Before the craft beer craze, most consumption was mass produced bottles and cans that seemed to last forever.

New England or "Hazy" IPAs tend to have a short shelf life of less than 2 months. Are there any ways to increase the shelf life of these beers?

  • Most good IPAs have a canning or bottling date. Buy the freshest available.
    – Eric S
    Commented Jul 23, 2021 at 19:41

1 Answer 1


How Can You Avoid Skunky Beer?

The best way to avoid skunking of beer is as follows:

  • Block out as much UV light as possible in all stages within the beer brewing process and storage.
  • Use brown bottle in lieu of clear or green bottles.
  • Use of opaque keys are best!
  • Keep bottled beer out of direct sunlight.
  • Storing in a cool or cold environment, like in a refrigerator.

A skunked beer tastes like a skunk smells (not good). But what makes beer skunky? It’s commonly thought that subjecting beer to variations in temperature will skunk it. However, skunkiness in beer is caused not by heat, but by light.

What Causes Skunky Beers

Contrary to popular belief, beer does not become skunked after exposure to heating and cooling – unless you’re regularly boiling and nearly freezing your beer. (It does, however, increase the speed at which your beer oxidizes, leading to a slightly less offending wet cardboard flavor.) Instead, the main culprit behind skunking is the UV rays of the sun.

Over time and in large enough quantities, the blue spectrum of UV light interacts with the hop compounds (isohumulones) in your beer, breaking them down and lending an electron to an amino acid. The result is the dreaded MBT compound that gives your beer that skunked flavor.

How Can You Avoid Skunky Beer?

The first step in skunky beer prevention occurs at the brewery – brewers choose packaging that helps to block out UV light and avoid skunking altogether. Kegs and cans are completely opaque and are the best way to prevent skunking, and brown bottles come in a close second – there’s a reason most craft beers are packaged in these two containers. Green and clear bottles let in the most UV light, and the beer contained within is thus the most susceptible to producing MBT.

Skunking can happen at any time– usually during the warehousing or in-store portions of your beer’s trip to your fridge. That means there isn’t a lot you need to do to prevent skunking except purchase beers that come in cans or brown bottles. If your favorites are packaged in clear or green bottles, just do your best to keep your beer out of the sun.

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Skunky Beer – and How to Avoid It


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