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Does fridge roulette ruin beer?
June 23, 2010 4:53 PM   Subscribe

Will taking beer out of the fridge skunk it?

We had sooooooooooo much beer in the fridge, so I removed some bottles to make room for a potroast. According to my roommate, that beer is now skunked. I put one back in the fridge and it tasted find to me. Am I just not able to taste it? Or does this have no science behind it?
posted by melissam to Food & Drink (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
what kind of beer?
posted by nadawi at 4:56 PM on June 23, 2010


I am not a zymurgist, but I've done the same in the face of similar leftover exigencies. I've never noticed the beer going bad. I think to be well and truly skunked, the beer needs to get warm (i.e., not just out of the fridge, but in the trunk of your car warm).
posted by Admiral Haddock at 5:01 PM on June 23, 2010


So we have some Jolly Pumpkin sour ale, Corona, Yuengling Lager, Sam Adams Brown Ale, Dogfish Head Midas Touch, Redbridge Gluten Free Sorghum beer....and lots more. Basically, all kinds.
posted by melissam at 5:02 PM on June 23, 2010


As a true Brit I think beer from the fridge is far too cold. For those who don't appreciate real flavors, I'd expect the taste to be unaffected, and even taste good, if replaced in the fridge after a day or two in the room. How hot is it where the beer was?
posted by anadem at 5:06 PM on June 23, 2010


I have a friend who believes this to the point that he forced his drunk ass to finish a six pack during a power outage so it wouldn't go bad. I personally do not believe it, and have tested my theory that y'all bitches are crazy several times, but do not have scientific evidence.
posted by Juliet Banana at 5:06 PM on June 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


Nah. It'll be fine. I've done this tons of times.
posted by Ike_Arumba at 5:06 PM on June 23, 2010


It should be fine. Exposure to ultraviolet light is what generally skunks beer.
posted by Captain Sunshine at 5:08 PM on June 23, 2010


it's actually light sensitivity. the brown bottles are more protected than the clear bottles. miller claims to brew their stuff in a way that it doesn't get skunked.

when you took them out of the fridge? where did you put them? as long as they weren't exposed to a bunch of UV lights (either by the sun or florescent lighting) you should be fine. and even if they are skunked, and they taste fine to you, then it obviously doesn't bug you.

an article.
posted by nadawi at 5:08 PM on June 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the whole thing about beer getting skunked in the situation you describe is pretty much an urban legend. You're fine.
posted by dhammond at 5:10 PM on June 23, 2010


it's also mentioned in this wiki article (with cites).
posted by nadawi at 5:12 PM on June 23, 2010


No the beer is not skunked, I'm rolling my eyes so hard at your roommate right now. Also, that Jolly Pumpkin beer of yours should not be enjoyed at the temp right out the fridge. It needs to warm up a bit so all the subtle flavors come out. Tell your roommate to read this.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 5:15 PM on June 23, 2010


tell him that sad and you're sorry that he'll be missing out on all the tasty beer, and then enjoy it in front of him. it is in no way skunked, and even if it were he wouldn't be able to know that without tasting it first.
posted by radiosilents at 5:17 PM on June 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh and another thing to add, when beer gets shipped, it is not always cold. It could go through a ton of temp changes before it passes into your hands. The beer delivery trucks in my area that bring us all the specialty micro brews are not refrigerated.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 5:17 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I move beer in and out of the fridge all the time. It does not spoil the taste.
posted by SLC Mom at 5:56 PM on June 23, 2010


In general, gradual temperature changes are not particularly bad for beer (although I would refrain from letting my beer get really, really warm. The skunked flavor, as others have mentioned, is cause by ultraviolet reacting with compounds from the hops. Heat has little to do with it. If you have a hoppy beer like Victory Prima Pils or most IPAs, pour one into a clear glass and put it in sunlight for a minute or two. Then give it a sniff, you should get a faint but clear skunky smell.
posted by mollweide at 5:56 PM on June 23, 2010


Hey if you're making room for a pot roast, one of those beers can go right into the slow cooker. mmmmmm Plenty of space for everything.
posted by CathyG at 6:22 PM on June 23, 2010


"Light-struck" is a more nerdy synonym for skunked. It is also why you should not drink Corona. Your roommate can have the Corona.
posted by clavicle at 6:36 PM on June 23, 2010


extended UV light & heat skunk the beer by fucking up the hop-oil-molecules and breaking them down into shit that tastes like shit. Your beer is fine, your roommate is repeating an urban legend without trusting his own tastebuds.

PS clavicle is right, Corona and Heineken both generally suck because they let too much light in while they sit on store shelves. But a beer out of the fridge for a few hours, in a brown bottle, at room temp, that should be a-o-fucking-kay

PPS sorghum beer fucking sucks, you're better off drinking everclear and a mixer if you're allergic to gluten
posted by Greg Nog at 7:33 PM on June 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


PPS sorghum beer fucking sucks, you're better off drinking everclear and a mixer if you're allergic to gluten
Why do you think I took it out of the fridge? :P I hear there is some sorghum brand in Colorado that's decent, but I haven't tried it. I've been sticking to cocktails and cider.

I love how my roommate is making a skunk about this even though 70% of the beer is crap and she never drinks it. I'm not sure there was a good reason for crap beer taking up 70% of the top shelf in the fridge. There are now in a dark, cool shelf, though it's been a little warm here in NYC lately, that room hasn't gotten above 70 or so. I sent her a page explaining why beer skunks, but she sent an email back saying she swears she can taste it, it's still under debate, and she would prefer her beer to stay in the fridge.

I hate to break it to her, but that Corona has been oxidized since it was born.

Hehe, maybe this belongs in Human Relations, but I'm moving away, so I'll endure it.
posted by melissam at 9:37 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would think it would also depend on if the beer is essentially pasteurized. Most macro brews are treated so that they can be shipped unrefrigerated and can sit on shelves for a while. Most micros would suffer from wild temperature fluctuations and age. While they may not get skunky, tastes would change.
posted by patrad at 3:18 AM on June 24, 2010


hey patrad. pasteurised beer? unrefrigerated? what? you have obviously never brewed homebrew. Beer does not need refrigeration. We just like to drink it cold.

Its the alcohol in beer the keeps it safe to drink.
posted by mary8nne at 3:46 AM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


No the beer is not skunked, I'm rolling my eyes so hard at your roommate right now. Also, that Jolly Pumpkin beer of yours should not be enjoyed at the temp right out the fridge. It needs to warm up a bit so all the subtle flavors come out.

Just a note -- you probably want to open the JP at fridge temp (or even colder) and let it warm up with the cap off. Opening a JP beer warm is an invitation to get sprayed in the face with delicious beer.
posted by j.edwards at 6:40 AM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ask your roommate how she thinks beer gets to stores.

Typical beer truck. Typical refrigerated truck. Note the big difference - the refrigeration unit above the cab.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 8:05 AM on June 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


I just asked the delivery guy for the biggest specialty beer distributor here in Richmond and he said their warehouse isn't even refrigerated.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:58 AM on June 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ok, one last data point I swear. Another distributor delivered us some beer today. They're the ones that deliver a lot of crap beer (Miller Lite, Coors Light, Stella, etc.) and the truck is not refrigerated and the beer was actually warm to the touch when I was taking it out of the cases and stocking it. We had a high of 104 today.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 2:41 PM on June 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


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