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Leadgolem 09-24-2012 06:39 AM

Hard Limeade, first attempt
 
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I wasn't sure if this should really go in this section of the forum, but I didn't see anywhere else that seemed better.

I just pitched my first attempt at a hard limeade, and thought it would be a good idea to publicly document the attempt. That way others can help/learn from the attempt.

Batch size is about 3.5 gallons. My fermentor is a 4 gallon water bottle I got for cheap at my local sams club.


EDIT: Corrected batch finances.
EDIT2: Added OG, FG and ABV info. Filled in missing info for bentonite. Updated and added picture.

OG: 1.105
FG: 1.022
ABV: 11.1%

Ingredients:
7 12oz cans of frozen limeade concentrate. Great value brand. $1.18 per can.
5 fresh limes. Kuniko brand. $2.98 for a bag of 13 limes, 3lb bag. About $0.23 per lime
4.88 lbs granulated sugar. $0.56 per lb
3 1/2 tsp pectin enzyme. $0.14 per tsp
5 tsp yeast nutrient. $0.11 per tsp, as near as I can figure.
2 tsp yeast energizer. $0.17 per tsp, as near as I can figure.
12 grams distillers yeast. $0.03 per gram

Procedure:
1. Zest and juice limes.
2. Add lime juice to primary.
3. Spread lime zest on a cookie sheet to dry.
4. Add thawed limeade concentrate to primary.
5. Add half the sugar to primary.
6. Add filtered water until you reach just short of your desired 3.5 gallon volume.
7. Shake the bottle until the sugar has dissolved.
8. Take a gravity reading.
9. Add sugar until you reach your desired OG, target was 1.1 actual 1.105.
10. Add pectin enzyme to mixture.
11. Reserved 1.5 quarts of mixture in 2 quart bottle.
12. Add half the yeast, yeast nutrient, and yeast energizer to primary.
13. Add remaining half of yeast, yeast nutrient, and yeast energizer to reserved mixture in 2 quart bottle.
14. Install caps and airlocks on primary and 2 quart bottle.

This was all done about 2 hours ago. This yeast likes to finish really dry. If it ends at 0.98 like I'm thinking it may, that would make it 16.7% abv. Batch finances as of right now make it $13.89 for everything used.

Will have to wait for these steps.

15. Wait until fermentation is in full swing in 2 quart bottle.
16. Add 2 quart bottle contents to primary.
17. Wait until fermentation is complete.
18. Move to secondary.
19. Add dried lime zest to secondary, from steps 1 and 3.
20. Add 3 1/2 tsp dried bentonite to brew sample, make slurry? May not be needed, will have to see if the brew clears.
21. Add bentonite slurry to secondary?

Questions, comments, drunken ramblings? ...Wait, it's the wrong section for that last one. So just the first two, ok?

EDIT2: Update
FG is 1.022, making the ABV 11.1%.
A total of 1.75 tsp of bentonite slurry made with the limeade at FG has been added to the various splits of the limeade. $0.06/tsp
4 tea bags have been added to 2 quarts drawn from the main batch. $0.0125/bag This sample has a much more complex flavor and practically no alcohol flavor. Adding enough tea bags for the whole batch would cost $0.35. I wasn't going to do that, but both my bottling buckets are in use as dispensers atm, so I am going to add tea to the rest of the cleared batch in secondary.

This brew has cleared remarkably. The flavor is excellent, though I much prefer the tea addition variant. The ending batch finances with the tea makes this a $14.35 batch. That makes it $4.10/gallon.

Yooper 09-24-2012 02:58 PM

I think your FG estimate is missing a digit- you mean .990? Or .998? Either way, 15% seems about right. I don't think distiller's yeast will give great flavor, and I would have used EC-1118, but that's not a big deal.

I don't use bentonite in secondary, so I have no helpful advice on that.

Leadgolem 09-24-2012 08:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Yooper (Post 4439918)
I think your FG estimate is missing a digit- you mean .990? Or .998? Either way, 15% seems about right. I don't think distiller's yeast will give great flavor, and I would have used EC-1118, but that's not a big deal.

