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My Lemonade Is Busted

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Chatty

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I have put down three lemonades for the missus in the hope of keeping her onside with this brewing thing. Anyway, none of the ruddy things have worked. The lemonade is an 'Old Fashioned Lemonade' - it comes in a green container and etails for about $11 or so. Anyway, I added 1.5kg of dex to each. The first batch I didn't bother rehydrating the supplied yeast and there was no sign of life from the old girl after a week. Aeration (as it is a hot topic at the moment) was only what occurred when I was filling the fermentor with water from the tap - which was rain water incidently. After a week there were nice little mould growths on the surface (white circles) so I ditched it.

The second one went pretty much the same way, although I was really really thorough with my cleaning and there wasn't quite the same growth of mould. Same deal, I used the supplied yeast but rehydrated and the damn thing never got going.

I'm on to the third one now but have substituted Lavin champagne yeast for the supplied yeast thinking that there was a batch problem with the yeast. Anyway, I rehydrated two sachets of the champagne yeast and bunged that in. The yeast looked really healthy so no probs there. Anyway, after two days the thing still hasn't taken off. I've got an excellent seal on the fermentor and there has been about 3 bubbles total. So, yeasterday I dropped it twice and got my whisk out and attacked it for about 20 minutes. Then last night I rehydrated and pitched another two sachets of champagne yeast but so far it hasn't made a difference.

Can someone help! This is turning into a bloody expensive present for the missus... Is it possible that the wort conditions aren't suitable for yeast growth.

Chatty
 

BarneyG

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Hey Chatty,

It sounds like you are doing everything right! The only thing I can think off is the temprature of the wort that you pitching your yeast in. :ph34r: Maybe its not high enough and the yeast is dormant.
 

GMK

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Also

especially for meads, ciders, ginger beers and lemonades - get some yeast nutrients.

You can boil a couple of old yeast sachets in boiling water for 10 mins. This will kill the yeast - add this to the fermenter - cheap nutrients.
Another thing that will help is to squeeze the juice of a lemon/lime in there - yeast like a slightly acidic environment.

Hope this helps
 

Asher

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You didn't by chance add any extra lemon juice?
I made a cider once an added a few litres of apple juice I had laying around. Nothing happened.... Later I found the juice contained a preservitive that inhibits yeast growth to stop infections blowing up the bottles on the supermarket shelf.... can't remember the number of the preservitive off the top of my head...
just a word of warning....

Asher for now...
 

Chatty

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Nope, no extra juice added - just what was out of the kit. The kit came with a sachet of citric acid I think to make the lemonade bitter - that should have been enough to acidify the wort.

GMK - I neglected to add that I did add a sachet of yeast 'nutrient' that was supplied with the kit. What it actually was I don't know!

Anyone else have any thoughts?

If this doesn't work then I'll abandon the kit form and make a recipe up!

Chatty
 

Wreck

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Is the SG dropping? That's a better indication of fermentation than the air lock bubbling. My fermenter has some sort of leak somewhere so I don't get a lot of bubbling, but the yeast is certainly active.

Also, you sure those white circles were mould and not krausen? The first time I saw krausen on the surface scared the shit out of me. Almost chucked the brew but was reassured by guys on grumpys. The brew came out fine. How did it smell?

Wreck.
 

PostModern

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Wreck said:
Is the SG dropping? That's a better indication of fermentation than the air lock bubbling.
I concur. Use an instrument to determine if fermentation is occurring.

Pitching and ambient temperature would be the first things I looked at. Also, the age of the kit - how old/fresh is the yeast? Have you tried pitching a SafAle or something?
 

GMK

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I think Doc has posted a lemonade recipee on this site.....

I ahve not made but will base my lemonade on it - but i will go for old fashioned lemonade and probably add some dark brown sugar and some spices.
 

Hoops

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Chatty

I have done 1 old fashioned ginger beer before and it worked great. I did another one about a week ago - made a yeast starter and it was going like the clappers. I pitched the yeast starter and after 4 days the SG is the same as when it started. It was in a well airconditioned room so thinking it was too cold I put it outside this morning. Will see if this fixes the problem. I would definitely check it with a hydrometer - I never trust the airlock.

Hoops
 

sosman

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I have tried a few batches of ginger beer and lemonade (none from a pack). You would think a commercial product would have these sorted.

The ones that worked:
  • I used a starter.
  • I used yeast nutrient (either in the starter or brew).
  • The correct pH. I have gone too low (about 30g of citric acid in 10 litre batch plus juice of 4 lemons). Even though it fermented slowly it did ferment. Ideal was about 10 g citric acid in 10 litres.
  • I probably aerated but that is routine for me.
If you get it right then ale yeast should work fine, I have tried champagne yeast also when I was getting desperate but I don't bother now. And yes, avoid preservatives.

I have always used sugar but I see no reason why dextrose shouldn't work. I use about 1 kg in 10 litres.
 

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