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SiriusDG

Hard Lemonade, Revisited

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Okay, so I have a lot of Booster lying around, and a lemon tree in my back yard full of good lemons...so, I am looking at a recipe for a Hard Lemonade. I have read the previous thread on Hard Lemonade here, and the takeaway was that no one was really thrilled with the results so far. I have also done a bit of Googling, and looked at several other ideas. Taking all of that together, I have come up with this recipe, and would like any opinions on what I have planned, as well as any other factual results that may not have already been presented. Here is my plan...


Etrog Ale
---------
Brewer: David Gilbert
Style: Fruit Beer
Batch: 2.13 galExtract

Characteristics
---------------
Recipe Gravity: 1.091 OG
Recipe Bitterness: 0 IBU
Recipe Color: 2° SRM
Estimated FG: 1.023
Alcohol by Volume: 8.8%
Alcohol by Weight: 6.9%

Ingredients
-----------
Briess DME - Golden Light 1.00 lb, Extract, Extract
MrB. Booster 3.25 lb, Sugar, Other


American Ale yeast 1.00 unit, Yeast, 1 sachet SafAle S-05
Lactose 0.50 unit, Other, 1/2 lb Lactose
Lemon Juice 12.00 unit, Additive, Juice of 12 fresh lemons

Notes
-----
Recipe Notes:
Put 1/2 gallon water and lemon juice in pot
Add boosterand lactose and dissolve
Add DME and boil past break
Put 1 gallon cold water in keg
Add wort to keg, top up water
Aerate, pitch, aerate, put away

Batch Notes:
Batch prime as normal
Possibly add more fresh lemon juice to balance flavor to taste

All opinions welcome. Thanx.

David

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I did the original recipe. The bottles were hit and miss because some were better than others. Strange. I think it may have something to do with the carb. The bottles that had more carb were better than the others. Not sure why the difference in carbing levels either, never had that problem before.

Can't say I will make it again but I might. Be sure to keep us posted.

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Thanx. And for added clarity, one of the things I am really concerned about is the acidity of the wort with all that lemon juice in there. Any pointers from anyone on what I should target, and how I can adjust if I end up way outside the box? I currently do not bother with the water chemistry side of it, I just use good spring water and follow good recipes, but this is an odd duck, so I am concerned. Thanx.

David

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I was just discussing this with the wife (as this is a brew that she can get behind...), so I'm glad I stumbled into your post. On another homebrew site, they seem to be using frozen Minute-Maid lemonade instead of fresh lemons you and the folks on the previous thread used.

Scaled down roughly, what I was trying to work from the other site was equating to 4 cans of MM frozen lemonade, 1 pound sugar, .5 pound ultra light DME, and champagne yeast, with a roughly similar recipe pattern to what you've laid out, except they popped the lemonade straight into the fermenter instead of into the boil.

I had been sitting here trying to figure out how to QBrew this, but I'm still figuring out things on that front. I couldn't figure out how the lemonade fit into the program. I also knew that I have piles of Booster, and I was trying to figure out how to incorporate that. I think you may have solved that for me.

Interested to hear how yours progresses, as I may take the same path in a few weeks...

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Hey, thanx for bumpin the the thread, I kinda forgot to update this...

So, we threw this together the other night. Went pretty well, fermentation got off to an okay start, and quickly settled down, but still seems to be progressing, just no fireworks. Since I did not do my normal yeast starter for this, this is about par for the course. My temp control has been a little lax, but still in the box...been between 70-75 so far.

I am curious to see how it attenuates...given the high ratio of sugar to malt, I would expect the gravity to drop more than normal. But I could be talking poo also...

As for QBrew, I googled lemon juice...it has so little sugar, it was not worth even considering. So it just went in as Miscellaneous.

I should have a good update by next week, stay tuned.

David

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I'm really interested in how this turns out. I have been toying with the idea of making one for those summer days at the cottage on the lake with a bunch of extended family. Keep us posted!!

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Jeepin_brewer wrote:

that wouldn't be a South Carolina Lowcountry blue crab, would it? :)

It's a Maryland Blue Crab. I love 'em! (preferably steamed with Old Bay)

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Okay, 7 day taste test tonight...Holy Moly!!...while this is not technically beer, this is by far the best fruit added malt beverage I have ever made. While we are only 7 days into the fermentation, this just ROCKS!!

I so hope it does not go south as the fermentatin continues, although I cannot see that happening at this point... we are really in the safe zone as far as I am concerned. No cider, no tart, no funk...awesome lemon flavor, wonderful sweetness.

Now, having used the S-05, I am hoping to get a really good attenuation. I also think, although I am not sure, that the booster should attenuate out more than malt, so the FG/OG delta should be more than a comparable beer.

