Do Beers Go Bad If They Freeze?

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You brought home that warm six-pack of craft beer and stashed a couple in the freezer to chill quickly. Something got you off track, and you ended up with frozen beers. Providing the bottle or can hasn't expanded and exploded, you can save that beer if you're patient.

Take It Out

  • Whether the beer has frozen in the freezer or been left outside in freezing temperatures, the first thing to do is to remove it from the freezing conditions. If it's been frozen in a cooler full of ice, bring the cooler inside and allow the ice to melt before removing the beer. Beer expands when it's frozen, possibly damaging the bottle or can. Usually this results in an explosion and the damage is easy to identify. If the glass is cracked, discard the bottle. Sometimes, the expansion can start to pull a bottle cap or pull tab away and the beer is no longer completely sealed. It's still worth trying to saving a beer in this condition, but know that its quality may be affected.

Chill

  • Defrost the frozen beer, whether it's in bottles or cans, in the refrigerator. It's best to defrost the beer slowly as extreme changes in temperature may cause the bottle or can to erupt. Be patient. It could take the beer anywhere from 12 to 24 hours to defrost. During this time, the carbon dioxide reabsorbs into the beer as long as there is no damage to the container to allow it to leak.

Stay Away From Heat

  • Running a can or bottle under hot water to defrost quickly is likely to result in disaster. Glass bottles especially are susceptible to shattering during sudden temperature changes.

Drink With an Open Mind

  • Beer enthusiasts are divided on the quality of a defrosted beer. Some believe unless the beer is tasted side by side with a bottle or can that wasn't frozen, it's difficult to taste a difference. Some say the beer is noticeably flatter. Others won't even touch a beer that's been frozen. The only way to know what you think about the quality of a defrosted beer is to use your own taste buds.

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