Hard Lemonade

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I'd suggest just following the original recipe, which is pretty foolproof if you follow the instructions. The sugar is for boosting the ABV.
 

scray24

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sorry to keep bring this up in this thread but everyone keeps throwing in parts and its kinda hard to follow. basically what i have to do is have an amount of lemonade that i want. put it into the fermenter. I get confused at this point. So do i add sugar for sweetness or fermentation so basically if i have drinkable do i still add more sugar at this point? Now do i add all the yeast or do i add a little bit per day. Or do i add all the nutrient at once and a little yeast per day. now once the gravity is around 1.00 i add potassium sorbate and back sweeten so it's not super tart. do i basically have the main idea the biggest part I'm confused with is how to add the yeast and nutrient and also what type of yeast should i use.
You can do it multiple ways and still get good results.... you can use various types of yeast and still get good, albeit slightly different results. Pick one method and try it and see if you like it. A lot of it comes down to personal preference and what "works" for you.

For me, I chose to get it started with a pound of DME (dry malt extract) boiled in about a gallon or less of water, chilled that mixture and put into my fermenter with another gallon or so of water and contents of one can of lemonade concentrate. Rehydrated my yeast (EC1118) and poured into the fermenter. Swirled up the fermenter to mix everything up. As the fermentation got started going (based on airlock activity), I started putting another can of concentrate and a little water (used to rinse out residual concentrate) into the fermenter. Basically, 1 can at 24, 48, 60, 72, and 84 hours (I think - I wanted to avoid stalling the fermentation due to the increased acidity so waited a little longer for the first few cans).

If you don't go with DME or some other malt extract base, you just need to be careful with how quickly and how much acidity (concentrate) you add to your yeast. You should have all of your yeast in it at once but people have different methods to combine the concentrate into the yeast - you can mix everything up and slowly add the concentrate into a smaller container of your yeast until you're satisfied that its ready to be combined or start off your yeast in your fermenter and slowly add the concentrate to the fermenter.

Once you've got all of your concentrate and yeast in the fermenter, let it go until fermentation is done (either by watching for bubbles or if you want to be sure, take samples and after you have a stable reading over 2-3 days - its done).

Add Potassium Sorbate or some other preservative to knock out the remaining yeast and then you can sweeten to your taste. If this isn't clear, feel free to either post or shoot me a private message and I'd be happy to try and answer your questions (as I'm sure a lot of folks would around here).

Cheers, Scott
 

immcpat

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Thanks that helps a lot but what type of dme do you use. Do you use the extra light thats what i assume.
 

scray24

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Thanks that helps a lot but what type of dme do you use. Do you use the extra light thats what i assume.
Yep - ideally, you would want the least amount of "flavor" coming from the DME. Its just there to help get the yeast really going and provide a slight amount of body (at least as far as I know - Yooper or others may have more to add).
 

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I'm new at homebrewing and trying this recipe for the first time. I have an extra Dry Ale yeast. I don't feel like driving the hour to my LHBS. Will that yeast work similarly to the wine yeast or should I make the trip?
 

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hello yooper,

I have some thoughts and i would like to hear your opinion about it.

after fermentation is done the hard lemonade is completly dry, so in order to backsweeten I am thinking about filtering my hard lemonade trough a .05 micron filter in order to get rid off my yeast. Would be efective to backsweeten my hard lemonade after this filtration and not having more yeast activity?
 

malagabeer

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hello yooper,

I have some thoughts and i would like to hear your opinion about it.

After fermentation is done the hard lemonade is completly dry, so in order to backsweeten I am thinking about filtering my hard lemonade trough a .05 micron filter in order to get rid off my yeast. Would be efective to backsweeten my hard lemonade after this filtration and not having more yeast activity?

Thank you.
 

malagabeer

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Thank you so much for your prompt reply. May I bother you with another question? I was considering to make hard lemonade last longer so I was thinking about using Potassium Metabisulfite as an antioxidant.

I have read some posts about using Potassium Metabisulfite and its use in wine, so using my logic ( i hope not being wrong), I could use it for hard lemonade as well.

In the other hand, what i have read so far is that the Potassium Metabisulfite works as an antioxidant in wines helping them to conserve their colors and flavors.

There are posts (I think some of them are from yourself) that says that before bottling your wine you have to add a dose of Potassium Metabisulfite and then let the so2 disapate during some days.

how many days after adding the Potassium Metabisulfite do i have to wait before bottling?

