Cold Weather Trading

Discussion in 'Beer Trading Talk & Help' started by Prospero, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. Prospero

    Prospero Advocate (675) Colorado Jul 27, 2010

    Hi, I'm trading with someone in MT (34-45'F as high, 16-25'F as low) from Denver (today 46'F/21'F, tomorrow 28'F/9'F) and it has me nervous that the bottles will freeze and burst if I ship FedEx or UPS Ground. Does anyone have experience with this? Is it safe? Should I wait? Just have the boxes held at FedEx locations until we can pick them up?
  2. Envelopes

    Envelopes Initiate (0) Ohio Aug 26, 2012

    It's the being-here-when-it-arrives-so-it-doesn't-sit-on-the-porch-for-hours part that worries me. I've got a bottle of Fou' Foune coming through USPS this week/next week and I'm probably going to be late to work every day waiting for the mail to get here before i leave.
  3. CityofBals

    CityofBals Initiate (0) Illinois Sep 12, 2012

    Wouldn't the beers have just as likely of a time freezing in a cold truck overnight as they would on a cold porch?
  4. Envelopes

    Envelopes Initiate (0) Ohio Aug 26, 2012

    Great, now I'm more paranoid!

    I would think being in an enclosed area and tightly packed with other boxes might be a little better. Needless to say it's definitely my last trade of the season.
  5. maximum12

    maximum12 Champion (755) Minnesota Jan 21, 2008

    Shipping when it's below freezing is never perfectly safe.

    However, I've traded throughout Minnesota winters for several years with only a single incoming casualty. Ask yourself a few questions before you ship:
    - How cold is it? My rule of thumb is no single digits while the box is traveling.
    - Where's it going? If it's 50 in NY & 70 in CA, it just might go through Chicago...
    - What you trading? Hi ABV beers will survive when that 4% session beer explodes.
    - Who's home? Somebody already mentioned this...once it arrives, get it inside.
    - When you sending? In the winter never, ever, ever ship anything if it's not Monday morning.
    - Weekends are killers...see above. Don't let anything sit in a truck over the weekend.
    - How valuable is it? I'd save those Blaebers & '09 BTs for spring or fall, personally.

    There you go. Your results may vary, but I've only had one incoming bottle & zero outgoing bottles kill in the past 4-5 winters. Watch the weather, pack well, send on Monday, you *should* be OK.
  6. Prospero

    Prospero Advocate (675) Colorado Jul 27, 2010

    Packed well, I used a trash bag and packed the borders with foam padding which may help with insulating it so it doesn't experience extreme temperature changes. I'll hold it at my FedEx location and ask that the trader do the same, and hope for the best. All bottles are above 9%. Thanks for all the input!
    FishPondManager likes this.
  7. I have had a lot of beer freeze, none was ever on my front porch. It's the cold back of a trick.
    dbc5 and CityofBals like this.
  8. ArrogantB

    ArrogantB Advocate (725) Colorado Jun 9, 2006

    I had a bottle of Cantillon Monk's Cafe freeze on my doorstep once, it leaked and I had to defrost and drink immediately. I don't think I've had anything shipped to the house since.
  9. lurchingbeast

    lurchingbeast Initiate (0) Illinois Feb 19, 2009

    I won't lie to you. It's a possibility.

    Add to that Cantillon's reputation of leaking through the cap during transit under mild temperatures.

    Lesson? Trading is risky.
  10. Hopefully not a thread de-rail here, but - on a related note, anyone have any experience shipping/trading from Europe (say, Antwerpen,Be where the temps are above freezing) to the U.S. in the winter? For example, if I ship to Arizona from Antwerpen will my box get stuck in any of the 'cold' states for any significant period of time?
  11. i HATE trading in super hot summer and winter. fall and spring, go fucking mental and TRADE HARD
    Beerontwowheels and MordorMongo like this.
  12. i doubt it, planes will temp controlled. it will hit a customs joint at the airport. most likely NYC or chicago. from there it will be be a flight from NYC to arizona, so again all air.
  13. lurchingbeast

    lurchingbeast Initiate (0) Illinois Feb 19, 2009

    Maybe. Once it clears customs and is handed over to USPS there's a good chance it will sit somewhere in the midwest for at least a night.
    claaark13 likes this.
  14. What if we're cheap bastards and send by boat? :cool:
  15. lurchingbeast

    lurchingbeast Initiate (0) Illinois Feb 19, 2009

    Are "customs joints" temp controlled offices, or are they warehouse-like conditions. I would imagine sitting in a warehouse in NY or Chicago in the dead of winter is what he was referring to.
  16. Haha im the same way, Good thing I have no job. I usually meet the delivery guy at the driveway.
  17. Shmeal

    Shmeal Advocate (530) Oregon Nov 9, 2009

    I shipped to AK recently and the box was fine.
  18. I won't ship if it is going to go below 28. Either here or in destination, and I try to be aware of the route.

