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Frozen Keg


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9 replies to this topic

#1 TheNoodleIncident

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 10:27 AM

Had a party last night and we drank all but say 1/4 of the keg (shame on us, I know). The keg was left outside and it was very cold last night, so I'm fairly certain it froze. Once it thaws, what should I expect from the leftover beer? Completely flat, or drinkable? This wasn't high quality craft stuff to begin with, so I won't be heartbroken if it's a loss, but it would be nice to not waste it.

If it matters, this was a half barrel.

#2 emannths

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 10:37 AM

Were you pushing CO2 or air into the keg? If you were pushing air, it'll probably be flat. If you were pushing CO2, it'll be fine once it thaws and you give the CO2 a chance to redissolve.

Edited by emannths, 12 December 2011 - 10:38 AM.


#3 Lisa Shock

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 11:45 AM

Be aware that if you drink it while still partially frozen, the alcohol content of what comes out will be much higher than usual as water freezes out before the alcohol. Ah, the joys of a college education....

#4 TheNoodleIncident

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 12:40 PM

So I've actually made Ice beer! Nice haha

And it's a regular air pump - which mean's it's not going to be fresh for very long anyway. Won't stop me from giving it a try, though.

#5 mgaretz

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 04:38 PM

So I've actually made Ice beer! Nice haha

And it's a regular air pump - which mean's it's not going to be fresh for very long anyway. Won't stop me from giving it a try, though.


The good news is that freezing will have slowed whatever bad effects the air would have. So it may be a little better than if it hadn't frozen.

And yes you've created American ice beer. Any ice beer produced in the US will have simply been frozen and thawed so they can call it ice beer. No ice will have been removed to increase the alcohol content - it would be illegal to do and still call it beer. The brewers don't want you to know this.

#6 TheNoodleIncident

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 09:03 AM

And yes you've created American ice beer. Any ice beer produced in the US will have simply been frozen and thawed so they can call it ice beer. No ice will have been removed to increase the alcohol content - it would be illegal to do and still call it beer. The brewers don't want you to know this.


Are you sure about this? I was curious, did some brief internet research, and it seems as though ice is still removed. But I'd like to know more.

Also, most ice beers have higher ABV than their non-ice beer counterparts, so without removing ice would they just start with a more alcoholic beer? I remember discovering this in high school, which then prompted me to switch to BudIce from regular Bud (happy to say that I have since moved on from both).

#7 emannths

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 09:35 AM

You can remove up to 0.5% by volume of the beer as ice. Any practical increase in the abv would be considered distillation (or concentration) under TTB rules.

TTB ruling

#8 TheNoodleIncident

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 10:09 AM

Ok, warning - I'M ABOUT TO DO MATH! haha. Though I do work with numbers all day, it is not normally this kind of math, so it is very likely that I'm doing something wrong, or making a poor assumption. But for the fun of conversation, take a look, let me know what you all think, and please someone correct me if needed:

Here is what I do know - regular Bud is 5% ABV and Bud Ice is 5.5% ABV.

1) So, regular Bud beer is 5% ABV - so that's 5 parts alcohol, and 95 parts "other" ( for simplicity, we'll call it "water").
2) They reduce the total volume by 0.5% by removing ice crystals, which is only the water. 0.5% of 95 parts water is 0.475 parts water. By removing that amount, we are left with 94.525 parts water.
3) Our new total volume is 99.525 parts (5 parts alcohol + 94.525 parts water).
4)The new ABV is now 5.29% (5 parts alcohol/99.525 total parts).

So if Bud Ice is 5.5% ABV, what makes up the difference? They must start with a stronger beer, right?

#9 emannths

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 10:31 AM

TTB allows +/- 0.3% tolerance on abv statements for beer:

A tolerance of 0.3% above or below the alcohol content stated on the label is permissible... [source/pdf]


So I guess it's possible that A-B takes advantage of this to trump up the abv of Bud Ice, but I doubt they systematically and intentionally misstate the abv.

#10 mgaretz

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 03:55 PM


So I've actually made Ice beer! Nice haha

And it's a regular air pump - which mean's it's not going to be fresh for very long anyway. Won't stop me from giving it a try, though.


The good news is that freezing will have slowed whatever bad effects the air would have. So it may be a little better than if it hadn't frozen.

And yes you've created American ice beer. Any ice beer produced in the US will have simply been frozen and thawed so they can call it ice beer. No ice will have been removed to increase the alcohol content - it would be illegal to do and still call it beer. The brewers don't want you to know this.


Yes. I used to teach beer appreciation classes to the sales force of a major brewery. They were told that ice was removed by the marketing folks and were adamant that I was wrong when I told them what was really up. They went and checked and came back the next week admitting I was right.

They do start with different recipe to impart a different flavor profile and have higher alcohol content.