Thank you
 
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You can bottle right away, but realize that you may have a bit of sulfur at first. I usually add k-meta (usually in the form of campden tablets, one per gallon) at every other racking and at bottling, if I"m planning on saving a wine for a while. If you don't do it at the racking stage, it's not a big deal, though.
 

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I plan on making this ahead of time for a 4th of July party and bottling it in 1 gallon jugs with a screw on cap. How long do you think it would keep like this?

On the day of the party I would just pour from the jugs into a dispenser and maybe sweeten it the day of the party?? We have these cool dispensers that we got at Sam's Club during the summer that are two pieces. The main part holds the beverage and has a spout for dispensing and it sits on a bowl shaped stand that you put ice in to keep the beverage cold without watering it down.

Here is the dispenser...we've used it primarily for Trash Can Margaritas: http://www.samsclub.com/sams/shop/product.jsp?productId=198812&navAction=

Or search their site for "Unbreakable Beverage Dispenser" if link is dead
 

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I want to make this, but want to carb and bottle it.. would this idea work....Let this ferment out dry, then sweeten with splenda or some other unfermentable.. THEN prime with corn sugar and bottle as I would beer?
 
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I plan on making this ahead of time for a 4th of July party and bottling it in 1 gallon jugs with a screw on cap. How long do you think it would keep like this?

On the day of the party I would just pour from the jugs into a dispenser and maybe sweeten it the day of the party?? We have these cool dispensers that we got at Sam's Club during the summer that are two pieces. The main part holds the beverage and has a spout for dispensing and it sits on a bowl shaped stand that you put ice in to keep the beverage cold without watering it down.

Here is the dispenser...we've used it primarily for Trash Can Margaritas: http://www.samsclub.com/sams/shop/product.jsp?productId=198812&navAction=

Or search their site for "Unbreakable Beverage Dispenser" if link is dead
If the cap fits tightly (no air entering), it'll keep a long time. Definitely long enough for the Fourth of July.
 

jamesjensen1068

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Yooper thanks much for the reply....very much looking forward to making the Hard Lemonade. Will also have Apfelwein at the party......think it's gonna be a good time???
 

jamesjensen1068

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Started my first batch last Saturday with an OG of 1.094. I started two packets of yeast and pitched them 24 hours later and it's been fermenting nicely since then. Checked the gravity today and I'm at 1.056 today. SWMBO tried the sample today and really likes it. This may be a mainstay in my brewing arsenal. I'm using a 4 1/4 gallon frosting bucket from Walmart to ferment in. I didn't have to stir as per the instructions as it seemed to realy take off right away. I will secondary in the same kind of bucket. Thanks again for this recipe.
 

gicts

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Did a few keyword searches with no hits...

What serving pressure is recommended? A normal 12ish or a much higher soda-like PSI?
 

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i serve mine at my usual beer pressure of 10 -12.
most times i bottle from the keg as this is a drink i share a lot of.
last few batches i have left out the DME and just use sugar and lemonade conscentrate.
let it ferment out, stabalize with sorbate and campden back sweeten with a can of concentrate an force carb.
pic shows why i backsweeten

IMG_1320_1.jpg
 

gicts

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W
i serve mine at my usual beer pressure of 10 -12.
most times i bottle from the keg as this is a drink i share a lot of.
last few batches i have left out the DME and just use sugar and lemonade conscentrate.
let it ferment out, stabalize with sorbate and campden back sweeten with a can of concentrate an force carb.
pic shows why i backsweeten
Whew that's dry! Thanks foe the advise! Yours looks very clear too!
 

LooyvilleLarry

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This looks amazing and Id love to give it a try. I just have a few quick questions--

What temperature do you recommend fermenting it at? I cant really maintain anythign lower than 70 degrees F right now but I in about a month once it cools off Ill be able to do that.

In your opinion is it better carbonated or uncarbed?

Is there a non-fermentable sugar you could recommend for sweetening it.

Edit: Also, what sugar do you normally use? Granulated white sugar or dextrose (corn sugar)??

Thanks!
70-80 is fine
Try some both ways. Carbed is nice.
White table sugar works well, IMHO.
Corn sugar, or splenda for backsweetening.
 

LooyvilleLarry

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Ok, here is what I did, modified to 5 gal from yooperbrews 3 gal. Mine is named August Bent Truth Serum

10 cans of lemonade (Minute Maid Premium )
3# + 8oz cane sugar
4 tsp Yeast Nutrient
4 tsp yeast energizer
4 campden tablets
-- D47 ( or other wine/champagne yeast) --
EDIT: 2 x EC118 works very well

Must for starter
4 cans
1 gal cold water
3# table sugar dissolved in 1 gal water

This should give you very close to a 1.080 start.

