Author Topic: I froze my beer!  (Read 189 times)

Offline MNWayne

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I froze my beer!
« on: October 15, 2019, 09:50:35 PM »
Almost 2 weeks ago I kegged a festbeer for a friends surprise party.  I just checked on it to discover both kegs are frozen solid, along with 2 quart mason jars of yeast slurry.  For some weird reason nothing exploded even though the freezer clocked in at 13F.  I need to thaw and carbonate by Saturday.  Any reason a fast thaw will cause problems?  I currently have the kegs submerged in a 49F lake.  Is there a math wizz who can venture a guess about how long a thaw might take?  Maybe I should later move them to a warm bathtub.
Far better to dare mighty things....

Offline BrewBama

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Re: I froze my beer!
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2019, 09:59:28 PM »
When life gives you lemons ...make EisBock!


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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: I froze my beer!
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2019, 10:06:27 PM »
Almost 2 weeks ago I kegged a festbeer for a friends surprise party.  I just checked on it to discover both kegs are frozen solid, along with 2 quart mason jars of yeast slurry.  For some weird reason nothing exploded even though the freezer clocked in at 13F.  I need to thaw and carbonate by Saturday.  Any reason a fast thaw will cause problems?  I currently have the kegs submerged in a 49F lake.  Is there a math wizz who can venture a guess about how long a thaw might take?  Maybe I should later move them to a warm bathtub.

Sounds like differential calculus...I would defer to younger minds on that one!  (But I would just move to a fridge and hope for the best!)
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline MNWayne

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Re: I froze my beer!
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2019, 10:12:57 PM »
I know it takes days to thaw a turkey in the fridge so I'm leaning toward a faster approach.
Far better to dare mighty things....

Offline kramerog

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Re: I froze my beer!
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2019, 11:03:17 PM »
I think the thaw will be pretty quicky, overnight perhaps.  The carbonation step could take longer depending on how you do it.  I don't see an issue with quickly thawing at 49F; that temp is not that warm.

Offline tippyc

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Re: I froze my beer!
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2019, 06:27:38 AM »
Engineer here.  I dont care to do the math, but the 49F lake should work within a day or so (and with a minimum of effort expended).  If you can hang it from a dock or something, that would go quicker than resting it on the lake bed.  Constant contact with the water means you have a good mechanism for heat transfer, and a lake is a large thermal mass that wont change temperature due to the cold keg.  The biggest advantage of using the lake is that your beer is never going to get warmer than the lake.  You have a couple days to play with, so why push it with a hot bathtub?  It would obviously be a good idea to hit the ball lock posts with some rubbing alcohol before proceeding with the next step.

Side note: When you thaw a turkey in the fridge, the air that's in contact with the turkey is an excellent thermal insulator, which is why it takes the turkey so long to thaw.  If you put the same turkey in a sink full of water, it'll be thawed in an afternoon.

Most of the gas also came out of solution when it froze, so you're probably going to have to recarbonate.  You can do that in an hour if you use enough elbow grease.  Cool the keg back to serving temperature, then pressurize the cold keg, shake it up, and repeat.  It'll take a bit.  Remember that 1 volume of CO2 means that you have 1 gallon of CO2 (at atmospheric pressure, ~15 psi) dissolved into 1 gallon of beer.  So 2.5 volumes means you're injecting 12-13 gallons of CO2 into the keg to get it carbonated.  A bit of extra headspace helps reduce the number of times you need to charge it with more CO2.  You can use higher pressure to speed the process too. Just keep testing it as you go so you dont overcarbonate. 

Offline smkranz

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Re: I froze my beer!
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2019, 12:56:38 AM »
Steve K.
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Offline MNWayne

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Re: I froze my beer!
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2019, 01:10:26 PM »
Yeah, we've all done that.  Glad my kegs didn't go that route.  To follow up.  After a 5 hour dip in the lake I moved to a warm bathtub overnight.  Everything liquid by morning.  On the gas at 30psi for 24 hours, will now reduce to 10psi.
Far better to dare mighty things....