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speedster00 03-28-2011 02:28 AM

Hard lemonade question
I asked my local brew store about lemonade and he suggested to literally put wine yeast on 5 gallons of regular lemonade made from concentrate. Being that it's frozen, there is not a risk of contamination and concentrate is sugary enough....so I did. I used 11 cans of concentrate for my 5 gallons, and pitched the yeast. He did say I would have to re-sweeten with table sugar and to add potassium sorbate to stop any secondary fermentation after I resweeten. Once I had it in the Car boy and pitched my yeast, I realized I forgot to take my gravity. So I siphoned some out of the middle, and it read 1.05. Isn't that quite low? Or did I not take the gravity right? I mixed the lemonade slightly heavy and that stuff is loaded with sugar. Maybe I took the reading wrong? Ideas?

Golddiggie 03-28-2011 02:31 AM

I have a 3 gallon batch going now... Actually have a thread with the recipe as well as comments from others who are making it too..

Thread is here: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/making-hard-lemonade-230200/

speedster00 03-28-2011 03:54 AM

Thanks golddiggie. Reading through that thread I notice people were using a lot less concentrate for smaller batches, but also adding sugar. I just made the lemonade as i normally wood do for full strength in my 5 gallon jug. I dont want a lemonade that's so strong it's one glass and done. I'm hoping it will be in the 6-8%range. I may use the sorbate to stop the yeast but I'll take a gravity after it's sat for a week. Since my first reading was 1.05, I guess I'll stop around 1. But again, I have no idea what to expect and I'm assuming I took my gravity correctly.

viking73 03-29-2011 02:10 AM

If you have room in the carboy you could always add a highly concentrated sugar solution to boost your abv.

Golddiggie 03-29-2011 02:16 AM

With something like hard lemonade, depending on the yeast you pitched in, it could ferment down to .990-.998... I haven't taken a gravity reading on mine yet. I just added another can of concentrate in order to get some more flavor into it. I'll be priming with another can next week. It's getting close to the limit of the yeast, so I figure it will carbonate what it can, and then the rest will be residual sweetness. I plan on letting it carbonate in a plastic bin, to ensure no mess is created. :rockin: I also use stronger bottles, that I know won't fail (Belgian bottles are designed for HIGH CO2 volumes, I think the Grolsch will also hold up well to higher volumes).

I'll be letting my batch stay in the bin for at least a month, maybe two, before I chill one bottle down to try. At that point, I'll decide what to do with it...

I'm already thinking of what to use in the next batch. I already have the yeast on hand, so that decision is easy... It's more a matter of making sure it retains the flavors I want.

I'm NOT going to dump mine... If it's not ready for drinking this spring/summer, then there's a high chance it will be come next spring. :ban:

Time heals most brews...

zman 03-29-2011 02:44 AM

When I make Yoopers Hard Lemonade I add #1 to #1.5 of DME to give it more backbone. I also do not have to worry about back sweetening it.

speedster00 03-30-2011 01:29 AM

Checking mine today I'm on 48hrs fermenting. I added some yeast nutrient and it's fermenting but appears very slow. I have about half inch of krausen on the top but I have zero airlock activity. Which I think is weird. I wondered if I had a leek or my air lock was cracked so I replaced with my other one. I could smell the alcohol so I know it's fermenting, but I don't know why I don't have airlock movement.

oldmate 03-30-2011 03:45 AM

Airlock movement isn't the only sign of fermentation, you may very well have a leak somewhere (around your bung/lid etc). Just look for the little bubbles rising up the sides :)

speedster00 03-31-2011 02:23 AM

I took a sample today after fermenting for 3 days...1.048. So it's barely dropped in 3 days?? I thought this would have gone much faster...

oldmate 03-31-2011 02:36 AM

Did you make a starter? Lemon juice is quite low in pH (high in acidity) which may be hindering your yeast. If you suspect this is the case, you can make a starter and repitch the yeast.

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