The Beer Off-Flavor Series: Skunk

This is part 5 in The Beer Off-Flavor Series by Drew Beechum.

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Ah, “skunked” beer. The legendary off-flavor with oft-lored causes.

Also known as “lightstruck,” this sulfurous compound (3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol) is generally avoided by all but the biggest professional brewers (more on that later) and a select few farmhouse brewers in pursuit of that subtle but “classic” touch of skunk.

Luckily for us, lightstruck beer has a simple cause that is easy to prevent.

Key Indicators

Tasters commonly report these characteristics when detecting a “skunked” beer:

Sulfur Skunk spray aroma Biting sulfur sensation on the tongue

Humans are extraordinarily sensitive to sulfur compounds, with …

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