Hard Lemonade 3-6-11

As classy as my mom is, the only alcoholic beverage she can stand to consume is Mike’s hard lemonade.  So brother and I decided it would be great to present her with some homebrewed hard lemonade on Mother’s Day.  Lots of recipes exist online from people that have made a similar drink, which let us pick and choose exactly how we wanted to brew this one.

We started with a malt base by using 2 lb of Golden light dry malt extract.  The extract was boiled with about 4 lbs of sugar for around half an hour to dissolve everything.  That was set aside to cool while we prepared all the lemon concentrate, etc.  For the lemon flavor we used a mix of  frozen lemonade, frozen lemon juice concentrate, and 1 can of orange juice.  This was all stirred up together in the primary fermenter bucket along with 2.5 gallons of water. We then added the wort made from our dry malt extract to the fermenter. This brought our total liquid volume up to right around 4 gallons and as luck would have it we had hit our target specific gravity of 1.080.

That high of a gravity has the potential for around 10 percent alcohol, which is a bit high because I don’t think Mother could handle much more than 1 bottle at a time.  Hopefully the yeast will die out early, and leave us with quite a bit of sweetness.  Or we may have to use something to stop the yeast, and then back sweeten the lemonade to taste.

From what I’ve found online it can be slow to ferment a beverage like this. Basically because the acid in all the lemon juice can be hard for the yeast to work in.  So I made a starter for the yeast packet, just using warm water, and then slowly adding in some of the lemonade.  I also added some yeast nutrient to the primary when I pitched the yeast.

Ingredients list

2 lb Briess Golden Light dme

4 lb Corn sugar

3 Cans Minute Maid Lemonade

1 can Orange juice

6 bottles of Minute Maid lemon juice concentrate

1 packet Lalvin EC-1118 Champagne yeast

OG 1.080

4 gallons