Freezing Point of Alcohol

The freezing point of alcohol can be a really interesting thing to explore. The text to follow will tell you all about that.
It is the spirit which raises the spirits of people who have it! It is one of the most popular things to drink all over the world. It is almost irresistible for some and for some, like George Gordon, Lord Byron, having it is just a break from thinking! I am sure by now you have uncovered the thing about which I am making a poor attempt to create a mystery around! Yes, no points for guessing that I am talking about alcohol! Most of us know that different alcoholic beverages are served at different temperatures for best results (oops I do not mean results on people!) What I mean by results is the taste of the beverage. That can be chilled or room temperature or just cold! But I wonder what is the temperature of alcohol or ethanol when it starts freezing to add to the taste of the beverage. So I just researched, being curious about ethanol, about the freezing point of alcohol. In case you too were curious about it, join me as I try to find out.

What is The Freezing Point of Alcohol

First up will be an elaboration on ethanol's freezing point. Well, to begin with, alcohol does freeze, (for those) who were wondering if alcohol freezes or not. The only catch is that the freezing point is well below that of water, which normally is what most of us are acquainted with. So while water freezes at 32 degree Fahrenheit or zero degree Celsius, ethanol alcohol freezes at -114°C (-173.2°F). This might not be brought about in our usual freezers. Now depending on the alcohol per volume in a beverage, the freezing point of that particular mixture is determined. In addition to this, normal freezing point of ethanol, there is a process referred to as fractional freezing, which is used to distinguish two liquids having two different melting points. That is close to a partial crystallization of liquid. In a normal scenario, alcohol concentration of a drink determines its freezing point, however, here, to put it simply, the extent of freezing is employed to increase the concentration of alcohol in fermented alcoholic beverages. Sometimes this process is also called freeze distillation. Although this is considered to be illegal in a number of countries, this technique results in a specific amount of concentration very easily, with lesser effort than the normal distillation process.

Freezing Point of Alcoholic Beverages

Primarily, the freezing point of alcoholic beverages depends on the alcohol content they have, as mentioned earlier. Alcoholic beverages mostly are a mix of water and alcohol, in addition to some additives in distilled spirits. Hence when it comes to alcoholic beverages the freezing point is somewhat in that range, between -173.2 degree Fahrenheit and zero degree. The freezing point of alcohol and water mixture is, therefore, dependent upon the amount of alcohol per volume. That is called the proof of alcohol. The equation is something like this - the lower the proof, the warmer is the freezing point and the higher the proof, the lower and colder is the freezing point. For instance, 84 proof liquor freezes at -30 degree Fahrenheit, while 24 proof liquor freezes at 20 degree Fahrenheit. To give you a specific idea, wine freezes around 15 degree Fahrenheit.

Boiling Point of Alcohol

As mentioned earlier, the concentration of alcohol and how pure is the form of alcohol in a mixture decides its freezing point. As we know, boiling point of a substance is the temperature at which the substance boils. Depending on that the boiling point of alcohol in its various forms and grades, (not in the context of beverages) is as follows -
  • Alcohol - ethyl (grain, ethanol) - 172.4 degree Fahrenheit
  • Alcohol allyl - 207 degree Fahrenheit
  • Alcohol butyl-n - 243 degree Fahrenheit
  • Alcohol - methyl (methyl alcohol, wood alcohol, wood naphtha or wood spirits) - 151 degree Fahrenheit
  • Alcohol propyl - 207 degree Fahrenheit
That is basically what the boiling point of all the permutations and combinations of alcohol is. That is all! I hope you found this interesting! Cheers!
By Medha Godbole
Published: 12/28/2010
Bouquets and Brickbats