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Old 05-14-2009, 12:22 PM   #1
timmystank
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Default Can I do a hard Iced tea?

I was looking around HBT for a hard iced tea recipe and came up with a little. Ive made a hard cider with the usual apple juice sugar etc. so can I do the same process but just replace the apple juice with iced tea? I read somewhere it wont work out.

Also about the "killing" the yeast and ending fermentation, whats up with that?

Lastly Ive heard of "backsweetening" batch but Im unsure of how and when to do this? Thanks...

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Old 05-14-2009, 01:42 PM   #2
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Yeah I think you have to backsweeten it..

I made some hard Ice Tea a few months ago. Took some black tea.. then dumped a ton of sugar in it. But the yeast eats all the sugar and leaves it tasting like carbonated black tea with alcohol in it.

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Old 05-14-2009, 01:44 PM   #3
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Are you planning on bottling or kegging? Do you want the final mix to be still (no bubbles) or carbonated (bubbles)?

I've been researching this. Some common responses are going to be that you should just mix vodka and iced tea and throw it in a bottle. I, for one, prefer a more DIY approach.

I'd like to steep the number of tea bags (or brew a concentrated 5 gallon batch with an appropriate amount of loose leaves) in 180*F water for about 10 minutes. I'll top off with honey, lemons, mint, whatever added flavorings I wish, along with enough simple syrup (water + sugar boiled for about 5 minutes) to raise OG to about 1.050 (6.5% potential ABV). I'll ferment to completion (probably with wine yeast).

If I plan on kegging and bottling from the keg, I'll backsweeten with Splenda. Alternatively, I can stabilize the mix (stun the yeast) with potassium sorbate and sodium metabisulfite (campden tabs), let it sit for a week, then backsweeten with sugar.

If I plan on bottle conditioning, I'll have to backsweeten with nonfermentable sugar (like Splenda from above) or lactose (will taste weird in iced tea), add priming sugar as usual and carbonate in the bottle.

I know I've missed something in the process. I've never stabilized and backsweetened with real sugar--anyone with more experience on this aspect wanting to chime in?

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Old 05-14-2009, 02:06 PM   #4
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I plan on bottling it. Yeah I figured Id just give it a try since I DO NOT want to just dump some vodka in iced tea, thats just boring. I guess Ill know from my gravity readings if it works.

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Old 05-14-2009, 02:17 PM   #5
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Sparkling or still?

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Old 05-14-2009, 02:34 PM   #6
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Sparkling i guess...if that means carbing then yes.

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Old 05-14-2009, 02:36 PM   #7
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If you're bottle conditioning and you want it carbonated, sounds like you'll need to add some Splenda. Test it in a small sample you draw off your primary once fermentation is done, but I've added ap to 1-1/2 cups per gallon to sweeten "enough".

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Old 05-14-2009, 02:43 PM   #8
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So you think this would work? The dump a bunch of gallon bottles of iced tea, sugar and some lemonade concentrate and of course yeast approach.

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Old 05-14-2009, 02:57 PM   #9
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If you're going the pre-bottled iced tea route, use one like Arizona. Some of their brews don't have preservatives (like potassium sorbate, etc.) which, if present, will prevent the yeast from multiplying/fermenting.

If you're preservative-free, no reason you can't dump it together and ferment it to see what happens. It appears backsweetening is necessary to prevent the "this just tastes like alcoholic tea" taste.

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Old 05-14-2009, 03:01 PM   #10
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Yeah I figured Id have to backsweeten the hell outta this thing. Thanks alot for the advice.

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