We all know letting beer sit in the light for some time without any shield is a bad idea due to the flavor and aroma that are produced, but are there any other effects? Is a skunked beer more hospitable to microbes than a non-skunked beer?

2 Answers 2


I suspect no. Aged hops, with very low alpha potential, are used in lambic brewing specifically for their preservative qualities not their bittering properties. Therefore, if the low alpha isn't important it doesn't matter if they are skunked or not to be preservative.

  • They're not generally light-struck, though...
    – baka
    Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 13:47
  • 2
    My point is if super low/deteriorated alpha acids from aged hops do a fine job as a preservative it seems that its not the alpha acids (skunked or not) that provide the preservative qualities. It might be the beta acids or other essential oils that are presevative in nature.
    – brewchez
    Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 15:28
  • Which leads to the question of whether light also causes the responsible compound to break down. Commented May 31, 2011 at 3:02

Things we know:

So if your beer is skunked, it seems to follow that it will have lost at least some of its preservative properties. Although I figure the beer would have some remaining anti-bacterial properties from the unskunked iso-humulone molecules & other alpha acids.

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