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With clear, green, and brown bottles abound (e.g., Corona, Heineken, and Yeungling respectively), is there a hard and fast rule for what color of bottle to use for a given beer style?

Also, are brown bottles a good all-around solution?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Brown bottles are you best bet, they block the most amount of skunkyness causing UV. There is no benefit to using a clear or green bottle other than you might already have them hanging around, and people might feel like they're drinking a certain style beer if you serve it in the bottle.

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The benefit to green and clear bottles is that you can deliberately skunk if you want to. I do it occationally. A slight bit of skunking is a very nice effect on light lagers, IMO. – Jeff Roe Nov 10 '10 at 18:10

Some people use green Grolsch-style swing-top bottles, not because of the color but because the swing tops are great for bottling (no need to cap). The green ones are often cheaper/easier to find than brown swing-tops.

I only use brown bottles; I'd rather not risk skunking my beer for minute convenience of finding green bottles.

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I don't think people should be so afraid of accidental skunking. If you pretty much keep your bottled beer in boxes until it goes into the fridge, then you're going to be fine. The occational light blast from your refridgerator light is not going to skunk your beer! :-)

However, if you store your bottled beer not in boxes, or on the window-sill or something, then, yeah... brown bottles are a good idea.

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Some recipes for Mexican lagers call for clear bottles & sunlight exposure, because skunking (and the subsequent lime-wedge-addition) is considered part of the style of beer.

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