Science Questions

Does beer have a lower freezing temperature than water?

Sun, 17th Jan 2010

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Outstanjing, Via Twitter asked:

Does beer have a lower freezing temperature than water?


Dave -   Yes.  Beerís got lots of things dissolved in it Ė alcohol, sugar etc.  Anything dissolved in water will reduce its freezing point.  So beer does freeze below zero, maybe at -1 or -2.

Chris - And CO2, I suppose, if itís fizzy Ė that will have an effect too?

Dave -   That will also have an effect, definitely.

Chris - So if you were to take some beer and put that in the freezer, could you make it much stronger?  Is this a way that you could illicitly do a bit of distillation, because you would freeze the water into ice first, and then some slightly more alcoholic liquid will be left?

Dave -   Thatís right.  When you freeze water it canít take in all these solutes, the dissolved things, into itís structure, because ice remains really quite pure.  Whatís left gets stronger and stronger.  I donít know if youíve ever drunk frozen squash or frozen fruit juice?  The stuff you drink first, which is the liquid which melts first, is incredibly strong and very sugary, and then slowly as it melts it gets weaker and weaker, until whatís left is basically pure water.  



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you guys never got a bottle of cider and put it in the frezzer? there siropy remains are a joy, intill the morning.

ill tell you the answer tomorrow 2 pints 1 water 1 beer in the frezer and see which 1 forms ice first geo driver, Tue, 19th Jan 2010

i recon that beer will have the lower frezinnnnng point geo driver, Tue, 19th Jan 2010

...than cider? I doubt it. You better do a test with all three, and do a toncicity test every three hours.

Tom O, a former colleague of mine, who shall remain nameless, was want to make his own liqueurs using "Polish Spirit". He "boosted" the toncicity a bit by freezing out some of the water. Geezer, Wed, 20th Jan 2010

completely unscientific but two glasses both in freezer started out the same temp 22įc, the water froze earler. could not take temps at that stage as i was in a argument with the boss geo driver, Wed, 20th Jan 2010

Please don't get yourself fired! Geezer, Thu, 21st Jan 2010

Certain beers are advertised as " Ice filtered" by being passed though a slush during production. Don't drink beer myself, but like brewers yeast, especially fresh from the drier in flake form. SeanB, Thu, 21st Jan 2010

Have you thought of writing scripts for Coronation Street. This one would be brilliant set in the Rovers Return. Make it Lady, Fri, 22nd Jan 2010

still not fired i think that the pubs with out me would be just that little bit more difficult with out me then with me, but only just! geo driver, Fri, 22nd Jan 2010

obvious. beer has lots of things dissolved in it so it has to have a lower freezing point and a higher boiling point mabsj2, Wed, 27th Jan 2010

Apple jack is the production of a higher alcoholic beverage by freezing the hard cider and removing the ice. What remains behind is less water, i.e. more potent.

Isn't that what ice beers do? I thought the idea was to use poor ingredients to make a lousy beer and then freeze off the water to increase the potency of stuff. It sounds like a marketing ploy to get people to drink substandard products. stereologist, Wed, 27th Jan 2010

I don't agree that adding alcohol to water increases the boiling point. I think it lowers the boiling point since the boiling point of alcohol is lower than water. My thinking is that pure ethanol boils around 80C and water at 100C. So a range of mixtures should have a range between these 2 numbers and not outside the range. Adding solids to water increases the boiling point since the boiling point of these materials is much higher than 100C. stereologist, Wed, 27th Jan 2010

One of the things in beer is alcohol which has a low boiling point. You are right about the freezing point (unless it's a very weird beer) but the boiling point may be higher or lower than that of water. Bored chemist, Wed, 27th Jan 2010

alcohol composition in beer is about 4% (4ml in 100ml beer) and water is over 90%. i don't think it's boiling point will affect that of beer very considerably!! mabsj2, Thu, 28th Jan 2010

"alcohol composition in beer is about 4% (4ml in 100ml beer) and water is over 90%. i don't think it's boiling point will affect that of beer very considerably!!
True, the effect will be small; but it certainly won't raise the boiling point. Bored chemist, Thu, 28th Jan 2010

thats another thing i can do at work, oh the boss will be my reconing is beer would have a lower boiling point by 20įc i would do it at home now but wasting my own beer would be sacriligous geo driver, Sat, 30th Jan 2010

I would be careful about drinking beer that you freezed and drained the concentrate off of. Freeze distillation does concentrate the alcohol of any beverage but also concentrates the fusal alcohols present in beer, and can be harmful if consumed in large amounts. If you drink a reasonable amount of such a brew you should be good, but i wouldn't freeze a keg and drain the concentrate off the top to drink. Just be careful. Oh and I wouldn't be surprized if you got a worse hangover from freeze distilled beer. Breweralfred, Thu, 27th May 2010

A 5% alc/vol beer (330 mL) if you just consider ethanol as the solute and water the solvent : .05 * 330mL = 16.5mL ethanol Density ethanol (g/mL) is 0.789 so mass is 16.5ml * 0.789g/ml = 13g To work out freezing point of the beer you need freezing point depression : Temp change = molarity * vanthoff*kf Molarity = moles solute / Kg solvent Molarity = (13g/46gpermol)/0.330kg = 0.856mol/kg So then : Temp change = 0.856mol/kg * 1.853 * 1 = 1.6k Hence a beer should freeze at 0 - 1.6 degrees Celsius or if you are pedantic than 273.15k - 1.6k = 271.55 kelvin That was a bit of fun while drinking my Kirin DMSO, Tue, 23rd Dec 2014

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