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I have a couple kegs of beer that froze out in the garage this winter.

What effects should I expect on flavor, head retention and body after thawing?
My beer was relatively sediment free, but would you expect accelerated lysis of any yeast in the beer upon freezing?

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Not sure what the effects will be, but have you considered making an eisbier? –  bazin Mar 7 '10 at 21:06
    
I don't think head, body, or flavor will be impacted. The interesting part of this question is about lysis. In theory, residue yeast would have died or suffered damage from the freezing, making lysis more possible. I think its an open question as to whether or not there is enough yeast left in your beer to actually have noticeable lysis. –  TinCoyote Mar 9 '10 at 3:24
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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I froze a keg of Hefeweizen totally stiff. I had accidentally pulled the temp control probe out of the deep freezer that the kegs were in. The freezer ran at its "normal" freezing temps for maybe 2 days before I noticed it, so the keg was TOTALLY frozen as far as I could tell.

Good news: the beer was still delicious! I had decent head on the hefe, and its flavor and body were identical to the beer before it was frozen.

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+1 I always like the personal experience answers. –  Mlusby Apr 18 '11 at 18:00
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How long and how solid were they frozen? They couldn't have been all that frozen or the kegs would have deformed/ruptured. Have you tried any of the beer? It's probably just fine.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but off flavors associated with autolysis come from the living yeast munching on the dead ones. They'll all be dormant from the cold anyway, so not much chance of that happening. A few dead yeast in the bottom of the keg shouldn't hurt anything.

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Autolysis refers to the destruction of a cell through the action of its own enzymes. Freezing would damage the cells opening them up to their own enzymes. –  Homebrew Holli Mar 11 '10 at 15:58
    
So do you think autolysis is happening here, or not? I'm confused by your definition. –  Dustin Rasener Apr 20 '11 at 22:49
    
autolysis is the cell damaging itself. cell descruction through means other than the yeast cell's own actions would just be lysis. the off flavors would probably be the same, but the causes are different. –  baka May 27 '11 at 13:48
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I froze a saison in the primary fermenter while cold crashing. Defrosted on the counter to bottle. Very very tasty beer. That was pre-carbonation, but if you're force carbing, it really should not make a difference.

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