I plan on letting this go another 7 days, and then checking the gravity. Check back next week!! :cheer:

David

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i know you have another week yet but do you think you'll need to add more juice during prime as noted?

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This is on my radar for next weekend! Gonna try to put this together for my wife for a party we are hosting on the first Saturday of March. Should time out just right. If all goes well with my five (counting this one) beers, this may be my "coming out" party. Hoping to be able to sample out this one, WCPA, Snow Drift Black Lager, a bumped up Fallen Friar (that you guys spec'd out for me), and a variation on the Fast Break Bock. Hoping for the best over the next month!

Now to decide if I'm following yours directly or putting a spin on it... hmm....

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At this point, unless something changes dramatically, I don't plan on doing anything except bottling it. It is AWESOME!!

David

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Question for ya...

Regarding the lactose... I'm making this for my lactose-intolerant wife and I'm concerned about leaving it out without completely understanding why it is there and what I'm losing. I assume it's for sweetness, as it is a non-fermentable sweetener, correct? Is it also bringing some body? What do you think (if anything) would be a good alternative?

thx again!

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Bouncing around the web, it's looking like a backsweeten with raw Stevia or Splenda may be the answer. Wife is anti-Splenda/Nutrasweet, but is willing to give the Stevia a run. So, it's looking like it would scale down to six packets (or equivalent) of Stevia added to the priming sugar (of course, I imagine adjusting to taste would be advised) for a Mr.B batch. Also, a bit of maltodextrin added upfront to substitute the body that the lactose would provide appears to be a suggestion.

Thoughts? Or differing suggestions?

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In theory, that is perfect. I have not tried Splenda or Stevia yet, per se: I have added fruit syrups that were sweetened with Splenda, and they were fine.

While I think you have pefectly addressed the issue, I will say for me the lactose was only there to balance out the tartness of the lemon; I expect the booster to ferment out 100%, and there is so little malt, I felt it would need the sweetness. Body was not really a consideration, so unless you really want it, I am not sure I would bother with the maltodextrin.

Let me know how it goes for you.

David

Quick Addition: I mentioned this to me wife. She has tried Stevia as a sweetner for tea and lemonade and such. She does not hold it in high esteem; she says it has a bit of a bitter aftertaste. You may want to experiment a bit. She is also no fan of Splenda (although I am) so she understands you position, just wanted to pass on that from a taste perspective, it (Stevia) may not be perfect.

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Thx for the Xylitol tip. After some research, I'm thinking that may be the way we go... If it were for me, I'd go lactose or Splenda (b/c that's how I roll... ;) ), but this seems like a good alternative. I'll let you know how it works out...

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Progress update: 10 day taste test and gravity check; OG was 1.09, matching QBrew; Expected FG per QBrew was 1.023, but I postulated that since so much of the fermentable material was booster, I might do better than that.

Measured FG... 1.01. 10.1% ABV. Yowzer!

Flavor was spot on...bright, tart, lemony, all sweetness gone, just beginning to get a sharp edge on it (which I now understand having run the number, 10% will be a bit aggressive).

It went straight into the fridge to begin cold crashing, and I hope to bottle it on Sunday. I will carb this lightly, and probably hit it with 2 Tbs of Lactose at priming to bring a little sweetness back into it to balance out the tart tang of the lemon and the alcohol edge.

This is a stunning success so far, I had all but given up on fruit anything, but with this under my belt, the obvious next step is to make a real lemon BEER, not lemon aid, for next summer.

I think this process will transport over to that goal seamlessly, by simply substituting a couple cans of Mr Beer (1 HME, 1 UME) for two of the bags of booster. If I did that, it would be HCCD and Pale Export, with NO hop additions...I think this has enough hop and bitter to stand on it's own, and the HCCD will bring enough hops to balance the extra malt.

The reality is, given time and ordering and shipping costs, I will likely just LHBS up on this one, and get it crankin while my lemons are at their peak. I will keep you all posted on how my efforts turn out.

Brew On!!
David

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Thx for the update. I was just now spending my lunch contemplating my recipe to start a lemonade up this weekend... Deciding whether to use lemon juice from the bottle, or minute maid frozen lemonade as others have on other sites. Obviously I'd have to cut back on the booster to account for the sugar/corn syrup present in that case. I may run two of them (one each way)...

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So... heavily cribbing off of SiriusDG, here's what I came up with. I may end up running two fermenters (one with this and one with SiriusDG's recipe). Let me know if you see holes:

Hard Lemonade
-------------
Brewer: Swenocha
Style: Fruit Beer
Batch: 2.12 galExtract

Characteristics
---------------
Recipe Gravity: 1.086 OG
Recipe Bitterness: 0 IBU
Recipe Color: 3° SRM
Estimated FG: 1.022
Alcohol by Volume: 8.3%
Alcohol by Weight: 6.5%

... edit - removed old recipe ...

