Letting a beer get too cold

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by ChristopherShain, Mar 13, 2014.

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  1. ChristopherShain

    ChristopherShain Initiate (0) Feb 9, 2014 Michigan

    I just cracked open a beauty. Its a shipwreck porter from Artisan Ales. Its a bourbon barrel aged porter. I put it in the freezer to let it get a little chilled and let it sit in there for too long. I poured it into the glass and took a sip. It had a little sour taste to it. I let the glass sit for about 15-20 minutes and warm up a bit. The sour taste seem to fade away as it got warm and developed a more refreshing boozy taste. Has anyone experience this or have any reasoning why? I am assuming its because it was too cold, but this is just a guess.
  2. Vitacca

    Vitacca Crusader (786) Sep 15, 2010 Alaska
    Society Trader

    Next time try the real one from Arcadia. The knock offs are terrible.
    krustster likes this.
  3. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2010 Oklahoma

    Freezing your taste buds kills your ability to pick up the good intended flavors of beer. I shoot for 45-55F for most beers, but the darker the beer the warmer I like it.
  4. norcalhophead

    norcalhophead Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2010 Wisconsin

    I feel a serving temp around 50 degrees is the optimum for almost all craft beers
  5. ChristopherShain

    ChristopherShain Initiate (0) Feb 9, 2014 Michigan

    of course i shoot for this as well, i was messing around with my daughter and timed slipped away. im just trying to figure out why it would go from tasting sour to tasting boozy. its weird.
  6. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2010 Oklahoma

    Thermostat in my beer fridge went nuts two weeks ago and fell below freezing. Out of two cases of beer, the only beer that froze was some Prairie Birra, one of which blew out the bottom of the bottle. Birra is only 4.2% abv. All the other beer was 6.8% or higher.
  7. jmw

    jmw Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2009 North Carolina

    Lots of good replies here, none of which address what you are asking.

    No, getting the beer too cold did not make the beer sour.
  8. Eriktheipaman

    Eriktheipaman Savant (950) Sep 4, 2010 California

    I'm with everyone else saying beers on the warmer side tend to be a better experience. Except on a hot day when you just need that slightly too cold Pils or Kolsch :slight_smile:
  9. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,908) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    I'm going to take a shot in the dark here, but if it was sour when cold, then it should have also been sour when warmer. So I'm guessing that at the colder temp that the bitterness from the hops or from the roasted grain were more prominent which you interpreted as sour rather than bitter, and then the malt and the bourbon showed up when the beer was warmer. There have been no reports that I've hear of Shipwreck Porter going bad and becoming sour.
    Ranbot likes this.
  10. doppletheGOAT

    doppletheGOAT Initiate (0) Nov 27, 2012 Texas

    In my opinion, it's NOT a good idea to put high quality beer into a freezer. The harsh coldness of freezer temperatures can damage the hops and malts in the beer and change the way it tastes.
    utopiajane and Hendry like this.
  11. BH712

    BH712 Initiate (0) Jan 29, 2014 District of Columbia

    That bottle could have just been soured regardless of the temp. Shit happens.

    That said, there is no reason to ever put something in the freezer to chill it quickly. Especially a can or bottle.
    A) More likely than not you will experience the exact situation that the OP described - forgetting about it.
    B) IT DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY. Come on people, this is high school physics. Putting something in the freezer does not chill it more quickly, it just makes it colder over time.

    The proper way to quickly chill a drink is to stick the bottle in ice water, since water is a better conductor of energy than air.
  12. zstef99

    zstef99 Initiate (0) Dec 25, 2008 New York

    According to my personal experience (and the research I just did) temperature difference does affect the rate of heat transfer. Scroll down a bit to see the graph on this page. The line(s) would be straight if the heat transferred at a constant rate regardless of temperature difference.


    And another explanation:


    Mythbusters also addressed this on one of their episodes. After five minutes, a refrigerator cooled a room temperature beer to 60 degrees, and a freezer cooled it to 55 degrees.


    And to address the OP, I too have noticed some beers (especially sweeter/maltier ones such as stouts) taste a bit sour to me when they're too cold. I'm sure it's just the way our taste buds are perceiving the flavors due to the cold temperature rather than any change the beer goes through as a result of becoming too cold.
    #12 zstef99, Mar 13, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2014
  13. BH712

    BH712 Initiate (0) Jan 29, 2014 District of Columbia

    Fair enough, I stand corrected. But the Mythbusters experiment shows that ice water is still much more effective, plus people still tend to forget things they put in the freezer.
  14. zstef99

    zstef99 Initiate (0) Dec 25, 2008 New York

    Absolutely. I stick with the freezer for a quick chill since it's so convenient though. And I never (ok maybe very, very rarely) forget a beer :slight_smile:
    ChristopherShain likes this.
  15. lookrider

    lookrider Initiate (0) Apr 22, 2007 Pennsylvania

    I have noticed with sours that the sourness seems more pronounced when the beer is colder and as it warms, other flavors come out more.
  16. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (648) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Another voice from the peanut gallery: Even a decade old basic cell phone has an alarm function... Use it! Think of the poor beer you might hurt!

