Having trouble with 1st try at Hard Seltzer

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NitrogenWidget

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I've considered carbonating water but it would be more work and not save me any money in liquor.
I agree.
I went for 8lbs of sugar in a 5 gallon batch so I could split and dilute with water at keg time.
that's 10 gallons of two different flavored hard waters.
much less expensive than using everclear or vodka.
plus what i've made tastes good.
 
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CrysA

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I agree.
I went for 8lbs of sugar in a 5 gallon batch so I could split and dilute with water at keg time.
that's 10 gallons of two different flavored hard waters.
much less expensive than using everclear or vodka.
plus what i've made tastes good.
I only get room for 1 keg .. 😆
 
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CrysA

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I agree.
I went for 8lbs of sugar in a 5 gallon batch so I could split and dilute with water at keg time.
that's 10 gallons of two different flavored hard waters.
much less expensive than using everclear or vodka.
plus what i've made tastes good.
SOOO.... I didn't realize it at the time but I put all 10lbs of corn sugar into 5.5 gals of water. Can I put 1/2 into a keg, diluted with dechlorinated tap water and store the rest in the fermenter until another keg frees up?
We did add the 05 yeast and now without temp control it is working its happy magic.
 

NitrogenWidget

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SOOO.... I didn't realize it at the time but I put all 10lbs of corn sugar into 5.5 gals of water. Can I put 1/2 into a keg, diluted with dechlorinated tap water and store the rest in the fermenter until another keg frees up?
We did add the 05 yeast and now without temp control it is working its happy magic.
yeah you got yourself some strong booze water. :)

I have no idea on how long you can store it in the fermentor with all that head space.
Will it become oxidized? probably but i don't know if it will go south like wine. it's got nothing in it.

I have many kegs so I planned to fill 2 kegs with my batch.
If it were me, i'd go buy 5 2 litres of tonic water and put the 2.5 gallons into that for storage.
Or some stores have the 99cent store brand 2 litres of lemon/lime soda and other fruit flavors around here. i'd buy up lemon/lime or orange for example to store it in because those will be my flavor's of choice.
 

sketchiey

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I've made this using 4lbs of corn sugar to 5gals of tap water. Boil for 10 minutes(not a hard boil) cool to 70 degrees and pitched my yeast(can't remember what I used) and added a yeast energizer. It does take a few days for the fermentation to start and it usually ferments for 3 1/2 weeks. I used a blackberry and raspberry(about 3ozs of the blackberry and 2ozs of the raspberry) concentrate along with some syrup to enhance the flavors. My wife likes it better than white claw, truly etc.
I feel like I just got a huge raise due to not having to buy white claw any longer.
Don't ask me about og or fg...when the airlock no longer perks I keg it. I don't put a whole lot of effort into it since it only takes about 12 bucks to make it
 
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CrysA

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I've made this using 4lbs of corn sugar to 5gals of tap water. Boil for 10 minutes(not a hard boil) cool to 70 degrees and pitched my yeast(can't remember what I used) and added a yeast energizer. It does take a few days for the fermentation to start and it usually ferments for 3 1/2 weeks. I used a blackberry and raspberry(about 3ozs of the blackberry and 2ozs of the raspberry) concentrate along with some syrup to enhance the flavors. My wife likes it better than white claw, truly etc.
I feel like I just got a huge raise due to not having to buy white claw any longer.
Don't ask me about og or fg...when the airlock no longer perks I keg it. I don't put a whole lot of effort into it since it only takes about 12 bucks to make it
Have you noticed if the flavoring you have super strength or not? What brand do you use? Im interested in a better tasting raspberry and blackberry ☺
 

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Just finished my first 3 gal batch and it is not very good. Funky fruity smell and higher FG (1.009) than expected using EC-1118. Sanitized thoroughly, 2.5lb corn sugar boiled in filtered tap, used 10g Nutrient spread over 3 days, ferm'd at 68F. Has anyone had funky white wine like aroma and flavor using this yeast for seltzer?
 