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Without doing them side by side, it will be almost impossible to answer this, but...my only concern here is freshness of ingredients. More and more, I appreciate how (especially in our little batches) sensitive beer can be to minor changes. Not knowing what preservatives or processes occured in the making of the mix, I just do not know.

The other thing I will say is that I believe the proper boil of the lemon zest was crucial to the flavor I ended up with. My experience is that you want to boil it, then get it out. Leaving it in long is not good. Without fresh lemons, you will have no zest to boil...so again, not sure how that will affect the final outcome.

Do keep us posted, especially if you do the side by side.

David

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Yeah, I've been teetering on the concentrate just for that reason...

So you zested the lemon and added that? I missed that part. How much and at what point did you add to the boil?

thx

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I missed the part about the lemon zest as well. My fiance loves hard lemonade and I have contemplated making it but had not clue where to start. I think I will follow Sirius's recipe the first time being a fan of using fresh ingredients in everything. Let me know how the end product turns out. Thanks for the thread this will help me out alot.

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From my brew notes...

This is our first shot at a hard lemonade. I have lots of booster left lying around, and we have a lemon tree in the back yard bursting with lemons, so, off we go.

I did some online research on this. On the MB site, no one seemed really thrilled with their attempts. Some Googling gave me a few other variations to work with. It seems that some malt is actually important, you cannot just ferment lemonade. Also, lemon juice has almost no sugar, so you can use it in place of water and not worry about messing with the fermentables. In the end we went with the juice of 12 lemons, which was almost a perfect four quarts to use in the brew pot. To this we added 1 pound extra light DME, and 4 pouches of booster. We boiled the zest of one lemon into the wort in a hop sack, 10 minutes, and then pulled the sack out. We allso adeded 1/2 pound of lactose...hey, this is not supposed to be beer, it needs some sweetness. We pitched S-05 at 70 ish degrees, and stuck the whole thing into a cooler with an ice pack.


The published OG was 1.091 per QBrew; at pitching, our measured OG was 1.090, I think...way late on making these notes.

This is mostly just a fun experiment, we are not targeting much of anything except drinkable hard lemonade...target FG is 1.023, but we will take whatever we get. I expect FG to fall faster and deeper, since the sugar to malt ratio is so high.

Have fun, let me know how it goes!!

David

Wow...I just reread my own notes. This already has 1/2 lb of lactose in it. I cannot imagine how awful it would taste right now without that. I plan on adding a touch more at bottling. Man...for future reference, if you ever try anything like this without lactose to balance out the incredible tartness, you will likely toss it out in disgust. I truly forgot I had done that.

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Thanks, Sirius...

Decisions, decisions...

I wonder if the Xylitol would make it through the ferment... hmm....

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Thanks for all of the help, Sirius...

The wife wants me to back off on the alcohol a touch, so I'm cutting some booster. I'm going to give it a go with the lemonade concentrate and see how it goes. I'm also adding the zest as described my SiriusDG. Xylitol will (hopefully) cut the edge off of it in place of the lactose. My only remaining quandry is to backsweeten or add the Xylitol to the wort.

If it's not great, no big loss...

Hard Lemonade
-------------
Brewer: Swenocha
Style: Fruit Beer
Batch: 2.12 galExtract

Characteristics
---------------
Recipe Gravity: 1.069 OG
Recipe Bitterness: 0 IBU
Recipe Color: 3° SRM
Estimated FG: 1.017
Alcohol by Volume: 6.6%
Alcohol by Weight: 5.2%

Ingredients
-----------
Briess DME - Golden Light 1.00 lb, Extract, Extract
Corn Syrup 1.75 lb, Sugar, Other
MrB. Booster 0.81 lb, Sugar, Other


American Ale yeast 1.00 unit, Yeast, SafAle S-05
Lemonade 4.00 unit, Additive, 4 cans frozen Minute Maid pink lemonade concentrate
Xylitol 0.50 unit, Other, 1/2c added to batch prime

Notes
-----
Recipe Notes:
Put 1/2 gallon water in pot
Add booster and dissolve
Add DME and boil past break
Put 1 gallon cold water and concentrate to keg
Add wort to keg, top up water
Aerate, pitch, aerate

Batch Notes:
- My calcs come to 1.74lb of Corn Syrup/Sugar Syrup per can of Minute Maid concentrate.
- Lactose Intolerance of consumer leads to use of Xylitol. Calculation based on others who have used in ciders.

