Letting Cold Beer Get Warm and Then Trying to Re-Chill, Causes it to Skunk – Fact or Myth
Beer hasn't always been my drink of choice. But, from where I come from, beer is as plentiful as water. It was usually the cheapest beer, but that only meant that there was a lot of it. So, I learned early on, how to properly keep beer fresh. Or, at least, I thought I knew.
We have all been told that if you buy beer that has already been chilled in a fridge, you can not let it get warm. The reason? The beer will become skunky. Basically, it will go flat and lose its original flavor.
So, many I know use that theory to drink ALL their cold beer. After all, you don't want your beer to get skunky and go to waste. Do you?
But, it appears that cold beer can happen more than once.
Does a change in beer temperature make the beer skunky?
According to brew-ed.com,
It is a worldwide myth that somehow temperature cycling “skunks” beer. The truth is that temperature cycling has little to no effect on beer freshness. Think of it this way, if cold beer warming and then cooling again a single time ruined it, then all beer imported from Europe would be destroyed before you bought it.
What makes beer have a skunky flavor?
If it's not the cold/warm theory/myth, what is it? Brew-ed explains it like this,
Temperature does affect beer. However, it is not temperature cycling that destroys beer, but exposure to warm temperatures. Beer is best preserved when kept cold… kind of like milk. A gallon of 2% will last a lot longer in your fridge than on your kitchen counter. Much the same way, keeping beer refrigerated will keep its flavor as the brewer intended for much longer. Keeping beer at room temperature can drop a beer’s shelf life from nearly six months to only a few weeks, and exposing the same beer to very warm temperatures can affect its flavor in a matter of a couple of days.
So, that's really good news. Your beer can get cold and taste good after it's turned warm. But, whatever you do, don't leave it in the hot sun or extreme heat.