Introduction: How to Chill Beer Instantly

Picture of How to Chill Beer Instantly

Your friends just came over and you have a six pack stashed in your pantry but it's not cold. What are you going to do?

No worries! Grab a couple of household items and in less than 5 minutes your beer will be ice cold. 

Household Items:

Drill with 3/32" Drill Bit

Bottle of Compressed Air without Bitterant- see warning on bottle

Duct Tape

Plastic Container


Adapted from Popular Science Big Book of Hacks

Drill a small hole into the side of your container using a 3 /32 " drill bit. Don't make the hole too big. You just need it wide enough to poke the straw through. Test the straw out to make sure it fits snug in the hole. 

***DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP***Next, place your beer into the plastic container and wrap the duct tape around it  5 or 6 times. You don't want the top of the container to fly off when the cold air is injected into the container. 

Once the container is taped tightly, put your gloves on and we're ready to chill some beer. Insert the straw into the bottle of compressed air. Turn the bottle upside down and squeeze it for one minute. Don't let the straw touch the beer. The top of the container might pop up a few times, but it won't fly off, because you followed the previous step and taped it tightly. 

Cut the tape off the container and remove the cans of beer. Tap on the top of each one to relieve the pressure. Pour into a red cup or glass of your choice and enjoy!

Don't drink the beer directly from the can unless the compressed air you use does not contain a bitterant agent. Companies making bottles of compressed air have started to add a bitterant to deter people from using the product to get high. 



Clemtasm (author)2015-09-21

The main benefit I see to this is while camping, etc. Can anyone provide and estimate of how many beers a full can of cleaner (however big that is) can cool? If no one has personal experience, I guess it could be calculated from heat capacity of beer and enthalpy of vaporization of CO2...

timi88 (author)2014-08-14

we use this to keep the drink cold

gravityisweak (author)2014-08-11

I've seen a few videos of people using this to freeze locks and then smash them open.

JakeBlanton (author)2012-12-23

If it REALLY is "compressed air", then it is not possible for someone to "get high" on it.

If they are getting high on it, then it is some other type of chemical.

Ugifer (author)JakeBlanton2013-02-05

I'm not sure that this is true - excessive nitrogen can cause "nitrogen narcosis" when diving and that is pretty similar to being drunk apparently. I'm not sure how you would apply the compressed air to make that happen at atmospheric pressure but any method I might speculate on would be highly dangerous!

I don't say that it is possible but it's far from certain that it's impossible.

JakeBlanton (author)Ugifer2013-02-05

Nitrogen narcosis is caused when you have higher partial pressures of nitrogen in your system. You are not going to get it at 1 ATM. At 1 ATM, the PPN2 is approximately 0.79. To get noticeable nitrogen narcosis, you need a PPN2 of around 5 or so. Some people notice it at lower PPs and some don't notice it until a bit more. For myself, I start to notice it around 165 ft or so (i.e. PPN2 = approx 6.0. If you are on the surface and exposed to 1 ATM air, you can't get high on even 100% N2, although you can asphyxiate yourself. It would be possible to do some compressed breathing of a gas, but you could not compress the air in your lungs enough to have a narcosis affect. The mere attempt to do this would have serious health consequences that were not related to the gas that you were breathing.

Ugifer (author)JakeBlanton2013-02-06

Yes, that's rather what I meant by "highly dangerous".

JakeBlanton (author)Ugifer2013-02-08

Dangerous in the same way that any other gas can reduce the oxygen concentration in your lungs and cause lightheadedness or unconsciousness, but not from a narcotic standpoint.

J-Ri (author)2012-12-13

Misleading title, I was hoping to cool my warm beer instantly, not in one minute....

Just kidding, nice instructable! Maybe next time an instructable on how to cool a keg using an industrial size canister of CO2?