Bottle prime as normal (2 domino dots/16 oz), but with the addition of Xylitol
Possibly add more lemon juice to balance flavor to taste

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Not necessarily a bad request.

I will re-iterate, I think the zest is a major part of this. And, I am not sure how much real juice is in the concentrate, or how you would correlate that to fresh juice in content.

Good luck.

David

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Definitely adding the zest as you described. The concentrate ratio is totally based on the amount people used on another homebrew site (they used 10 cans for a 5-gallon setup). Guess we'll see how it goes. If it's bad, I'm only out a few dollars and two weeks of fermenter time!

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So I started my slightly tweaked version of Sirius's I only had 3 bags of booster laying around which I thought would be more then enough considering I don't really want it to make 10% abv. I also left the lemon zest in as I forgot the hop sack and by the time I remembered I needed one I was in the middle of brewing. Also I used Munton's Extra Light DME instead of Briess since my LHBS was out of the Briess. My OG was 1.082 much higher then what Qbrew predicted(1.067). I then tried the sample I used to determine my OG and aside from it being warm it actually tasted good. I hope it turns out well I will keep you guys updated.

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I am sure the three bags of booster will be more than enough. Not sure about leaving the zest in their, you may pick up a little more bitterness than I have. My only possible advice would be bottle as soon as you can, to get it away from the zest. Mine was ready to bottle in 12 days, which was wicked fast. With less booster, yours may be a tad more conventional.

Did you use lactose?

David

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Yeah I used 1/2 lb of it. Well in all honesty its about half a pound. I didn't have anything to measure it with. I plan on checking the gravity at day 7 and again at 10 if its a huge drop I will check again at 12 and if it makes it to 14 i will probably pull it unless the drop is significant.

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Gave a taste today (a week in)... It tastes quite good, though it is pretty tart at this point (and will only get tart-er). Of course, since I'm backsweetening, that is to be expected, but I am pretty encouraged by where it's at so far.

I regret, though, that I didn't have hydrometer readings for this up front to gauge and ABV. I was targeting 6.0...

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I thought I had posted this, guess not...

Bottled this up three days ago. Very very very good. Bottles are firm already. We will be setting this out as an alternative to the Super Bowl Stout next weekend.

David

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Sirius, did you add additional lemon juice? Also, did you backsweeten with Lactose or just as it was?

Vic

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Day 10 fermenting update: OG was 1.082 Today's gravity reading is 1.030
I don't think the temperature is even close to 70*, I don't know I am need to get a thermometer, which is why I think it is taking longer. When I get around to priming I will make this my first attempt at batch priming as I need to add more lactose and a little more lemon juice.

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Very interesting thread. I am planning on a couple of citrus beers myself, and am curious how much juice you got out of those lemons by volume. It's also nice to know that the Safale can tolerate that much alcohol.

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Whoops, didn't see the second page, you slready answered my question.

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We popped our first test bottle last night. Very good, not quite beer, not quite hard lemonade. My wife, who drank most of it, questions the 10 abv, I will have more opinions by the end of the weekend.

David

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So it seems the gravity isn't going down any further. Gravity is at 1.030 has been for a few days starting cold crashing now will batch prime on Sunday.

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+1 on LHBS...

Tanarri, what yeast did you use? I am really surprised at your FG...

Having reviewed the thread, to answer a few questions I may have missed...yes, I back sweetened a little, 3 Tbs of Lactose, not much at all, I did not want this to be soda pop sweet. I juiced 12 lemons, and got about 4 cups if I remember well.

Put these all in the fridge today, they will be on the menu on Sunday.

David

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I used the Fermentis SafAle US - 05 I was quite surprised too but it wasn't the smoothest cooking I have done and I did use less sugar than you did. It tastes decent a little too bitter at the moment I am going to add more lactose when I batch prime

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I was a little concerned about that, I made a few citrus brews about a year ago...leaving the zest in is, imho, a big no no at this point. It think it adds a lot of bitterness. But I let mine ferment for like 4 weeks, so you can probably doctor it up pretty good still.

Good Luck.

David

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just cut way back on the zest and it works a lot better. I don't know if you remember my Caribbean Lime Lager FUBAR. I've learned Zest goes a long way.

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i learned a lot making this. 1) buy a hop sack to remove the zest after the boil. 2) buy a much bigger pot I had to dump half in the keg before I added the DME because the pot was too full to get the DME to break. 3) I need a juicer. 4) I will have my first experience Batch priming, and while I don't have an auto siphon or a good bucket for it I will be using an unused mr beer keg. The plan is to try this again after the move in April and see how that goes

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Sirius

How much sugar did you use when batch priming? Being that it will be my first time batch priming I am curious as to how close my calculations are to what you used.

