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Does chilling down beer in the freezer hurt it?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by thecheapies, Jun 28, 2012.

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  1. thecheapies

    thecheapies Jan 11, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Many times when the girlfriend and/or I snag a case of beer that we're excited to quickly start enjoying, we toss a few bottles in the freezer for about twenty minutes or so to drop serving temp to a reasonable 40º-45ºF for drinking. Sometimes, I review said beer. Just popped a Stoudts Heifer-in-Wheat in the freezer for a little less than a half-an-hour and am enjoying currently.

    Question: does anything get lost in the beer from the quick drop in temperature? I'm assuming it's a harmless procedure. Am I losing anything in aroma or flavor due to this method (other than the beer being remotely cold)?
  2. litheum94

    litheum94 Dec 29, 2008 California

    Never hurt any of my beers, and I once completely froze a can of Dale's Pale Ale. Although I wouldn't make a habit out of it.
  3. thecheapies

    thecheapies Jan 11, 2009 Pennsylvania

    The Dale's didn't burst and thawed to be enjoyed later?
  4. draheim

    draheim Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Only if your tongue gets stuck to the side of the can.
  5. lucas1801

    lucas1801 Apr 5, 2012 Massachusetts

    Froze a KBS last night, will ddrink it tonight LOL
  6. litheum94

    litheum94 Dec 29, 2008 California

    Nope. The can was totally fine.
  7. robconoclast

    robconoclast Jun 22, 2012 Ohio

    My brother froze some Christmas Ale last year to have for the fourth of July and surprisingly tasted just fine
  8. hopsputin

    hopsputin Apr 1, 2012 New Jersey

    Did this with a st bernardus wit tonight for about 15 mins. Was just fine!
  9. draheim

    draheim Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Let me guess. He had AleSmith YuleSmith (Summer) to celebrate Christmas.
    RJM, Jake1605 and Duff27 like this.
  10. robconoclast

    robconoclast Jun 22, 2012 Ohio

    Great Lakes
    RJM likes this.
  11. Ruds

    Ruds Sep 15, 2008 United Kingdom (England)

    I've done this a few times in the past - just don't forget to take the thing out promptly

    I've had a souple of bottles crack in the freezer in the past!
  12. polishkaz

    polishkaz May 30, 2011 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

    I'll second that. Blew up an Ommegang Bier de Mars all over my freezer.
  13. TongoRad

    TongoRad Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Like the others have said, just don't let it actually freeze and you'll be allright.

    Here is an old, classic (imo) Lew Bryson article that covers that territory, and then some; it's a very informative piece about mistreating your beer:
    Siebel to the rescue again. "Freezing puts a denaturing pressure on the proteins in the beer. As they denature they come out of solution and create a haze, or even flakes, in the beer," Radzanowski told me. Denaturing means the proteins’ structures are being ripped apart. "Repeated cycles of freezing and thawing have a greater effect."..."
  14. billandsuz

    billandsuz Sep 1, 2004 New York

    hard freezing liquid forces dissolved gas out of solution. if you freeze beer the CO2 is squeezed into the headspace. if you open the thawed beer before the gas has dissolved back into the liquid it will be flat. mostly flat. give the beer a day or so after thawing and it will be fine.

    repeated freeze - thaw cycles screw with protien, as mentioned. but you would really have to make an effort to damage your beer this way.
    azorie likes this.
  15. azorie

    azorie Mar 18, 2006 Florida

    Most refrigerators, use the same compressor to remove heat in both compartments. So the cooling effect (actually just heat removal) is the same as the same compressor does both right? (yes the freezer is cooler to start with ;) ) So the only thing you got to do is take them out before they freeze up solid. The dangerous part and I done it a few times, is cooling a few and taking out 1 at like 20 to 30 minutes in and drinking it and then forgetting about the others for another hour....So set a timer. Nothing worse than frozen Orval.:)
  16. kleo

    kleo Apr 27, 2009 Massachusetts

    My old fridge keeps beer on the cusp of freezing. After awhile, it can become problematic. Overnight and things are fine. After about a week... off flavors.
  17. Beerontwowheels

    Beerontwowheels Nov 22, 2009 Maryland

    While it's certainly less convenient, I think an ice bath with a generous helping of salt would actually cool the beers down quicker than putting them in the freezer. I haven't tested this out, but I'm pretty sure it would be quicker.
    cavedave and TheNoodleIncident like this.
  18. YaKnowBrady

    YaKnowBrady Jul 23, 2010 New Jersey

    I avoid putting beer in the freezer at all costs. I had a bottle of Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Black BW explode a couple of years ago when I still did this sort of thing, due to my being too drunk to remember to take it out. Now I never risk it, as there's always that chance you'll forget, drunk or not, and it can be too late...

    Duff27 likes this.
  19. Highbrow

    Highbrow Jan 7, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    my experience differs from some. while it doesn't seem to do permanent damage, using the freezer has, imho, effected head & as i think many of us agree, (especially with certain styles) - served at too low a temperature often mutes certain flavors.

    there are still those rare instances where i have one of those fu¢k it moments & rather suddenly want something that's tucked away or shelved. at those impatient moments i've been known to throw a brew in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
  20. MaxSpang

    MaxSpang Jan 28, 2011 Ohio

    Protip: if you set beers in the freezer, set an alarm.
  21. da_bulls

    da_bulls Jun 7, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Bingo!!! Heat transfer has a larger capacity via conduction rather than convection. Ever see a quick cooler for wine bottles at a liquor store? (can use those for beer too) Basically works using the same idea.
    JimDH likes this.
  22. goodonezach

    goodonezach Mar 24, 2011 New York

    i blew up a growler once and it wasn't even in the freezer. my roommate's mini-fridge was set too low and it was too full, so there was no circulation. that's the only problem i've had, and i stick beer in the freezer all the time. just be sure to take it out once it's cold.
  23. CASK1

    CASK1 Jan 7, 2010 Florida

    This is what I do when I want a quick chill, minus the salt. Chills quickly, and no risk of freezing.
  24. Providence

    Providence Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    Freezer is dangerous, for the reasons mentioned above. But there's an alternative, follow the steps below:

    -Buy a bag of ice when you buy your warm beer
    -Put ice in a large container (cooler, bucket, salad bowl, etc.)
    -Fill half way with water (so you have an ice cube dense liquid)
    -Pour a couple tablespoons of salt in the ice water
    -Add your beers (if using a cooler, close the top at this point)

    Chills the beer just as fast as the freezer, it won't mess with taste and if you forget about it it's not going to freeze solid.

