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Winter trading to/from a cold climate

Discussion in 'Beer Trading Talk & Help' started by HawkeyeNation, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. HawkeyeNation

    HawkeyeNation Savant (365) Iowa Jun 18, 2013

    So what are everyone's thoughts on winter trading? I have a potential trade to a slightly warmer climate with a 3 day shipping time shipping FedEx Home. With Christmas (and it looks like they are closed the 23rd?) I am not sure when would be the best time to ship. Also, how much does packaging material weigh in to prevent freezing? Would styrofoam peanuts be the best choice? Or what are some other tips people have? Success stories? Nightmares?
  2. Best bet is to wait until you have a window where the daily lows are no lower than 25 degrees throughout the time it takes to ship.

    Last year I had a trade on hold for six weeks.
    bauermj and gatornation like this.
  3. MCImes

    MCImes Savant (360) Minnesota Dec 31, 2010

    Last year I did trades down to ~15*. Most of them were high alcohol beers like DIPA's or imperial stouts, so it helps if you're trading 9%+ beers...I probably wouldnt trade a lighter beer below 25* like LWC said. Although my partners did throw in some low ABV extras that made it here fine...so there's that.

    When I did trade during those cold days, I just made sure the weather looked decent for the next 3-4 days.
  4. theCoder

    theCoder Savant (340) Minnesota Oct 24, 2011

    Never had any issues, but I rarely shipped if it woudl be below 0. Generally if I knew it'd be in an enclosed environment while shipping I rarely worry. The trick is receiving beer though, if you have it shipped home and said shipping company delivers it early and you're at work while it sits there for 6+ hours, then you may have a mess on your hands. I hope I don't...friend shipped me a bunch of stuff from Anchorage last week, fingers crossed...I just started a gig where I am not working from home atm so eek
  5. HawkeyeNation

    HawkeyeNation Savant (365) Iowa Jun 18, 2013

    Yes, I was thinking of just having it shipped to my workplace during the winter. Luckily I know the guy who works in receiving, but he's also a beer guy so he better not jack my bottles!
  6. doner24

    doner24 Aficionado (175) Minnesota Apr 16, 2013

    I've had about 25 boxes show up the last month with no problems, even during the below zero weather. The UPS or Fed Ex truck don't get to my house until the afternoon, so the longest they sit outside is a couple of hours.
    TheGoof likes this.
  7. BrettHead

    BrettHead Advocate (535) Nebraska Sep 18, 2010

    I've been buying beer online lately and even during the recent single digits spell everything arrived a-okay. However, everything I ordered was 8+% ABV.
    TheGoof likes this.
  8. mnphish

    mnphish Savant (375) Minnesota Aug 19, 2012

    My MN buddy just lost a bottle of Proprietors because of the cold. Check the radar ba's!
  9. accordselux

    accordselux Savant (290) Minnesota Nov 26, 2007

    No problems shipping in cold weather with me personally. I just look to make sure temps aren't dipping below 20 or so and I haven't had an issue. I try not to ship low alcohol beers.

    The box is fairly well insulated too- the layers of packaging help it from swinging radically in short periods of time.
    mythaeus likes this.
  10. maximum12

    maximum12 Champion (755) Minnesota Jan 21, 2008

    After a couple hundred trades & reading countless "winter shipping" threads over the years, I've established 10 degrees as my minimum trading temp. If you trade when it's going to be zero during the beer's trip or, heaven forbid, below zero, you're gambling.

    And always, always ship on a Monday. A weekend or holiday sitting out, even in relatively benign temps below freezing, will likely doom a box of beer.

    Those are my two basic rules & I've only lost one single bottle of 4% or so beer when I was new, & the box arrived in sub-zero weather.

    Plus, you can read this & plenty more.

  11. MNPikey

    MNPikey Advocate (500) Minnesota Feb 27, 2011

    I was getting ready to ship some Abrasive when it was below zero last week. I tested a can out by leaving it outside overnight. That night it got down to about -6 F. The next morning when it had "warmed" up to around zero I brought the can inside.

    I was expecting to find an inflated looking or even blown can but it was neither. I popped it open and the contents were still in a liquid state. It poured nicely and tasted even better. Probably the coldest beer I've ever had.
    mythaeus likes this.
  12. The more insulating layers between your beer and the outside world the better. In a recent BIF where the temp between my target and I was always below freezing, I let my beers slowly come up to room temp before wrapping the interior box with Mylar/space blanket shiny side in. Might have been overkill but it worked.

