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Old 08-09-2006, 10:15 PM   #1
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Default hard lemonade problem

i tried the recipe for mikes hard lemonade on monday - 6 cans frozen lemonade concentrate,5 lbs sugar and 1 lb dry malt extract.
i put 1 can of lemonade in with the sugar and dme for the 15 minute boil to convert the sugar and added 2 teaspoons of gypsum to try to reduce the citric acid in the lemonade.
my og was 1.071 and i pitched a good starter of wyeast 1187.after using oxygen with an airstone for about 1 minute.
by tuesday there was no activity so i pitched a pack of lavlin 1118 yeast after hydrating it .
now its wednesday approx 50 hours after first pitching the ale yeast and 24 hrs since the lavlin - i still have no airlock activity
help!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 08-09-2006, 10:30 PM   #2
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Hard lemonade has been my toughest ferment. I actually planned for it to be difficult, so what I did was this- I made a starter just out of some water and sugar and yeast, along with yeast nutrient. As it took off, I very gradually added some of the diluted lemonade and sugar mixture, using more sugar water than lemonade. When that got going, I added more and more lemonade mixture and sugar water, and it was a little less diluted each time. When that was well underway, I pitched that mixture into my primary with the rest of the lemonade and sugar water. I don't have my notes handy right now (they're in the home computer) but I'll look at that and see if anything else stands out. It's a bugger to get going, probably because of the high acid and low nutrients, along with a high s.g.

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Old 08-09-2006, 10:40 PM   #3
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i did add yeast nutrient that i forgot to mention in my first post.
i did a google search on hard lemonade and found some info that it could take up to 4 days for fermentation to start -
lorena - i guess i should start another yeast culture and slowly wean it up to the full concentration and repitch?
how about adding more gypsum to raise the ph?

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Old 08-10-2006, 12:14 AM   #4
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Did yer concentrate have preservatives?

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Old 08-10-2006, 12:28 AM   #5
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Just a guess, but with 1.071 OG and all that sugar, you're likely to wind up with a rather high ABV and not much residual sweetness unless your yeast strain dies off rather early (i.e., don't use champaigne yeast to ferment further). I have zero experience with this sort of thing, but my gut says you'd want some unfermentable sugars in there to cut the rather dry lemonade it looks like you're making.
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Old 08-10-2006, 12:50 AM   #6
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I'm home now, and here's my notes and the recipe I used:


7 cans of lemonade concentrate
Sugar to an SG of 1.100 (1.5 pounds per gallon, more or less- see below)
water to 3 gallons
3 tsp yeast nutrient
3 tsp yeast energizer
3 crushed Campden tablets or 1/2 tsp K-meta
Wine yeast

Seems to me that I made 5 gallons of this, not three, so I must have used more lemonade, sugar and water. I used Cotes de Blanc yeast, and it fermented completely dry. This was WAY too tart for me, but my husband liked it so I bottled 1/2 and sweetened half. I sorbated/sulfited and then sweetened with sugar syrup. Yes, I think you should start a new starter, gradually making it more and more acidic so you don't traumatize the poor yeast! I don't know about gypsum as I've never used it- I just always use my tap water for everything.

By the way, this molly-coddling was well worth it. Everyone loves this hard lemonade.

Here's my notes- if they're incomprehensible, let me know and I'll try to figure it out:
What I did on 5/6/06:
In 1/4 or so warm water, sprinkled cotes de blanc yeast. Added yeast nutrient. When looking and smelling yeasty, I added some sugar water and lemonade mixture. All the sugar was disolved in about 1/3 of the water, with a can of lemonade mixed in. I added 1/4 c of this mixture to my yeast mix, and then added some more water and lemonade to the primary so that about ½ the water or less is in the primary with all of the sugar and 1/3 of the cans of lemonade. I took some of this out of the primary and put it in a measuring cup, and I’ll gradually add that to the yeast. I’ll add the rest of the cans of the thawed lemonade and the rest of the water tomorrow. S.g is 1.080, at the start after all ingredients are added. On 5/13/06, s.g. is 1.064, on 5/18/06 s.g. is 1.046. It hasn’t changed much the last few days, so I racked it into 5 gal carboy. Not much sediment. It is fermenting well, room is 63 degrees. On 5/28.06- siphoned some off and drank. Very good, but still fermenting as well. Did not check s.g. On 6/3- racked into 3 gallon carboy, drank the rest. (some sweetened, some not. s.g. is .990)

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Old 08-10-2006, 01:08 AM   #7
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g cretin - no preservatives listed - just citric acid which i think is the problem

lorenae -thanks for the quick and comprehensive answer - i bought more yeast and am starting a new starter culture which i will bring up to the acid level of the 5 gallons over the next day or so.
thanks all - now as long as my sanitation was good i can hopefully get this thing fermenting
i am planning on adding lactose after fermentation to bring back the sweetness

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Old 08-10-2006, 02:36 AM   #8
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duh!!
just read the can of lemonade again
last ingredient i didn't see the first time is sodium citrate
by definition it can be used as a flavouring in lemonade or a preservative!
is my batch ruined?

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Old 08-10-2006, 04:29 AM   #9
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Maybe try to boil it out? I would go presevative free next time to be safe.

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Old 08-10-2006, 02:30 PM   #10
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I don't think the preservative is the problem- mine had some of that, too. Try the monster starter, gradually acclimating the mixture to the acidity of the lemonade and I think it'll be fine.

Good luck,
Lorena

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