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is skunking "infectious"?

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ebbelwoi

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I know it sounds awful to most, but I often enjoy a slight skunk taste in commercial pilsners. I've deliberately skunked a few bottles of my own, but it was rather overbearing.

If I were to say, skunk one bottle from a previous batch, and pour it into a new batch after pitching, would I get a very mild skunk flavor/aroma, or would it somehow spread to the entire batch?

I've read it has to do with riboflavin, and my guess is that it wouldn't spread, but does anyone know for sure? Has anyone tried this?
 

day_trippr

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Skunking is attributed to blue-to-UV light knocking the hell out of hop compounds.
So it wouldn't spread - it's not a contagion mechanism at all - it would simply dilute into the larger volume...

Cheers!
 

mongoose33

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Skunking comes from the reaction of light (primarily sunlight or fluourescent light) with hop compounds. I see no reason why a VERY skunky beer, when added to other beer not skunky, wouldn't transfer some of that skunkiness to the other beer.

But it's not an infection. It's not going to do anything to skunk the rest of the batch, just spread what skunkiness there is to the entire batch, albeit more diluted.
 

MaxStout

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So if I'm understanding what OP's trying to do...you like a little skunk, but not a lot of skunk. And you want to dilute your "overbearing" skunked beer to end up with something less skunky? Yeah, you could dilute it with some non-skunked beer to achieve that middle ground.

Another way would be by experiment. Brew your beer and bottle it in clear or green bottles (more transparent to the UV that causes skunking). Experiment. Put a couple bottles in a sunny window for a certain period of time, chill, drink. Keep experimenting until it's just right. Then you know how long to expose your beer to get the taste profile you desire. No snark here, I'm serious. If that's the taste you want, do it.

On a similar note, I've read that Corona is intentionally skunked by the brewery, using UV lights on the bottling line. Apparently, Corona drinkers perfer the skunkiness--it's a feature not a bug. Hence the clear bottles.
 

day_trippr

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One wonders if Heineken (to me, the "Skunked Lager" original) does the same...
 

ba-brewer

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Try hallertau mittelfruh late in the boil, I get a slight skunkiness from them even from beers that are kegged and don't see the light of day. Not sure that comes from mishandles hops or just part of the hop character.
 

day_trippr

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Interesting. I brew a kolsch with hallertau mittelfrueh at 60 and 10 and haven't picked up that character, but I suppose there's enough variance in hops that it could happen...

Cheers!
 
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ebbelwoi

ebbelwoi

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Thanks for the input. I've read up on the process a bit. As I understand it, it's about more than just sunlight. Riboflavin (B2) is produced by the yeast in their growth phase, and acts as a catalyst. That's why beer doesn't skunk if you mash and boil outdoors. My concern was that the unaffected isohumulone in the clean beer might be affected, but it looks like I don't need to worry about that.

...And you want to dilute your "overbearing" skunked beer to end up with something less skunky?
Actually, it's the opposite: I'd like to add a touch of skunk to a clean beer.

..Experiment. Put a couple bottles in a sunny window for a certain period of time...
This was my first thought, but there are a few variables involved. For me, (skunked) beer is easier to measure than sunlight, so I think I'll give it a shot. Maybe a 3:1 ratio would be a good place to start?

Try hallertau mittelfruh late in the boil, I get a slight skunkiness from them even from beers that are kegged and don't see the light of day. Not sure that comes from mishandles hops or just part of the hop character.
I've noticed that, too, actually, so I've been using HM late in the boil on every pilsner. It's very slight, though, and sometimes I don't get any skunkiness.

Thanks again for your input, everyone.
 
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ebbelwoi

ebbelwoi

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One wonders if Heineken (to me, the "Skunked Lager" original) does the same...
I've seen this brought up in a lot of threads here and elsewhere. I never really gave it much thought, because the Heineken I've had on tap and in cans doesn't tasted skunked. However, here in Japan, Asahi makes a non-alcoholic beer called Asahi Dry Zero, and it is way skunky... in a can. :confused:

From the looks of this
https://blog.khymos.org/2007/02/16/lightstruck-flavor-in-beer/
it looks like maybe it can be done with a chemical addition? Just an uneducated guess.
 

day_trippr

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When blue-to-UV light hits beer it provides the energy necessary to drive a reaction that transforms iso-alpha-acids into 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol. Whether yeast somehow catalyzes that reaction (I've not read of it but would review reference material if given) seems unimportant.

A more analytic experiment for the skunk lover: pour two glasses of beer, cover both in clear plastic wrap, stick one in a cupboard and leave the other in direct sunlight. Smell both every 10 minutes...

Cheers!
 
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ebbelwoi

ebbelwoi

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When blue-to-UV light hits beer it provides the energy necessary to drive a reaction that transforms iso-alpha-acids into 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol. Whether yeast somehow catalyzes that reaction (I've not read of it but would review reference material if given) seems unimportant.
It would seem very important to those who brew outdoors, or are considering it. I've seen many posts by people asking whether their wort would skunk outdoors. It doesn't affect me, as I brew indoors, but I wouldn't say it's unimportant.

Not sure whether it would qualify as reference material, but I found plenty of info by googling skunk beer riboflavin.
 

ba-brewer

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I am an outdoor brewer, other then when I use hallertaur MF I don't notice any skunkiness. The beers I noticed it most were lagers fermented with WLP833.
 
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ebbelwoi

ebbelwoi

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It would seem very important to those who brew outdoors, or are considering it. I've seen many posts by people asking whether their wort would skunk outdoors. It doesn't affect me, as I brew indoors, but I wouldn't say it's unimportant.

Not sure whether it would qualify as reference material, but I found plenty of info by googling skunk beer riboflavin.
I am an outdoor brewer, other then when I use hallertaur MF I don't notice any skunkiness. The beers I noticed it most were lagers fermented with WLP833.
You don't notice any skunkiness from brewing outdoors because there is no riboflavin in your wort, so it's safe to brew outdoors. The riboflavin is produced by yeast. No yeast, no skunk.
 

Lefou

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Brewing indoors or outdoors is pretty much a peripheral concern and it isn't expressly the yeast that causes beer skunking, it's a combination of UV light and sulfur thiols from proteins (a source of B2 riboflavin) binding with hop isohumulones under the right conditions. If Vitamin B2 is present in grains like wheat and barley containing proteins, there's riboflavin in wort. All yeasts - not just lager yeasts - can produce sulfur compounds during fermentation when there's a lack of free amino acids derived from proteins.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814616306215
 

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