You just bought some craft beers from the store and are itching to give them a try. Since you don’t want to sip on room temperature beer, you turn towards the refrigerator. Then an idea forms in your mind: Why not just stick the beer in the freezer for a bit? Although beer can freeze, if you get the timing right, you can enjoy a chilled beer much faster than you would by just putting those beers in the fridge. That’s why you need to know how long to chill beer in a freezer.
Here’s the answer.
How Long Does it Take to Chill a Beer in the Freezer?
If your beer is at the perfect room temperature of 72°F (22°C), then you’re in luck. You can stick your beer in the freezer for 1-2 hours and have it perfectly chilled within that time.
However, you need to make sure that you remove it before slush forms. Within the first hour of being in a freezer set to 32°F (0°C), the temperature of the beer will rapidly decrease to about 36°F (2°C) then start to level off.
Once the temperature of beer gets to around 21-25°F (-6 to -3.8°C), there is a high chance of it getting slushy or completely freezing. Unless you want a beer slushy that is more or less flat, it’s recommended that you remove the beer within 60 to 90 minutes.
Will The Beer Freeze in the Freezer?
Does beer actually freeze? Yes, it does. A typical beer with an ABV of 4-6% is going to freeze at 28°F (-2°C). The higher the alcohol content, the longer it takes for beer to freeze.
So, can you chill beer in a freezer? You can, but there are better, faster ways to do it that won’t ruin your beer in the process.
Are There Faster Ways to Chilling a Beer in the Freezer?
As mentioned above, there are methods to get your beer perfectly frosty without any danger of it getting slushy or grainy. In case you aren’t aware, slushy beer can often taste flat, because a lot of the carbonation leaves during the freezing process.
Since you probably don’t want flat, flavorless beer, consider some of the following options:
Salt, Water & Ice
This method doesn’t require a freezer, only some water, ice, and regular salt. Fill a receptacle with cold water and ice. Add a few sprinkles of salt. Then, drop in your bottles or cans of beer. Salt makes your beer dramatically colder than if you just submerged the cans or bottles in iced water, due to a process called “freezing point depression.” With this method, your beer is chilled rapidly.
Paper Towel, Water & Freezer
How long to chill beer in freezer when said beer is wrapped in a paper towel? Not long at all.
This is a cheap, easy method is great when you want to only cool a couple of beers. Take some thin kitchen cloths or paper towels and soak them in water. Next, wrap the towels around each bottle or can. Get as much towel on the beer can as possible. Then place the beers in the freezer.
This works so well because there is a huge temperature difference between the warm beer, cold towel, and freezing air of the freezer. Your beers will be chilled within 20 minutes—but keep an eye on it.
Dry Ice Meets Can
Dry ice, or frozen carbon dioxide, has a temperature of -110°F (-78.8°C). Like the paper towel method, dry ice works exceptionally well at chilling beer in a flash. Keep in mind that you should never put dry ice in the freezer. Instead, put your dry ice in a cooler with a small sheet of cardboard over the top of it. Then lay the beers on the cardboard and let them cool.
Bonus: The dry ice will keep your beers cool for a longer period, too. Make use of that cooler.
Frosty Beer in a Blink
How long does it take to chill a can of beer in the freezer? On average, it takes between 1-2 hours for beer to chill in a freezer set to 32°F (0°C).
However, there is always a chance your beer can freeze when left alone for too long, which is why you should aim to remove the beer within 90 minutes. If you want beer to chill in the freezer faster, use the paper towel or salt and ice water method to speed up the process.
The speed at which you chill a beer depends on your method for cooling it down. Sticking a beer in a freezer can get it cold in 30-60 minutes, depending on the alcohol content. If you use the Salt, Water, and Ice method, you can cool a beer down in under 5 minutes. Salt lowers the freezing point. Simply dunk the bottle or can of beer into a tub of iced salt water and wait for it to cool down.
While it’s not recommended that you actually freeze your beer completely, as it can ruin the flavor, you can instantly freeze it as a science experiment. Simply place some bottled beer in the freezer for about 90 minutes. Avoid leaving the beer in the freezer for 2 hours, as this could lead to freezing and explosions. Carefully remove the beer from the freezer then give the bottle a tap.
You’ll notice that any bubbles that form begin to immediately freeze, and within seconds the contents are frozen thanks to a phenomenon called “supercooling.”
A few hacks to get your beer cold within 60 seconds exist. One is blowing on your beer cans with a CO2 fire extinguisher. Of course, that might not be the best or safest method, but the CO2 will make the aluminum can cold almost instantly. Secondly, you can use a can of compressed air and blow on the aluminum can until it’s cold. Lastly, you can keep a small piece of copper in the freezer. Copper is better at conducting cold than aluminum, and it will chill your beer within 30-60 seconds when placed on the can.
No, putting beer in the freezer for a short period of time doesn’t ruin it. However, you should never store beer in the freezer for hours or days on end. Beer is mainly made out of water, meaning it will expand when it freezes. While you might not always get a beer explosion, you will
alter the flavor the beer in the long run. Once the beer thaws, it’s going to be completely flat.