I'm reading a lot about people not liking green/clear bottles and going for brown bottles, which I believe is traditional and correct in regards to protection from UV/Daylight.

But why is it such an issue? I store mine in the fridge, garage, cupboard and in cardboard boxes. If prolonged storage in sunlight is removed what is the issue? I can't imagine an hour or so in a ice bucket at a BBQ can do much harm, can it?

Does skunk off flavour go away?

What does skunked beer taste like, How would you describe skunked beer?

  • 1
    This video from Basic Brewing shows how quickly beer can get light-struck (they are hamming it up a bit and let it sit out for 45 minutes, but anyone who has drunk a hoppy pale out of a pint glass in bright sunshine should have experienced how fast it can happen - 15 min. or so in my experience). Jan 8, 2014 at 18:12
  • I like that channel. So it can happen in the glass while you're drinking it! I better get a beer sombrero! Jan 8, 2014 at 18:19
  • Thanks Scott, It never even occurred to me to put my fermenter out of the light. I've always been more concerned with temps. This is excellent advice, Cheers!
    – Ugly Dude
    Jan 10, 2014 at 19:30

3 Answers 3


MBT (3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol) happens real quick. People have reported Heineken bottles skunking when in direct sunlight in less than 15 minutes. Heineken has a minor defense of green tinted bottles, clear obviously has less. An hour in an ice bucket outside would most certainly skunk any beer in a green or clear bottle. Since MBT is caused primarily by hops in the beer, the more hops used, the greater the skunking.

In order to prevent skunking, keep all bottles (including brown) out of direct sunlight and fluorescent light. Exposure to incandescent lighting needs to be minimized as well, but it takes longer. If you have old boxes from beer runs, don't throw them out, re-purpose them for keeping your bottles in. A closet or cellar works well to help with preventing exposure as well. If you need to store fermentation vessels, shirts work well, pulled over the top of them.

When transferring from storage to the beer fridge, minimize exposure as well. If green or clear, make sure they're concealed in UV-impenetrable containers from the cellar/closet to the beer fridge.


I store my bottles in the closet, and then move them to the fridge when I'm ready to chill them for drinking.

I salvaged several green Becks bottles that I use for bottling, and of course, I've never had any issues. I do feel weird when I get stuck bottling a dark beer into the green bottles, but that's obviously just a mental thing.

To answer your question, though, the answer is (much to my surprise) possibly yes, an hour in the ice bucket at the BBQ might skunk your beer. I was curious about how fast skunking might happen, so I did some poking around and found this post, which is consistent with several other anecdotes on the subject.



I store mine in cardboard boxes. I use lots and lots of clear bottles, and a few green ones. I don't worry about skunking at all.

Sometimes I'll lightly skunk a pilsner-ish beer on purpose. I do that with 20-30 minutes in direct sunlight (in a clear or green bottle).

But accidental skunking just doesn't happen to my beer.


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