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Aroma: Skunky or Cat-like

Problem:

A skunky or light-struck off-aroma is an unpleasant sign that you have a beer storage problem.

Causes:

  • Caused by exposing beer to light, where the wavelength 400-520 nm causes a breakdown of the hop alpha-acid humulone. Reaction of the resulting humulone with hydrogen sulfide present in the beer creates mercaptan, which happens to be the same stuff that a skunk sprays!

Cures:

  • Protect clear-glass fermenters from sunlight or strong room light. Use only brown bottles, as clear and green glass do not block the wavelengths that cause the problem.
Aroma: Skunky or Cat-like