View Full Version : lowest alcoholic content for safe freezing

09-12-2006, 07:22 PM
Like the title says, was wondering what the lowest safe alcoholic percentage is that's acceptable for the freezer- you know so that the container doesn't explode? :rolleyes:

09-12-2006, 08:07 PM
It wouldn't explode. Are you thinking of carbonation? I don't know what percentage of alcohol will freeze, but the higher percentages simple won't freeze. I keep a bottle of vodka in the freezer. It's icy cold but doesn't freeze, nor does it explode.

09-12-2006, 08:10 PM
I'm not sure what this means. Alcohol won't make the container explode, the water will. Generally (I'm sure some science Doper will be along with numbers and stuff), it's best to leave a container of liquid only 2/3 full, as the water will expand when freezing. If you don't leave this room, then you may break glass as it freezes or have leaky plastic as it melts.

Alcohol won't freeze at normal kitchen freezer temps (it freezes at -117, your freezer is probably set around 5), but the water will, and chances are good you don't have pure alcohol. So your drink (wine, beer, hard liquor, etc.) will separate - the water will form ice crystals, while the alcohol remains liquid. Probably not something you want to do to wine, but cheap vodka seems to handle it fine. (I don't know if expensive vodka does or not, never having drank such a thing.)

If you're asking what percent of alcohol is needed to keep a liquid liquid in your freezer, then I'm not sure. I'm sure someone will know though. I have great faith in Dopers and booze.

09-12-2006, 08:12 PM
Explode is a little extreme. But a glass bottle of water in the freezer stands a good chance of breaking when the water freezes. I have had beer that I forgot about burst in the freezer. It is a mess because the bottle burst before things had completely frozen. By the time I looked in the freezer again there was frozen beer all over the freezer.

09-12-2006, 08:20 PM
....lowest safe alcoholic percentage?

The lowest percentage alcohol content that will not freeze is between 50 Proof and 60 Proof (25% and 30% alcohol by volume respectively). The exact number will vary depending on the temperature inside the freezer.

When I rented a house in college, the former roommates and I kept the harder liquors cold in freezers. This is when I discovered the freezing threshold temperature range.

09-12-2006, 08:38 PM
Thanks ArchitectChore, gees... carbonation?? ... in alcohol? haha- you guys are too much.

Nah I just put a pint of Bacardi in the freezer and noticed the proof was lower than my vodka in there so I started to get curious how much leeway I had in terms of alcoholic percentage to freezing point lest it require me to remove my recently placed bottle 'o' rum. Thanks again

09-12-2006, 08:55 PM
Freezing points are approximate...

20 Proof at 25F
40 Proof at 15F
60 Proof at 5F
80 Proof at -10F
100 Proof at -25F
120 Proof at -35F
140 Proof at -55F
160 Proof at -75F
180 Proof at -110F
200 Proof at -115F

09-12-2006, 09:02 PM
You're welcome, Thinktank. I'm guessing you have a pint of flavored Bacardi® rum. Most (or all AFAIK) of those are 70 Proof and will not freeze in a household freezer. Just make sure you keep the cap on tightly regardless of where you store it; oxygen reacts with ethanol to form acetic acid causing a sour taste and lower alcohol content.

...it's best to leave a container of liquid only 2/3 fullA 9/10 full container of water should be safe from rupture. Fresh water density = ~1 g/cc; Fresh ice = ~9.17 g/cc

So your drink (wine, beer, hard liquor, etc.) will separate - the water will form ice crystals, while the alcohol remains liquid. Probably not something you want to do to wine, but cheap vodka seems to handle it fine. (I don't know if expensive vodka does or not, never having drank such a thing.)The ethanol will separate (and rise to the top) in beer and wine but NOT in hard liquor. The ethanol content is too high for the water molecules to form a network of hydrogen bonds among themselves and crystallize, expand, freeze, etc.

09-12-2006, 09:12 PM
Freshman year of high school (or sophomore, don't remember) one of my friends put a bottle of Barcadi Silver or something else equally gross in the freezer to get cold quicker and forgot about it for a day or so. When we opened it up, that stuff shot out like a cannon. It was so cool.

But I always put my vodka and stuff in the freezer. Easier to get down when doing shots. And the frozen shot glasses help too. :)

09-13-2006, 11:22 AM
The following is accurate for glycol solutions, either propylene glycol, or ethelyne glycol. These are used as anti-freeze, and in many respects amount to a high viscosity alchohol. This data may, or may not apply to other alchohols:

A 20% solution will make the system "freeze safe". When the water starts to freeze, it will freeze as a slush, (seperate ice crystals floating in glycol/water solution) that will still flow through pipes, valves, etc. As long as there is sufficient expansion space available, (some air in your bottle) nothing will break. If it gets cold enough to freeze the glycol, that's OK, as alchohol shrinks as it freezes, and nothing breaks.

Higher concentrations, up to 50% make the system freeze resistant to lower and lower temperatures.

09-13-2006, 04:35 PM
Fresh water density = ~1 g/cc; Fresh ice = ~9.17 g/cc [Annoying Nitpick/] I think you missed a decimal point there and meant to say ice= 0.917 g/cc. [/Annoying Nitpick]

09-13-2006, 04:45 PM
Anecdotally, I accidentally froze a bottle of my wife's wine last night, and the cork was forced out, and half-frozen wine spilled out on the floor of the freezer. That wine was 13% alcohol.

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