Hard seltzer advice

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JJinTX

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Afternoon fellow “Chemists”😁

Any advice/tips on brewing a batch of hard seltzer? I’m not a huge fan of them myself, but it would be nice to have a clean, crisp option for people that come to visit that are on “low carbs/keto diets”. I plan to do it Friday after I get up off of nights. Gonna be a nasty day out so what better way to get my outdoor activities in 🤠

Thanks in advance,
JJ
 
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@JJinTX

Git’ r done boy!

I bought a 50-lb bag of powdered cane sugar from Costco, brought hose water to about 120-degrees Fahrenheit, slowly mixed in 5-lbs of the sugar, then pitched CBC-1 yeast into the hard seltzer “wort” at 70-degrees, then waited a day or two and added in some Fermax yeast nutrient (definitely should’ve added it right before pitching yeast), and viola! Two batches of hard seltzer in no time.

Pro tip: when I added the yeast nutrient (1-1.5 tsp/gal) the yeast went nuts and CO2 production skyrocketed and blew out on one of my small mouth carboys.

My “wort“ came out a little yellow on one and lite milky white on the other (see figure 1) but the FG was 0.992 (desirable) on the yellow and 1.001 on the lite milky white.

Cheers,

Cookin’chickens
 

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apache_brew

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I’m gonna attempt the Omega route with Proper seltzer nutrients and Lutra yeast, 100% dextrose, and RO water.
 

Tallgrass

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I have done a about 10 batches(5gallon) with varying results. Many stalled fermentations using different nutrients and US-05 and
EC-1118. High temperature kviek of some variety went well. Haven't had to dump any but its a frustrating process for a relatively new brewer.

The last attempt was with a all in one packet from Brewchatter.
Not sure what yeast they use. It's define as "champagne yeast"

5 gallons RO and 5 pounds dextrose
It was "brewed" on 3-25 and this thread prompted me to take a gravity reading.
It's at .994 in 8 days @70f -76f. No temp control and it heated up during fermentation.
I noticed to the airlock quit a few days ago.

I'm not a fan myself so my wife would have to give a taste comparison but there is no sulfur smell that seems to happen with these sad fermentations in my past. I don't taste any off flavors. She drinks it unflavored so nothing to mask undesirables.

Last night I watched that same video posted above. Impressive clarity out of the fermenter but they all seem to clear quickly in the keg.
Next time I place an order with morebeer I'll give it a go but for now 4.99 for a easy one packet pitch is a winner. The Lutra option seems to be about $10 (plus ice packs for the yeast)more per keg.
 

apache_brew

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The Lutra option seems to be about $10 (plus ice packs for the yeast)more per keg.
I'm curious how building up yeast starters works out for yeasts used for seltzers. I'm thinking of buying a single pack of Lutra, and overbuilding it to my batch size (10-15 gallons) and saving some slurry from the flask before pitching for future batches. Should a simple sugar with nutrients be used similar to the end product? Or would a light DME be preferable for yeast health?
 

Nathan Graen

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I tried the Lutra, Propper, dextrose, distilled water and OliveNation extract route.

I failed, tastes like soapy, weak, white wine. Also very dry, like licking a rock. It fermented down to 0.993.

I might try a Lutra, Propper, table sugar, well water, OliveNation extract route soon.
 

nwhall3

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First, I think the seltzer trend is an affront to brewing, but we've had to do it at our brewery so I'll share what's worked for us. This produces a seltzer of about 4% ABV, though you can adjust as desired.

Per BBL:
20# dextrose boiled briefly in 10 gallons water. Chill
Pitch Turboyeast. Let ferment completely out
Use Turboclear to clarify
Either dump yeast or rack to kegs and add RO or distilled water to dilute to 1/3 (i.e. 30 gal total)
Add 16 oz flavoring per BBL from Olivenation

Through many iterations of trial and error, we've reached the following conclusions:
  • Dextrose is superior to sucrose
  • Turboyeast ferments completely out without the need for additional nutrients (easier than S-05 with nutrients, champagne yeast, etc.)
  • We also much preferred fermenting the smaller quantity and then diluting to fermenting a larger volume with lower OG; this method really ameliorates the pretty awful smell that distilling yeast can produce
  • The hardest part was getting it clear (tried activated carbon, biofine, gelatin, and some pretty lame filters) but turboclear gets it done
Anyway, that's what we've found works and we're happy with the results, but I'm by no means saying it's the only route. Best of luck.
 

nwhall3

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Thanks for the info!



Do you recall the subpar results with sucrose?
We had some issues with off-flavors and smells in batches with sucrose. Admittedly we never did any blind triangle tests, and we were playing around with multiple variables early on, but we've had zero problems with off-flavors, etc. since using the described method and ingredients I described, and we're producing crystal-clear seltzer, so we're sticking with that.

