Author Topic: Hard Lemonade Questions  (Read 7915 times)

Offline anbrand

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Hard Lemonade Questions
« on: December 09, 2011, 10:16:14 AM »
I am planning to make and bottle carbonate a hard lemonade and have a couple of questions.
 
Perusing the internet I’ve found where a lot of people have problems with fermentation because of the acidity level in lemons.  Because lemons only have a small amount of sugar (1.46 g per ÂĽ cup or 1.65 ounces per gallon of pure juice) they really don’t contribute anything to ABV.   That led me to this question.  Why not just leave the lemon juice out until bottling?
 
I’m thinking of doing a 20 minute boil in 4 gallons of water to dissolve and sterilize some extra light DME (12.5%) along with corn sugar (87.5%) to achieve the desired ABV.  Cooling, pitching champagne yeast, and fermenting to completion.
 
When the fermentation is complete, I plan to combine with 1 gallon of natural lemon juice sweetened to taste using lactose, priming sugar, possibly some yeast nutrient, and bottle.  I’m trying to achieve a carbonated Lemon Malted Beverage (i.e. Mike’s).  While putting my recipe together on BeerSmith I noticed that lactose possessed a potential contribution to SG.  Upon further research, I read where certain yeasts can actually partially breakdown lactose.  Is it safe to assume that champagne yeast will not ferment lactose?           

Any contributing thoughts on this process?

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Hard Lemonade Questions
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2011, 06:08:46 PM »
As a lactose intolerant individual, I plead that before you share it with anyone you tell them that it contains milk sugar.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline Myk

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Re: Hard Lemonade Questions
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2011, 01:32:36 PM »
Why reinvent the wheel?
http://skeeterpee.com/?page_id=17

Trying to reproduce a commercial item like Mike's Lemonade or commercial hard ciders with homebrew stuff doesn't really work out. What I figured out trying to come up with a hard cider that tastes like apples, is sweet, and carbonated, is why play up to my weaknesses instead of playing up to my strengths? I hit upon a still cyser that I'd put up against any commercial meadery's stuff. My apple wine is just as good as stuff that I've bought. The cider isn't that bad either, just not what people expect because of commercial cider tasting like sweet cider with a little alcohol in it.

Offline anbrand

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Re: Hard Lemonade Questions
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2011, 06:59:32 PM »
Thank you Maine HB for the response. To be honest, not being lactose intolerant, I did not give that much thought. I was only looking for for something that I thought would work and not be potentially harmful.  I've also briefly looked at xylitol.  In your opinion, is xylitol a better option overall for what I'm attempting to accomplish?

Offline anbrand

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Re: Hard Lemonade Questions
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2011, 07:18:03 PM »
Thanks for the info Myk. I've looked at Skeeterpee, but I'm looking for something different.  Skeeterpee is not a malted beverage.  My question remains, why try to ferment lemon juice that contains little sugar and only contributes to a difficult fermentation?  Instead, why not just use it for flavoring later in the process?

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Hard Lemonade Questions
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2011, 03:24:33 PM »
Do you have the technology to force carbonate in a keg?

If so I would suggest using potassium sorbate to stop yeast activity after fermentation, add your lemon juice and sugar to desired flavor and sweetness, then force carbonate it in a keg. I wouldn't use that much sugar though. You may get an unpleasant cider like aftertaste.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline anbrand

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Re: Hard Lemonade Questions
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2011, 04:01:19 PM »
I am not currently set up to force carbonate.  Regarding the cider aftertaste. Are you referring to the fermentation or the back sweetening?  What causes it? 

BTW, after looking more closely at xylitol, I don't think I want to use that either. Maybe it's time to invest in some kegging equipment; write Santa a letter!

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Hard Lemonade Questions
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2011, 06:36:35 PM »
Fermenting with refined sugar gives a very noticeable (to me) aftertaste. Then again a friend of mine has gone all-grain but still boosts each batch with a pound or two of brown sugar.  I can taste it and I don't like it.  Obviously he doesn't mind or he wouldn't do it. But that's just a pound or two of sugar added to sugars derived from mashing ten pounds of grain.

Flip that ratio and even he would cry foul.

For kegging all you need is a 5# CO2 tank (I think mine was like $90 deposit?), the kegs themselves (http://www.homebrewing.org/ has had a blowout sale for the last five years), associated tubing, connectors and taps, perhaps a dedicated chest freezer with a temp control unit (I got my thermostat from http://www.williamsbrewing.com/ for a hundred bucks or so)...

Damn I've spent way too much money on this hobby.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline Myk

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Re: Hard Lemonade Questions
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2011, 07:19:19 PM »
I've never had the lemonade. Does it taste like beer with lemon or a lemon wine cooler?
If it doesn't taste like beer it's as much of a malt beverage as Boones Farm or malt beverage wine coolers are, in name only, any actual malt flavor is just enough that you can tell it's not a real wine. My guess is they filter until there's no flavor left. Filtering is how they manage to stop the commercial ciders with sweetness left (filtering an active ferment to sterile conditions at home would be expensive).

Since you seem determined to try I suggest you make 1 gallon batches, I don't think the odds of hitting it right on the first try are going to happen. Also try your artificial sweeteners at the glass, most people don't like them. I don't think lactose or maltodextrine actually give a sweet taste but would be worth trying at the glass. Trying them at the glass not only lets you see what you like but how much you like.

 

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