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Frozen Kegs

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  • Frozen Kegs

    Hi Everyone....

    After some building maintenance that shut down my walkin cooler compressor, my thermostat was, unbeknownst to me, set too low and all my beer froze. I am in the process of trying to thaw them out, and I have couple of concerns...
    First of all, can anyone tell me how I might be able to tell when the kegs are completely thawed...while one beer might go over well as an Ice Bock, I am not so sure about my ESB...
    and second what effects will freezing and thawing have on the beer. I am thinking that there will, at the very least, be some sort of a carbonation issue, but are there any other staling effects I should be worried about. The vast majority of the kegs were/are full and the ones that were tapped are between 1/2 and 3/4 full...any and all info is greatly appreciated


  • #2
    I once had some kegs freeze solid in the back of my truck while I was driving to a beer festival (4 hours in 30 below weather!). I left them out at room temperature (probably 55-65 degrees F) overnight and they were defrosted in the morning. I did lose some carbonation in the beer, but once the kegs were defrosted I didn't notice any flavor changes. However these kegs were all consumed in about 12 hours, so I don't know if there would be long-term stress on the beer that might begin to show flavor changes in a few days.

    As far as how to tell that they have defrosted...I would hit the keg with a rubber mallet and listen to the ringing sound, you'll probably be able to "hear" when there is only liquid inside.
    Hutch Kugeman
    Head Brewer
    Brooklyn Brewery at the Culinary Institute of America
    Hyde Park, NY


    • #3
      In my experience, after a freeze-thaw cycle like you've described, you may notice in your products a significant problem with excessive clarity.



      • #4
        If you really want to see if a keg is totally thawed, just reverse your gas-in and beer draw connections (and take out the check valve. Attach a "beer shut off" valve at each connection (in-line, directly off the tap). I used to use this type of setup for kegging with separate beer and gas shutoffs.

        Without applying gas pressure and having the regular beer valve shut off, tap the keg and then open the shutoff to the gas line. You should get clear beer from the head pressure if it is totally thawed. Otherwise, you should blow CO2, ice chunks and some beer.

        To tap for an ICE Beer, use the same connections and invert the keg on a stand. Tap the beer out of the "gas port" to a sanitized keg and push with C02 through the draw tube until you hit ice/gas.

        Hope this helps.

        I love "Frankenstein Brewing" techniques.

        Adapt and overcome!


        • #5
          beer is flowing

          Thanks guys for all the input...after reading that it only took a day or so to thaw out kegs I went and tapped mine and aside from a slight foaming issue and to a lesser degree a carbonation issue (they are a bit softer now) the beer poured like normal....thanks again for the quick responses!