Ratings Disclaimer and Notes
If these descriptions seem repetitive after a while, please realize
I'm an amateur, and don't know all the technical terms. On the other
hand, I know what I like.
Notes on glass color and skunking
Beer is best shipped in brown bottles (unless you can get it
hand-drawn at a tap). Brown glass is the best protection from
ultraviolet light. UV can cause chemical reactions in a finished beer
and leave an odor of skunk, making the beer undrinkable (or at least
very unpleasant to drink). Green and clear glass offer less
protection against UV, with a correspondingly higher risk of skunking.
Most brewers ship their beer in brown glass. I've noted the glass
color in all rated beers not shipped in brown glass. On February 28,
2007, The Washington Post
article with a good summary of the chemical processes involved in how
beer gets skunked by exposure to light.
However, you'll notice that Red Stripe Lager Beer was noted as skunked
but in brown glass. I believe that excess exposure to heat (which,
presumably, the Jamaican-brewed Red Stripe could be) can also cause
skunking. Brown glass isn't necessarily a guarantee. It just puts
the odds more in your favor.
In any case, you needn't overly concern yourself with skunked beer.
I've only come across two such (Red Stripe and Samuel Smith's Pure
Brewed Lager Beer), and the Samuel Smith's faint skunky odor didn't
keep it from a very high rating.
mjbauer (at) mit (dot) edu