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Hey, there is a bit of an interesting answer there...I normally default to 7 Tbs of Dextros, and I hit the yeast again since I cold crash. I did cold crash this also; however, I really did not want huge foam on this, so I went with 6 Tbs Dextros, and no added yeast.

Popped open the first taster the other day...HUGE FOAM!!!!

Of course, given the lack of malt, it caved right in on itself, so that is fine. I was just very surprised. Visually, however, it was awesome...tons of snow white light foam on top of a lemon gold bubbly brew.

I will post a pic of the first official pour either tonight or maybe very late tomorrow.

David

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I tasted my sample again after the cold crashing and it tasted really good. It definitely fixed the bitterness problem. I'll update again when I finally drink one to let everyone know how it went.

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These were officially premiered at our superbowl party last night, along with a couple of other home brews.


I have now been commanded to make another batch. Now. Right Now.

B)

David

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I took your advice and made some hard lemonade. I changed up the recipe a bit but stuck to the basics. Here is what I did.


Start Date: 2/7/2010
OG: 1.079

Ingredients:
1lb Briess Golden Light Extract
1 package Booster
2.5 lb corn syrup
1/2 lb lactose
Juice from 12 lemons
Zest from 1 lemon
SafAle S-05 yeast
8oz lemon juice from a bottle @ 1 week

The juice from the 12 lemons yielded about a pint glass of lemon juice. I tasted at 1 week and felt there was not enough lemon to it so I added 8oz of lemon juice at 1 week.

I set it out to cold crash this evening and have not gotten an FG on it yet. I will do that when I bottle on Saturday.

I tasted before cold crashing today and it was incredibly good! Very very cloudy. When I do it again, and with the taste of this I will be doing it again, I plan to add all lemon juice from a bottle and 1 fresh squeezed lemon which I will then zest. I will probably use 24 oz of lemon juice from the beginning next time since that is about the amount I got total in this last batch. Then again, perhaps the add @ 1 week allowed some extra tartness to come through.

Next time I will probably also do a 5 gallon batch and rack to a secondary @ 1 week specifically to get a little more clarity from it. Depending on the taste on Saturday I might add more juice at bottling but I doubt it. I am going to put some extra carbonation on these as well. I want it to be carbed just this side of "self vending". I plan on using 3 oz of corn sugar compared to the normal 2 I use for pale ales and the 1.8 I use for stouts. I also might add some yeast food to the next batch just to kick start fermentation because this was definitely not a runaway fermentation. Very low key from the get go. Probably due to the high amount of adjuncts to malts.

If I were to omit the lactose, for those of you intolerant to such things, I would use maltodextrin. A little less sweet perhaps but about the same fermentability, and it adds very little of its own to the brew besides body, mouthfeel, and some sweetness. I made an oatmeal stout with maltodextrin to add body and head retention and it came out mucho on the sweet side at bottling. I think I should be able to condition this out though, from reading up on the subject.

Anyway, there is my experience with the process. I will update you on the first pour and an FG when I bottle. I can already tell that this is one of my favorite things I have made so far.
:laugh:

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Cool. And I probably should have mentioned, but our lemons are somewhere between baseball and softball size...so I likely get more juice than the average grocery store lemon. No extra lemon juice needed for us.

This continues to be very popular. Batch 2 is about half done cooking, and I have a Honey Lemon Lager in secondary, that I should be drinking by June, and I expect it is going to be just heavenly.

Brew On!!

David

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So I think mine tastes cidery. Not knowing what a cidery taste tastes like I am unsure but it does sorta have the same kinda of taste as ginger ale. I knew when my FG was way higher then expected I should have done something to try and reactivate the yeast. I am going to see if I can't condition that taste out. Everyone still liked it (well except for me though it was drinkable). I will just make sure the next batch doesn't have the same problem.

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So my second batch seems to be landing at 1.030. Not sure how that happened, but it matches yours, so it would appear that something was different on my first batch. Still tastes good though.

David

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Mine ended at 1.030 as well. Still at about 7%. I will be putting some in the fridge on Friday. Can't wait!

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Okay, so I must say, evidence clearly indicates I somehow screwed up my first FG reading...evidence clearly indicates that 1.030 is the expected final gravity. And, all my friends agreed it was not as strong as my first FG indicated it should be.

Oh well....

David

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As long as it taste good and is enjoyed. I have enjoyed the thread and look forward to trying my version of it. Thanks!

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I am still curious as to how mine ended up tasting like lemon ginger ale, I evidence shows it can't be because of lazy yeasts not doing their job because my gravity was right on target.

