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Can Non-Alcoholic Beer Get Skunked?

We all know that peculiar off-flavor and smell that can sometimes plague our favorite beers, often referred to as “skunky”. It’s a term familiar to many beer lovers, but does this same phenomenon affect non-alcoholic beers?

Can a non-alcoholic beer also go skunky?

Can Non-Alcoholic Beer Get Skunked?

The simple answer is yes. Just like its alcoholic counterpart, a non-alcoholic drink can get skunked.

The process that leads to a drink getting skunked is not solely dependent on its alcohol content. Instead, it’s largely about the hops and exposure to light.

How Does Beer Get Skunked?

Hops are a crucial ingredient in many beers, giving them their characteristic bitterness and aroma. They contain compounds that, when broken down by light, lead to the creation of the skunky compounds.

When beer, whether alcoholic or not, is exposed to light, the UV rays can break down the alpha acids in hops, producing a chemical that’s similar to what skunks produce. This is what gives the beer its skunky aroma and taste.

So, if a non-alcoholic drink contains hops and gets exposed to light, it can indeed get skunked.

Clear and green bottles are more prone to allowing UV light to penetrate and affect the drink, while brown bottles and cans offer better protection.


Non-alcoholic beer can indeed get skunked, much in the same way regular beer can. The key culprit is light exposure, especially UV light, interacting with the hops present in the drink.

The best way to ensure your non-alcoholic beer remains fresh and free from that unpleasant skunky aroma is to store it away from light.

Whether you’re enjoying an alcoholic beer or its non-alcoholic counterpart, the experience is always better when it’s fresh as the brewer intended!