Author Topic: Hard Lemonade  (Read 10995 times)

Online gmac

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Hard Lemonade
« on: June 18, 2011, 05:28:12 PM »
With summer here, I'd like to make a batch of hard lemonade but I'm not sure where to start.  Is this something that's fermented like adding lemons, zest, juice etc to water and sugar and then fermented which I would think would be incredibly dry or is it just something that's batched together (lemonade and grain alcohol mixed and then carbonated)? 

I'd love to find a recipe that actually brewed something but then I'd need to know how you back sweetened it so that it didn't end up as lemon wine?  Any other suggestions? I'm wondering about a hard cranberry or a blend of orange/lemon/grapefruit or something like that.
Any thoughts are welcome.
Thanks

Offline denny

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Re: Hard Lemonade
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2011, 06:09:20 PM »
Commercial hard lemonade is made from a heavily filtered fermented malt beverage.  The filtering removes all color and flavor.  To make it at home, the easiest way is to just mix lemonade and vodka in a keg than carb it.
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Offline cheba420

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Re: Hard Lemonade
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2011, 08:35:19 PM »
I made a 5 gallon batch this spring when our lemon crop came in. I just used lemon juice, sugar and water, fermented with White Labs sweet mead yeast.

It fermented all the way down to nothing. I had to sorbate the whole batch to kill off the yeast and then I back sweetened up to 1010. It was .......alright. Wound up dumping it to free up a keg for some beer about a month ago. I'll certainly try again but will probably use a different yeast and add some more lemon zest.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Hard Lemonade
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2011, 12:26:13 AM »
I'd probably follow Denny's method, although I would zest the fruit and soak the zest in vodka for a few hours, then strain it out and dump the liquor in the keg.  I'd probably do it in a small bottle first with a carb cap to get the recipe right, then scale up.
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Offline tygo

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Re: Hard Lemonade
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2011, 07:22:53 AM »
Anytime someone asks about hard lemonade I recall a previous thread on this topic here:

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=2885.msg32768#msg32768

Which contains a memorable description of the process used commercially to make hard lemonade:

Technically, foul swill like Mike's IS a "malt beverage," but that like saying that dollar store dog food is roast rack of spring lamb. The exact processes involved are secret, propriety and obscene. They are said to involve producing a high-gravity highly fermentable wort from malt and the blood of innocents, fermenting it with a highly-attenuative yeast strain drooled from the lips of hellhounds, and then filtering the result through a 0.2 micron filter while standing naked within a pentagram made of black candles and chanting in the Black Tongue. The resulting liquid is then treated with lemon-like flavor mixtures believed to include the tears of tortured children and colorants rumored to be derived from the souls of 17 Hell-sworn SAB-Miller executives.

I might have gotten some of the details wrong, but it's definitely not something a sane and God-fearing homebrewer would want to get involved in. In my opinion.
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Online gmac

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Re: Hard Lemonade
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2011, 07:53:39 AM »
Wow, that's an intricate process.  I don't think I'm up for quite that level of soul crushing misery quite yet. 

Since it isn't a "brewing" process that most of us can replicate, I think I'll shelve the whole idea.  I can mix vodka and lemon juice in a glass (it doesn't have to be fizzy) for the few times that my wife would like something besides beer.

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Hard Lemonade
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2011, 11:09:57 PM »
Anytime someone asks about hard lemonade I recall a previous thread on this topic here:

Thanks for sparing me the trouble of dredging up my previous rant on the subject.

If you follow the thread, though, there are some good ideas on "hard lemonade"-like, drinks which are much easier to produce, as well as my ideas on how to convert women who "don't like beer" to the good stuff.

Once quick and dirty solution, if you can stand the thought of beer cocktails, is to mix some combination of lemonade, lemon, lemon-flavored spritzer, and/or lemon-lime soda with beer to make a beer cocktail. "Lemonade" (actually a sort of lemon soda) and light lager is called "radlermaas" in Germany, while in the UK it's called "shandy" or "lemon and lager."

Offline stringybark

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Re: Hard Lemonade
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2011, 07:16:53 AM »

While there are no pentagrams or speaking in tongues in this recipe, I've made variations of this before:

2kg (4.4lbs) dextrose (corn sugar)
up to 450 grams (1lb) lactose for sweetening (if you want a sweeter flavour, optional)
20-odd fresh lemons
43 grams (1oz) fresh ginger, grated
2 teaspoons of yeast nutrient
11.5g packet of safale s-04 yeast

Slice the lemons and then chop into small cubes. Leave the peel on.

Heat 5L (1 1/14 Gal) water half way to boiling on the stove and add the dextrose, lemons, ginger, and lactose (if using). Add the yeast nutrients here too.

Simmer for 15~20 minutes while you sanitise your fermenter (you cleaned it already, right?).

At this point I add some cold, filtered tap water to the fermenter, around 10L / 2.5 gal

Through a filter/muslin cloth/cheese cloth, strain the sugar/lemon mix into the fermenter.

Top with more cold filtered tap water, adjusting temperature to hit 18~20ºC (64-68F). Pitch the yeast (rehydrated of course!).

Ferment then bottle / keg as you would a beer.



Now, just a couple of things to point out:

Adjust the lemon and ginger to taste. I have a lemon tree so I usually give it the gutso with around 25 lemons or more depending on the size.

