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Turn Beer into an Ice-Cold Slushy

Thailand’s bia wun is the coldest beer you'll ever drink.
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Published Aug. 3, 2021.

The only way to make a cold beer on a hot day even more refreshing? Superchill it.

Beer superchilled until it has a slurpable, slushy-like consistency has long been popular in Thailand, and nowadays, some Thai restaurants in the United States are offering this cooling refreshment. Called bia wun, or “jelly beer,” the drink is typically made by chilling the bottles in a 25-degree or so bath of water, salt, and ice.

The pressure inside the sealed bottle keeps the beer from freezing, then, when you open the container and insert a straw or pour the beer into a glass, its equilibrium is disrupted, causing tiny ice crystals to form instantly while the alcohol stays fluid.

The result: beer slushy.

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It’s easy to make a jelly beer of your own in your freezer: But because the average home freezer temperature hovers near 0 degrees, the beer will eventually freeze solid, so the trick is to take it out before that happens.

Here’s the method we settled on in our testing.

1. Choose your favorite 12-ounce bottled beer. Note: Bottles will shatter if the beer accidentally freezes completely; if you're concerned about this possibility, choose cans instead.

2. Place a “canary bottle” in the freezer. This will help you determine when to take the rest of your bottles out. 

3. After 10 minutes, place the rest of your bottles in the freezer. If you don’t routinely chill your beer glasses, now is a good time to place those in the freezer as well.

4. Wait. Fridge-temperature beer usually reaches its target temperature in about 40 minutes; room-temperature, in 70 minutes. (Note that bottles of dry lager will slush up faster than beers with more alcohol, like IPAs, or more sugar, like stouts). 

5. Check your canary after the recommended time. It should be icy cold to the touch. Pop it open and pour it into a chilled glass.

6. If it's still liquid: Wait about 15 minutes before opening another beer.

7. If it forms a jellied slush: Wait just 10 minutes, and then round up your guests and pass the slushies. 

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