Frozen Carboy..Oops!

What went wrong? Was this supposed to happen? Should I throw it out? What do I do now?

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Frozen Carboy..Oops!

Postby HardcoreLegend » Mon Jan 27, 2003 7:35 pm

I have a nice IPA in secondary right now ,which I put out in the garage to cold condition for a few weeks. Unfortunately, it froze. The question is; How this will affect the yeast? Will they be able to recover once they warm back up? Or will I need to add some yeast at bottling to properly carbonate my brew? What now?
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chilly yeast..

Postby HomeBrew » Tue Jan 28, 2003 2:08 am

The answer is a whole-hearted "it depends". What it depends on mostly (as I'm sure you've guessed) is whether there are sufficient yeast still alive...

We routinely freeze bacteria and yeast for long-term storage, but add a cryoprotectant (like 15% glycerol) and flash freeze in a dry-ice/ethanol bath to avoid the damage ice crystals will do to the cells. So, freezing without taking such measures will generally kill the cells, but not always, and not all of them.

Also, I doubt your carboy froze solid, so there was likely some yeast still in solution. On the other hand, perhaps the bulk of the yeast had settled to the bottom, and maybe that part froze from being in contact with the floor...

Here's what I'd do. Move your IPA indoors and rack it to another carboy (let's get it off the (presumably) mostly dead yeast). Use some of the slurry left behind in the original carboy to begin a starter culture. Let this culture go (assumming it begins to ferment) for a week or so (so only a minimal amount of fermentables will be added when you use this culture, and you won't throw off your priming for bottle conditioning), then stir the starter culture of revitalized yeast in with your priming sugar or malt, and bottle as usual.

The only problem with a procedure like this is it will probably produce the best IPA you ever made, and you won't be able to replicate it...:)

Good luck!
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Alternate Idea... An "EIS-PA?

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Wed Jan 29, 2003 8:19 am

You could always work a sanitized racking can down to the un-frozen beer that has concentrated under the slush (I'm assuming you don't have a solid beer ice cube, otherwise your carboy would have most likely cracked !). Then decant the beer into another sanitized vessel and let it condition for a couple of weeks. You will have produced a VERY high alcohol beer with concentrated flavors by ice distillation. This is a classic Austro-German technique used to produce Eisbock.

Now... if you do this, natural carbonation will be all but impossible because of alcohol content. Classic examples of Eisbock are barely carbonated anyway, so this may not matter. Otherwise, you could always force carbonate it in a Cornelius cylinder or other pressure vessel.

Just a thought !

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Postby dohertyd » Wed Jan 29, 2003 1:33 pm

Eric, you're my hero.
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