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Hard lemonade won't start

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Mr. Nice Guy

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OK... I am making a gallon of hard lemonade. I used 2 cans of minute maid, RO water, 3 cups corn sugar, 3/4 tsp DAP nutrient, 1/3 tsp yeast energizer, and a starter made from lalvin K1V-1116 yeast. I let the starter go overnight and was using my lemonade must to feed it. I made a quart of starter! The og was 1.090.

I have the gallon on a heat mat and have been shaking it a few times a day. It has been 4 days now and I still see no bubbles. My limeade that is the exact same recipe but limeade and 2 1/2 cups of corn sugar, it is going just fine. The limeade starter got big much quicker though, I made a pint in 5 hours so I just pitched it.

I am pretty certain that my pH is too low, that is my problem I guess... How should I raise it, is Baking Soda ok? If I go my LHBS I'll see what they have.

I might just dump it, 4 days at 70-80 degrees, hmmm....

BTW, I have read a whole bunch of threads about this, just wanted some ideas. For some reason I can't find any info about raising pH in any of my brewing books or anything.
 

david_42

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Try diluting it about 50%. That might change the pH enough to get things going.
 

chefmike

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From my point of view the temperature is not an issue, as it is a sealed environment that had good sanitation. Give the yeast another chance to overcome.

BTW, will you do me a favor and go eat some Gazpacho's for me and then take a swing by Ska's? I lived in Pagosa for two years and I miss wasting days off in Durango!
 

scinerd3000

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i just did the same thing only using real lemons. Im guessing its much more acidic and its going fine. Went with montrochet....just for the hell of it i guess- hydrated the packet and pitched. Its going just fine with the acidity. Give it time. Mine took 5 days to really get going. Keep in mind lemon juice is not a cohesive growing environment for anything...

I would take a gravity sample and if it hasent changed you could add some Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate) to get the ph down slightly as i dont see any reason that shouldnt work. It would be better than dumping it at the very least. Be ready for bubbles though
 

avaserfi

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i just did the same thing only using real lemons. Im guessing its much more acidic and its going fine. Went with montrochet....just for the hell of it i guess- hydrated the packet and pitched. Its going just fine with the acidity. Give it time. Mine took 5 days to really get going. Keep in mind lemon juice is not a cohesive growing environment for anything...

I would take a gravity sample and if it hasent changed you could add some Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate) to get the ph down slightly as i dont see any reason that shouldnt work. It would be better than dumping it at the very least. Be ready for bubbles though
I'm curious to hear how yours turns out. I used Motrachet the first time I made hard lemonade and the stressful environment caused the yeast to produce H2S (common for the strain if stressed). The lemonade was undrinkable, it reeks of burnt rubber.

Some information on the subject: VAWA Winemaking Techniques, Hydrogen Sulfide
 

scinerd3000

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I'm curious to hear how yours turns out. I used Motrachet the first time I made hard lemonade and the stressful environment caused the yeast to produce H2S (common for the strain if stressed). The lemonade was undrinkable, it reeks of burnt rubber.

Some information on the subject: VAWA Winemaking Techniques, Hydrogen Sulfide
knock on wood....well see. Next time i try im going to try cote de blanc and see if it comes out any better. I have a lemon tree and i had more than i knew what to do with at the time so it ended up kinda rushed. Yooperbrew has a lemonaid recipe from cans but i was unable to find any for real lemons. What temp did you ferment at? and for how long. OG? etc..
 

EoinMag

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I made some lemonade recently using KV 1116, normal sodas take 24-48 hours, the lemonade took over a week just to carb up, while in the hot press, so about 78F.
I was also using fresh lemons.

I know it's not the hard lemonade you want, but it takes a while longer and it must be the acidity. It might be worth stepping up the concentration of lemon or concentrate over a few tries like with mead.
 

avaserfi

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knock on wood....well see. Next time i try im going to try cote de blanc and see if it comes out any better. I have a lemon tree and i had more than i knew what to do with at the time so it ended up kinda rushed. Yooperbrew has a lemonaid recipe from cans but i was unable to find any for real lemons. What temp did you ferment at? and for how long. OG? etc..
I used Yooper's recipe actually. OG 1.072 - SG 0.994. Took about a week to get real activity going and I fermented around 70*F even for another couple weeks. From what I have read the flavor/smell doesn't go away, but I have the bottles anyways and I open them every so often out of curiousity. No sign of the stench leaving so far.
 
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From my point of view the temperature is not an issue, as it is a sealed environment that had good sanitation. Give the yeast another chance to overcome.

BTW, will you do me a favor and go eat some Gazpacho's for me and then take a swing by Ska's? I lived in Pagosa for two years and I miss wasting days off in Durango!

I was just at Ska this afternoon getting some brewing supplies! Now I just have to swing by Gazpachos for you. :mug:

I got some calcium carbonate at Ska today, what do ya'll think of using some of that? It mentions that it takes a month to clear but that doesn't really seem like a problem.

Thanks everyone for all the responses they are much appreciated.
 
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Mr. Nice Guy

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Here is an update so maybe this will be useful in the future...

I added some more water to it on 3-18 in the early afternoon. By that evening there was no activity so I added about 1/2 tsp of the Calcium Carbonate to raise the pH. Later that evening I saw a bubble or two rising from the bottom of the fermenter. Over the last few days it has slowly picked up and now I have some airlock movement! I think it should turn out nicely, I'll let ya'll know here in a month or so.
 

Saccharomyces

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I'm curious to hear how yours turns out. I used Motrachet the first time I made hard lemonade and the stressful environment caused the yeast to produce H2S (common for the strain if stressed). The lemonade was undrinkable, it reeks of burnt rubber.
I ended up dumping mine. Same problem. Tasted like a glass of sulfur!

If I try this again I think I'll make some simple hooch, stabilize and backsweeten with concentrate. ;)
 

avaserfi

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I ended up dumping mine. Same problem. Tasted like a glass of sulfur!

If I try this again I think I'll make some simple hooch, stabilize and backsweeten with concentrate. ;)
Did you use Montrachet as well? When I get around to it I plan on trying a different yeast, I will report results.
 

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It's not so much the yeast strain- it's the stressed yeast. It's a tough ferment, and the big starter (outlined in the recipe) really is important in this recipe. You need to get it going well before putting it into such a low ph environment. Stressed yeast can produce some awful flavors!
 
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Mr. Nice Guy

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I have read that the yeast I used, Lalvin K1V-1116 responds well to stress, I'll report back later as my lemonade was pretty stressed!
 

EoinMag

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I just found the dregs of a soda lemonade that I made recently and poured it into a glass, it was definitely hard lemonade, my partner drank it and quite liked it.
 
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