What is the freezing point of the alcohol?

Why Alcohol Wont Freeze at Home

If you have access to an industrial freezer that will drop to -50°C or lower then you might have a good chance of freezing it.

Unfortunately, most home freezers sit around -22°C. Ethanol, the alcohol in drinks, freezes at around -114°C, which goes some way to explaining why you’ll struggle to freeze it at home.

Beer, wine and spirits aren’t 100% ethanol and are mixed with other liquids which brings this freezing point up slightly.

You Might Like This: Can You Freeze Beer?

If you place a bottle of beer in the freezer for an hour or so, you’ll get it ice-cold – perfect for a summer’s evening. But if you leave it in there much longer then you’ll find it become a slushy mess and ruin the beer.

The same can be said for some wines with lower alcohol contents.

If you place a bottle of vodka or tequila in the freezer then there is pretty much no chance it’ll freeze. Instead, it will go super cold and may thicken ever so slightly. If you enjoy your spirits cold then get them in the freezer.

What is the freezing point of vodka?

Due to its ethanol content, vodka will not actually freeze solid until it reaches a temperature of -16 degrees Fahrenheit. Standard freezers are 0 degrees Fahrenheit, but that is still too cold for premium vodka. The optimal drinking temperature of vodka is somewhere between 32-39 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Does champagne freeze?

Champagne is roughly the same as wine when it comes to freezing, with one extra note. If you happen to accidentally freeze your bubbly and the bottle doesn’t crack you might end up with something that isn’t quite as carbonated as you started with. If you’re wondering “Does Champagne go bad?” we’ve got some answers to that, too!

Why Doesn’t Whiskey Freeze?

Roughly speaking, there are two main ingredients in any alcoholic drink… water and alcohol (Ethanol).

Ethanol is a type of alcohol that is produced by the fermentation of fruits, grains, or some other sources of sugar. This is a natural process and any fruit that begins to rot contains a certain amount of alcohol.

That said, as the percentage of alcohol goes up, the percentage of water must go down. The ratio between the two and their individual freezing points determine the freezing point of any alcoholic drink.

Adding on that, there are two major types of alcoholic drinks, fermented and distilled.

  • Fermented drinks have less than 20% alcohol and are the result of a completely natural fermentation process.
  • Distilled drinks typically have a minimum of 20% alcohol. They begin their process with fermentation but are then further worked through a process called distillation.

To distill a drink means to increase the alcohol concentration. This is how we end up with our liquors and spirits.

The reason I mentioned these two types of alcohol

The reason I mentioned these two types of alcohol is that the fermented alcoholic drinks (all types of beers and wines) turn solid in any freezer, while the distilled alcoholic drinks don’t.

As we mentioned before, the less alcohol a spirit has, the more water it will have. And vice versa.

The Freezing Point of Water

* Water to Ice: 32°F (0°C) -> This is called the freezing point water (H2O), or the melting point if the transition is in the opposite direction.

* Water to vapor: 212°F (100°C) -> This is called the boiling point of water, or the condensation point if the transition is in the opposite direction.

The Freezing Point of Ethanol

* The freezing point of ethanol: -173.4°F (-114.1°C)

Comparing this number with the freezing point of water, you can see why drinks with higher alcohol percentages don’t freeze very easily!

Things To Remember When You Freeze Wine

Photo by Kym Ellis on Unsplash
Photo by Kym Ellis on Unsplash

Wines freeze easily because they contain water that hardens faster than alcohol. That is why so many of us decide to freeze a bottle of wine if we have some left.

However, to get tasty wine later, it is important to know what you can’t do when putting a bottle or a glass of wine to the freezer.

  1. If you put wine to freeze in a glass, never fill it to the rim as liquid will expand while cooling, and it can spill and flood your freezing camera
  2. Since wine expands when frozen, avoid putting a full bottle to the freezer. Since the drink has pretty much water, it will expand making the bottle crack. Nobody wants to cut themselves with broken glass, right?
  3. If you do decide to store your wine frozen in its original bottle, ensure it has enough spare space. Otherwise, we would recommend finding a non-glass tank
  4. Make sure that the cork is tightly screwed
  5. Never freeze wine several times! Nothing will happen to the bottle but when wines  contact multiply with frost and then warm air, it makes them spoil faster 
  6. Most wines freeze at 15 F so double-check that the temperature in the freezer where you keep the bottles is around this grade

These simple rules can help you keep wine drinkable longer and will make you free from worrying whether the drink is still ok.

Wine Types & Selection Tips : Types of Red WinWine Types & Selection Tips : Types of Red Wine

People often ask whether wine can lose potency when being frozen. For some reason, they think that frost makes water increase in volume making wine alcohol-free. As proof, they say that defrosted wine tastes different and not so strong as usual one.

In fact, wines do tend to change their tastes after thawing but freezing doesn’t make any wine, neither red not any other, weaker. 

And finally, the latest question regarding frozen wine is for how long we can keep bottles with wines frozen.

Well, first of all, wine bottles won’t necessarily explode in the freezer as many people believe. Everything depends on the alcohol content of the drink but usually, wines can stay frozen for quite a long time unless you defrost and then freeze them again several times. 

Storing Alcohol Outside in the Winter

If you live in a cold climate, you have done it… Guests bring beer and wine to a winter party, but there's no room left in the fridge. However, there is a snowbank outside, and it is a giant cooler, right?