Lactose is optional and I only add if it's really dry at bottling. John Palmer states that lactose is half as sweet as sugar so that should give you a guide. At bottling time, I taste the hydrometer sample, then add the amount of lactose to the pot with the dextrose for priming, boil, then add to the bottling bucket.

The dextrose/corn sugar can be subbed out for malt extract. I've used dried and used third or fourth runnings from the mash tun but I really think it's the wrong flavour unless you want to use a pilsner malt. That seems delicate enough but does need the 90min boil.

Now, there is this alternate recipe from the infamous,orange tie-died thong wearing vegetarian MOLLY GOAT:

http://www.veggieboards.com/newvb/showthread.php?33733-Hard-Lemonade-(very-easy!)&highlight=lemonade

I've always been meaning to try this method... just for kicks you know... :)

All in all, either method will produce something way better than a super filtered/back flavoured malt beverage, and definitely better than stuffing around with vodka mixes.

cheers



Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Hard Lemonade
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2011, 10:18:51 PM »
While there are no pentagrams or speaking in tongues in this recipe, I've made variations of this before:

Your recipe sounds a lot like a traditional Ginger Beer recipe. I agree that it's much better than commercial "hard lemonade".

Offline MDixon

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Re: Hard Lemonade
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2011, 04:33:02 AM »
If you really want to experiment, you can try to recreate what I did:
http://www.hbd.org/carboy/recipes/experimental1.htm
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Re: Hard Lemonade
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2011, 09:17:13 AM »
I made a light lager with lime a few years ago and was dissappointed in how much fermentation changed the lime flavor and aroma. It wound up being citrusy, but not anything like fresh limes. I expect the same would happen with hard lemonade unless the lemon is added post-fermentation.
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Hard Lemonade
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2011, 11:35:04 AM »

While there are no pentagrams or speaking in tongues in this recipe, I've made variations of this before:

2kg (4.4lbs) dextrose (corn sugar)
up to 450 grams (1lb) lactose for sweetening (if you want a sweeter flavour, optional)
20-odd fresh lemons
43 grams (1oz) fresh ginger, grated
2 teaspoons of yeast nutrient
11.5g packet of safale s-04 yeast

Slice the lemons and then chop into small cubes. Leave the peel on.

Heat 5L (1 1/14 Gal) water half way to boiling on the stove and add the dextrose, lemons, ginger, and lactose (if using). Add the yeast nutrients here too.

Simmer for 15~20 minutes while you sanitise your fermenter (you cleaned it already, right?).

At this point I add some cold, filtered tap water to the fermenter, around 10L / 2.5 gal

Through a filter/muslin cloth/cheese cloth, strain the sugar/lemon mix into the fermenter.

Top with more cold filtered tap water, adjusting temperature to hit 18~20ºC (64-68F). Pitch the yeast (rehydrated of course!).

Ferment then bottle / keg as you would a beer.



Now, just a couple of things to point out:

Adjust the lemon and ginger to taste. I have a lemon tree so I usually give it the gutso with around 25 lemons or more depending on the size.

Lactose is optional and I only add if it's really dry at bottling. John Palmer states that lactose is half as sweet as sugar so that should give you a guide. At bottling time, I taste the hydrometer sample, then add the amount of lactose to the pot with the dextrose for priming, boil, then add to the bottling bucket.

The dextrose/corn sugar can be subbed out for malt extract. I've used dried and used third or fourth runnings from the mash tun but I really think it's the wrong flavour unless you want to use a pilsner malt. That seems delicate enough but does need the 90min boil.

Now, there is this alternate recipe from the infamous,orange tie-died thong wearing vegetarian MOLLY GOAT:

http://www.veggieboards.com/newvb/showthread.php?33733-Hard-Lemonade-(very-easy!)&highlight=lemonade

I've always been meaning to try this method... just for kicks you know... :)

All in all, either method will produce something way better than a super filtered/back flavoured malt beverage, and definitely better than stuffing around with vodka mixes.

cheers




Not having my own lemon tree, where does on buy "odd, fresh lemons"?  My store only sells normal, fresh lemons.   ;)

Paul
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Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Hard Lemonade
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2011, 06:12:06 PM »
I made a light lager with lime a few years ago and was dissappointed in how much fermentation changed the lime flavor and aroma. It wound up being citrusy, but not anything like fresh limes. I expect the same would happen with hard lemonade unless the lemon is added post-fermentation.

Citrus has a lot of sugar behind the sourness, so citrus beers just end up tasting sour unless there's a fair bit of residual sweetness. You're better off adding citrus to the finished beer if you want fresh citrus character. Otherwise, just use citrus zest.

Offline weazletoe

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Re: Hard Lemonade
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2012, 01:51:44 AM »
Sorry I'm so late to the party, but its almost 3 a.m. and I can't sleep.

  I did this a few years ago and it turned out very good. Don't have the exact recipe anymore but it went a little something like this....

  4 cans of frozen lemonade concentrate
  1# light DME
   a long since forgotten amount of sugar. Maybe 6-8 lbs? You could always do the math and add an amount to hit a gravity around 1050.
5 gallon of water
US-05

 Once fermented, kill the yeast off with potassium sorbate, and back sweeten to taste, keg and force carb.

My turned out surprisingly good.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Hard Lemonade
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2012, 10:24:59 AM »
I haven't tried this myself as if yet, but but I was looking into it for a while at the beginning of the summer. Google "Skeeter Pee" and you should find plenty of info on this.
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