hist-brewing: bottles

Mills, Scott Scott.Mills at COMPAQ.com
Thu Aug 24 07:59:05 PDT 2000

You right that light doesn't have anything to do with bittering but it does
with ODOR.

UV light will react with the bittering compounds in hops and covert some
into 3-methyl crotyl mercaptan which is the same compound that in in the
spray of a skunk.  This distinctive compound is detectable by most people in
as small a quantity as a few parts per billion.

If the brew you are putting in clear bottles doesn't have hops in it then
there is nothing to worry about.  Otherwise you need to keep it in the dark.

It's easy to try/see this for yourself.   Go to you local beverage mart an
get a couple of beers in green bottles.  Ideally get the shopkeeper to get
some from an original case box that have not been exposed to light so they
are not already skunked.  (We have found that Moosehead works well for this
experiment).  Take a few bottles home and place one in direct sunlight for
an our or so.  We have a window that gets a lot of evening sun and we will
just sit it in the window sill for a while.   After it has been expose to
the light for a while put it back in the fridge and then get together with
you fellow beer geeks and compare it to a beer that was not exposed to the
light.  You will be amazed.

Some big commercial brewers that but beer in clear bottles are isomerized
hop oils for flavoring and aroma (mostly aroma) because they are not as
susceptible to light.  Unfortunately these oils aren't readily available to
the average homebrewer.

Just FYI some of the cheaper beer kits actually have plastic bottles in them
and you can actually buy Amber plastic beer bottles and spare caps.  Just go
to your favorite search engine and do a search for something like  
                  PET plastic Amber Beer Bottle
You will find that they are available via mail-order in various sizes.


Scott Mills 
Scott.Mills at Compaq.Com 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kirsty Pollock [mailto:kirsty.pollock at mpuk.com]
> Sent: Thursday, August 24, 2000 4:33 AM
> To: 'Marty Twombly'; 'hist-brewing at pbm.com'
> Subject: RE: hist-brewing: bottles
> They seal perfectly well and the colour of the container has 
> nothing to do
> with the 'bittering' (As far as I know). That's achieved by 
> the bittering
> agents added at brewing time. You do want to keep them in a 
> dark place for
> maturing (after the intital couple of weeks to let the secondary
> fermentation in the bottle happen) if the bottles are clear, 
> but I do that
> with all of my beers irregardless of container colour. 
> I find beer tastes best when fermented at no more than 18C - 
> my summer made
> brews don't seem to have the same depth of flavour. 
> Maturing-wise anything
> below 12-13 C and above 3C seems fine.
> KP

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