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I would like to run a few brews back-to-back to build up a stock of beer. However, I would not be able to store all of the bottles in my house and would be forced to place them in the garage. My garage does not have any electricity and therefore no heating.

Do I need to protect my beer from freezing if the temperature gets to about -10°C (14°F)? And if so, what is the way to do this? Preferably without going out and buying a paraffin heater.

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I've frozen beer in kegs and thawed with no ill affects - they were stored outside in the Norwegian winter at -20C. If your bottles can tolerate freezing and not crack, is there some other reason why you don't want the beer to freeze? – mdma Jan 5 '13 at 23:31

On the few occasions I have had beer freezer it led to a permanent haze forming in the beers. Otherwise the beer was fine.

Without a power source even a well wrapped/insulated container of beer will lose its temp and get to the ambient -20 you describe.

You only option is to find a place inside or get power out there to the beer.

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At -10°C I think you will need some sort of heating element. If you don't have electricity, you could try doing it swamp cooler style.

  1. Put the bottles in an insulated container - an old refrigerator unplugged, a plastic cooler, or a DIY insulated box would all work (like a fermentation chamber). Put a thermometer in there to check on the temps.
  2. Put a heat source in the insulated container, some heated bottles of water (steel or aluminum bottles would be good since they're conductive) or bricks heated in the oven or something like that, swamp cooler style. Don't put the hot stuff too close to the bottles, you will want to avoid getting the beer hot.

This seems like a lot of work to me, because you'll have to heat the heating source manually with the stove or oven or something, so you're probably better off finding a closet to store them in. But this approach will work, as a well-insulated box will maintain temp pretty well for many hours, as long as you monitor it for a while and figure out how long your non-electric heat sources give you before it cools down.

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It would be interesting to know how long a fridge full of 20°C beer could stay above freezing with a single hot water bottle in there to give it a little extra heat. – Guy C Jan 14 '13 at 23:26
A couple cheap and easy ideas that could work if you have electricity in the garage (and usually there is an outlet in the ceiling for the electric garage door opener): (1) put the fermenters in a larger tub, swamp-cooler style, and immerse one or two aquarium heaters in there; or (2) build a box from foam 1/2-inch insulation, add a ceramic reptile heater terrarium (infrared) bulb connected to a cheap temperature regulator like the STC-100, or a heating pad, and put your fermenter in there. – Chino Brews Dec 30 '13 at 15:13
@ChinoBrews The asker says there's no electricity in the title of the question and in the body. That's kind of the whole point of the problem. – paul Dec 31 '13 at 6:02
@paul Yes, you are correct - I missed that point. Maybe still worth asking if OP has an electric garage door opener because he may have missed the outlet in the garage. Another option is to run an outdoor extension cord into the garage, and power a heat source off of that. – Chino Brews Dec 31 '13 at 15:57

I came here looking for answers to this question but i have an idea.....

What about storing the bottles in plastic tubs, submerged in a liquid with a lower freezing point? Perhaps salt water or, more daring perhaps, an antifreeze/water solution? As long as the bottles are well sealed, i dont see any issue.

any thoughts?

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The liquid in the bucket wouldn't freeze, but its temperature would drop low enough for the beer to freeze. – Tobias Patton Dec 28 '13 at 17:09
Yes, no different to storing the bottles with air around them. The air doesn't freeze at 32F/0C, but the beer in the bottles will (or at slightly lower temperature because of the alcohol.) – mdma Dec 29 '13 at 18:31
The beer bottles would actually freeze FASTER this way. Look at the physics of a wine bottle chiller. Submerging a bottle in cold liquid cools it much faster than leaving it in cold air. – Graham Dec 31 '13 at 14:00

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