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How Long Does it Take Beer to Explode in the Freezer?

< Back to page one of Freezer Beer Explosion

At 6:05pm, I returned from work and cracked open a freezer full of ice-cold beer.

There had been no explosions. The experiment was a failure.

Alright, not really. The bottles were popped! A tiny trickle of beer had escaped their caps and flowed down the sides of the bottle.

Ah ha! Technically this was an explosion... An extremely tame explosion.

With these conditions, bottles of beer gently pop open sometime after about 12 hours.

The cans were unmolested. Actually, they looked like they were more likely to implode than to explode. The sides of the can were loose, and could easily be pushed in. Whatever combination of ingredients were inside, the beer had enough non-water components contracting in volume to offset the expanding water. Or, maybe something else was happening. The porter had expanded, and the lager had contracted... were they really that different?

Did the containers have anything to do with the results? Certainly after 24 hours both substances had fallen to the same temperature, regardless of their containers, right?

The RC cola looked and felt frozen solid.

I cut open one of the Pabst Blue Ribbons

That wasn't exactly frozen solid. Next I tried opening the 2 liter bottle of RC Cola.

That was amazing! My daughter had been right. It was on the ceiling.

The soda was sitting at just 12° F. It exploded, but not on its own. Some idiot had to cut open the skin before it could wipe out the kitchen.

Here's what I found out: Beer doesn't usually explode in the freezer, even if you leave it there all damn day. Eventually beer will freeze, and when that happens, it might pop its bottlecap. The legend of an exploding six pack was exagerated. You should avoid having them open, but you don't have to worry much about having beer bottles explode all over the place and make a big mess. Modern beer cans may not ever explode.

As with most good experiments, I was left with more questions than when I had started. With this one, I was also left with a lot of cold beer.

Of course, I had to open it first. Does anyone know the best way to warm up beer?

  The Quest for a solid ice beer tray   Heat Transfer Experiments   Eyeclops Digital Magnifier   Trying to make hot air bubbles   Eyeclops Night Vision goggles   How to Eliminate Rubbernecking   My Homemade Speed Trap 
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