Ugifer (author)J-Ri2013-02-05

You want instant?
6-pack + CO2 fire extinguisher!
Don't get much more instant than that...

elmejor06 (author)2013-02-03

you could also wrap a damp paper towel arount it and put it in the freezer for 10 min.

thardy2 (author)2013-01-08

It's almost as fast and probably cheaper to just put the beer in a bowl of water with some salt and ice added to it. Takes about 5 minutes to really cold beverage and you're not messing with anything that could give you a frost burn!

jeremyoj (author)2013-01-01

My father in law told me the same story, about chilling beer in N Africa during WWII. They would drench a crate of beer with aviation fuel, and then place it on the wing of a small plane, just behind the propeller. Starting the engine created a 'breeze' of epic proportions, which quickly evaporated the gas, and cooled the beer. Simple physics, but incredibly wasteful of fuel. But in wartime, needs must !

static (author)2012-12-30

Respectfully; I'm fairly certain that the bitterant has no role to play in cooling the beer.  Shake a can of compressed air one can tell  that the can contains a liquid. A liquid that has a low boiling  point when contained under pressured in a pressure vessel. As an example propane has a boiling point of - 45 F making propane unusable where the air temperature can falls below that, that's why in the  colder areas they bury the tank   Getting back on track when some of the gas is release from the can the liquid boils to fill the void left. 

In another forum a person relate t hat his dad told him in WWII they would put their beer in a can of gasoline to cool it down. I responded his dad wasn't  telling them exactly how they done it, While gasoline could be use to cool down the beer merely putting it in a can of static gas isn't going to cool it.  I suggested perhaps they put it in an open top container of gas so the gas could evaporate thus cooling the gas along with beer as well. Interestingly enough he asked his  dad about it, and turned my speculation was close to correct. So we nailed down how to use gas to cool a beverage in that forum :)

Oldbear (author)2012-12-13

I use the same trick to "shrink" bearings for assembly or to help break loose stuck screws.

lmnopeas (author)Oldbear2012-12-14

There's a lot of interest to see your trick. Please post an 'ible on you method if you can.

Oldbear (author)lmnopeas2012-12-14

I'll try. I don't have any stuck screws/bolts right now - but could "fake" one.

A shop I worked at carried a product from Wurth - a temperature reduction spray. I had used it in my own shop - but ran out one day - remembered the upside down trick with a Dust Off can - which is about 3 times cheaper than the Wurth stuff.

nwlaurie (author)Oldbear2012-12-16

we used to use a spray like this for diagnosing dodgy circuitry on PCBs - poor solder connections would be a bit hotter than the rest so would eveaporate the 'ice' visibly. Iffy transistors would suddenly spring back to life when cooled (not usually for very long!)

static (author)nwlaurie2012-12-30

Also the application of heat will bring a semiconductor back to life. Before in circuit transistor testers where available. When a technician would remove one from the circuit to test they would test good. Often they put it back in the circuit, and the "repair" last longer than one would think. Seeing the heat from removing is so slight, I wonder why the application of heat was never recommend to see if that shocked a transistor to life before removing it. One of those YMMV thongs

Whyteboar (author)Oldbear2012-12-14

So where is your instructable? Cold beer is good and all, (okay, very good) but good methods for breaking loose stuck screws (bolts, etc...) would be more helpful.

actually, for those who run into this kind of situation it's *very* helpful. whether you find it helpful enough to warrant its publishing or not is irrelevant. i for one find it to be a brilliant solution to an irritating problem.

lmnopeas (author)Oldbear2012-12-13

That could come in handy. Thanks.

nurchi (author)2012-12-24

Genius. I would have never thought of using compressed air to cool beer. I've used it to cool a transistor heatsink before, but beer, that's new...
I would still rinse the can(s) before opening it (them) though.

Effin' awesome :)

t.rohner (author)2012-12-24

As a homebrewer, i'm against mistreating beer this way ;-)
At least not the beer, i invested my time for brewing.
I'd use ice qubes, some water and salt. It works very fast as well.

JakeBlanton (author)2012-12-23

Perhaps we should really be discussing why you do not the beer stored in your refrigerator where it belongs?

c3ralki1l3r (author)2012-12-18

could you wrap the can of soda in clear wrap, like glad wraping stuff for overnight food?

lmnopeas (author)c3ralki1l3r2012-12-22

I'm sorry, I don't understand your questions.

c3ralki1l3r (author)c3ralki1l3r2012-12-18

also what if a year ago my freind sparyed a whole bunch of this stuff in my mout about half a foot away, what would happen now?

