Beer slushies are a refreshing way to enjoy a beer on hot summer days. Even if you're usually a purist, you likely will enjoy these semi-frozen treats.
What is a Jelly Beer?
Jelly Beer is a frozen beer slushie. The trend started in Japan in 2010 when the famous Japanese brewery Asahi introduced their icy Super Dry Beer poured from the tap at 28° F.
It didn't take long until this ice-cold and slushy-like beer trended in Asia. In 2012, Thailand was one of the first countries to pick up on the idea and develop its own unique take on a beer slushy.
In 2014 the trend came to the US. Thai restaurants throughout the country put the jelly beer slushies onto their menus and created hype. In most cases, citrus juice and a sweetener are added to frozen beer to create a cocktail with slush-like consistency.
How to make Jelly Beer
In Thailand as well as in Thai restaurants in the US, "bia wun" (oscillating) machines are used to produce these beer slushies. Mostly with traditional Thai beer brands like Leo, Singha, or Chang.
The constantly rocking machines are barrel-shaped and filled with a mix of ice, salt, and water. Like that, they cool the beer down to 26°F. All the while, the pressure inside the beer bottles prevents them from freezing.
Since most of us don't have a bia wun at home, here's how to make these semi-frozen beer drinks in your freezer. All you need is good timing and a bit of practice.
Step-by-Step Guide to making beer slushies
Note: Beer previously chilled in the fridge will need around 35-40 minutes in the freezer to reach the perfect jelly consistency. Room-temperature beer usually needs 60-70 minutes. We're assuming that you use beer from the fridge for this guide.
As the temperature in your freezer is below the freezing point of beer, you have to be cautious not to freeze it all the way. The trick is to use a reference bottle.
Step 1: The reference bottle one goes in the freezer 10 minutes before the other beer(s). Mark it with a pen to recognize it from the others.
Step 2: After 10 Minutes, add the other beer (or beers).
Step 3: Take out the reference bottle 35 minutes after you put it in the freezer. If it's still fluid, put it back and check again 10 Minutes later.
Step 4: Once the reference bottle has turned into a semi-frozen jelly slush, you have to shake and open it to check if it has reached the desired consistency.
Step 5: If it does, remove the other bottles 10 minutes later and have perfectly-timed beer slushies. If not, adjust the waiting time accordingly.
Warning: Bottles can explode when freezing. To avoid that, carefully watch the time or use cans instead.
Beer slushy recipes try to enhance the natural flavor of the beer. The best way to do this is by adding lime juice and a bit of syrup to your partly frozen beer.
For a fruity touch, consider adding flavored syrups like pineapple or passionfruit syrup to the mix. You could even add fresh or frozen chunks of fruit to it. But if you do that, I recommend blending your slushie to prevent it from getting chunky.
For more inspiration, here are the best beer slushy recipe ideas.
Which beer should I use?
Malt-forward beers are perfect for making beer slushies. That is because the bitterness of the beer intensifies once frozen. And malt beers naturally have a sweeter and less bitter taste.
The obvious choice is using Thai brands like Singha or Chang, but any malt beer works. You can even use other beer types, but you may need to tweak the recipe to balance the bitter taste after freezing them.
I don't recommend overly hoppy beers, though, as they quickly turn very, very bitter.
- 2+ Singha lager
- 1+ flavorings (syrup, fruit, juice etc.) optional
- Chill beers in the fridge until cold.
- Place your reference beer into your freezer and wait exactly 10 minutes before putting in the other beer(s). For easy reference, mark the first beer that goes in with a pen or a band.
- 35 minutes after putting in the reference bottle or can, remove it and check the consistency. You have to shake and open the beer for that.
- If the reference beer has reached beer slushy consistency, remove the other beers 10 minutes later. If not, wait for 15 minutes and check another bottle (or can).
- Once your beers have the desired consistency, remove them all from the fridge. Shake the bottle, open it and serve it in the bottle or poured into a glass.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can easily make your own beer slushy at home. Store the beer in a freezer, pop it out in time, and serve it as is or flavored with citrus juice and (flavored) syrup.
Yes, beers can reach that perfect slushy consistency if they're frozen for the right amount of time or with the right tools (oscillating beer freezer).
A beer slushy or jelly beer is a semi-frozen beer often served as a cocktail by adding lime or lemon juice and syrup to it. You can also flavor it with fruit syrups or by adding fresh fruit.
A pre-chilled beer from the fridge will take 35 - 40 minutes in the freezer to reach slushie consistency. A room temperature will need about 60 - 70 minutes.