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Will It Be Cold Enough for Beer to Freeze at the Super Bowl?

By By Mark Leberfinger, Staff Writer
January 29, 2014, 11:33:11 PM EST

Whether it will snow or not at the Super Bowl is a big question in the days prior to the game at East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday, as there may be travel implications and more challenging stadium preparation.

While snow chances may be over in time for the big game, the cold will linger. So, another question remains: will it be cold enough for beer to freeze?

Frozen beer was a problem for fans of the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco '49ers during the NFC Wild Card game on Jan. 5, 2014, at Lambeau Field. The high temperature was only 12 F with a low of minus 5 F.

A typical strength beer with 5 percent alcohol by volume will freeze near 26 to 29 F, according to Karl Siebert, professor of biochemistry and director of the Brewing Program at Cornell University.

The time it takes for a beer to freeze depends on the starting temperature of the beer and the temperature of its surroundings, Siebert said.

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"I think wind would not be much of a factor," he said. "It happens much faster with cans than bottles because metal conducts heat better than glass and glass has a larger thermal mass -- it’s a lot thicker.

Weather may play a factor in the game, but Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said the odds are against another beer freeze.

The high Sunday at MetLife Stadium will be in the mid-30s with a low in the mid-20s.

"The cold is going to be entrenched in the Northeast," Rayno said. "You won't have to worry the beer will get warm too fast."

Frozen beer isn't harmful but it could turn hazy, especially with repeated freeze/thaw cycles, Siebert said. "This is unsightly but not harmful," he said.

Freezing could cause beer to gush out of a can or bottle when they're opened. However, cold beer is not necessarily a bad thing. The ideal beer temperature depends on the beer style and local customs, Siebert said.

"In Britain, the tradition is to serve ale at room temperature in a pewter mug," he said. "With lagers in the U.S., cool, or even frosty, conditions are often seen. With colder temperatures, a drinker experiences less of the flavor. I think refrigerator temperature is a good compromise."


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