Hard alcohol in the freezer???

I live with two roommates and my girlfriend._ Outside of this
arrangement we also have friends who come over._ Now we all enjoy the
occasional adult beverage so we have a few choice alcohol selections in
our freezer._ The other day I came home to find that the 80 proof Jim
Beam was frozen when it was just fine the day before._ My understanding
was that hard alcohol can’t freeze in a normal household freezer._ Am I
wrong or should I start marking the bottles to thwart unwanted imbibing.

I’ve even kept 70 proof spiced rum (Capt. Morgan and cheap imitations) in the freezer with no problems. I think someone may be watering down your booze. Does your freezer have a thermometer? Is it turned all the way down?

Are your roomates trustworthy? Sounds like the alcoholic content of your liquor maybe isn’t what you think it is, if you catch my drift. That would account for the higher freezing point.

I’ve had this happen to with some Seagrams 7. Cheap stuff is better very cold. But anywayz, NOBODY messed with the bottle; I am sure of that, and it turned into a thick slush - almost totally hard solid!?!?!?

I’ve had this happen to with some Seagrams 7. Cheap stuff is better very cold. But anywayz, NOBODY messed with the bottle; I am sure of that, and it turned into a thick slush - almost totally hard solid!?!?!?

You domestic freezer will typcially keep the temperature around -18 to -21 degrees C.

The alcohol in drinks is called ethanol, and it freezes at -114 degrees C, therefore it won’t freeze in your freezer at home.

There may have been some seperation of the water and alcohol. This may account for the partial freezing.

I’ll bet you are talking about pure C2H5OH

Liquor is typically 80* = 40%

So what’s the freezing temperature of 70 proof spiced rum?

Hmm… I’m no expert but I thought that ethanol C2H5OH
is what is found in alcoholic drinks?

I may have been whooshed, but your rum contains ethanol which freezes at -114, so I’m sticking by my assertion that it won’t freeeze.

(until someone comes along to prove me wrong, of course!)

i have my Grey Goose (40%) in the freezer, it’s not frozen. never has been. It does get syrupy… slightly higher viscosity… but no chunks of ice, no slush.

samarm, the freezing point is highly dependant on the ratio of alcohol to water. Placing a single drop of alcohol in a bottle of water is certainly not sufficient to keep it from freezing, for instance.

Fear Itself was suggesting that the roomies may have watered down the Jim Beam to hide that they were stealing it.

I FINALLY found a cite that shows what the freezing point depression is for various proofs of alcohol

I saw the value of 1.86C per molar concentration in the scientific sites I visited, so that looks correct. I can’t verify the translation of Alcohol By Volume to Molar Concentration, but it looks like it’s in the ballpark.

Assuming the translation is correct, 80 proof alcohol will freeze at -32C, but if it’s diluted below 60 proof it will freeze at temps above -20C, which is around freezer temperature.

Some home research if you don’t want to dig out the calculator. From Bush Thermometer:

Alcoholic Beverages 
Volume Proof Freeze Point 
  12%    24     +20 
  20%    40     +10 
  27%    54       0 
  32%    64     -10 
  38%    76     -20 
  42%    82     -30

yep it is. i, as others, am making the point that the amount of it is what makes the freezing point different.

I have kept lots of liquor in the freezer. I only once have seen it freeze - maybe a QC problem???

WAG: Does the ambient temperature of the freezer need to drop well below the below the melting point of the liquid? Perhapds this is why liquor is so difficult to freeze.

Think about water, which melts at 0. The freezer needs to have an ambient temperature of way below zero to make the water freeze.

Thanks guys. I think that this pretty much answers my question. You all were way on top of it.


samarm, you should be able to freeze any liquid at a temperature below its freezing point. It may take a very long time… but it will eventually freeze. All liquids have a latent heat of fusion which is the amount of heat energy required to change from solid to liquid (or back) without changing the temp.

In a freezer at -1C, your water will sit at 0C while SLOWLY releasing its latent heat to its surroundings. This will take a long time because the temperature difference is only 1 degree so the energy won’t flow quickly. In a much colder freezer, the energy flows faster and the heat energy is transferred rapidly, causing the phase change to occur faster as well.

It’s also worth noting that fractional crystallization is possible: if your freezer gets cold enough and varies (maybe you leave the door open for a long time or something), you can freeze out a good portion of the water, but not the alcohol.

It’s how some stuff is (or at least was) made in the first place.