I don't use bentonite in secondary, so I have no helpful advice on that.

Actual it isn't missing a digit. I've had 2 batches with a similar OG and the same yeast finish at 0.98.

That is actually off the scale for my regular hydrometer. I do have a distillers hydrometer I bought by mistake. I was able to back compute the actual gravity from the alcohol percentage reading on that hydrometer. It showed %10 alcohol bang on from both batches. Since alcohol hydrometers assume a mixture of alcohol and water only, the reverse computed gravity reading is 0.9789. Or, 0.98 is close enough. :)

The last time I fermented something with a lot of acid the aroma was horrible. That's one reason why I'm documenting the batch so carefully. If that happens again, I want to be able to figure out why.

Hopefully, adding the lime zest to secondary will give it a nice aroma.

UpstateMike 09-25-2012 04:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leadgolem (Post 4439408)
1. Zest and juice limes.
3. Spread lime zest on a cookie sheet to dry.
19. Add dried lime zest to secondary, from steps 1 and 3.

Why dry? Why not store the zest in a ziplock in the fridge until you are ready to add it in the secondary?

Leadgolem 09-25-2012 05:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UpstateMike (Post 4442178)
Why dry? Why not store the zest in a ziplock in the fridge until you are ready to add it in the secondary?

Because it didn't occur to me, and zest dries well. I'll put that on the list for the next batch changes. It should provide the brew with a fresher flavor.

Wheatmeister 09-25-2012 01:18 PM

I'm subscribed to this and will be watching anxiously. What have previous batches tasted like? Aging time necessary?

Leadgolem 09-25-2012 02:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wheatmeister (Post 4442609)
I'm subscribed to this and will be watching anxiously. What have previous batches tasted like? Aging time necessary?

The last batch didn't have any fresh lime in it at all, it was based on a commercially produced cherry limeade. Fermentation stalled, and the aroma was terrible. The OG was WAY to aggressive though, 1.17. The flavor wasn't actually bad. But it smelled moldy.

After 3 weeks of conditioning, it's drinkable. Not great, but drinkable.

This recipe is a straight limeade. No cherry component. It's got fresh lime juice, and will have zest added to secondary. The OG isn't quite so crazy. I've also got yeast energizer, which I didn't have with the cherry limeade batch. I suspect the aroma problem was at least partially due to incomplete fermentation.

Wheatmeister 09-25-2012 02:24 PM

Good stuff. Keep the updates rolling in plz.

Leadgolem 09-27-2012 04:18 AM

The airlock on the 2 quart bottle got down to 1 bubble about every second and a half. Then dropped to 1 every 4 seconds. I put that just past peak fermentation. Added that bottle to the main fermentor. Before doing so, the main fermentor was at 1 bubble every 2 seconds. After 2 hours the pace has picked up to 1 bubble about every 1.5 seconds.

I know, airlock activity isn't a real measurement for fermentation. It is a reasonable indicator of when you've hit full fermentation though. At just over 2 days I'd say the timing was about right to add the 2 quarts back.

I'm expecting this batch to try and stall on me. Hence the separate 2 quarts with the extra yeast and nutrients. Hopefully, that will give the primary enough of a kick in the but that it won't. If it does anyway, I'll add some more yeast energizer. I'm thinking the main thing that is missing from the mix is nitrogen.

The mixture has clouded and I've got krausen. So, fermentation appears to be well underway. It's a little bit slower then I had hoped, considering the nutrient additions, but it looks good so far.

Leadgolem 10-07-2012 01:56 AM

The airlock on the primary has slowed to 1 bubble every 9 seconds. Gravity reading is 1.026. After 13 days I expected it to be somewhat lower. Added 1.75 tsp yeast energizer. I figured this brew would be nitrogen poor, and would likely need another boost. The sample I tasted had a definite alcohol flavor. Not a "hot" alcohol flavor, just definitively alcoholic. Still extremely limey though. No off aroma at all, not a huge amount of aroma of any kind. What aroma there is, is of limes.

I may separate some of the brew when I move to secondary and add some tea bags. That would probably back the alcohol flavor off a bit.

So far, so good.


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