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I just brewed up my hard lemonade and here is what I used:

1lb. Briess golden light DME
1/2lb. lactose
3 pouches of MB Booster
juice from 6 lemons (about hardball size)
zest from 3 lemons boiled 10 minutes (about 1tbsp, loosely packed)
4 cans frozen lemonade mix
4 1/2 oz. lemon juice (from the lemon looking bottle)
SaFale US-05

I'm hoping this turns out good. It smelled pretty good. I'm going to drink a small sample 10-14 days in to check on taste. I may add a little more lemon juice if needed. I like the idea of batch priming with lactose for a little more sweetness. I now have to figure out how to get this into QBrew so I can get an estimate of FG and ABV.

Anyone have thoughts on this recipe? Thanks!!

Edit: The OG is 0.111. It was in the dessert wine category. It's going to be a sweet one!

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David (or anyone else who has brewed this),

From the timing of the posts, it looks like the conditioning time for this was pretty minimal. Is that correct? Have you had any of them last long enough to see if extra time in the bottle helps like with our more traditional brews? I am planning on a wheat brew next, but am considering making something like this after just to try something new. Thanks

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I'm reasonably certain ours mellowed with age. Over time, we lost the slight bitterness that we started with (likely due to being a bit too pithy in my lemon peeling)...

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The wife loves hard lemonade so this recipe looks interesting. Is there anything to use instead of booster? Im new to this game so I dont have extra anything. I can get everything at teh LHBS, but what can be used in lieu of booster?

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Bumping this one...

David, I am going to brew this one up this weekend and will be using your recipe. I know you've made (at least) two batches of this. I am planning to follow your suggestions to a T, since it was such a hit at your SB party. Here are my questions:

Any changes you'd make to the recipe?
Was the lactose sufficient to offset the tartness?
4 cups of lemon juice was what your lemons came out with?
When you primed, did you do the sugar and the 3tbs lactose in the priming solution?
Would you use the US-05 yeast again, or would you go with a champagne yeast?

I'm excited to try this one! I can't wait to get rid of some of my booster. HA HA!

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One other question... (this one may be stupid)

Would you recommend bottling these in amber bottles, or would this be more like the cider where it is not as important? I know the commercial hard lemonades are all in clear bottles.

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I will be brewing this up again as well. The only differences between my first batch and David's was slightly less lemon juice and a bag less booster. I just primed with sugar this time around I will add some lemon juice and lactose to the batch prime as well. As for yeast I am not sure which way I would go.

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Good questions all around.

Mine was definitely more beer like than hard lemonade like, which may be the yeast...but I am not saying that was a negative, just the way it was. I might try a different yeast as an experiment, but am quite happy with it exactly as is.

It is REALLY lemony...if you are looking for more beer than lemon, this is the wrong recipe, I have a different one you can try.

Lactose...well, sufficient if you want a lemon-ade like refreshing tart brisk brew. If you want sweet and yummy, I would use more.

I juiced the lemons and got that amount...was really not much caring what the amount was, just noting it. However, if you get something drastically different (our tree grows big lemons) you might want to add a few lemons to get close.

Yes, I normally add my lactose at priming. However, it should not matter really, and the advantage to adding the lactose at brewing is that if you need more, you will know it and you can add more at priming. Once you are at priming, it is a win or loose shot in the dark, and you only get one shot.

As far as bottles go, I think the photo-reactive issue is about live yeast, so I don't think it changes just because this is a hard lemonade rather than beer...however, if you drink them as fast as we did, it won't much matter.

Good Luck!!

David

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The people I brewed this for(wife included) don't like beer so the less beer tasting the better for me. Also the lemons I had were not as big as I would have liked which is why I got less lemon juice.

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Awesome! Thanks as usual, I always value your opinions/advice. I'll keep you posted how mine turns out.

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Just my two cents, but I think I would go with a different yeast. On another thread I talked about the yeasty smell/ taste. Big D said he had this problem when he has used the US-05 before in other brews. Not exactly what you want in a lemonade. I think its good, but needs a little tweaking. I had one last night, and the yeast hint was less (~ 2 weeks conditioning). It is good enough to make again, but will try champagne yeast next time.

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drbeer wrote:

Just my two cents, but I think I would go with a different yeast. On another thread I talked about the yeasty smell/ taste. Big D said he had this problem when he has used the US-05 before in other brews. Not exactly what you want in a lemonade. I think its good, but needs a little tweaking. I had one last night, and the yeast hint was less (~ 2 weeks conditioning). It is good enough to make again, but will try champagne yeast next time.

I think it may depend on brewing temps. I've never had a yeasty smell or taste with US-05. I've found it to be a very clean fermenter, but so far all of the batches I've made with it have had brew temps in the high 50s to low 60s. Now that it's warming up a bit, temps are getting into the high 60s to low 70s, so I don't expect it to ferment quite as cleanly.

