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Old 03-06-2011, 03:59 PM   #1
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Default Making hard lemonade

Since there are a few other threads that the subject has pretty much taken over, I thought it was time to make a thread just for it...

I'm making a 3 gallon batch of hard lemonade (it's just sooooo haaaaard!)... Ingredients are as follows:
6 12oz cans pink lemonade concentrate
4# store brand honey
1 packet Lalvin 71B-1122 yeast (hydrated)
1-1/2tsp DAP
Potassium Carbonate (or bicarbonate) to bring the PH to a better level for the yeast.
Blow-off tube installed into carboy bung hole
water to fill to 3 gallons.
Expected ABV: 13-14%

I started this back on 2/22/11 and it was foaming like a bastard when aerated once a day, after about 4 days. It took that long since I wasn't able to mix the honey in properly from the start. I used PH test strips to see where the must PH was early on and use potassium carbonate to increase it closer to the range that the yeast is ok with. The honey has since gone fully into solution, and fermentation has calmed down. I have a feeling that it's on it's way towards being complete.

Normal time frame, depending on if you feed it enough, and get the PH at least high enough to not stress the yeast, is about 2-4 weeks fermenting.

I'm planning on carbonating this, so using bottles rated for beer. If you don't want to carbonate it, I would either pick a yeast that won't go above your ABV target (so it doesn't finish dry) or you'll need to stabilize it before back sweetening it (also stopping the yeast from eating more sugars introduced later)...

I'm not along in that I'm thinking of using another can of concentrate to carbonate with. In the 3 gallon batch, that would be no more than 1/2 a can, depending on how high a carbonation you want. I'll add half of the can of concentrate to the batch about 1-2 weeks before I plan to carbonate it up (so in another week or two) reserving the balance for carbonating. I'm thinking that instead of cooking the concentrate, I'll use a sanitized spatula to mix it in as I rack into the bottling bucket. I do hope that the extra 1/2 can will help bring back some of the color the must had originally. It's gotten much lighter since fermenting really kicked off.

I'm also considering adding dried cherries to the must before priming (about a week or so before) to add that flavor. But maybe I'll just add one or so to some of the bottles, so that some will have that flavor in them, while other bottles wont'... Still on the fence there, but I do have time.

If you decide to make this as well, or have a batch running, post up how it's going... I'm about to pull the blow-off tube from mine (sometime today most likely) and install an airlock. Now that it's not foaming anymore.

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Old 03-06-2011, 04:11 PM   #2
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Thank you Goldiggie for posting your recipe. Hopefully, I will be trying it in the future.

One question: what's DPA?

Let us know how it turns out...

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Old 03-06-2011, 04:14 PM   #3
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DAP is diammonium phosphate. yeast nutrient

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Old 03-06-2011, 04:16 PM   #4
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Have you seen the skeeter pee site? It sounds good. I'm thinking of trying it sometime in the near future.

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Old 03-06-2011, 04:16 PM   #5
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DAP is a yeast nutrient (found at most LHBS and online HBS)... It's often used when making wine, or mead, since the must has little, or no, FAN (amino nitrogen) for the yeast to munch on. DAP solves that issue. There are other nutrients available, just be sure to get one for wine/mead and not beer. Beer nutrients won't have as much nitrogen in them, so you'll end up using more to get the same result.

Hope we get enough groups of people, close enough together (geographically) that we can meet up and do some sampling of what we all made...

I have a feeling that I'll be letting mine age for a little bit before I bottle and carbonate... Or it will sit in bottles for a couple of months so that it has some time to get rid of any 'hot' flavors... You get those when you hit 13%+ABV...

Haven't checked out skeeter pee... Just sounds so wrong to me...

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On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
Waiting/Carbonating: 12.5% Wee Honey II, 8.9% Old Ale, English Brown Ale, Lickah ESB, Mocha Porter II
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K1:
K2: Epic mead
K3: TripSix
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:19 PM   #6
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skeeterpee.com Check it out

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Old 03-06-2011, 04:24 PM   #7
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Thank you. I know what yeast nutrient is (I have a jar, and one of yeast energizer, from my winemaking days). I didn't know you guys called it "DAP"...

Do you think replacing the yeast would make a big difference? I have packets of montrachet and champagne, also left from those times. Even when the yeast is over 3 years old, I used the champagne for my last batch, and, even when I dry pitched it, it gave out a nice, strong fermentation, so I'd love to use it, especially champagne, that seems to be a lot tougher than montrachet.

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Old 03-06-2011, 04:38 PM   #8
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Im doing the same reciepe as golddiggie i was thinking after i bottle this batch i might try a batch of skeeter pee just to tast the difference. I plan on just using the slurry from this current batch as the yeasties will already be use to the acidic enviroment of hard lemonade.

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Old 03-06-2011, 04:56 PM   #9
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DAP is a type of nutrient... Depending on what you have, it could be DAP, but it could be something else (most contain DAP though, I believe)...

I would go with a yeast that produces results you like... If you plan to have something finish sweeter, at a lower ABV, use that strain. If you want higher ABV, then use a different strain. I went with 71B because I like the spec's of the yeast. I've used both EC-1118 and D47 before with solid results. Not used any red star yeast to date.

Champagne yeast tends to be more robust, I believe, since it can also go up to the 18% ABV range. Do you want 18% ABV hard lemonade, or are you looking to let it ferment dry at a lower ABV, stabilize it, then back sweeten it? I'm more in line with the KISS model in my mead/must fermenting... I'd rather have it finish with a little residual sweetness, and not be able to ferment any more, than have to let it go dry and then back sweeten it (after stabilizing and such)... Since I plan to carbonate this batch, I'm going to be pushing it right to the edge for ABV. I do hope that the hard lemonade carbonates right in the bottles, but still has a touch of sweetness in them when it comes time to drink them. I'll probably give them at least 4-6 weeks in the bottles before opening up one...

I probably won't make another batch for a while, depending on how this one comes out... So, I probably won't save the yeast slurry... That is, unless I'm working again before it's ready to be bottled up... [fingers crossed]

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On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
Waiting/Carbonating: 12.5% Wee Honey II, 8.9% Old Ale, English Brown Ale, Lickah ESB, Mocha Porter II
Fermenting
K1:
K2: Epic mead
K3: TripSix
On Deck: Caramel Ale
Aging:mead
Mead [bottled]:Oaked Wildflower Traditional, Mocha Madness, Blackberry Melomel, maple wine
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Old 03-06-2011, 05:15 PM   #10
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Yes, I just checked. It's DAP. And the energizer is DAP+yeast hulls+magnesium sulphate+vitamin B complex, so I have some extra options...

I have plenty of potassium sorbate and Campden tablets, so I was thinking on keeping an eye on fermentation (you know, making the sacrifice of tasting it, every now and then ), and stabilizing it when the sweetness is right. I used to make fruit wines, in the 13-15% ABV range, but now, I want something less alcoholic, maybe in the 7-8% ABV range, so I'm thinking if I get it to a 1.080 OG, and stabilize it around 1.020, I should be ok...

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