1. Remove about 2 qt for the starter. Make sure the temp is in range for the yeast.
2. Start with 3 cups starter, add a pinch of yeast nutrient + yeast energizer and the yeast.
3. Aerate (I hit it with O2 on a stirplate). Then let sit with the top loosely covered .
4. Once you have a good fermenting layer (white foam on top) add about 200ml (~1cup) of the must from step 1.
5. Repeat until you have a 1.5L or more starter that is bubbling away

Adding to Remainder

1. Add the remaining cans of thawed lemonade to the original must
2. Dissolve 8oz of sugar in a quart of water and add to the must
3. Top up to just under 5 gal (leave room for the starter)
4. This should come in around 1.080.Adjust as desired, within a range of 1.060 to 1.090 ( <1.100)
5. Add 4 tsp of Yeast Energizer
6. Add 4 tsp of Yeast Nutrient
7. Add 4 crushed campden tablets
8. Add starter

Fermenting

1. I hit the must with O2 before adding starter.
2. Cover vessel with clean cloth, stir every day.
3. Should take about 1 week, or when it reaches 1.030
4. Transfer to secondary & airlock
5. If your want to stop it at 1.020 or so, add potassium sorbate to end the fermentation.

Finishing (MY preference)
1. Add sugar to bring it to about 1.025 (2 1/3# on one batch).
2. Add one can of concentrate
3. Juice from 4 fresh lemons.

Perfecto (according to SWMBO)

Bottle in 2 liters, carb some, flavor some, backsweeten as necessary.

This stuff has a bit of a hidden wallup, and tends to pool around your knees :)
A 1.080 start, ending at 1.020 yields a 7.9% beverage that goes down like Country Time lemonade on a hot summer day :)

EDIT: After some experimentation, I found that pitching 2 packets of EC118 works incredibly well.
 

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Used Yooper's recipe. OG: 1.094, FG: 1.010 giving me an ABV around 11%. Back sweetened, Bottled and carbed, kinda harsh to drink straight, not bad thou. I mixed 3/4 glass of Hard Lemonade with 1/4 7UP and it was very delicious. At 11% I won't be drinking more than one or two in a row. :cross:
 

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I just started a 3 gallon batch, but I only have a 5 gallon carboy. Will this be okay, or should I try to find something with less headspace? In a pinch, can I rack it to three 1 gallon juice bottles?
 

TVarmy

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Just to be clear, I have it fermenting in a 5 gal Lowes bucket. Or does this even essentially need a secondary?

Why exactly is it that most newer beer recipes here recommend a long primary, but most wine recipes still have a secondary? Is wine less prone to aeration, but more prone to clouding, or something like that?
 
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That's fine for primary, but for secondary I'd move it to a carboy (or the multiple glass jugs) for no headspace.

Primary and secondary tend to be winemaking terms. Very few brewers actually do a "real" secondary. They use a carboy, sure, but more for a "bright tank" then a secondary. I can only think of a couple brewers (browderj kabouter is one) that actually rack still fermenting beer to a secondary. Most of the others wait until fermentation is done, and then rack- in essence using the carboy as a bright tank as many commercial breweries do. So, you're sort of misusing the terms when it comes to winemaking.

Primary tends to be about 5 days or so, or until fermentation slows down a bit and the wine is in the 1.010-1.020. Up until then, oxygen is not harmful and the wine is producing co2 to help protect it from oxidation. I do open primaries with wines, just covering with a towel to keep out bugs.

When fermentation slows, the wine is producing much less co2 and that's when it becomes vulnerable to oxidation. That's when it's racked to a carboy, topped up so there is very little headspace, and allowed to finish. After that, the wine is racked carefully whenever necessary but always topped up to prevent having any headspace. Sulfites are sometimes added to reduce any chance of oxidation as well, since o2 can't bind to wine if the sulfite is already bound to it.

This page from Jack Keller describes secondary far better than I ever could: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/secondary.asp
 

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I just made a 2 gallon batch of this following your recipe exactly - the directions were great! I've only got one batch of wine under my belt so I really appreciated the detailed instructions. The starter worked perfectly! I've got it bottled and I'm try to be patient and wait for it to condition some (though I confess I've already tried it...). I'm already thinking ahead to remaking this though....

