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Freezing Point of Beer

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donrajin
beers 233 º places 47 º 10:23 Thu 7/3/2008

My boss asked me the other day what the freezing point was for beer. I said well, theoreticly since most beers are on average 5% ABV then 95% of it is water and should freeze at 32F and the remaining alcohol I didnít know because I donít know itís freezing point.

He said that didnít make since because he goes to a store with a walk in cooler with a thermometer that says 25F, which has bags of ice in there that doesnít melt, but the beer is not frozen.

Can anyone shed some light on this topic??

 
FlacoAlto
premium
beers 3881 º places 17 º 10:29 Thu 7/3/2008

Originally posted by donrajin
My boss asked me the other day what the freezing point was for beer. I said well, theoreticly since most beers are on average 5% ABV then 95% of it is water and should freeze at 32F and the remaining alcohol I didnít know because I donít know itís freezing point.

He said that didnít make since because he goes to a store with a walk in cooler with a thermometer that says 25F, which has bags of ice in there that doesnít melt, but the beer is not frozen.

Can anyone shed some light on this topic??


Alcohol reduces the freezing point of beer to below 32 degrees F. While the gravity raises it by a small amount. It depends on the alcohol content as to the exact temperature that it will start to freeze at.

For an actual estimate read this:

http://www.probrewer.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=6737

 
3fourths
premium
beers 8637 º places 1453 º 10:32 Thu 7/3/2008

From an article from the University of California at Davis (referenced above by FlacoAlto)

The freezing point of a beer is given as Freezing point

įC = Ė0.42*ABW + 0.04*OG + 0.2

ABW is the % of alcohol by weight
OG is the original gravity of the wort

On this basis, each 1% increase in alcohol content lowers the
freezing point by 0.42įC and each increase in gravity of 1įPlato
(P) raises it by 0.04įC. Thus, no beer will freeze at Ė1įC, and
products at higher alcohol concentrations (including high-gravity
brews prior to dilution) will withstand even lower temperatures.

 
JoeMcPhee
premium
beers 9004 º places 529 º 10:37 Thu 7/3/2008

Lots of things affect the freezing point including the ABV, the dissolved sugars, and salts/inorganics. Itís freezing point is well below 32, due to the presence of all of these. Itís a misconception that freezing only removes water... you get preferential removal of water, but thatís not the only thing being removed. Some alcohol, salts and sugar will also come out as you approach the freezing point. Itís also affected by dissolved gases and nucleation sites. In short, itís actually pretty complicated, and youíd need to dig into some physics texts to really get the answer you want.

You can dig through this reference if you really want to know more about it.

http://www.springerlink.com/content/3372177417526h51/fulltext.pdf

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