sketchiey

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Have you noticed if the flavoring you have super strength or not? What brand do you use? Im interested in a better tasting raspberry and blackberry ☺
The flavoring was medicinal tasting, especially the raspberry, I won't use that again. Honestly, it was hard to tell what flavor the seltzer was, due to trying to get the most flavor out of it. Luckily the syrup saved it and brought more of the blackberry forward, I used the brewers best flavorings.
I just made another 5 gallon batched and used the brewers best watermelon(about 2 ozs) and watermelon soda flavoring I found at Target. It honestly taste amazing, this by far the best tasting product I have made. The soda flavoring has more of that bumble gum watermelon taste and mix that with the brewers best watermelon, match made in heaven. I also added some wine syrup, but not much at all, not trying to make a wine cooler.
The wife is big into essentials oils and they are now making extracts. We are going to try grapefruit next, I'll let you know how that turns out. I have also thought about buying some mio, that way you can make it as strong flavoring as you like.
 
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CrysA

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The flavoring was medicinal tasting, especially the raspberry, I won't use that again. Honestly, it was hard to tell what flavor the seltzer was, due to trying to get the most flavor out of it. Luckily the syrup saved it and brought more of the blackberry forward, I used the brewers best flavorings.
I just made another 5 gallon batched and used the brewers best watermelon(about 2 ozs) and watermelon soda flavoring I found at Target. It honestly taste amazing, this by far the best tasting product I have made. The soda flavoring has more of that bumble gum watermelon taste and mix that with the brewers best watermelon, match made in heaven. I also added some wine syrup, but not much at all, not trying to make a wine cooler.
The wife is big into essentials oils and they are now making extracts. We are going to try grapefruit next, I'll let you know how that turns out. I have also thought about buying some mio, that way you can make it as strong flavoring as you like.
The lime flavoring i had tasted too much like sugar alcohol candy or something. That one was hard to finish. By far i like it straight up or with just a bit of raspberry. Ive been keeping a bottle of flavored water from flavor packets like pink lemonade or gatorade sticks inside the keg fridge to splash on top. Mio for me was too syrupy.
 
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CrysA

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Just finished my first 3 gal batch and it is not very good. Funky fruity smell and higher FG (1.009) than expected using EC-1118. Sanitized thoroughly, 2.5lb corn sugar boiled in filtered tap, used 10g Nutrient spread over 3 days, ferm'd at 68F. Has anyone had funky white wine like aroma and flavor using this yeast for seltzer?
EC yeast never ever worked for me and i got the same sweet rotten type of smell from it with little to not enough yeast activity. Hydrometer movement was zero to zilch. Try 05 yeast - for me it has been fool proof and always a success.
 

NitrogenWidget

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so I finally kegged this.
yeah, I know. too much going on.
been in the fermentor since april/may.
nice and clear at least.

I boiled 5 gallons of water, put half in each keg then split the 5 gallon batch of fermented sugar water.
I nailed the lime juice perfectly.
kept adding until I got the right strength.
which got me buzzed because it took way more than I thought it would.
so many samples.

got cocky with the mandarin orange extract put half the bottle in (2 oz) because many said half a bottle on youtube.
too much. It has a slight medicinal after taste. 1.5 oz would of probably done me right.

i'm force carb it up now and will see how it goes. carbonation changes flavors.
i'll either have to power through a gallon then add some water or just add some other type of flavoring like orange peel tea made in my french press or soda flavoring like sketchiey mentioned.


the one thing i'd like to mention, with 2 full bags of sugar in 5 gallons it had a slight yellow tint to it and a wine flavor.
but after diluting it by half and adding flavoring it's crystal clear and that wine taste was gone.
 
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Krasdale

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Chia seeds are a natural nutrient. They speed up fermentation and reduce volatiles way down. I used .75 oz per gallon plus realemon.
 

Misterobots

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Chia seeds are a natural nutrient. They speed up fermentation and reduce volatiles way down. I used .75 oz per gallon plus realemon.
What's your process for adding the Chia Seeds? Boil them? I'm really interested in how you go about this, and trying it myself.
 

Misterobots

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So.. Just to update this, incase anyone is curious. I tried the above method of adding Black Chia Seeds into the fermenter of a hard seltzer (4lbs dextrose, EC118, tap water - slightly above 7ph). Man what a strange experience it has been. I added .75oz per gallon as Krasdale stated.

