I like cold beer. Given the answers in Do beer bottles explode in freezer? -beer bottles may break in a freezer.

How can I get my beer to chill as much as possible. Get it so cold that it's only slightly away from being frozen ?

If the bottle type of a beer matters, I am happy to propose we talk about Corona Extra or Budweiser as both of these are easily available in USA and Australia (I am looking to chill my beer in Australia) and am hoping their bottles are of a similar quality.

To get beer as cold as possible, as quickly as possible, it should be submerged in a salted ice water bath.

Because of the alcohol in beer, the freezing temperature of beer is slightly lower than that of water. (How much lower depends on the actual alcohol content of the beer you're cooling.)

The salt in the ice water will in turn lower the freezing temperature of the water slightly, ensuring it is as cold as possible, and the conduction cooling of the water against the cans or bottles will cool them much more rapidly than exposing them primarily to cold air, as they would be either in a freezer or in ice alone.

Additionally, since the temperature of ice-water will naturally be moderated by the water, you don't have to worry about your beer freezing, no matter how long you leave it it, and it will get as cold as it is going to get within 15 mintues or so.

  • Although this is a good answer, really heavily salted water can easily reduce the freezing point by 20 C or more. I think there may be a limit to how much salt you want to add. See this link: engineeringtoolbox.com/sodium-chloride-water-d_1187.html – Eric Shain May 15 at 23:43
  • @EricShain Good point! Edited to remove the "heavily." – Xander May 15 at 23:49
  • @Xander If you have done this, how much salt would you recommend for 2-4 beer bottles (stubby) in say 5 litres of water with two trays of ice (one tray of ice (regular 2 column ice tray with about 16 cubes of ice)) ? – happybuddha May 16 at 1:03
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    @happybuddha First, too much water, not enough ice. Ideally the mix should be mostly ice by volume, with enough water to ensure full contact with the entire surface of the bottles. For 5-6 litres of ice and water, probably one good handful of salt. – Xander May 16 at 1:10
  • This tip works well for chilling sparkling wine quickly too. – Eric Shain May 16 at 2:05

A freezer is too cold and fridge not cold enough.

The alcohol reduces the freezing point by 0.4 C for each 1% of alcohol.

So you would need a freezer with a temperature control.

Since is is not far below freezing point of water you could use an ice bath and be pretty close. A 10% salt solution is about -6 C.

You could make this a DIY Project. I have a beer fridge that I made from a chest freezer, thermostat, and a heat lamp. I modified the chest freezer that I got from home depot for like $250 bucks and I connected it to a control box (like $20) that turns on and off the freezer when it reaches a certain temperature and turns on and off the heat lamp at a certain temperature. And as a nice touch, I added a renewable dehumidifier to keep the fridge from leaking. Works very well. I have my beer at serving temperatures at all times. It definitely makes a difference in the flavor of the beer and it makes for a great fermentation chamber when I am homebrewing.

Materials

Here is an example of someone that went all out and made a trim. I did not do this but it is a good example: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/jacks-chest-freezer-fermentation-chamber.231979/

You could follow those steps up there ^. I have yet to do the wood trim, but you can do all of this without the trim. I am using a heat lamp from home depot instead of an actual heater like that. The heat lamp is 3 parts which are purchased separately: the lamp, the connector from the lamp to a hot and ground wire, and then plug end that plugs into an outlet. You can connect all of these with a shrink rubber that is waterproof.

It took me about two hours to make (only because I struggled with making the right sized holes in the project box). It takes very little electrical knowledge to complete this.

