Does freezing beer raise the alcoho content.

I know beers that are “Ice Brewed” have more alcohol in them. But what happens if you toss a rgular can of brew in the freezer for a few hours? I tried this with a Heineken and it did taste stronger, but I also tried it with Schlitz, Old Style, and Pabst Blue Ribbon with no noticable effect. I froze the beers completely, then let them thaw .
Any idea if this raises the alcohol level, even a little?

Two things.

I think that ice brewed beers are brewed at lower temperatures, which leads to the higher alcohol content.

And you don’t just have to freeze them, you have to freeze them then take out the ice. Materials will solidify in pure form, so if you were to mix alcohol and water then freeze it, you’d just have frozen water, with the liquid having a higher concentration of alcohol. Granted, you could lock some alcohol and such up in the ice, but for the most part you’ll end up with a stronger beer.

Try pouring the beer into a bowl, letting it freeze, and taking off the ice.

The original “ice beer” is a German brew called eisbock(ice bock). From what I gather, this is a normal bock beer(fairly strong), which is frozen to a slush-like consistency and the ice crystals are strained out, leaving a stronger & thicker resulting beer.

I believe there are wines which use this process, and if you do it to hard apple cider, the result is called applejack.

Now as for stuff like Icehouse & Bud Ice, they just brew a weaker beer & do this to it so that it comes up to the normal 4-5% ABV. Any more, and they’ll likely have to label it as malt liquor under many states’ liquor laws.

I seem to remember reading once that the reason Molson, Labatt’s etc have a regular alcoholic content is that they hit on marketing the idea of ice beer, but found that the ice beer process was not cost effective as it was reducing the volume of the beer. So, screw the alcohol content, they add water back in after the “ice brewing”. This gets them right back where they started except for the added marketing value.

Aynone know the truth or falsity of this?

I don’t know whether every brand puts the water back in, but most do.

Remember that making applejack (which is illegal) concentrates, along with alcohol, the trace toxins present in the cider. Not the safest route to a harder drink.

This was the entire point behind the “frosted mug” that beer is sometimes served in. The mug has the ice crystals form and adhere to the glass and what you are drinking becomes a little more potent than it otherwise would have been.


CandyMan sez,

Uhh, CandyMan, unless you drink really fast, that wouldn’t work. The ice crystals just melt and put the alcohol right back in the glass.

The reason for the frosted mug is that it 1) looks cool (no pun intended) and 2) it keeps the beer colder for a few more seconds.

Obviously you drink too slow…

There is always a clump of ice left after that first beer or two from just slamming down a REAL cold one.

But hey, there isn’t anything wrong with being a light-wieght (just kidding here…)


Yup. It’s like distilling without throwing out the products from the beginning & end of the distillation process.

But really, making applejack,ice beer, ice wine, etc… isn’t going to make you blind. You probably only start with something about 4-6% abv, and end up with something in the 8-10 range. It’s not nearly as effective as distilling in say, a pot still, and consequently, doesn’t concentrate the other alcohols nearly as much.

Here’s an answer to the OP: If you put a can of beer in the freezer and then take it out and drink it, you have added nothing and subtracted nothing. Therefore, the beer can not be stronger.

Not necessarily.

If you freeze some of the water in the beer, then whatever liquid is left over will be more concentrated if you drink it.

Didn’t you ever have kool-aid freeze in the pitcher as a kid? Remember how the little bit of unfrozen kool-aid was super-strong?

Same principle applies here, except that it’s beer, and not kool-aid. You’ll end up drinking the concentrated beer, and leaving a bunch of water/weak beer. If you let that thaw out, you’ll have less than a full can of weaker beer, since you drank off the fraction that was not frozen.