An acoustic-wave sensor apparatus and method. The apparatus for analyzing a normally liquid petroleum-based composition includes at least one acoustic-wave device in contact with the petroleum-based composition for sensing or detecting the presence of constituents (e.g. paraffins or petroleum waxes) therein which solidify upon cooling of the petroleum-based composition below a cloud-point temperature. The acoustic-wave device can be a thickness-shear-mode device (also termed a quartz crystal mircrobalance), a surface-acoustic-wave device, an acoustic-plate-mode device or a flexural plate-wave device. Embodiments of the present invention can be used for measuring a cloud point, a pour point and/or a freeze point of the petroleum-based composition, and for determining a temperature characteristic of each point. Furthermore, measurements with the acoustic-wave sensor apparatus can be made off-line by using a sample having a particular petroleum-based composition; or in-situ with the petroleum-based composition contained within a pipeline or storage tank. The acoustic-wave sensor apparatus has uses in many different petroleum technology areas, including the recover transport, storage, refining and use of petroleum and petroleum-based products.