BIAB Hard "All-Natural" Lemonade

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-Known Member
Aug 23, 2016
Reaction score
Thought I'd share a recipe/exbeeriment for hard lemonade.

I wanted to use real lemons and add some malt, cause' nothing beats a good shandy on a hot summer day. This will most likely be somewhere in between a hard lemonade and a shandy/radler.

Virtually all of the recipes I found on the inter-webs involved using a bunch of frozen cans of lemonade concentrate with water and corn/white cane sugar. I have an aversion to use as fresh and natural ingredients as possible in all my fermented concoctions. Being fond of the BIAB method in my beers, I figured I could put it to use here, too. And I haven't seen a BIAB recipe for lemonade to date.

Here's my recipe (15 gal):

24 lbs of lemons
- sliced 1/4 inch thick
- slice half of lemons, freeze overnight before brew, slice rest day of brew.
1.5 oz fresh lemon zest
12 lbs Table sugar
9 lbs Pilsner LME
2 lbs Wildflower honey
2 lbs Maltodextrin

View attachment ImageUploadedByHome Brew1498071609.155301.jpg
View attachment ImageUploadedByHome Brew1498071687.459264.jpg

Heated 10 gal water to 160F.
Use brewbag and add all of lemon slices and zest. Add heat as necessary to keep around 160F-170F (for sterilization).
Steep lemon slices for 40-60 min. My total steep was 1 hour. Stir occasionally but KEEP LID ON!

Remove bag and twist/squeeze all juices out. May need 2-3 people to do this step.
- Do not worry about pectin because eventually the only thing that can be squeezed out is a goo of lemon pectin, lemon juice, and essential oils. Pectic enzyme can always be added to drop this out.

Then add and dissolve all of the malt extract and sugars. I let this steep another 20 minutes and then cooled the vessel down to 75F

I pitched EC1118 (2 carboys) and D-47 in the other carboy.

Let me know what you think. Cheers!
What's the projected ABV?
i purposefully kept mine's ferment-able's low so i could drink it while working in the yard on a hot day and not fall over.

I used lb of light extract and 3lbs of sugar and it ended up about 5.5%.
The ABV should land around 8%-9%. BeerSmith gave me a calculated OG of 1.067 but the brewday yielded a 1.074 OG!!! Not sure if the extra sugar from the lemons? Never heard of someone making hard lemonade like this, so I'm a bit unsure of how using only real lemons would affect the end product, the acid level, the OG, etc.

The maltodextrin isn't fermentable so I'm guessing a FG of 1.006-1.010. Should've been a 7%-7.5% lemonade.

Will have see where the yeast takes this brew. If in the end it's too strong or acidic, I plan on back-sweetening with table sugar (maybe 3-4 cups per 5gal) and a few lemon stewed into the solution for that fresh lemon flavor. Can always add a little more water to the solution if needed.
Something magical happened. Added K-meta @ 2 tsp per 5 gal about 5 days ago. Since then all of them have settled nicely. Today, transferred the raspberry batch and added another 3.5 lbs of purée (making 4.5 lbs total). Check out the video below. The raspberry explosion at the top is cool.

The miracle (and question) is that both EC1118 batches finished at 1.019-1.020 (7.1%-7.3%). Far higher gravities than expected. Any thoughts as to why? The D47 came out to 1.014 (7.9%). Luckily this is actually where I wanted the ABV to be, 7-8.

The lemon character was quite pleasant and acidic, but not overly so. A touch of back-sweetening will do the trick. The route I'm thinking of going is adding the extra lemons in the back-sweetening solution or else adding a small pinch of fresh lemon zest in the bottom of each bottle, or both...

The bottle zesting yields wonderful results and helps to preserve that fresh citrus flavor longer. I've done a few experiments with lime zest this way.

Also added 1 oz of "double bergamot" English black tea one of the batches. Check out the Chop n' Brew episode on homebrewing with teas. The lady he talks to is a tea expert and homebrewer and obviously fuses the two... a lot. Very informative.
i added a 32oz bottle of lemon juice from aldi to the 5 gallon keg and after passing some around everyone says it's too tart so i plan to add some steevia or table sugar to sweeten it up.

otherwise they all like it.

I killed the yeast so it won't start fermenting again if i go with sugar.
Just bottled all three batches two days ago. Here's the final stats and details.

Steeped 4.5 lemons (sliced) in each backsweetening solution once water began to steam. Steeped about 15 min.

All batches OG 1.074

FG 1.014 = 7.9%
Backsweetened to 1.035 with 3 cups of corn syrup and 2 cups table sugar in 1 at water
-Tried to get that extra sweet raspberry flavor from the syrup, didn't work so well.
Final ABV ~ 7.5%

FG 1.019 = 7.2%
Backsweetened to 1.035 with 3 cups of table sugar and about a quart of water.
Final ABV ~ 7% +/- 0.2%

FG 1.020 = 7.0%
Backsweetened to 1.035 with 3 cups of table sugar and about a quart of water. Steeped 1 oz of sliced/grated ginger in the solution for about 20-30 min. Adds very light ginger sweetness.
Final ABV ~ 6.8% +/- 0.2%

Pretty happy with how this turned out.
An update after about a month of bottle conditioning. It's alright but I wish there were more of a tart lemony flavor. It tastes like your average sugar wine with a "lemony" flavor.

If done again, I might actually do this backwards! My theory is that I should've made the base, a sugar wine made of the honey, malt LME and table sugar - FIRST! Then perhaps you could heat the liquid up to 150F, steep your sliced lemons, add more sugar and some k-meta to inhibit refermentation and cool it down. If this lemonade tasted like what the "wort" did, then I'd be happy!