Lots of braincells will die. Some people (usually teens) do this to get high. I cant remember what it is called, but they spray it into a bag, and inhale it. It kills brain cells = makes them feel high.

kage_no_mozaiku (author)2012-12-21

bravo mate! a rather brilliant idea if i do say so mysen. i may just pick up a can of this for the next time i am in the mood for a cold drink and none have been chilled. you have a vote from me....

oh, and would it be an upgrade to your idea to wrap it in tape around the other direction as well? from what i can think of, it'd keep the lid more secure and provide greater insurance against leaks when it bulges.

lmnopeas (author)kage_no_mozaiku2012-12-22

Yes, that would be a great idea. Just taping it around one way still led to the lid popping up quite a few times.

lmnopeas (author)kage_no_mozaiku2012-12-22


Vengence (author)2012-12-13

Rolling the can (any canned beverage obviously, not just beer) on ice also has the same effect of rapid cooling, although I've never tried it with salt which lowers the freezing point; it might help it cool faster. You can make a drill attachment to make it even easier/faster.

clazman (author)Vengence2012-12-14

Salt reduces the temperature? That's interesting. I thought it was the slight melting of the ice that produces a ice/ water slurry which transfers heat more than an air/ice slurry.
Air is quite an insulator. Even an air film of only a few thousandths of an inch. Try with a little water in a pan on a an electric range element. Pressing the pan to the element induces boiling more readily than just letting the pan rest on the element. The thermal air gap is the difference.

Vengence (author)clazman2012-12-14

Yes. At maximum saturation the freezing point is -6°F; 38° lower than fresh water.

clazman (author)Vengence2012-12-15

You still are incorrect. Your statement "the freezing point" is -6 F is correct. What that statement means, however, is just as it reads: Water at maximum salt saturation will NOT freeze until -6 F. It does NOT mean that adding salt will drop the temperature to -6 F. That would require some kind of reaction between the salt and the water to do so.

mike150160 (author)clazman2012-12-15

Actually there is a "kind of reaction" dissolution of salt is endothermic so the temperature will drop

clazman (author)mike1501602012-12-15

drop 38 F?????????????

Tell me never never to put salt on my iced sidewalk again!

mike150160 (author)clazman2012-12-15

The lower freezing point of the mixture means that it's liquid at 32f (0C in real units) but to become liquid when salt is added it must take some energy from the surroundings (heat of fusion). This cools the surroundings.

dreadengineer (author)mike1501602012-12-16

Clazman - the mechanism is: adding salt lowers the freezing point. This forces some of the ice to melt. When ice melts, it absorbs heat (this is called the "latent heat" for the process). The latent heat of the ice-to-water transition is fairly large-- the heat absorbed is enough to quickly reduce the whole system to a lower temperature.

And yes, by the same mechanism, the melting ice caps are slightly slowing global warming by absorbing heat during the phase change when they melt.

Vengence (author)dreadengineer2012-12-16

I can't believe he's still trying to argue against a known fact.

Adam Casio (author)Vengence2012-12-17

Not to be rude, but I agree with you, Vengence. It's actually a pretty easy experiment to do. I remember doing it in high school Chemistry. Adding salt to the water does in fact cause the ice/water slurry to go down a few degrees. Admittedly, it's not much, at least with a small amount like we used (but I don't think anyone tried to argue that in the first place), only a few degrees Celsius. Of course, I'm not going to make numbers, because after all, it was only high school chemistry, but the overall fact learned is true.

Also, I think, clazman, you might have misinterpreted the initial comment, thinking that Vengence was saying that the water would lower all the way down to a new freezing point when salt is added. That, of course, isn't necessarily true, but I'm pretty sure that's not at all what Vengence was initially claiming.

Sreyo (author)Adam Casio2012-12-21

Children, please. You are fighting about salt and ice.

emerson.john (author)clazman2012-12-17

Clazman, you are embarrassing yourself. The temp will drop. Try it. This is a standard high school chemistry experiment. It is how one chills home made ice cream with a mix of ice and salt. That ice cream must be well below 32° F to freeze.

clazman (author)mike1501602012-12-18

nwlaurie (author)clazman2012-12-16

Adding salt to ice WILL drop the temperature as stated - forget the 'theory' nip out and try it! (It's all to do with latent heat and phase changes - not a discussion for this site)

clazman (author)nwlaurie2012-12-16

The original remark was that adding salt to ice the system temperature would drop 38 F. A complete fallicy

nwlaurie (author)clazman2012-12-16

Try it - believe me IT WORKS!!

About This Instructable




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