So, it froze. What's next

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Active Member
Mar 12, 2011
Reaction score
St. Catharines
I have been having the worst brew days this year. Today's misadventure: I have a chest freezer with a temperature controller from Johnson Controls. I was using it for fermenting a brown ale I brewed a few weeks ago (and which I could not for the life of me get to chill below 70 until I set up the freezer/fermenter). Yesterday I was moving some stuff around the room where the freezer is located and I removed the temperature probe to get at something behind the freezer. Then I left it out as I got back to doing what I was doing.

Today as I began to set up to bottle, I went to the freezer and guess what? Yes. The beer was frozen solid. A 3.5 gallon beercicle.

So, I know I can thaw it and I know the yeast is dead. But if I hydrate a pack of dry yeast and throw it in before bottling, could that allow for bottle conditioning? Or should I make a starter so the yeast is ready to go?

Or should I just resolve myself to have a flat beer (which I will call a real ale because I have to salvage it somehow)?
Was it done fermenting? If you're just worried about yeast for bottle conditioning, a pack of dry will do perfectly for you. (You could use CBC-1, you could use whatever your main fermentation used, you could use anything.)
Ok thanks. I read somewhere else that some yeast might still be alive but I'm not crossing my fingers on that one. This is like extreme cold crashing.
Yeast survives freezing. It's the other end of the thermometer that will kill them.

If you are leery though, then adding most any dry yeast at anywhere from .07 to 1.3 grams per gallon of beer to your priming solution will probably ensure you won't have an issue due to lack of yeast.

Use less yeast if you are carbonating to lower Vols and more yeast if adding a lot of sugar for higher Vols.
Last edited:
Ok thanks. I'll just rehydrate a pack of something similar (Probably Nottingham yeast) and pitch with the corn sugar when I am bottling. Or should I pitch into the carboy earlier and let it get used to it?
Well for 3.5 gallons, don't use a full 11 gram pack. 1 to 2 grams will probably be more than enough.

As for pitching it into the carboy, I wouldn't. You'll be rehydrating it with nothing to feed on. I suppose that wouldn't be any different than rehydrating in plain water, but it's not something I've ever done.

But then again if you are just adding dry corn sugar into the beer without first mixing it with some water, then I'd go for adding it directly to the beer and giving it a few minutes to rehydrate before mixing in the dry sugar.
Sorry I should have clarified I'd rehydrate the yeast before pitching as normal. I've also added my corn sugar to water and boiled.
Not that it's going to help your situation, but it might make you feel less lonely.

I did the same probe mishandling a few weeks ago, but at the very beginning of fermentation. Set the fermenter in the chest freezer at 3pm and went to check on it the morning after. Probably my first brew where I'm not curious and checking for signs of fermentation every 15 minutes after 1 hour in the chamber. Everything went so well during the brew day, I wasn't worried about anything.

The next morning : the starsan solution was a block of ice. The freezer worked for 16 hours straight at full power. I was sure I had killed everything in there and that I would never get fermentation going but what was the point of quitting now, the hard work was already done. The worst that could happen was nothing and a dumped worth a few days down the road. So I raised the temperature and waited a few days. The yeast finally went to work and did it's job.

Out of the 3 beers I served during our fantasy draft, it was the best!
Forgot to put the probe in on my first lager in the new keezer a few years ago. It wasn't completely frozen yet and it eventually melted and finished fermenting. It was a dopplebock and turned out fine. If it had been done I could have went for the eisbock!

Then just a couple weeks ago I was cleaning out one of my ferm chambers which is a small wine chiller and I didn't replace the probe. First thought was aw hell it's broken but then I saw the probe on the floor! My second thought was Damnit it's probably broke now and it's my fault! Fortunately even though I have bypassed most of the controls it still works even though it was like that for a couple days. (I'm thinking there might still be a limiter in the loop somewhere.)

Latest posts