    Just my $0.02.
    Nutwood and SittingOnAMtnTop like this.
  25. Inspired

    Inspired Mar 4, 2008 Maryland

    I believe the OP is referring to using the freezer to quickly get room temperature beers to a good drinking temperature, not actually freezing the beer. I do this all the time and have never noticed anything wrong with any of my beers.
    Kal, abcramer and azorie like this.
  26. TheNoodleIncident

    TheNoodleIncident Apr 30, 2012 New York

    Def this. I do it all the time: 12oz bottles are ready to go in 5min, 10min tops. Bombers in 10-15min. No risk of explosion and much faster than freezer. Use a big pot if you have it. Salt lowers the freezing point.
  27. Steeeve

    Steeeve Nov 16, 2010 Pennsylvania

    Depends how hard I throw it.
    MaxSpang, Rempo and quirkzoo like this.
  28. Vaison

    Vaison Aug 27, 2010 Delaware
    Beer Trader

    Ive always done something similar to the system used in wine shops with the swirling cold water. I fill a pitcher or big bowl with ice and water and then spin the bottle around for about 5 mins and it makes it ice cold.
  29. SpottedZombie

    SpottedZombie Feb 7, 2012 Illinois

    I accidentally left a couple bottles of Zombie Dust in my freezer for about an hour, when I went to get them out, they were still liquid in the bottle. I thought to myself... "Have these beers been frozen?" I then proceeded to open one, and it was still liquid (although incredibly cold). I began to pour my beer into the glass, and as it hit the glass, it turned into slush! I think it's something to do with superheated or supercooled liquid states, wherein they remain liquid until disturbed. Anyways, the beer was turned into a delicious ZD smoothie, although it had a slightly muted aroma until it warmed up a bit.
  30. TonyN

    TonyN Jun 27, 2012 Indiana

    I assume it was in cans? Why freeze it instead of just keeping it in a cool place? Is freezing going to be a better option? What is the shelf life of beer in a can? Does heat play a role?
  31. Rempo

    Rempo Jan 18, 2010 Indiana

    Still a better surprise than messing with superheated water from a microwave.
  32. MaxSpang

    MaxSpang Jan 28, 2011 Ohio

    That reminds me of Pliny the Sorbet. It's basically the juice from half of a grapefruit, sugar, and Pliny mixed up and put into an ice cream maker. Yum.

    Beerichituba on Youtube has a how-to video for it. I might have to make that again soon...
    foundersfan1 and IckyT2012 like this.
  33. azorie

    azorie Mar 18, 2006 Florida

    from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercooling

    Supercooling is often confused with freezing-point depression. Supercooling is the cooling of a liquid below its freezing point without it becoming solid. Freezing point depression is when a solution can be cooled below the freezing point of the corresponding pure liquid due to the presence of the solute; an example of this is the freezing point depression that occurs when sodium chloride is added to pure water.
    SpottedZombie likes this.
  34. azorie

    azorie Mar 18, 2006 Florida

    the key point if you use a freezer to cool the beer let it rewarm up some before you open it. I would think only highly filtered beer could supercool.
  35. CasanovaCummins

    CasanovaCummins Jan 10, 2012 Nevada
    Beer Trader

    Don't do it. Beersicles are not the adult version of popsicles.
  36. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Mar 23, 2008 California

    How would freezing an IPA affect hop degradation over time?

    Say I wanted to enjoy Hopslam in all it's hoppy gloriousness in the summertime.
    If they survive (no cracked bottle) what would happen if i left them in there for 6 months? would the hops still be like they were fresh?

    Now that I think about it, I remember Budweiser does this to insure their beer is consistent over time.
  37. diesel59

    diesel59 Jan 3, 2012 New York

    I do it all the time... just don't let it get too cold unless its your typical swill........ I had a flower power in there last night for a bit too long and it masked alot of flavor....
  38. JoeyBeerBelly

    JoeyBeerBelly Dec 15, 2006 New York

    I don't think the bottles or cans really feel it...
    but I would place them in the freezer just to be on the safe side. :p

    Anyway, if you have a ice/beer/spackle bucket putting the beers in there with some cold water and ice chills them off in about 15-20 minutes.
    I've heard that if you add table salt to the water it cools down even quicker, but I'm not Bill Nye the Science Guy or The Mythbusters so I haven't tested it myself.
    Etan likes this.
  39. DirtyPenny

    DirtyPenny Jun 25, 2011 Massachusetts

    If you set beers in the freezer, set an alarm.

    If you set beers in the freezer, set an alarm.

    If you set beers in the freezer, set an alarm.

    If you set beers in the freezer, set an alarm.

    guitarsnbeer likes this.
  40. pjs234

    pjs234 Jun 29, 2008 Connecticut

    Mythbusters actually did a show on this. They did this with coronas, if i remember correctly. Put them in the fridge till it got to 30 degrees or so, took it out, tapped the bottom on the table and the whole bottle froze solid immediately.
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