Why You Probably Don't Want To Drink That Frozen Beer After It Thaws

While there are plenty of myths about beer that may not be true, one thing's for certain: it usually tastes better cold. Tossing a bottle or can into the freezer can seem like a quick way to cool down the beverage on a warm summer day. But if you accidentally forget that beer in the freezer, the liquid can freeze solid. While you can certainly take the beer out and allow it to thaw, freezing it in the first place may not be the best option.

For one thing, the beer can go flat if there are any openings that allow carbon dioxide to escape the can or bottle. The carbonation in the beer is what can make a smoother feel when drinking, and the bubbly feeling is part of the beer drinking experience. The carbon dioxide is also responsible for the foamy topping when you pour the beer out into a glass.

Frozen beer's taste could be altered

If your beer has frozen and then thawed, it may not have the same flavor as it did prior to freezing. Because alcohol and water have different freezing points, the two will separate as ice crystals begin to form in the liquid. If you try to drink the beer after the water has frozen but before the alcohol freezes, that liquid will have a much stronger flavor, as well as a higher alcohol content.

Even if you allow the beer to fully thaw, the liquids will still be separated unless they're mixed up again. Freezing beer can also actually affect the molecular makeup of the beer. Freezing and thawing can cause it to oxidize, which will cause it to have a stronger scent and a stale taste. In more extreme cases, it could even cause the beer to denature. And once the beer denatures, the beverage would actually be considered unsafe to drink. 

There are a few ways to thaw it out

If you do find yourself with some frozen beer, but you don't want to just waste the can completely, there are a few different thawing methods that may salvage the drink. If you have time to wait, remove the beer from the freezer and place it in the fridge. After resting in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours, the beer will have had enough time to return to liquid form.

If you want to thaw the beer more quickly, you can also try placing the can of beer into a bucket of cold water. It is important to make sure that water is cold enough, though. Warm water could cause a temperature shock, and cause the glass bottle to shatter, or the aluminum can to burst. Depending on how frozen the beer is, allowing it to rest in cold water can take as little as a few minutes, or as long as an hour.

Because of the extra time and effort needed to prevent a frozen beer from being a total waste, it's probably just better to avoid allowing it to freeze altogether. Instead, keep your cans and bottles in the fridge for easy access, or pour it into a pre-chilled glass. Or, if you're planning ahead, you can make ice cubes out of beer to avoid altering the taste while keeping it cooled down.