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Old 11-03-2011, 04:58 PM   #1
tucsontony
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Default Bottle Carbonating Hard Lemonade

I've made a couple batches of hard lemonade and I'm finding it difficult to bottle carbonate. OG=1.090. I let it ferment to dry (1.000) and then added 5 oz priming sugar to 5 gal batch at bottling time. I also backsweetened with Splenda (which I'm assuming is non-fermentable). I sampled at 2 weeks in the bottle and it's fairly flat. I'd like to achieve a strong carbonation though.

I'm wondering if maybe all the yeast are gone since I let it ferment to dry, thus preventing good carbonation.

I'm thinking about maybe bottling the next batch before SG=1.000 with the hope that the yeasties will still be around to consume the priming sugar in the bottle. My first question... is this a good or bad idea? My second question... if this is a reasonable approach, what would be the best gravity to bottle at? If I bottle too soon I'm guessing I might get bottle bombs. If I bottle too late, I'll end up with flat lemonade.

Any thoughts/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


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Old 11-03-2011, 05:04 PM   #2
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My questions would be what yeast were you using? And how warm have the bottles been 'carbing' in?


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Old 11-03-2011, 05:32 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by kpr121 View Post
My questions would be what yeast were you using? And how warm have the bottles been 'carbing' in?
I'm using Lalvin EC-1118 Champagne yeast. Carbed in bottles at 75-77 degrees.
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:55 AM   #4
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EC-1118 is good in a low nutrient environment, so instead I would suspect the low pH is a part of the problem, as well as the yeast having both fallen out of suspension and the remaining yeasts been depleted or damaged.

First I would try adding a few more granules of yeast to each of the bottles when you prime (you could even test this on some remaining bottles from your previous batch).

If this does not work, you might consider a yeast like Lalvin DV10 which is a high stress Champagne yeast useful for low pH environments and has relatively low nitrogen demands. It can be used both as the primary yeast and for any secondary fermentation. You might even see success using it to re-treat the existing bottles that had the Prise de Mousse as the primary yeast.
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:39 PM   #5
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EC-1118 is good in a low nutrient environment, so instead I would suspect the low pH is a part of the problem, as well as the yeast having both fallen out of suspension and the remaining yeasts been depleted or damaged.

First I would try adding a few more granules of yeast to each of the bottles when you prime (you could even test this on some remaining bottles from your previous batch).

If this does not work, you might consider a yeast like Lalvin DV10 which is a high stress Champagne yeast useful for low pH environments and has relatively low nitrogen demands. It can be used both as the primary yeast and for any secondary fermentation. You might even see success using it to re-treat the existing bottles that had the Prise de Mousse as the primary yeast.
Thanks for the reply Jacob. Sounds like the Lalvin DV10 would be a good choice. I search the internet high and low and can't find a source for this. Do you know of anyone that carries this?
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Old 11-07-2011, 08:16 PM   #6
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Locally it looks like it's only available at 500gms for around $50.

Online $1.95 for an 8gm packet.
http://morewinemaking.com/search?search=dv10&=Search
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Old 11-07-2011, 08:46 PM   #7
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Thank you VERY much. I ordered some today and will post results.
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Old 11-08-2011, 07:06 PM   #8
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Thank you VERY much. I ordered some today and will post results.
You’re welcome. Looking forward to hearing how it goes.

One other thing I did not mention in my earlier post, your idea of starting the carbonating while the SG is still at 1.000 is a reasonable one too. That should give you more active yeast. Maybe worth a try.

Calculating your carbonation from SG 1.000 ...
At SG 1.000 you have about 1oz of sugar left in a gallon of must.
Considering that oz of sugar raises the CO2/carbonation by 1 volume ... that residual ounce of sugar is enough to prime you up to 2 volumes.
Add to that the CO2 still in the must from the original fermentation ... say a volume ... and you’re up to 2.5 volumes.
Whereas a good target might be 3.5 volumes. (this would be pretty fizzy)
To get that final 1 volume to make it to 3.5, you would need to add 1 ounce of additional priming sugar per gallon.
The result should be decent carbonation.
If the original ferment was done in a warmer environment or the must was de-gassed thru racking etc, you could be a bit short ... in which case the additional priming sugar might be 1.25 ounces of additional priming sugar per gallon.

There is about 6 teaspoons in an ounce of sugar.

Here’s a handy list of volumes of CO2 in common fermented beverages ...
http://tinyurl.com/3vl9kg3


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