skunk + -y; skunks are known for their unpleasant odor. For the beer sense, compare skunk (“to go bad”).
skunky (comparative skunkier, superlative skunkiest)
- Having an unpleasant odor.
- Having a smell of skunk (a type of marijuana).
- (of beer) Spoiled, bad.
2004, Harold McGee, chapter 13, in On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, Scribner, →ISBN:
One American brewer with trademark clear bottles developed a modified hop extract that’s free of the vulnerable hop acid, and this prevents its beer from going skunky.