The chia seeds swelled up so much. There seems to be this "gelatinous" layer of chia seeds on top. CO2 does get through the layer, but I'm not sure how well. There has been blow off activity for over a week. One odd thing that I have discovered is when I "agitated" the fermenter, MASSIVE amount of activity came through the blow off. The next day, I agitated the fermenter again (purely out of curiosity and experiment) and, again, massive blow off activity. When I took a gravity reading, it had dropped from 1.035 to 1.025 and was only slightly cloudy. I did notice that the sample almost seemed slightly carbonated, and it tasted as I expect it should (sugar water with a hint of alcohol).

My thoughts:
-Is the "chia seed cap" preventing co2 from escaping as it should? Is this harmful?
-Is the resistance to release co2 through the "chia seed cap" carbonating the solution, is this hurting fermentation?
-Is the "chia seed cap" helping keep the solution "clear" and keeping it from getting super cloudy as I would have expected with plain tap water?

I would love to know everyone's thoughts on this and I hope it can help others!
 

cmac62

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So.. Just to update this, incase anyone is curious. I tried the above method of adding Black Chia Seeds into the fermenter of a hard seltzer (4lbs dextrose, EC118, tap water - slightly above 7ph). Man what a strange experience it has been. I added .75oz per gallon as Krasdale stated.

The chia seeds swelled up so much. There seems to be this "gelatinous" layer of chia seeds on top. CO2 does get through the layer, but I'm not sure how well. There has been blow off activity for over a week. One odd thing that I have discovered is when I "agitated" the fermenter, MASSIVE amount of activity came through the blow off. The next day, I agitated the fermenter again (purely out of curiosity and experiment) and, again, massive blow off activity. When I took a gravity reading, it had dropped from 1.035 to 1.025 and was only slightly cloudy. I did notice that the sample almost seemed slightly carbonated, and it tasted as I expect it should (sugar water with a hint of alcohol).

My thoughts:
-Is the "chia seed cap" preventing co2 from escaping as it should? Is this harmful?
-Is the resistance to release co2 through the "chia seed cap" carbonating the solution, is this hurting fermentation?
-Is the "chia seed cap" helping keep the solution "clear" and keeping it from getting super cloudy as I would have expected with plain tap water?

I would love to know everyone's thoughts on this and I hope it can help others!
Bots,
1. I would guess it is keeping some of the CO2 in suspension and that is why you are getting so much activity when you "agitate" it, and I don't think it is harmful, although it will change the ph of the solution.
2. See above
3. I'm not sure about the clarity.

:mug:
 

Misterobots

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Bots,
1. I would guess it is keeping some of the CO2 in suspension and that is why you are getting so much activity when you "agitate" it, and I don't think it is harmful, although it will change the ph of the solution.
2. See above
3. I'm not sure about the clarity.

:mug:
I don't know much about the "effect" that chia seeds have toward yeast and fermentation. I'm curious of the "volitiles", that Krasdale mentioned, that chia seeds help with.
 

Misterobots

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So.. update (again). It seems that the "Chia seed cap" seems to be holding co2 in. Haha. I've taken another gravity reading and it's reading 1.020 (refractometer). I completely understand that these "hard seltzers" can take a while to drop to desired fg, but what I find interesting is that the sample I take from the fermenter seems to almost be a bit carbonated(explained by cmac62) and pretty clear, surprisingly. The batch is still thumping away(bubbling through the blow off at about once per minute or so). The sample definitely tastes of sugar and alcohol haha. I've just never had a fermentation behave like this and I have been unable to get any information on what part the Chia seed addition is responsible for(other than keeping co2 in suspension) and what else the Chia seeds may be helping with or causing.
 

Marz

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So I found this thread from a google search. I am doing a seltzer with ec-1118 (never used ec-1118 before) and I first pitched the yeast dry (I normally use a different dry yeast which does not require me to prime it with warm water) and there was no activity at all in ferm for 3 days so I had another packet of ec-1118 and properly primed it and activity started within 12 hours. My starting gravity was 1.028 when the recipe claimed 1.034 and it has only been 2 days since the second addition of yeast and is already down to 1.010 as of 30 minutes ago but the smell is nasty and I did a sip taste and was very bitter/sour which I would not have expected considering this is just sugar and water. Is my batch tainted or something? Or does it normally taste/smell like this using ec-1118 and Fermex nutrient?
 

