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Light Stuck Beer Risk

So, I’m generally pretty paranoid about keeping my beer in the dark to avoid skunking. I used to keep my carboys in the shipping boxes with a hole cut for the airlock to poke through. That was until I got the freezer, so no more light at all.

Well now I’m thinking of putting a light and a webcam in the freezer, because I thought making a time-lapse video of krausen would be interesting. I read somewhere that white LED lights do not put out the wavelengths that cause skunking, and would therefore be safe.

Anyone have evidence supporting or refuting that claim?

Don’t have a specific answer, but I think your worries might be slightly unfounded. I believe that fluorescent lights specifically (like the ones in commercial refrigerators) are the most common cause of transforming the alpha acids into whatever compounds that smell like skunk spray.

One way to tell is to take a clear container of finished beer and put it in the freezer with your light on. Typically, ‘light-striking’ happens pretty quickly.

LED’s are constructed differently and do produce UV light of different wavelengths. The distance from the LED light source also makes a difference. Greater distances reduce the strength of the UV emitted light.
A couple of references.

Greatest problem is finding accurate data on the LED bulb you plan to use.

I switched to 60 watt equivalent soft white LED bulbs in my brew room. I still limit exposure to the direct light because I can’t be sure what type of bulb it actually is and if a distance of 4 to 8 feet is safe.

There are some of the local breweries up here that take great pride in telling all, that their brew won’t see the light of day until its poured… WOW… Sneezles61

I like that. Kind of like birthing.

I’ll bet beer had something to do there too! Sneezles61

Probably in the dark


I won’t say that light struck article was an interesting read. :slight_smile: BUT it did have some valuable information. Namely that Blue light (specifically 350-500 nm) is the wavelength/color to avoid. I had previously seen what was said in the lighting article that “white” LEDs are actually Blue LEDs (~450nm )with a yellow phosphor. So it looks like white LEDs are not the best choice.

RGB LEDs like the Phillips Hue may be OK if they’re tuned to have blue LED off. This may make the resultant pictures a bit freaky looking, which could be good or bad. Low light cameras often have LEDs that favor the IR end, which should be safe. but would give that “night vision” look.

ON THE OTHER HAND, What I’m not so clear on is, if the effect is truly cumulative. That is, how long does it take to start producing skunk molecules. if I only have the light on for 1 second to snap a frame, I don’t think that’s long enough to cause a problem. If I snap one frame every other minute does it add up? or does the chemistry “cool off” between frames. BTW one frame every 120 seconds would show an entire fermentation in just under 3 minutes.


Am I not correct that old fashion incandescent bulbs do not produce UV light so they will not skunk your beer?
I got about half way through that article before glazing over.

:dizzy_face: Sneezles61

Sounds like a cool project!

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