    Winter trading can be done, you just need to be super careful. Even if your beers arrive fine, they may have frozen and defrosted in transit, which is bad for the beer.
    MordorMongo likes this.
  19. Although I hate it, try to avoid it, the beers that have frozen on me, have always tasted 100% fine.
  20. My understanding is that the biggest risk is exactly how frozen it gets and then how gently it thaws out. i.e. if it hovers from slightly freezing to just above it probably will be fine. If it plummets to 0 for 3 days though and then immediately goes into a heated truck, you could have problems...

    Even then I'm not sure how much it affects the taste as much as the appearance and carbonation. And it also puts you at risk of a bottle cracking or a cap leaking/blowing...
  21. That's why I hate it, the risk of a cap or cork busting. As far as freezing goes, if never encountered a bad bottle or off flavors.
  22. Envelopes

    Envelopes Initiate (0) Ohio Aug 26, 2012

    You guys sure didn't help me sleep last night but the bottles arrived safe and sound without any signs of cracks or leaking. They weren't even cold! Definitely the last trade until the thaw though.

    I can't see it being worth risking it any further into the cold months. Kind of hard to predict a path, too. My last time with this trader the box went straight to Columbus and was sorted here, this time it landed in Chicago for a little while first. Mail is weird and unpredictable - especially in winter.
  23. I've got some fresh Surly Abrasive (9% ABV) sitting on the porch at home overnight. I'm out of town right now. Think it will survive the night with temps dipping down to 27 F?
  24. Assuming it doesn't go lower than about 24F it should be fine. 1F = 1% ABV is my general rule...
  25. What are the responsibilities if a shipment arrives damaged from freezing? Is it the shipper's responsibility to replace 100%? Seems like a bit of a grey area, because unlike poor packing where it's the shipper's 100% duty to replace, both parties should be aware that the package is going to/coming from a cold weather state.
  26. maximum12

    maximum12 Champion (755) Minnesota Jan 21, 2008

    Good question, but ultimately, it's comes down to this:

    It's the shipper's responsibility to get the agreed-upon beer into the hands of their partner in one piece.

    So cold weather popping a cork means whomever shipped the beer should replace it.

    Example: I once sent a box to the Southwest in the late spring, unaware that the place I was sending it to had a heat wave & daytime temps in the 110 degree range. Two of the bottles I sent were twist-offs, & both popped their lids - I presume because of the extreme heat, since the bottles didn't break. Frankly, I was pissed both at myself for not looking at the forecast where the box was going, & at the guy I traded with for not warning me it was so hot. But I replaced the bottles, & took it as a lesson, because they didn't reach their destination intact.
  27. The Surly Abrasive survived the night, with temps as low as 27 F. It was a little slushy, but far from exploding. Will that affect flavor?
  28. Bad_Trader

    Bad_Trader Initiate (0) Namibia Nov 8, 2012

    This is good to do, but unless there is something in the box that emits heat, a bottle of beer or anything else, put into a thermos, sealed in a box surrounded by 10 inches of spray-foam insulation, put into a styrofoam cooler, and then triple-boxed with an inch of insulation around each box, will STILL FREEZE. All that insulation does is slows down the transfer of cold from outside, to the inside/contents. The core temperature WILL EQUAL the outside temp that the box is sitting given enough time. It's physics. There is no thermos that doesn't turn energy into heat, that can keep a cup of coffee hot indefinitely.

    EDIT: AKA don't when you know a box will be idle over a weekend, although I do it all the time because that's how I roll.
  29. Prospero

    Prospero Advocate (675) Colorado Jul 27, 2010

    No where did I say it won't freeze, I got an A+ in AP Physics in high school so I'm aware of the process. My hope is that it would spend enough time in the warehouse or truck to have a high starting temperature and would last a couple hours before freezing. It's also physics that glass cracks when experiencing a fast change in temperature.
  30. nc41

    nc41 Advocate (745) North Carolina Sep 25, 2008

    I would ship on a Monday so it doesn't sit somewhere over the weekend, and insulated with bubble wrap/ paper, and a stout box I would assume it would be safe. It's been near freezing here and I always keep a case of water in my car and it doesn't freeze when it's in the low 30's. Boxes fly anyway so i would assume even in July it's freezing at 30,000 feet. Wrap them well and it should be fine, bubble wrap is a great insulator. france 44 doesn't ship when it's ultra hot or very cold just as an FYI.

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