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drbeer wrote:

Just my two cents, but I think I would go with a different yeast. On another thread I talked about the yeasty smell/ taste. Big D said he had this problem when he has used the US-05 before in other brews. Not exactly what you want in a lemonade. I think its good, but needs a little tweaking. I had one last night, and the yeast hint was less (~ 2 weeks conditioning). It is good enough to make again, but will try champagne yeast next time.

I also think cold crashing would have helped.

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drbeer wrote:

but will try champagne yeast next time.

I almost picked up some champagne yeast yesterday, but the description of the brand that I was looking at talked about a yeasty taste that it gives off:

RED STAR CHAMPAGNE YEAST
An all purpose and vigorous, moderately foaming and sulfite tolerant strain useful in producing white wines. This strain leaves behind a pleasant yeasty flavor. This strain is not used in producing sparkling wines. Whites.

I figured if it was going to give a yeasty flavor, might as well go with the US-05. I might try a second batch if I like this recipe and try the champagne yeast.

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Bottles this one up last night. I took a taste and was very happy. It was tart, but not insanely tart. I did 6tbs sugar and 3 tbs lactose in my priming solution, as I do want this to have some carbonation. I'm hoping the lactose will give it a little bit of a sweetness to offset the tart.

David - awesome recipe! If this keeps tracking like it is, I know we're really going to enjoy this one!

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We blew through this so quickly 4th of July weekend, so I was given the task to brew up another batch. I followed pretty much the same recipe, but made a double batch.

Lemons must not be in season, as I was forced to use some small lemons that didn't have much juice. Found out the hard way and had to go back to the store and buy another dozen lemons. It took 3 dozen lemons to get 8 cups of juice. I used the zest of 3, since they were small.

I need a bigger pot. I had mine full with 3 gallons of wort (an inch from the top) and had trouble getting it to a boil. On a postive note, that prevented the usual DME flareup and went right to the hot break.

Used Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast for this batch (used US-05 last time), just to give it a try. I made a small starter with sugar to wake the stuff up. When I pitched it, it had a nice creamy foam on top and it got right to work. The airlock is bubbling away already this morning. I am interested to see how the champagne yeast works/tastes!

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on my ciders, that's all I use, the champagne yeast that is. I haven't done the lemonade version yet. Mostly just apple juice, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice.

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yankeedag wrote:

on my ciders, that's all I use, the champagne yeast that is. I haven't done the lemonade version yet. Mostly just apple juice, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice.

I will be brewing up a few ciders for this fall, too, and will be using the champagne yeast for those. You can't go wrong at 59 cents a packet! I think I picked up two champagne and two cuvee packets.

I know you've posted this before, but what apple juice do you buy?

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I normally use tree top apple juice or the tree top cider (it's not alcoholic... they just call it cider.)

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I really need to retry the lemon and try the apple. Dag, do you use the Mr. B fermenter for the cider (2 gallons of cider/juice [or do you cut it with water?], yeast, spices, [anything else?])? Or do you do the in the bottle method?

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Glad to know the hard lemonade is still finding favor. We popped a few recently, and noted that as they age, the beer flavor is coming more forward...but they are still quite wonderful.

Let me know how the champagne yeast compares. And no, Lemon season is late winter...

Brew On!!

David

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I use about 2 cups of water for the sugar and spice. I have also added to that 12oz of Honey as well. I will fill the remainder with more apple juice. I use the MB fermenter, as I find about 2.5 gallons of cider will last a bit, to make the cider. Then, after about 3 weeks, I'll bottle it and let it sit for as long as possible. I do NOT prime the bottles. I find controlling the carbination for the cider a real pain. Also, when I drink it, I add some fresh apple juice to cut the edge off a wee bit.

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If I may ask a REALLY stupid question: why not just make a shandy, with pilsner?

Make the pilsner, once ready, cut it to taste (50:50, myself) with lemonade. Enjoy.

VERY refreshing. It's an old German trick, called (if my memory serves) Biermischgetränke

More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shandy#Biermischgetr.C3.A4nke courtesy my 80-year old neighbor, who's travelled the world extensively. After a muggy day like today, I can confirm, a Budweiser cut with lemonade goes down soooo smoooove....

(hey, it's new to me, wasn't about to risk valuable homebrew....)

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Not a bad idea, but a 50:50 mix of Budweiser and lemonade is only 2.5%, so I would hope that it would go down smooth. But this recipe concocted by David is about 7%. If you want to stay in that general area with a 50:50 mix, you need your pilsner to be 10+%, which is not an easy task.

