination, the only difference I was detecting was a very subtle loss of citrus hop flavor in the 'outdoor pour'. Both pours still tasted very good and I wouldn't turn down either one of them. If anything the outdoor pour warmed up just a few degrees, enough to bring out some of the wonderful malt flavors this beer has (for an IPA).

    Perhaps my next one will be less hop forward. Maybe something more nuanced like Ayinger Pilsner (though it was bottled in January so it's not the best test subject).

    TL;DR = For my tastes, my original opinion was more or less confirmed: direct sunlight really does not skunk your beer in 30 seconds. Results my vary. Cheers.
  36. meefmoff

    meefmoff Defender (643) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    No single study is conclusive of course, but the fact that you ran off and immediately did an experiment is fantastic. Cheers to you good sir :grin:
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  37. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,049) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    Hahaha thanks man! Of course, that's why I had to throw in that "results my vary" thing at the end.

    I'm sure folks with more sensitive palates than mine can pick up on that "faded" hop flavor much easier and probably extrapolate that into a 'skunk' characteristic. I just wanted to throw out my 2 cents as to what I was able to detect. I do not have a very discerning palate at all. I can't think of many beers off the top of my head that disgust me or I'd refuse to drink. Likewise, I do not have any foods that I do not like or refuse to eat (it used to be Brussels sprouts but that ship sailed many years ago thankfully). This is one of the few times I'm glad I do not have a hyper-sensitive palate; I waste enough money on beer as it is!
    #37 tzieser, Jul 16, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
  38. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,821) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Maybe putting Hemperor in the sun would "fix" it - the two different sources of skunkification counteracting one another!
    frozyn, Roguer, bbtkd and 1 other person like this.
  39. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,548) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    ...or they could brag about it being double-skunked. :grimacing:
    bmugan, AlcahueteJ and Roguer like this.
  40. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,462) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    Interesting, I never realized how quickly skunking/flavor change can occur. I thought it takes hours of direct sunlight.

    For what its worth I've drank beer from a glass many many times outdoors and never noticed.
    rightcoast7 likes this.