My questions is - my SG was 1.080 and my FG was 0.998 so my calculated ABV is 10.72% right? This seems really high - I'm wondering if I could dilute this right before bottling or start out with a lower SG...

Say I wanted something more towards a 5% ABV what if I added an equal amount of premixed lemonade to it?

Ideas? Suggestions? Advice? I'm a total newbie at this so I'll take all I can get!
 

LooyvilleLarry

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If you add the premixed lemonade, make sure that you use some campden tablets or sorbate to stop the fermentation. Just say no to bottle bombs
 

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If you add the premixed lemonade, make sure that you use some campden tablets or sorbate to stop the fermentation. Just say no to bottle bombs
Thanks for the reply! I'm so new to this that it makes my head spin! I did learn how to use my hydrometer off this recipe and calculate ABV though so I'm headed in the right direction.

I did add crushed rcampden tablets and pot sorbate (can't remember how much - I'd have to look at my notes) after it had finished fermenting. Then I let it sit for another 3 days, backsweeted with table sugar to 1.020 and bottled. Will I have bottle bombs with this? I hope not! I'm a little scared so the bottles are all in a plastic container while conditioning so if they do go off less mess/hassle/damage on my part...

Do people use non-fermentable sugars just so they don't have to add the campden and pot sorbate?
 

LooyvilleLarry

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Did you put the Campden/pot sorbate into the unfermented lemonade?
Likely, you won't have any problems. The pot sorbate should have killed the yeast in the fermenter anyway.

On the funny side, I have been fermenting in a corny this time for space issues. We had some cooler temps (<70 highs) and I hadn't got around to heating it up. At one week, I only had a 1 point drop.

Well /*someone*/ closed the vent on the top and it was placed near the heater ( aka computer).

I swear there was 50 psi in there ! :mug:
 

TVarmy

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My first starter didn't work (1 week with no activity or change in hydrometer). I diluted to 5 gallons from a 3 gallon batch, adding water, yeast nutriant, and yeast energizer and another campden tablet in proportion, started another starter, and it's been going great!

The only thing I'm worried about is that it smells and tastes a bit sulfurish. I think I remember one person said that they had the rhino farts issue, and that they threw it out. It doesn't smell vile to me (but I have a pretty good tolerance for smell), but will that condition out? Could I also backsweeten with more concentrate or lemon juice if I want it tarter?
 

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Anyone tried this recipe with different juice variations with any success?

I'm thinking pink lemonade, limeade etc.

Just for the record, the recipe as is is fantastic!
 

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Anyone tried this recipe with different juice variations with any success?

I'm thinking pink lemonade, limeade etc.

Just for the record, the recipe as is is fantastic!
I may do a Limeade - Hard Limeade with a couple of cherries on the fourth of july !

I am also going to experiment with the current batch that is perking away. I'll draw off some 2L bottles and try a "secondary" with raspberries.

I just found a couple of bottles from last year that I didn't know about. Still great !
 

DmentD

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LooyvilleLarry, I noticed way early on that you were using a stir plate to make the starter, but in your "expanded process" post (thanks for that, by the way... it's a great compliment to Yooper's original instructions), you just mentioned making the starter, waiting for a nice foamy layer, adding more must... lather, rinse, repeat. Actually, if I read your process right, it only accounts for 2 more additions to the original starter volume (reserve 1 QT, start with 2 C, add 1 C every addition... 2C+1C+1C=4C=1QT).

Using D-47 I made my stater, stirred vigorously on the plate for 30 mins for good aeration and combination, then killed the stir. After 3 hours, I had a killer head of foam. I asked myself "Self, should I add the next cup now?" "Sure!", I replied, and did, knowing that I was seeing a 12 hour wait from others in this thread between additions. Being of two minds, and a little concerned that I screwed up, I left the plate a-stirring overnight and did the second addition about 9 hours later, and left it a-stirring again.

After killing the plate for 30 mins, I had a tiny bit of foam starting on the top, and decided I might as well pitch since I was up to a 1L-ish starter. I haven't waited long enough yet to be confident one way or another that fermentation has started of failed, so I'll sit on it for a few more days before I start to sweat.

I guess my point is this: I'm trying to devise a solid plan for making the starter on a stir-plate, and hopefully that'll be useful to others following this thread as well. Stir-plate = more oxygen & better suspension = more efficient yeast reproduction = better acclimated yeast = win.