  • Although I do not understand yet how your set up fill serve near freezing beer, please post all the details possible. – happybuddha May 16 at 22:57
  • You could set the thermostat to be about 8-10 degrees more than freezing and the thermostat would keep the fridge and the beer inside at that temperature. That is what would satisfy your need to keep your beer just above freezing temperatures. – Aedonis May 16 at 23:06
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    Although this can be a good solution for keeping beer cold, the question was about the fastest way to chill beer and immersion in an ice bath is much faster. – Eric Shain May 17 at 12:16
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    @EricShain actually the question says "How can I get a beer to chill as much as possible"... it doesn't say anything about as quick as possible. Thanks for complimenting my answer though. – Aedonis May 17 at 14:49
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    I stand corrected! – Eric Shain May 17 at 19:24

Since the question doesn't specify how fast the beer is to be chilled, I think the approach @Aedonis took is a very good one. If you're not up for a that much of a DIY project, there's a cheaper and easier solution that takes no tools:

For my fridge, I bought one of the little units like this one. It's cheap and simple. Plug the controller into the wall, plug the freezer into the controller, thread the sensor into the freezer on the hinge side of the door, and set the temperature. A used freezer plus $25 or so for a temperature controller, and you've got beer at the perfect temperature.

One possible problem is that the internal temperature of a typical home fridge or freezer isn't very consistent. The bottles in the bottom back may freeze while the ones in the top front are too warm. A small fan, like the muffin fans they sell for electronics, will move the air around inside enough to keep it consistent, and they cost less than $20.

Good luck!

  • Good idea - just my icecreams and frozen food will no longer be frozen then, I think. – happybuddha May 18 at 2:12
  • True. That's why I didn't use my regular kitchen fridge/freezer. I bought a separate one. As a side benefit, you can install tap handles in the door and put kegs in it to serve draft beer at the perfect temperature at home. – Gary R. May 19 at 3:00

Don't fool around with freezer or salted water! Either get about 1 gallon of food grade Glycol or Everclear alcohol and put it in your freezer until it's -10F. You can leave it in the bottle or put it in a bucket. Be careful handling it because you can instantly cause frost bite if it comes into contact with your skin. Use gloves. Take it out of the freezer and pour into a metal or pyrex bucket. Stick your wine or beer bottle into it and swirl the liquid around it the bottle. It should get to freezing within a couple of minutes of soaking the bottles. Enjoy!

  • I guess this would work, but it doesn't seem any faster, easier, or less expensive than the salty ice water bath - what's the advantage? – Nuclear Wang May 17 at 17:32
  • It's colder. Actually if you have access to a deep freezer/chest freezer you can get it down to -40F. That should be enough to chill it in about a minute or so... Even better dry ice or liquid nitrogen should do the trick very quickly – farmersteve May 17 at 19:47
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    What is the control to stop it before it actually freezes? – paparazzo May 18 at 18:19
  • visual. Look for ice crystals forming in the bottle. Pull it out when you start to see some. – farmersteve May 18 at 21:19

How do I get beer to chill to the maximum possible?

Here is a recipe for getting your beer to a perfect temperature without breaking the bottles when a freezer in itself may too cold and a fridge may not be cold enough. The following method is relatively inexpensive.

Popping the beer in the fridge will take an hour to cool down. Even just sticking the beer in the freezer would take a good 20 minutes or so. This is just way too slow on a hot summer day. So, here’s how you can cool down a six pack in 3 minutes to the perfect drinkable temperature.

What You Need:

  • A six pack (bottles or cans)

  • A bowl or pot large enough to fit the bodies of 6 bottles (preferably metal)

  • Mixing Spoon

  • 2 trays of ice cubes

  • 1-2 Cups Table Salt

  • Water

How to Do It:

1)Place bowl/pot in a sink.

2)Add ice, salt, and enough water to fill up half of the bowl/pot.

3)Stir until salt is dissolved.

4)Add beers and make sure they are covered up to the neck with the icy water. You may need to add a bit more water.

5)Place in the freezer (If you don’t, it may just take an extra minute or 2)

6)After 3 minutes, pull the beers out. You should find that they are at the perfect temperature.

How It Works:

The trick is in the salt. It may sound unusual considering that in winter, we drop salt on the ice to raise the temperature and make it melt, but in this case, the salt is tricked into cooling the beer. Since the salt does in fact melt the ice, it goes through a transition from a solid to liquid. When this occurs, it absorbs extra heat which keeps the water extra cold. In this case, the excess heat comes from the beers and the liquid more actively cools them. - Cool a Beer in 3 Minutes

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