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What Percentage Alcohol Does Not Freeze?

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By Shannon Barratt

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It’s common knowledge that not all alcoholic drinks will freeze and the reason for this is the percentage of alcohol in the drink. So, is there an alcohol percentage that does freeze, or will no alcoholic drinks freeze successfully?

freeze alcohol

What Percentage Alcohol Does Not Freeze?

Drinks with an alcohol percentage of above 35% will not freeze in a home freezer which will usually have a temperature of -18C or 0F. This will include most spirits. Beer, wine and low-proof drinks will freeze, however.

Below are the approximate freezing temperatures of different alcohol percentages. Bear in mind that your home freezer is likely to have a temperature of around -18C or 0F.

ABVFreezing Point (°F)Freezing Point (°C)

Water (and most other liquids with no alcohol) will freeze at 0C, taking around an hour to freeze in a standard home freezer.

Beer, with around 5% alcohol, freezes at -2C which isn’t far off the water. This is because water makes up the bulk of a bottle of beer. It’s not until you get to the likes of premium vodkas and whiskeys that you find alcohol that does not freeze.

What Alcoholic Drinks Will Freeze?

When it comes to looking at alcoholic drinks that will freeze, you need to look at either their proof or their percentage alcohol. Anything below 30% (or 60 proof) will freeze to some degree.

All beers, wines, some flavoured spirits and low-proof liqueurs will all fall within this range.

Below is a complete table showing you what temperature most popular alcoholic drinks would freeze it:

DrinkABVFreezing Point (°F)Freezing Point (°C)
Beer4-6%28.0-27.4°F-2.2 to -2.6°C
Red Wine12-15%22.1-15.8°F-5.5 to -9.0°C
White Wine11-14%23.2-16.8°F-4.9 to -8.4°C
Rosé Wine11-14%23.2-16.8°F-4.9 to -8.4°C
Champagne12-13%21.2-20.3°F-6.0 to -6.5°C
Whiskey40-50%-16.6 to -58.6°F-27.0 to -50.3°C
Gin37.5-47%-17.0 to -32.5°F-27.2 to -35.8°C
Absinthe45-75%-30.2 to -96.16°F-34.6 to -71.2°C
Brandy/Cognac35-60%-6.7 to -75.56°F-21.5 to -59.2°C
Sherry15-20%15.0-10.4°F-9.4 to -12.0°C
Liqueurs15-55%15.0 to -63.5°F-9.4 to -53.1°C
Schnapps15-50%15.0 to -58.6°F-9.4 to -50.3°C
Sake15-20%15.0-10.4°F-9.4 to -12.0°C

Please remember these values are estimates. The freezing point can vary based on other factors like sugars and flavourings.

For example, liqueurs, which often contain a lot of sugar, might not freeze solid even at temperatures below their theoretical freezing points.

Does Beer Freeze?

Yes, beer does freeze but it doesn’t freeze into a solid block. The water content of the beer will freeze before anything else, resulting in a slushy consistency much like a slush puppy!

The other problem with freezing beer is that they’re often in glass bottles which are sealed under pressure. When water freezes, it expands, which can result in the glass bottle cracking or the lid popping off, leaving you with a pool of slushy beer in the freezer.

Instead, if you want to cool beer, simply place it in the freezer for around 15 minutes to bring the temperature right down.

Does Wine Freeze?

Wine is much like beer, although it will freeze, you will ruin the texture. Again, this is down to the water content freezing before anything else.

You’ll also have a similar issue with the bottle that the wine is kept in. You’ll either find that the cork will pop out as the pressure in the bottle builds up with the water expanding, or the bottle will crack. Neither is a good situation to find yourself in!

The only exception to this is if you want to freeze wine for cooking (and only cooking). You can decant both white and red wine into an ice cube tray and freeze. When you want to impart some wine flavour into a stew, just drop a cube in.

What Alcoholic Drink Will Not Freeze?

Unfortunately, there are plenty of alcoholic drinks that will not freeze at all. They will, however, become extremely cold which makes the drinking of them far more enjoyable. We’ve covered a few popular spirits below:

Does Vodka Freeze?

Vodka does not freeze in a home freezer as it is simply not cold enough. However, vodka will become incredibly cold in the freezer which is why people will often do so. Vodka is a drink best served as chilled as possible and nothing is going to get it as cold as the freezer can.

Some people claim that chilling cheap vodka in this way can actually make the flavour a little cleaner and the texture smoother.

We have a complete guide to freezing vodka, including our top 3 tips and how well it freezes, available here.

Does Whiskey Freeze?

Whiskey does not freeze nor is it a good idea to put whiskey in the freezer. Darker drinks, like whiskey, have a deep and complex flavour profile which will become ruined when the drink is frozen.

This is why drinks like whiskey are often served warmer than cleaner spirits as it allows the drinker to fully experience the entire flavour profile of the drink.

Does Freezing Alcohol Ruin It?

Yes! Freezing most alcoholic drinks ruins it. Beer, wine and cider will become slushy and grainy when frozen. Whisky, tequila and dark rum will lose their aromas.

The only alcoholic drinks that do well in the freezer are those with high proof that are clear and tend to lack a strong flavour. Drinks like gin and vodka are great in the freezer. They won’t freeze but they will become intensely chilled making them far more enjoyable to drink.

You can put beer and white wine in the freezer to chill it quickly but this should be for 15 minutes or so to avoid ruining the texture or risking the bottles from cracking open as the water expands inside.


We have verified the information on this page using the following resources:

How Stuff Works

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