Misterobots

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So I found this thread from a google search. I am doing a seltzer with ec-1118 (never used ec-1118 before) and I first pitched the yeast dry (I normally use a different dry yeast which does not require me to prime it with warm water) and there was no activity at all in ferm for 3 days so I had another packet of ec-1118 and properly primed it and activity started within 12 hours. My starting gravity was 1.028 when the recipe claimed 1.034 and it has only been 2 days since the second addition of yeast and is already down to 1.010 as of 30 minutes ago but the smell is nasty and I did a sip taste and was very bitter/sour which I would not have expected considering this is just sugar and water. Is my batch tainted or something? Or does it normally taste/smell like this using ec-1118 and Fermex nutrient?

What does the "nasty smell" smell like? Does it smell coppery or acidic? You said you never used 1118 before. Ec-1118 is a champagne yeast, I noticed a particular smell(of champagne) when I used it in a sugar wash, but it seemed to go away after keg/cold. condition/carb.
 

Marz

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What does the "nasty smell" smell like? Does it smell coppery or acidic? You said you never used 1118 before. Ec-1118 is a champagne yeast, I noticed a particular smell(of champagne) when I used it in a sugar wash, but it seemed to go away after keg/cold. condition/carb.
It has a egg/sulfur smell
 

NewJersey

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I've read on here and elsewhere around the internet that these 2 combined with high temperature lead to a very fast fermentation and clear end product.
My hard seltzer attempt is currently at 1.000 after starting at 1.036 on Jan 11th. It has been the weirdest fermentation of my life as it's dropped a point or 2 over the last 5 days. It's extremely slow, but pretty steady.
I used dextrose, tap water with a campden, oxygenated with pure o2, one packet of SO5, and have added fermaid several times. Started at 65⁰ and have bumped it up little by little to 70⁰.
I'm definitely ready for this to be done, but want it to finish on its own.
 

NewJersey

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I'm gonna use table sugar next time as it's much cheaper and I'll flavor it with something colored so I don't have to worry about the 1 srm that table sugar supposedly yields.
 
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NewJersey

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Well, my hard seltzer completely stalled at .999
Beersmith said it should have gone down to .991
Oh well.
Anyone gotten down to .991??
 

Marz

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Well, my hard seltzer completely stalled at .999
Beersmith said it should have gone down to .991
Oh well.
Anyone gotten down to .991??
No. My update on my issue is that there is no issue other than the first packet of EC-1118 not activating but second packet did but I was not happy with the original gravity of 1.028 so I added another pound of sugar to the fermenter and yeast reactivated again and got the FG down to 1.000 on the dot. Egg smell is gone completely (turns out that this yeast CAN give off that smell if it is starving so if it DOES give off a egg/sulfur smell then don't worry about it, it'll go away) and I did a taste test during bottling and was not sour at all so all seems fine and currently conditioning. I did cold crash after 3 days of the Isinglass being added and made the seltzer super clear so I added a couple flakes of SafeAle-05 I had laying around to each bottle before capping so that they can carbonate.
 
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What minerals were in your mineral packet? Since you started with distilled water it's likely that your water is deficient in something... calcium, magnesium, and zinc are all necessary for yeast metabolism. Also, what's in your yeast nutrient? Sometimes yeast nutrient only contains DAP (Diammonium phosphate) and no other vitamins or minerals. You'd probably have better results using one of the following as they are a more complete nutrient:

Wyeast Yeast Nutrient - 1.5 oz | MoreBeer

White Labs Yeast Nutrient - WLN1000 | MoreBeer
@cswis86

I brewed two hard seltzer’s: one that came out to final gravity of 1.000 and had a white cloudy translucent color, and one that came out to FG of 0.992 (did not take OGs of either) and is yellow cloudy color.

To both seltzer’s I added Fermax Yeast Nutrient twice.