    Definitely second shipping on a Monday to avoid weekend warehouses.
  13. HawkeyeNation

    HawkeyeNation Savant (365) Iowa Jun 18, 2013

    Given it's supposed to be a HIGH of -2ยบ here in Iowa on Monday, I am shipping his out later on Monday. Thanks for all the suggestions. I picked up some styrofoam sheets at work so there will be plenty of layers.
    BrettHead likes this.
  14. knelson

    knelson Aficionado (115) Wisconsin Nov 23, 2010

    UPS typically loads its trucks immediately so there is no storage inside a warehouse. The trucks sit outside overnight. Not sure with FedEx but you should assume that your box will sit in a truck outside overnight for the duration of the trip. Granted there is no wind and other insulating materials around it which will help.
  15. mmulebarn

    mmulebarn Savant (475) Minnesota Sep 1, 2013

    If your receiving beer always make your trading partner aware of our weather conditions. I make it a point to have the shipper choose the hold at location option through fed ex. It should be easier/quicker once holiday season passes.
  16. bpfrush

    bpfrush Advocate (570) Wisconsin Jan 24, 2009

    If you're receiving a box and have the tracking #, you can also select the hold at location option yourself. I always do this if it's cold and I'm not going to be able to run home to bring the box inside.
  17. NeedBeerHere

    NeedBeerHere Initiate (0) Minnesota Nov 21, 2013

    I just always go for it when I'm trading. Haven't had anything go wrong yet but was sweating it out last week when it was REALLY cold and getting a box from Chicago. Shipped out two boxes last night. Hoping the -15F temperature isn't where my beer is hanging out. It's a game of chance in the winter. Haven't been screwed yet but I wouldn't recommend it unless you can resend the beer if something happens. I'm not very smart.

    Never had a shipment lost with roughly 50 of them. That being said... Stupid to gamble. Make sure the bottle tops are taped REALLY tight with electrical tape.

    I would NEVER send any high value beers in the cold. I have been lucky. Keep doing it and you're gonna get screwed.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2013
  18. Cyclone8

    Cyclone8 Savant (475) Minnesota Oct 19, 2011

    I've been very careful/lucky - up until now. I BEGGED the sender to mail last Wed. so it would get here by Dec. 24, knowing if it didn't it would sit in a cold truck overnight. He didn't, saying he'd "never had any trouble" - I'm thinking him living in California may have played a factor in that. In any case - you ever seen a Beat-cicle? It's a heartbreaker, and pretty grotesque, shield the young ones' eyes...

    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013
    BorisKarloff and schmidtmattsays like this.
  19. BottleCaps80

    BottleCaps80 Advocate (615) Iowa Jan 12, 2013

    Ouch...what did the person you traded with say when you sent them that picture?
  20. Cyclone8

    Cyclone8 Savant (475) Minnesota Oct 19, 2011

    No response yet. It's our second trade, and he's a decent guy. And I take some responsibility, I should have just said we needed to wait, maybe until Spring (though I'd already shipped). I'm guessing he'll do his best to make it up, though Beat's tough to come by. Especially the non-frozen kind;)
    TofuDC5 and BottleCaps80 like this.
  21. maximum12

    maximum12 Champion (755) Minnesota Jan 21, 2008

    My Minnesota friends - quit bloody trading. Right. Now.

    I know & love many of you, but anybody who sends/receives a box when the temp is forecast to dip below zero gets what they deserve. If you're happy to play Russian Roulette with a box of good beer, I don't have much sympathy for anyone who gets a live round in the chamber. And this screed isn't aimed at anyone in particular, I know this has happened multiple times in the past few weeks.

    Six straight days of below zero nights beginning Saturday. Don't do it.
    creepinjeeper likes this.
  22. MNPikey

    MNPikey Advocate (500) Minnesota Feb 27, 2011

    I sent a package to Chicago today knowing it will be in the 20s and 30s through Saturday and the package will be delivered there that day. Just be careful!
  23. MRC711

    MRC711 Aficionado (165) Minnesota Oct 22, 2007

    My shipping guy just called FedEx. Packages are stored inside the facility until put on the truck for delivery that day. Trucks sit outside overnight but never with packages in them.
    mythaeus likes this.
  24. maximum12

    maximum12 Champion (755) Minnesota Jan 21, 2008

    Trucks also drive down long stretches of road that are not inside a facility.

    And I've heard both that trucks sit inside & trucks sit outside from FedEx folks, so I think it depends, & neither inside nor outside is an 'always' situation overnight.
  25. NeedBeerHere

    NeedBeerHere Initiate (0) Minnesota Nov 21, 2013

    I've been pushing my luck today. Got some heady in the mail today. But yah I know it's pretty stupid and my shipment with all the BCBS bombers from this week had me sweating. I didn't think that one was goig to make it. Just waiting to see if I get my bottle from Cali and they get my packages safely before I do more trades.

