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The common wisdom I have known is that cooling, warming, then cooling beer again would cause it to "skunk." I now know that skunky flavors are typically the result of exposure to light, not temperature cycles.

Are there detrimental effects to cooling, warming, then cooling beer again? What is the effect of multiple cooling and warming cycles?

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related: homebrew.stackexchange.com/questions/3707/… –  baka Sep 26 '11 at 3:03
    
Thanks, baka. That answer helps, but I am concerned here specifically with fluctuations in temperature, not holding beer at a high temperature for extended periods. –  Dustin Rasener Sep 26 '11 at 15:12
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2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Cooler is better, but the old myth that says that if you go through warming and cooling cycles the beer is ruined is just not true. The warmer the beer gets the more that aging is accelerated, but it's the warmth, not the repeated warming and cooling, that does the damage. And "skunking" comes from exposure of isomerized hops to light. It has nothing to do with temperature.

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Warm storage tends to speed the aging process. I would suppose (but have no proof) that you could relate the average storage temp over the life of the bottle to be directly related to life of the beer prior to becoming stale.

This would be an interesting experiment overall. Store a beer at the same average temp for a period of a year, where one cycled temperatures daily to reach the average storage temp, one was stored at the average temp for the entire time period, one stored warm for 6 months and then cold for 6 months and finally 6 months cold and 6 months warm.

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