So, I'm theorizing this a-way: Reserve 1½ QT of must. Start with a 2 C starter and rehydrated yeast. Stir for 12 hours, pause for 30-60 mins to check for signs of foam. Add 1 C, stir for 12, pause to check for foam, repeat for a total of 4 additions. After the last addition, stir for 12, pause for foam-sign, pitch. There was also mention somewhereabouts of someone adding 1 TBS of sugar with each addition, with some measure of success (I think it was in conjunction with use DME at the start, so it may be moot), but I feel that may be unnecessary as there is a metric buttload of sugar in the must, or it may be excessive and should be cut to 1 TSP perhaps.

Since this is such a harsh environment for the yeasties, and that makes it an occasional hit and miss to get a starter that will work, I'd like to labor toward a reliable process for making a hearty starter. Everything else, from type of lemonade (concentrate, pre-mixed lemonade, fresh lemon juice ), type of fruit (lemon, lime, orange, durian *grins*), and variances in type and quantities of sugar should essentially be inconsequential with the starter equivalent of roid-rage.

Thoughts, additions, corrections, criticisms... thrown rotten fruit and veg? Bueller? Bueller?
 

LooyvilleLarry

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Perhaps my count was off, but I step up to a 1.5l starter.
I think I pitched a little soon, followed by temperature issues. Once I was able to get it started, it is perking along fine.

In my experience, I was stepping about every 6 hours (on the stir plate) I should have waited an additional 6 at the end before pitching, then make sure that is at 75* or so.

As for additions, I kept everything @ 1.080.
 

DmentD

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Ok, so if my brain is assembling this correctly (on too little coffee this morning... working on remedying that as I type), the sum-up should be:

  • Reserve 1½ QT of the starter must (or 1½ L -- basically 48 OZ vs 50.7 OZ).
  • Add hydrated yeast (in this case, D-47) into 2 C of the reserved must and stir for 6 hours. Pause 30 - 60 minutes for foam-sign.
  • Add 1 C, stir for 6, pause, check. Repeat for a total of 4 additions.
  • After the last addition stir for 6, pause, check.
  • Make sure your must in the fermenter is 75°F - 80°F and very well aerated, then pitch your now ~1½ L/QT starter.
So, if this works reliably, adding a stir-plate to the equation can cut a 48 - 72 hour starter build down to about ~30, and hopefully yield some mucho hearty yeast.

The baker in me (ok, and let's face it, my OC brainwaves) want to build a reliable, reproducible process with as few bits of guesswork, superstition, and just plain luck as possible. Even with as tricky a fermentation as this, it must (ha!) be possible to devise a simple and reliable method. So sayeth my inner optimist.

Once the whole shebang can be done reliably, my intention is to make a number of batches of hard lemon/lime/whaterveraid this summer. Since it's a relatively short ferment (once it gets started), and almost no conditioning before you can consume I'd also like to work on some hybrid recipes. I have a coupla' 1 GAL jugs just begging to be used. Can you say pomegranite lemonade? Raspberry lemonade? Cherry limeade? I mean, I'll never put Mike's Hard out of business or anything, but this is a summertime brew just begging to be played with and expanded on... as is evident by the number of great recipe additions already in this thread.

Plus, I just like tinkering.
 

LooyvilleLarry

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I would plan on at least a month of fermenting.
I started mine on 4/18, and even with a weeks delay on the start, it is still burping @ 5 sec intervals.
 

DmentD

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Hrm, I wonder if EC-1118 may be a better yeast choice.

It's got a higher alcohol tolerance, performs well in less hospitable environments, has good flocculation, is tolerant to a wider temperature range, and has a reputation for fermenting at light speed (using it in a bochet mead right now, and it took off like a shot -- fastest start I've seen yet).

It tends to put out a lot of sulfur dioxide when the nutrients are low, and when it's stressed -- so maybe follow Yooper's sage advice of daily stirrings until re-rack at ~ 1.030, and maybe throw another nutrient dose in there (like when making mead), say ½ - 1 TSP each of nutrient and DAP once fermentation kicks in and gravity reaches 1.045 - 1.050 (somewhere between ½ - &#8531; fermentation... meads typically call for the last addition before the midpoint, but this ain't a mead, so I'm playing "pin the nutrient on the yeastie" here).

Edit: ... and maybe double pitching, since the ABV is so high?
 

DmentD

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Ok, having determined that I successfully committed yeastocide on the first starter, I began another last night using a spare packet of EC-1118, and following the 6 hour spin between additions outlined above.

We'll see what this accomplishes.
 
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