Any clue what makes the yellow color?

thanks,

Cookin’ Chickens
What minerals were in your mineral packet? Since you started with distilled water it's likely that your water is deficient in something... calcium, magnesium, and zinc are all necessary for yeast metabolism. Also, what's in your yeast nutrient? Sometimes yeast nutrient only contains DAP (Diammonium phosphate) and no other vitamins or minerals. You'd probably have better results using one of the following as they are a more complete nutrient:

Wyeast Yeast Nutrient - 1.5 oz | MoreBeer

White Labs Yeast Nutrient - WLN1000 | MoreBeer
 

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Marz

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@cswis86

I brewed two hard seltzer’s: one that came out to final gravity of 1.000 and had a white cloudy translucent color, and one that came out to FG of 0.992 (did not take OGs of either) and is yellow cloudy color.

To both seltzer’s I added Fermaid Yeast Nutrient twice.

Any clue what makes the yellow color?

thanks,

Cookin’ Chickens
Did you use pure cane sugar? I just did a hard root beer and used pure cane and noticed it turned yellow. My seltzer I used corn sugar and it also turned yellow but after cold crashing and using isinglass, the seltzer came out SUPER clear
 

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@Marz

Thanks for the reply. Yes, I used pure cane powdered sugar from Costco (50-lb bag). I kegged last night and put both seltzer’s into the keezer at ~36-degrees Fahrenheit to cold crash and let let particles settle. Next step will be fining, carbonating, then flavoring.
 
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Did you use pure cane sugar? I just did a hard root beer and used pure cane and noticed it turned yellow. My seltzer I used corn sugar and it also turned yellow but after cold crashing and using isinglass, the seltzer came out SUPER clear
@Marz

is the corona bottle filled with your seltzer?
 

Marz

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@Marz

is the corona bottle filled with your seltzer?
Yes, the Corona bottle is the seltzer I did. The fining should resolve your yellow problem. As you can see, mine is BARELY yellow. Are you kegging and force carbonating or natural carbonating in keg or bottles? If you are not force carbonating with CO2 tank, I would recommend using some champagne yeast or Safeale-05 and adding about 5 flakes of yeast per bottle so that it has some yeast to carbonate, I feel the fining took out most if not all of the yeast because of how well it works and you need some left over to carbonate in keg/bottles if not using CO2 tank.
 
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Yes, the Corona bottle is the seltzer I did. The fining should resolve your yellow problem. As you can see, mine is BARELY yellow. Are you kegging and force carbonating or natural carbonating in keg or bottles? If you are not force carbonating with CO2 tank, I would recommend using some champagne yeast or Safeale-05 and adding about 5 flakes of yeast per bottle so that it has some yeast to carbonate, I feel the fining took out most if not all of the yeast because of how well it works and you need some left over to carbonate in keg/bottles if not using CO2 tank.
@Marz

I am kegging with a CO2 tank and force carbonating. The yellow is a unique color. For funsies I might add a food die or real fruit juice to make a more palatable color than yellow. Black cherry 🍒 will be going in one keg.

What flavor should I use for the other keg?

Thanks,

Cookin’chickens
 

NitrogenWidget

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Time to make some more of this to prepare for summer!
I think this yr I will switch to crystalized citrus instead of homebrew extracts.
Amazon sells packets of True crystalized lemon, lime, grapefruit, and orange in 32 packet boxes or 25g of the stuff.
Northern brewer includes 18g of the stuff in their 5 gallon seltzer kits so it should be enough.

now i'm thinking mojito selzter. I have some mint leaves I dried last yr I could make some tea from.
 

Chuckbergman

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I know the difference is probably semantic, but I'm interested in making a hard flavored sparkling water. Not really a hard naturally carbonated mineral water (ala Perrier), but something along the lines of the Sparkling Ice brand of flavored waters.

Maybe it is just my tastebuds, but I can't stand the "carbonated" flavor of seltzer water, so not really a fan of most seltzers. Honestly haven't tried many hard seltzers so I can't rate them at this time. But I really enjoy Sparkling Ice brand and would like to make a hard homebrew variation.

Yes, I know that I can just add vodka to Sparkling Ice, but wanting to make my own. Do you think it is amount of carbonation that is the key? Maybe a less carbonated hard flavored water would have less of that "CO2" flavor that you get from a seltzer.

I've been making homebrew for 10 years, but never tackled a hard seltzer. Input appreciated.
 

