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Hard lemonade

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RRising

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threw down my first lemonade this arvo.
out of solidarity with all you house-arrest vics, i got them from the back yard, and i only drove 4.73km to get some EC118 champagne yeast, and pretty much made it up from the little bit of info here.
most lemonade recipes are on american websites, and they don't even use lemons - just some cordial gick.
so, for anybody interested, 23L batch -
23 lemons (about average on info)
2.5kg dextrose
a small shaved ginger root
the yeast, and
whitelabs yeast nutrients (the only choice at the lhbs).

og 1.041, but when i tasted it, already tasted of really nicely balanced fruit on flavour.
bought some lactose as per most recipes, although i saw one comment where a brewer said it doesn't need sweetening with lactose.
after my taste, i agree. not a fan of lactose as a rule, and i don't need sickly sweet, so now i'm not sure if i'll bother to add it to this.
recipes suggest adding lactose to taste just before bottling. so that remains to be seen.

will add a 2nd yeast nutrients as soon as the fermenting starts to slow.

for lemon juice extraction, after i poured off, i hit the pulp with a potato masher, and got almost no extra juice. maybe 10-15 mls from 23 lemons. so loaded pulp into a strainer and slow poured about 1L 50 degree water to 'sparge' , then repeated that a few minutes later.
total time from going down to garden to collect lemons, to putting airlock on fermenter (and cleaning up completed), just on 2 hours.
hope this helps. initial observations - pretty quick and painless to make, and tastes good even at pre-ferment.
Probably a dumb question but how did you prepare the lemons? did you just juice them or peel the rind and cut into pieces?

I am more then keen to do a hard lemonade and am interested to see how yours turns out.
 

butisitart

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Probably a dumb question but how did you prepare the lemons? did you just juice them or peel the rind and cut into pieces?

I am more then keen to do a hard lemonade and am interested to see how yours turns out.
sliced the ends off, then halved lengthways, then 3-4 slices, then halved again,
so a rough dicing. boiled peel and all, although since they came out of the garden, i know they haven't been sprayed or waxed. some of the recipes included peel, some only the rind, and some with neither rind nor peel. so my guess is that they all work, bearing pesticides in mind.
boil 25mins.
but pls note from my comments above that i am a first time novice at this, so there are almost certainly other ways of prepping.
i will probably go the lactose over cordial (and i've got a bickfords lemon cordial in the fridge). bit wary of bottling with that if i can't calculate its equivalent in priming sugar. don't want a garage full of L bombs. i'm guessing you only need low carbonation levels anyway. something to think about between here and there
 
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Eddy Monsoon

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Many different types of Lemon. Very different sourness levels.

Throws the recipe way out depending which type you're using
 

butisitart

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Many different types of Lemon. Very different sourness levels.

Throws the recipe way out depending which type you're using
don't know what variety, but thicker skin, not too heavy on the juice, and not too sour. i know the flavour profile will change, but at fermenting, lemon to sugar balance was absolutely drinkable. see how we go, part of the fun.
 

peterlonz

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Mayer lemons are the most commonly grown in home gardens. A less sour taste than other varieties & I believe a higher sugar content. Excellent with gin & Schepps tonic.
In my case lemons were halved & juice extracted by powered ribbed conical device ( all kitchens have one of these, generally manually operated, but you need power.
Pith & skins discarded. I believe that grating some of the yellow outer skin for zest may be worthwhile but it's time consuming & I now don't do this.
You can establish the amount of back- sweetening by testing but that's to no avail unless you can stop secondary fermentation in the bottles, hence my use of kegs
 

butisitart

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In my case lemons were halved & juice extracted by powered ribbed conical device ( all kitchens have one of these, generally manually operated, but you need power.
i read 'boil' and didn't think of conical. juice, although the few recipes that had lemons in the lemonade included some level of peel. thinking about it, it's probably easier than juicing.
 

butisitart

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ok, lemonade bottling time.
lessons learnt - toss any lemons that have that slightly discoloured flesh that suggests drying up and going stale. i can taste it in the brew. i would have thought that since you can eat it, then it'll be ok, but no, not really. not a bad taste, but it is there. go the greener ones next time.
lesson 2: quantity varies, i guess, but 23 lemons for 23L was way more lemons than i probably needed, for the lemons in my garden. it's pretty heavy on body and flavour. maybe 13-14 next time.
lesson 3: 1 pack of ec1118 doesn't cut it. loaded in a batch of nottingham killer yeast to help it out. either at least 2 packs of ec1118 and maybe plus a starter boost. but yeah - takes a lot of yeast to overcome the lemons.
lesson 4: maybe drop the dextrose to 2kg from 2.5kg, unless of course i've got confidence in the yeast.

question time for the og/fg specialists,,,,, og was 1.041. my fg, same 3 days in a row at the end, was 0.96. so it was below the 1.0 mark. any suggestions?? haven't hit that one before.
added 250gm lactose and 150gm primer dextrose after fg reading and before bottling.
pre-lactose flavour was slightly tart, but quite drinkable, maybe too strong on the lemon for what i was trying to achieve, hence the reduction in lemons for the next batch. the alternative would maybe have been to just water it down and boost the dextrose with a secondary ferment, but it wasn't so out of control as to warrant that either.
but the fg is a curiosity number.
will do a 2nd brew in a few days.
 

kadmium

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An FG below 1.000 just means you have zero sugars left. 1.000 is the SG of water with no alcohol, but since alcohol is lighter than water and with no sugar to increase viscosity, it reads below 1.000.

Quite normal for non beer.

Also the yeast quantity wasn't the issue but a lack or proper nutrients. Try going for either a TOSNA 3.0 if you can get Fermaid-O or load it up with normal nutrients.

Also, try step feeding the lemon. You can add half the lemon, and then after fermentation has begun add the rest. Lemon is a hard thing for yeast to perform in.
 

butisitart

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okie, that explains the sugars.
did load nutrients at ferment slowdown, don't have tosna in our neck of the woods. although i suspect that 1 pack of 1118 was light on.
will make a 2nd batch this week, the 2nd dose of lemon sounds like it can help too. cheers
 

kadmium

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TOSNA just means using only organic nutrients and staggering the additions.

If you can get Fermaid-O you essentially divide the nutrients into 3 or 4 lots and add em staggered to help fermentation chug along.
 

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