Also, I know the reason why I decided to make this (just put 1st bottle in fridge to try Friday) is because I had a ton of extra booster from the international packs on clearance at BB&B.

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bkumd wrote:

Not a bad idea, but a 50:50 mix of Budweiser and lemonade is only 2.5%, so I would hope that it would go down smooth. But this recipe concocted by David is about 7%. If you want to stay in that general area with a 50:50 mix, you need your pilsner to be 10+%, which is not an easy task.

Also, I know the reason why I decided to make this (just put 1st bottle in fridge to try Friday) is because I had a ton of extra booster from the international packs on clearance at BB&B.

+1 bkumd. I have a boatload of booster. I don't like using it in beer, so this is a great way to utilize it! You can't beat the cheap and easy use of the booster.

I have had numerous shandy's before, and this is just different. It's hard to describe. The "hard lemonade" does have some beer qualities, but they are very subtle. The lemon is VERY forward as you drink it. There is way more of a flavor profile with this. My experience with shandys are they taste like watered down beer with a slight lemon flavor. It also packs WAY more punch than a shandy (I think mine will come out at over 8% ABV).

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Anyone willing to post their final recipe's for their hard lemonade/shandy/lemon beer? Seen a few throughout this thread but all had some tweaking throughout the process. What to know what ending up working out. Thanks.

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My last one (linked here) came out best of the two I did. The first one was quite good as well (linked here). The first one was more beer like, with more malt used, and was a bit on the tart side, while the other one used less malt, maintained more sweetness, and was very much more like a lemonade.

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thanks swenocha. I look forward to trying one of these out.

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I'd advise you to look back at Sirius' recipes as well. He's had a great deal of success and more experience with this than I.

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My recipe followed Sirius' recipe pretty closely. The lemons determine how much lactose I use. My last batch could have used extra lactose, as the lemons were out of season and were a little more tart than in-season lemons. It's a good recipe, and I highly recommend it.

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Thanks guys. Yeah I looked back through the whole thread and cut and pasted most of what you guys had done. Wanted to see based on the finished product what, if anything, you would change. Like I said, I want to have this ready for about June. How long did your process take from start to finish? Thanks for the info.

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I found that especially on my second one, I was drinking them very early (like 2-3 weeks or so in the bottle). The more beer-ish one took a couple more weeks before I liked it. My second one was a cut based on changes to my first one. I tried to make it more sweet (so that I didn't have to cut it with lemonade or sugar to make it drinkable), and by my wife's request, a little less beer-y.

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Looks like I am reviving this thread!!!


I think that this recipe comes close to what I am looking for... I do have some questions:

1 - Can this be made with no DME? I don't want it to taste a little like beer... I want it to taste NOTHING like beer!(or as little as possible)

2 - For those that tried champagne and other yeasts, which had the least "yeasty" flavor?

3 - I saw that some may have tried Xylitol. How did that turn out?

4 - What is the best technique for making it carbonated (and not making lemon-bombs!!) ?


Basically, I want this to taste as close to sparkling alcoholic lemonade as is reasonably possible.


thanks
George

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On the other lemonade threads that I created after this (here and here), I went totally DME-free, because this thread's recipe came out as more of a shandy for me, which I really liked, but was not at all what my wife wanted. She, like you, wanted it to be totally non-malt. You may be able to use Sirius' sage advice from here merged with what I learned on the other threads. The attempts referred to in the links came out much like you described... A sparkling alcoholic lemonade. The only difference in what you are proposing is the use of lemons instead of frozen lemonade. That's where you'll have to take Sirius' advice from this thread.

The champagne and red wine yeasts were both not yeasty at all.

Xylitol worked great. My wife is lactose intolerant, or I would have used lactose. But the Xylitol worked as a nice substitute. The only challenge is sweetening to your liking.

On the last one I did (the first link above), I only lightly carbed, because I had a bottle bomb or two on a previous go-around. Check the limonade thread and you can see what I carbed at. It worked well for me...

Let us know how it works out. I'm thinking of starting a new lemonade soon, so I'd like your input...

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Swenocha,


Ty for the quick reply... This looks more like what I want! However, I still need to figure out the correct recipe for fresh lemons.

Anyone else who has experience/ideas, fee free to chime in!


G

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Sirius doesn't post much anymore, and he'd be the best person to answer this, but I will bet he'd tell you to use the juice of 12 lemons, and then replace the DME with a bag of booster or a pound of sugar. I'm confident that that would work great. The other thing I've found useful in these lemonades is to have some non-sugar sweetener and some True Lemon on hand at bottling time. Take a taste and adjust based on that taste. Too tart? Add some xylitol/stevia/splenda (something that the yeast won't eat). Too sweet? Add some True Lemon.

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