Hard Lemonade

Forums Non-Beer Brewing Hard Lemonade

This topic contains 4 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  John 2 weeks, 4 days ago.

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  • #1569

    John
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    I’m brewing beer for a friend’s wedding and I’m hoping to do a non-beer option for people as well so that non-beer drinkers can still have something cold and carbonated on tap. I was thinking about doing a cider, but to be honest my ciders are still kind of hit and miss, and cider doesn’t really appeal to non-beer drinkers all the time anyway.

    I was kicking around making a hard lemonade with grain alcohol and carbonating in a keg, but I really like the idea of actually brewing everything I give them for their wedding. Have any of you made hard lemonade before? I have been looking into something like the Skeeter Pee here – https://skeeterpee.com/recipe except that I don’t want to have something that is like 10% alcohol at this thing. I think being somewhere between 5-6% is a much safer bet so that we don’t end up with a bunch of super drunk people.

    After looking online at several recipes, this is the approximate recipe I’m thinking for a 5 gallon batch – thoughts?

    2 bottles of 32 oz 100% lemon juice
    4 lbs sugar to ferment
    3 tsp. yeast nutrient
    1 tsp. yeast energizer
    4 1/2 gallons water
    EC-1118 yeast

    To stabilize:
    Potassium metabisulfite
    Potassium sorbate

    After stabilization:
    1 bottle of 32 oz 100% lemon juice
    2 lbs sugar to back-sweeten

    #2081

    Jonathan
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    JOhn,

    I have yet to try a hard lemonade, but have come up with a Hopped Lemonade that my kids and guests will drink. Makes a great Arnold Palmer too!

    Ingredients:
    1 gal water
    4 cups sugar
    1 oz hops (I used Mt. Hood, 3.1% AA)
    1 32 oz bottle of lemon juice

    Directions:
    Bring the water to a boil and add the sugar. One the sugar is dissolved, add the hops; have found through some testing that aroma varieties do best- and shoot for about 4-5 IBUs. With my 3.1AA Mt. Hood, it was a 2 minute boil. Gentle boils are best.

    Strain out as much of the hop material as possible and chill. Be sure to add the lemon juice after using a copper wort chiller. I use an ice bath to make sure that there is no interaction between copper and lemon juice. Place in serving vessel and add 2-3 cups ice.

    Serve. If I had a kegging system, I’m sure this would be a summertime staple.

    Cheers!

    #2083

    John
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    Ok, I went ahead and gave this a shot on Saturday! I ended up with this recipe. These instructions are all based on 1 five-gallon batch, but I made 2 batches because I need to have a bunch of this on hand for a friend’s wedding.

    2 bottles of 32 oz 100% lemon juice
    4 lbs sugar to ferment
    3 tsp. yeast nutrient
    1 tsp. yeast energizer
    4 1/2 gallons water
    EC-1118 yeast

    To stabilize:
    Potassium metabisulfite
    Potassium sorbate

    After stabilization:
    1 bottle of 32 oz 100% lemon juice
    2 lbs sugar to back-sweeten

    For brew day, I boiled about a half gallon of water with about 12oz of lemon juice and 4lbs of sugar. I kept it at a low boil until it was a simple syrup, and then cooled it in an ice bath. I dumped it in a fermenter with the remaining bottle and 2/3 of lemon juice and enough water to bring it up to 5 gallons. I made sure I was in the temperature range for the yeast and then pitched it after hydrating it.

    Unfortunately, after 24 hours I had no signs of fermentation (no bubbling, no pressure in the fermenters). Last night at about the 40-hour mark I pitched another packet of yeast in each fermenter. This morning I don’t have any bubbling, but I DO have what appears to be some positive pressure in the fermenters. Fingers crossed!

    #2085

    John
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    We have fermentation!!! Bubbling slowly but surely. Not much krausen, but I can see the layer of yeast working on the top of the wort/must/lemonade (unsure of the proper term for this one!), so hopefully we’re in good shape. I’ll be racking it to secondary in about 9-10 days and will take a gravity reading.

    #2170

    John
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    Update! I was really worried that the fermentation wasn’t going to complete because of the high acidity, but I checked it while kegging and it was 0.098! I took a taste and it is actually pretty good (definitely better than I expected) right now, and it’s uncarbonated, warm, and unsweetened.

    I went ahead and kegged both fermenters and added 2 crushed campden tablets to each one.
    After 24 hours, I added 2.5 tsp of Potassium Sorbate to each keg and shook them up a bit to mix it in. That should neutralize the yeast.

    In a couple of days, I’ll add another 32oz bottle of lemon juice and 2lbs of sugar to each keg to add more lemonade flavor.

    All said and done, this falls in at about 5.6%, which is exactly what I was aiming for. I’ll report back when I have it sweetened, flavored, cold, and carbonated!

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