Marz

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I know the difference is probably semantic, but I'm interested in making a hard flavored sparkling water. Not really a hard naturally carbonated mineral water (ala Perrier), but something along the lines of the Sparkling Ice brand of flavored waters.

Maybe it is just my tastebuds, but I can't stand the "carbonated" flavor of seltzer water, so not really a fan of most seltzers. Honestly haven't tried many hard seltzers so I can't rate them at this time. But I really enjoy Sparkling Ice brand and would like to make a hard homebrew variation.

Yes, I know that I can just add vodka to Sparkling Ice, but wanting to make my own. Do you think it is amount of carbonation that is the key? Maybe a less carbonated hard flavored water would have less of that "CO2" flavor that you get from a seltzer.

I've been making homebrew for 10 years, but never tackled a hard seltzer. Input appreciated.
I have never had a Sparkling Ice before but you have peaked my interest as I do not enjoy the taste of carbonated water either and although my seltzer came out pretty good, I only drank 1 and gave away the other 47ish bottles of it and they enjoyed it haha.

I looked up the ingredients of a Sparkling Ice to see what things could change the flavor to be less of a "CO2" flavor compared to a seltzer and I am wondering if maybe the different vitamins added will mitigate some of the carbonated water taste.

Blue Raspberry - Sparkling Ice Ingredients:

Carbonated Water, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Potassium Benzoate (To Ensure Freshness), Fruit Juice (For Color), Sucralose, Caffeine From Natural Sources, Gum Arabic, Green Tea Extract, Calcium Disodium Edta (To Protect Flavor), Ester Gum, Retinol (Vitamin A), Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3), Biotin, Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6).


So maybe finding some of these chemicals that make up the "vitamins" in this drink or any other Sparkling Ice could be the key. Also the fruit juice they added might have helped along with the green tea extract might have a small impact as well on the ending flavor. I presume these Sparkling Ice drinks have a slightly sweeter flavor than a seltzer so maybe make a seltzer but back sweeten it before racking or cold crash to curb fermentation so that it leaves a little sugar in there. My batch of Seltzer has virtually no sweetness to it and my FG was exactly 1.000 so there was virtually almost no sugar left in it.

Hope this tiny bit of info helps and I'd like to know how your batch turns out so that I could maybe reconsider my stance on brewing another seltzer in the future 😋
 

Chuckbergman

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I have never had a Sparkling Ice before but you have peaked my interest as I do not enjoy the taste of carbonated water either and although my seltzer came out pretty good, I only drank 1 and gave away the other 47ish bottles of it and they enjoyed it haha.

I looked up the ingredients of a Sparkling Ice to see what things could change the flavor to be less of a "CO2" flavor compared to a seltzer and I am wondering if maybe the different vitamins added will mitigate some of the carbonated water taste.

Blue Raspberry - Sparkling Ice Ingredients:

Carbonated Water, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Potassium Benzoate (To Ensure Freshness), Fruit Juice (For Color), Sucralose, Caffeine From Natural Sources, Gum Arabic, Green Tea Extract, Calcium Disodium Edta (To Protect Flavor), Ester Gum, Retinol (Vitamin A), Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3), Biotin, Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6).


So maybe finding some of these chemicals that make up the "vitamins" in this drink or any other Sparkling Ice could be the key. Also the fruit juice they added might have helped along with the green tea extract might have a small impact as well on the ending flavor. I presume these Sparkling Ice drinks have a slightly sweeter flavor than a seltzer so maybe make a seltzer but back sweeten it before racking or cold crash to curb fermentation so that it leaves a little sugar in there. My batch of Seltzer has virtually no sweetness to it and my FG was exactly 1.000 so there was virtually almost no sugar left in it.

Hope this tiny bit of info helps and I'd like to know how your batch turns out so that I could maybe reconsider my stance on brewing another seltzer in the future 😋
Thanks Marz. I didn't think about the vitamins as affecting flavor. I did consider the fruit juice. Yes, Sparkling Ice brand is sweeter than other seltzers or carbonated beverages. Maybe more back sweeting, using more concentrated fruit juices, and slightly less carbonation would yield a less "CO2" flavored carbonated water.
 
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