Will Hard Seltzer Freeze? Is it possible and what happens

Frozen can of White Claw

I love a really really cold cold, especially if it is hot outside. Often i would put my hard seltzer in the freezer just to ensure it is extra chilled.

But what happens if you forget about and it leave it overnight. Have you discovered the secret to nirvana or have you just ruined your drink? Will hard seltzer freeze and if so, what happens?

Will hard seltzer freeze?

Yes, a hard seltzer will freeze. At only 5% ABV, there is not enough alcohol to lower its freezing point to below freezer temperatures.

The hard seltzer will completely lose its carbonation and turn still. There is also the possibility that the frozen drink expands and cracks its can.

I have done this experiment so please read on to see what happens and the resultant tasting.

Do hard seltzers actually freeze? 

Yes they do! I put this Black Cherry version of White Claw into the freezer and it froze solid in the same time as you’d expect a bottle of water to. 

Alcohol has a lower freezing point than water so if you put a strong spirit in the freezer it may well get more syrup like but it likely won’t freeze. Alcohol is like a natural antifreeze.

Hard seltzers only have 4.5-5% alcohol by volume depending on the region. This isn’t enough to lower the freezing point sufficiently to stop it freezing in a domestic freezer.

What happened to the can of hard seltzer on freezing?

Examining the evidence shows that the can of hard seltzer has been damaged. 

The top of the can as buckled up and when i go to squeeze it, there is no give, it is as hard as a rock.

Why has the can been damaged?

Did i drop it in the freezer or has something else fell on it? Nope, the liquid has expanded when it froze, which they do. 

This expansion has meant the can has to buckle to cope with the increased volume of the now frozen White Claw. It is a nifty, if simple science experiment.

Does the hard seltzer unfreeze again?

Yes again, i left the can in the fridge for about 36hours and now you can squeeze the can and shake it about to show there is liquid in it.

Now it is unfrozen, is there any further damage to the can? 

I really did not think there was until i gave it a really good going over. 

The can is much more squeezy than it should be. That might be due to the extra volume from the top buckling up but the more i squeezed the more i heard i little wheezing sound. There is a leak!

As you can see from the picture, right at the point where the can buckled, there has been a tear of the can and now air can get in and out.

Can you open it?

It was very difficult, the ring pull mechanism was broken and i nearly cut my finger pushing it down.

How does it pour? What does it look like?

There was no fizz at all when i got it open, very disappointing. 

It poured crystal clear but without any bubbles at all.

Did the freezing or the can damage make it go flat?

It is mostly likely that the freezing process made the hard seltzer loose its carbonation and go flat.

This is a known issue with any carbonated drink, be that a Coca Cola or a hard seltzer. However the leak certainly has not helped.

What did it taste like?

In a word? Weird! Flat cherry flavoured water is a hard sell but when it is alcoholic, it is a firm no from me.

It is a pity as objectively the black cherry flavour seems like it would be nice, but you really really need the carbonation.

Do you have to refrigerate hard seltzers?

You do not have to refrigerate hard seltzer. The ideal environment to store them is a cool dry area, out of the direct sunlight. The main purpose with refrigerating a hard seltzer is to make it even more thirst quenching but a room temperature will not make it go bad.

Can a hard seltzer go off?

Hard seltzers can go off if it’s not stored properly. If you leave it out of the fridge for too long, or if it gets too warm, the alcohol can start to spoil and the flavor can change. So make sure to keep your hard seltzer cold and enjoy it fresh.

How do you know a hard seltzer is off?

Perhaps the easiest way to tell anything is off is to give it a sniff. Does it smell like you would expect? If you have ever smelt rancid meat, you know what i mean!

If it smells ok but tastes a little off, this is the next stage where you can avoid drinking any more.

Perhaps there isn’t the amount of fizz you would expect there might have been a leak. If the colour is not clear or the flavours aren’t right then don’t drink any more and move on.

Can you drink an opened hard seltzer?

You can drink an opened can of hard seltzer if it has only been open for less than a few day and stored correctly. If you are unsure how long it has been opened for or has a leak then it is not safe to drink.

Your hard seltzer can go off as well as loose fizz and flavour, the longer it is opened.

How long do you have to drink an opened hard seltzer?

If you open a can of hard seltzer but don’t finish it, then put it back in the fridge. If you do this, you have about 2-3 days to drink it.

The carbonation (fizz) will remain, although diminish, over the 4 days. If it is in the fridge, this minimises any bugs getting in and spoiling the hard seltzer or the temperature affecting it.

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