    Genius Thought: Someone could totally make a smart phone app for this "problem"... 1) User puts the beer in their freezer and starts the app. 2) The app starts a timed countdown of how long it takes to chill the beer. 3) Catchy notification sounds when timer is up. 4) App creator becomes a millionaire. Whoever does this can thank me by sending me a beer someday. :grinning:
    BeerGoogler and PapaGoose03 like this.
  17. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (648) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

  18. PaulyB83

    PaulyB83 Crusader (746) Sep 1, 2013 Michigan

    Bumping this as the title was the same I was gonna use. I've noticed when I get a beer too cold that when I pour it there is no carbonation and hardly any head. I just now poured from a bomber IPA I had in the freezer a tad too long, didn't slush up or anything, but on the initial pour the beer was real flat. I poured the last part of the bomber about 45 minutes later after warming up and it poured with like a normally carbonated beer. I'm guessing this has something to do with temperature and CO2 absorption or something like that?
  19. GameOfBeers

    GameOfBeers Initiate (0) Jul 21, 2014 Pennsylvania

  20. joelwlcx

    joelwlcx Initiate (0) Apr 23, 2007 Minnesota

    Beer too cold- first world problems.
  21. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,685) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    A million threads on this but big dark beers are best served maybe 50 ish and warn as consumed. I don't my lagers, IPA's and such 10 degrees colder. I don't drink enough Sour to have an opinion, but the bit of Cranbic I drank was at about 50, and I loved it, that's my reefer setting. I usually pop my IPA's and such into the freezer for 5-10 minutes.
    creepinjeeper likes this.
  22. Providence

    Providence Crusader (715) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    FYI, there's a faster way to chill your beer and do so in a manner that won't freeze it (from my experience)

    Take a bowl/bucket/container of some sort that is big enough to hold the bottle (it doesn't have to hold it all the way above the neck). Pour ice in the container and fill with cold water (again, only up to the neck is necessary). Pour in a half cup of kosher salt and mix it in with the ice water. It'll be chilled in 20 minutes. Every once in a while go give the bottle a little spin. Best part is, if you forget about it, it won't freeze. This has always worked well for me, your mileage may vary.
    crob3888 and embass like this.
  23. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    What's happening here is a combination of two things. First, as someone else noted, the chill does impact your tastebuds, numbing them, etc. to certain flavors. But more importantly it affects the beer. Basically that glass of beer is a bowl full of chemicals. Different chemical reactions take place faster or slower at differing temps. So when the beer is cold some of the flavor agents and aromas are simply not there or are only there at a reduced level from what they have if the beer is warmer.

    What you describe for your beer is a pretty common thing that you can easily duplicate with almost any beer. Starting from quite cold the flavors and aromas will "open" up and the beer can taste very different when lightly chilled or almost warm than it tasted when chilled.
  24. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Initiate (0) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    Your beers volume of co2 is essentially (without gobs of science language getting involved) hiding from you when it is below waters freezing point. You may also actually have started to separate the alcohol from the water, which might inhibit the co2 from moving, period. When the beer comes up above freezing, the co2 is able to release more as it warms up and the two are in cahoots with one another again. That colder temperature is also why the aromatics aren't there, and also why some aspects of the flavor are also in hiding. The co2 isn't circulating the beer goodness and releasing them as its releases itself.
    PaulyB83 and drtth like this.
  25. embass

    embass Initiate (0) Sep 19, 2014 Virginia

    Kind of funny, but as a rookie I always thought everything had to be freezing cold and wondered why anyone would want to drink a beer at cellar temp. Now I let everything sit out for about 10 minutes (little longer for darker beers) before drinking.

    I still like my IPA's on the cold-side sarting off and like them to slowly warm as I drink them.

    I do travel a lot and use the same method as Providence above to quickly cool beer at a hotel with no mini fridge :slight_smile:. Good call on the bowl of ice, water and kosher salt.
  26. BryanA

    BryanA Initiate (0) May 12, 2013 Michigan

    BCBS 55-60 degrees nothing colder
  27. Franziskaner

    Franziskaner Poo-Bah (4,557) May 27, 2005 Missouri
    Society Trader

    My brother in law threw one in the freezer after flying in from Denver as of course it wasn't cold yet. He used his phone timer. You are drinking something else,you get to talking...thank goodness for the phone timer. How many beer have been saved that way?
    Ranbot likes this.
  28. Franziskaner

    Franziskaner Poo-Bah (4,557) May 27, 2005 Missouri
    Society Trader

    This works well know hotels lacking a mini fridge. I usually use the ice bucket but have also used the sink in a pinch.
    Providence likes this.
  29. nicole309

    nicole309 Disciple (304) Jan 10, 2011 Alaska

    Sometimes in the winter when it is super cold (40 below) our cellar will drop to 40 degrees. On occasion I have opened a darker beer such as a stout and detected what I perceive to be a metallic taste. When I notice that I always let the beer warm up for a bit and that taste always goes away. So, I could see how you might have found some sour notes to yours. Also, smell is a huge part of tasting. When a beer is super cold those aromatics aren't released either.
  30. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado

    Now that winter is here, the best way to cool a beer quickly is in snow. Insulates it against freezing whatever the outside temp is but still cools the liquid quickly.
    Hop-Droppen-Roll likes this.
  31. bluehende

    bluehende Poo-Bah (2,440) Dec 10, 2010 Delaware

    I always find it fascinating to see how a beer changes while warming up. I have it down to a science now as to how long to keep a certain style sitting on the counter before I open it. I really need a good beer fridge. But even there I like different styles at different temperatures. I actually enjoy opening a beer too cold and taking a sip or two and then slowly enjoying my beer as it's metamorphosis occurs. So OP enjoy doing the experiments with styles and temp. It is fascinating.
  32. Southerndiscomfort

    Southerndiscomfort Initiate (0) Dec 3, 2014 North Carolina

    I put my beer in the freezor every time. No fucks given.
    Stagga_Lee likes this.
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