    I'm making fairly small trades in the big scheme of things so if on freezes I guess I'll learn my lesson. I'm sure it will happen sooner or later. You can't get lucky all the time.
  26. J-Pro

    J-Pro Aficionado (210) California Jul 30, 2013

    So I just sent a nice box to MA didn't think much of the cold weather. Till it already shipped. How many of you have lost bottles to freezing.? Kinda worried about it's like 14 degrees out their now but by the delivery date it's Gonna be in the 50s :/
  27. I've put off all my shipments that were scheduled to go out this past Monday until tomorrow. Shipping beer in the single digits and teens has me a bit worried. It really depends where it's traveling through. Although if it will be in the 50's where it's being delivered most likely anything that froze would be thawed so it may be hard to tell.
  28. it takes a mere few days to freeze. not much at all and single digits will really speed that up. also, higher alcohol will fare better. as long as the seals do not break, you are fine. some corks will expand but they will also contract. many say C02 will escape but thats not always true.
  29. LopeJuice

    LopeJuice Savant (365) New York Aug 23, 2012

    I have 2 boxes on their way to me and it's about 12f outside and one of them just got delayed an extra day for no apparent reason. I'd be lying if i said i wasn't extremely nervous about both already being beersicles. Not bottles that can be easily replaced. GL man I feel your pain.
  30. twizzard

    twizzard Advocate (675) New York May 11, 2013

    Have you suspended shipping beer during this most recent cold snap?
  31. Kbyfield

    Kbyfield Savant (325) Wisconsin Aug 13, 2009

    It was -20 here a cpl days ago. I'm holding off on sending a shipment to CA until it's above 0 at least, if not warmer

    At -20, your beer WILL freeze and it will break the bottle, and not in days but hours or less.
  32. spicoli00

    spicoli00 Champion (760) Indiana Jul 6, 2005

    nah, i just load up the box with some hot charcoals to keep the beer warm in transit.
  33. TheBeerBro

    TheBeerBro Aficionado (155) Iowa Sep 10, 2013

    I sure did. It was -13 in Iowa on Monday. 23 degrees in my garage. Figured if my garage is 23 degrees (and its connected to a heated home), a shipping truck / depo will be even colder.
  34. maximum12

    maximum12 Champion (755) Minnesota Jan 21, 2008

    Yes. And the cold snap before that in MN that's stretched back to about Thanksgiving.
  35. nc41

    nc41 Advocate (745) North Carolina Sep 25, 2008

    Damn is been cold, I hate to ship if it's below mid 20s. I have a few boxes to get out but shipping into the NE is almost impossible .
  36. twizzard

    twizzard Advocate (675) New York May 11, 2013

    Sent out a few boxes today...High of 25 here...Tomorrow 36 and the weekend in the 40's.....
  37. Kurmaraja

    Kurmaraja Champion (785) Washington May 21, 2013

    Couple questions regarding frozen beer - apologies if this is duplicative with other threads, but I didn't see answers elsewhere.

    How can you tell if beer you received froze in transit? Obviously if the bottle is broken or it's frozen upon receipt, those are clear signs. But is it possible the beer froze and thawed without bursting bottles or pushing off caps?

    I'm curious about this because I recently received a box of about 17 beers, 4 of which had leaked 1/3 of their contents though the bottles are still intact and the caps in place. I know that the box sat in Chicago for 4 or 5 days due to the cold weather - it was supposed to have shipped before the polar vortex weather swept in. All the beers that leaked were between 5.9% and 7.5% but there were some beers that didn't leak which were in the 6% - 8% range. I'm assuming that the bottles leaked due to freezing temps. Is that a fair assumption or is it possible they were just poorly capped? If they did leak due to freezing temps, should I be worried that the bottles which didn't leak have had their quality impacted by the low temps?

    Appreciate the help here. I'm not sure how to approach my trading partner until I understand the facts better.
  38. jb123

    jb123 Savant (490) Michigan Dec 3, 2012

    I just shipped a box to Rhode Island and Iowa. No issue . Got two growlers from Maryland that took four days instead of 3, no issues.
  39. nc41

    nc41 Advocate (745) North Carolina Sep 25, 2008

    I received a few boxes a week or so ago and they were two day ships. I dare to say in another day those beers would have been lost, they were ice cold and I could have easily just popped them and drink them right out of the box. This week I would not ship anywhere, next week its going to be back into the single digits again. As an example destination Fl, I have no idea where that box is going after I drop it off. I know where it's supposed to end up but if they go thru cold weather en route I could lose the beer.
    creepinjeeper and maximum12 like this.
  40. maximum12

    maximum12 Champion (755) Minnesota Jan 21, 2008

    These wise words bear repeating.

    Anybody who trades this week (or next, looks like) is begging for busted up bottles.
    creepinjeeper likes this.

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