I had read about it happening to others (John Palmer relays his experience freezing his lager in How To Brew), so I didn’t cry when I discovered my frozen ale as I was about to bottle it this evening. But I surely did have to abandon hope of bottling it tonight. I had all my bottles sanitised and my priming sugar boiled when I went in to the fridge to lift out the fermentor of beer that I had been cold crashing for 5 days. I didn’t like the solid look that I saw from the outside and sure enough when I opened the lid, here is what I saw:
I had been cold crashing it in my fridge at the coldest setting. I had kept a close eye on it for the first few days for any signs of freezing. I even had a plastic bottle with a drop of water that I could check for freezing above the fermentor and another one below and there was not a sign of any freezing in those first few days. So than I got complacent and put too much trust in my fridge and left it at the low setting until the bottling day that didn’t happen.
It’s not frozen solid, it’s liquid towards the bottom, but it’s hard to tell how frozen it is. I took a sample from the tap, tasted it and it was super sweet – it measured an SG of 1.032. It must be because it’s the water that’s frozen out first leaving concentrated beer at the bottom.
So now I’m leaving it out at room temperature over night and when it’s defrosted I’ll give it a bit of a stir around to get it evenly mixed again and then I’ll give it a day or two to settle before bottling. I’m hoping the yeast in it is ok enough for carbonation as I don’t have a spare packet of yeast to match the kit yeast and throwing in a different yeast strain could possibly do more harm than good. So I’m not too worried about it, I reckon she’ll be alright.