9

I have had cola cans explode in my freezer. But I cannot afford to test this on my long neck beer bottles.

Do beer bottles (or cans) explode in a freezer (of a typical fridge in a household) ?

11

Yes, they will. Given beer is (generally speaking) more than 90% water, and water expands when frozen, beer will make a mess of your freezer if left in there too long. The bottles themselves don't tend to break, in my experience, but the cap seals fail and the beer will leak out everywhere.

7

They do not explode (in a sense of explosion crushing your freezer) but may break. I have forgotten once three (different) bottles of beer in the freezer over night. Results: a) broken off bottom, b) sealed off cap, c) nothing happened (with the bottle, the beer turned to beer-ice of course).

  • All three cases render the beer useless,, I suppose ? – happybuddha May 15 '18 at 23:26
  • I've had beer turn to "beer ice" and I drank it when it melted. That was fairly cheap beer and I wasn't drinking it for nuanced flavor. I've also had a forgotten bottle break and spew beer all over the freezer. Not quite an explosion, but still a heck of a mess to clean up — and you don't want to risk drinking what's left in a broken bottle because of possible glass shards. – Gary R. May 18 '18 at 0:08
3

Bottles do not necessarily break or open. Seems to depend on the thickness of the glass. These three bottles stick together by ice. Brazilians love ice-cold beer.

enter image description here enter image description here

  • Brilliant. Do you know what beer this is ? Also, any reference on how the thickness of the glass can be measured ? Just want to know if I can chuck my beer into the freezer. – happybuddha May 15 '18 at 23:25
  • 1
    In my case it was Brahma, the 600ml bottle, look 2nd photo. But I guess it will do there in Brazil with all 600 ml bottles, also from other breweries. Can't tell you about your beer. – Salt May 16 '18 at 0:52
1

There is indeed the possibility that a bottle of frozen beer does not break.

It depends mainly on the amount of alcohol in the beer and how the bottle was filled.

You can expect that a normal beer expands by approx. 6.5-7.5% in volume when you start cooling at approx. 20°C. If the bottleneck can contain this volume increase, the bottle should not break. This would be usually the case with homebrews. The exact amount depends on how much alcohol and solids are in the beer, as ethanol does not expand when the temperature is lowered and solids do not change their density significantly.

Depending on the alcohol content and the temperature of the freezer, the beer might not even freeze solid, or at least not fully, as ethanol lowers the freezing point substantially.

With a bad freezer, high ambient temperature (e.g. on a hot summer day) or short freezing times, the possibility of breaking the bottles is rather low.

Because ice has a very low compressibility compared to water and ethanol, you cannot expect that better and thicker bottles will solve the problem unless they have the necessary amount of elasticity. You could weld your beer into 2 inch thick cast iron and it would break just like your glass bottle. A better container would, however, be less susceptible to leaks.

A modern beer can would most likely not survive the process because it deforms at the top and creates a leak at the lid.

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