Brülosophy did a nice write-up where the author didn't notice any appreciable difference between sucrose and dextrose, though, so who knows! Their method was also a fair bit different from ours, and can be found here:

Anyway, have fun with it--and good luck!
 

Consigliere

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I tried the Lutra, Propper, dextrose, distilled water and OliveNation extract route.

I failed, tastes like soapy, weak, white wine. Also very dry, like licking a rock. It fermented down to 0.993.

I might try a Lutra, Propper, table sugar, well water, OliveNation extract route soon.
Surprised you had an issue with the Lutra method. I’ve done that but actually half dextrose half sugar as that’s all I had and had zero issues and crystal clear seltzer. My extract flavours left something to be desired (pineapple had a weird vanilla component to it apparently).

I personally am trying to figure out how to provide the he nutrients Lutra needs without buying the Propper packs to get the cost down.Repitching saved yeast and buying nutrient in bulk should get the cost of a batch down to a really low number!
 

bwible

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I tried this years ago when alcopops were all the rage....

I couldn’t get a “clean ferment” then, and I wouldn’t expect to get one now.

I considered making a small batch for my wife and stepdaughter to have over the summer. If I went that route, I’d buy vodka and dilute it to about 5% using one of the alcohol dilution calculators, add my flavoring and keg it.

Yeah, that will cost more than fermenting sugar but it will taste better and be much easier. I’m not worried about cost as I’m not in business to sell it and make a profit. I wouldn’t use real expensive vodka like Grey Goose, but I’m not buying Popov vokda $9 for a 1.75 either.

But then if I’m spending the same as it costs to buy Truly, then why not just buy Truly? People like Truly because its in a can, which is easily portable. A keg - not so much.
 

bwible

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First, I think the seltzer trend is an affront to brewing, but we've had to do it at our brewery
I’m not a big seltzer fan either, but it’s no more of an affront to the industry than all the hazy/cloudy beers made that way on purpose that are unavoidably everywhere or sour beers that have spoilage organisms added to them on purpose. Or “pastry beers”, whatever those are even supposed to be.

There’s just no accounting for some people’s tastes.
 

nwhall3

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I’m not a big seltzer fan either, but it’s no more of an affront to the industry than all the hazy/cloudy beers made that way on purpose that are unavoidably everywhere or sour beers that have spoilage organisms added to them on purpose. Or “pastry beers”, whatever those are even supposed to be.

There’s just no accounting for some people’s tastes.
100% agreed on all points. It's a weird time for craft beer. I'm hoping more people's palates come back around to liking beer-flavored beer, but I'm not holding my breath.

In the meantime, it's good to see like-minded people on this forum!
 

Nathan Graen

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Surprised you had an issue with the Lutra method.
I did ferment in the 80s...

I personally am trying to figure out how to provide the he nutrients Lutra needs without buying the Propper packs...
Please share your proprietary blend when you figure it out.
 

Tallgrass

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We are done experimenting for now and just going with whatever brewchatter is putting in their packs.
It's just a pitch and forget kind of fermentation.
If we buy the dextrose in bulk it should put the keg cost at about 10$.

It's not crystal clear but I haven't tried any type of fining.
There is a hint of white wine on the nose, but not the flavor.
We don't keg flavor, flavoring is done at the tap, in the glass and the taste is not far off from the spring water tap right next to it.

I'm not a wine or seltzer drinker but had a few unflavored glasses last night and its good enough to stop experimenting.
 

madscientist451

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I personally am trying to figure out how to provide the he nutrients Lutra needs without buying the Propper packs to get the cost down.Repitching saved yeast and buying nutrient in bulk should get the cost of a batch down to a really low number!
I'm going to try using Lutra yeast, 50/50 dextrose & sucrose and the TONSA 3.0 mead nutrient method, but skipping the go-ferm/rehydration part, but will de-gas the fermenting seltzer before adding the staggered nutrient additions, just like when making a mead.
SWMBO wants a pear flavored seltzer, so I'm going to try using commercial natural flavor, maybe LorAnn
 

Lurker

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I really havent had the issues described in this thread but I can not for the life of me dial in the carbonation! I have tried different length and ID line, different pressures and nothing. All the carbonation gets knocked out of suspension in the pour and I'm left with flat seltzer. anyone have details for a perfect seltzer pour? All my beers are always perfect pours!??!??
 

Nathan Graen

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...All the carbonation gets knocked out of suspension in the pour...
Yes, I used to struggle with this and I figured out that I was over carbonating the keg. When I stopped cranking the pressure and shaking the keg to carbonate, I stopped having the problem. I instead calculate the pressure for 3 volumes at my keggerators temperature and wait a few weeks. I also calculated the right line length.
 

Lurker

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Would you share your set up reqarding seltzer? Serving pressure and line diameter and length specifically? Thasnk Erik
 
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