This is the perfect scenario for keeping your drinks cold, and it works fine for the few hours that the average party lasts. You just need to keep an eye on beer so it doesn't go to slush, and remember to bring the drinks inside before the temperature really drops for the night. If you forget, you could end up with a giant beer slushy instead of a snowbank, and that's just a waste of good beer.

Don't Leave Drinks in the Car

When you are rushing around—particularly during the holidays—it can be really easy to forget about that great bottle of wine or the extra six-pack you stashed in the trunk. You may return in the morning to a big mess if the temperature gets too low overnight. When you compare the temperature chart above with the low temperatures possible in winter, you know that even your 80-proof whiskey is in danger at times.

On the coldest nights of the year, place your liquor, beer, and wine in a place where you will notice them when getting out of the car. The same goes for soda, which can burst even faster than alcohol (soda's freezing point is around 30 degrees Fahrenheit). Cleaning a frozen, sticky car in the middle of a snowstorm is not fun.

What are the Freezing Points of Other Alcoholic Drinks?

First, let’s define some terms to help you understand the list below.

* ABV, abv, or alc/vol – this is a standard measure of how much ethanol is contained within a certain alcoholic drink. It can be expressed in percentage (%), meaning the number represents the mL of alcohol in 100 mL of drink.

* Proof – this is basically another way of determining the alcohol content (used in the USA). To get the proof value, we simply double the ABV.

So, let’s take my favorite 45% ABV Bourbon Whiskey, Makers Mark, that would be considered “90 proof”.

Here is a full list of alcoholic drinks and their freezing points. These are numbers are according to the Department of Physics at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and meant to be an informative reference guide.

Freezing Temperatures

The amount of alcohol in beer and  wine  is relati

The amount of alcohol in beer and wine is relatively modest, with the rest of the volume made up of water and solutes (salts, sugars, etc.). Beer and wine can freeze in your home freezer because they are primarily, but not entirely, water.

Beer and wine do not freeze as "solid" like water in your home freezer. So while you can make ice cubes out of wine to store leftovers, transferring those wine cubes to a zip-top bag for longer-term freezer preservation may result in a sludgy mess in the bag.

Hard liquors, on the other hand, such as vodka, do not freeze in a typical home freezer. When you store them in the freezer, they may appear slightly thicker.

Minor differences in alcohol freeze percentage won't make a significant difference, but if it's near, there's a good possibility it'll freeze. Here are the freezing alcohol and temperatures:

Freezing beer (with 3% to 12% ABV) at home can be tricky. The freezing point is typically 28 °F (-2 °C), but it's best to wait until your desired temperature drop below this range before dropping them in order not to damage the taste or integrity of what you have stored away for later use!

Wine has a freezing point of 23 °F (-5 °C) and an ABV from 8% to 14%. You can keep it in the freezer for less than an hour but not more than as you might put the wine at risk.

With an ABV of 20% and a freezing point of 22 °F (-7 °C), low-proof liqueurs like Irish cream may get slushy, and freezing them can permanently change the texture.

64-proof liquor (32% ABV) with a -10 °F (-23 °C) freezing point is OK to freeze. Liqueurs like amaretto and flavored whiskey Fireball fall into this range of alcohol content, so they're perfect for your next winter party!

80% ABV and -17 °F (-27 °C) freezing point, 80-proof liquor such as gin, vodka, and whiskey are safe to freeze.

Note that these freezing values are approximate, especially for beer and wine. Use the temperatures as a guideline only, and don't exceed them.

How to freeze alcohol

For alcohols that have a freezing point warmer than your home freezer, like wine, a few hours in there will do the trick. For spirits that freeze at colder temperatures, though, you’ll have to get creative. Those of us in Manitoba just have to put the bottle outside during the next brutal cold snap but for everyone else in the world here’s some solutions. You’ll want to keep these tips in mind when you’re making things like Malibu Ice Pops, otherwise you’ll have accidental slushies instead of ice pops.

To freeze alcohol:

  • Place alcohol in a bucket of salt and ice. For some alcohols, this will freeze it, but others  will just become ice cold. It’s still better than warm booze!
  • Dry ice can be purchased from a variety of suppliers and will definitely freeze your booze if done right.
  • Liquid nitrogen is -196°C so adding it to anything is going to make it very cold, very fast. You can actually place a few drops of liquid nitrogen inside certain alcoholic drinks, like vodka, for a cool ice crystal effect.

Should I keep alcohol in the freezer?

Vodka is commonly stored in the freezer, but most of us aren’t keeping our rum or whiskey in there even if they won’t freeze. Why? Well the reason actually has to do with flavour, smell, and texture. Vodka is less complex than other spirits and holds up well to chilling and warming. Typically you don’t drink it to enjoy the flavour the same was as, say, scotch.

As other, more complex spirits warm they release volatiles, which make it smell. Chilled too much and you won’t smell them at all. You’ll also notice less strong flavours from the alcohol. Finally, other spirits end up more viscous than vodka at low temperatures, which isn’t so nice when you pour yourself a drink.

So, in summary – yes alcohol will freeze. You can keep your vodka in the freezer but other strong spirits don’t hold their flavor as well, although forgetting these likely won’t turn them into ice blocks. Your wine and beer are better suited to stay in the fridge and you need to be careful not to freeze them solid.

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