Diet Hard Lemonade - accidental experiment

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ChuckD

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So I made hard lemonade using a recipe from
“VinesnBines” and, per usual, My hands were outpacing my brain😂. Midway through adding the lemonade I started wondering why it was pink… I looked and it was strawberry lemonade. No problem, so I continued. A week later when putting out the recycling I noticed this
image.jpg
oh 💩! Again, too late to do anything so we press on. I’ve never had Stevia but I don’t like any diet drinks.

A few weeks ago I racked it off the lees, pulled a sample, and back sweetened it. It tastes pretty good, but then I get that artificial sweetener aftertaste ☹. My wife says she can’t taste it but she’s a diet soda drinker. It’s not as bad as straight diet Dew or anything but I can taste it.

I added k-meta and tossed it in the cellar in disgust 😡. I still need to stabilize, add the three cans of lemonade concentrate , and back sweeten. I’m thinking I may up that to four or five, and it won’t be diet this time! If that doesn’t help (I doubt it will) I’ll probably just bottle it and give it away.

A few questions:
this recipe has malt extract and it remains cloudy. Is it supposed to clear completely or does it stay a little cloudy like Mike’s?

How does the Stevia affect SG? I assume my final ABV is going to be a little off.

Will this affect stability in storage?

Anyways, I have seen some ask about using artificial sweeteners… now you know how my “experiment” went.
 

Rice_Guy

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* stevia is extremely low on the formula. You will not know it it there by checking gravity. Off the top of the head stevia should be 500x the sweetening of table sugar.
* adding more fruit solids/ three cans of concentrate, will help hide the stevia. Adding acid out of the bottle with balancing sugar will help hide the taste.
* stevia washes out of the mouth/ off the taste buds quickly. Putting a low level of another fast flavor (spice as white pepper) will help mask. If adding spices I would try a threshold level (most folks can name it) of ginger or cinnamon since they fit well in the concept/ expectation of a refreshing beverage.
 

ChuckD

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I would try a threshold level (most folks can name it) of ginger or cinnamon since they fit well in the concept/ expectation of a refreshing beverage.
Thanks. I think ginger would fit better with lemonade. Would you use fresh or powdered? I imagine it’s a lot easier to bench test powdered ginger. How about simmering some ginger in sugar water and straining it out then using that for bench trials?

I didn’t test pH when I racked it but it was 3.2 when I started.
 

Rice_Guy

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My world is a bit perverted, I would call a supplier and get a gallon of liquid extract :slp Hum
You should have four ounce size liquid available in a large grocery store, there also is a two ounce fresh ground ginger squeeze tube paste in the refrigerator case in a lot of stores. This could be extracted by putting one part paste in two parts white wine in the refrigerator for a week. For flavor trials you can measure the clear supernatant with a syringe or pipette in a series of 100 ml (or cup) jars. ,,, 🤓 my world is perverted math is easier in metric.
Would you use fresh or powdered? I imagine it’s a lot easier to bench test powdered ginger.
fresh/ wet packed has better flavor.
 

ChuckD

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Didn’t know I could get a concentrate. I’ll try that. I have been meaning to get a burette and stirrer for doing TA’s. This may be time to pull the trigger on that as well. I already have beakers and graduated cylinders.

BTW what size burette do you use for TA titrations?
This could be extracted by putting one part paste in two parts white wine in the refrigerator for a week. For flavor trials you can measure the clear supernatant with a syringe or pipette
 

Rice_Guy

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BTW what size burette do you use for TA titrations?
I have found that a ten ml syringe from the Cellar in Oshkosh is easier to set up and clean than a burette.
CB83D587-175D-4A06-9C0B-44CCEE035BB4.jpeg
I usually pick my sample size to consume two to five cc of alkali. ,,,, if you want a burette I’ll take it to the picnic in July.
 

ChuckD

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I have found that a ten ml syringe from the Cellar in Oshkosh is easier to set up and clean than a burette.
Well that’s a lot cheaper. I still need a magnetic stirrer though… and to rig up a holder for my pH meter.

I see there’s a large price range for the stirrers. No $300 ones here.
 

ChuckD

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Then you need to find American Scientific in Milwaukee. Good for clamps and microscopes and balances.
I’ve got a microscope and binocular dissecting scope at work that don’t see much use. I bring them home and use them to explore with my grandkids. Bringing up that next generation of scientists and explorers.
 

ChuckD

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Today I bottled the hard lemonade.

I made up a simple syrup with six cups of sugar and three cups of water then racked the lemonade into a bottling bucket with 5 cans of lemonade concentrate, sorbate, and k-meta. I added the simple syrup two cups at a time, stirred well, and tasted. I eventually added the entire amount. The good news is there is no artificial sweetener aftertaste left! It’s sweet, lemony, and delicious! This is going to be a big hit with the wine cooler crowd. It’s going to need a warning on the bottle though. At roughly 14% ABV this is going to sneak up on you quickly 🥴
 

VinesnBines

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I missed this thread earlier. I made my hard lemonade in late March and added hibiscus tea in the water for fermentation. Last year I added the hibiscus tea in the back sweetening step. I think it had more color last year and the flavor was better to add after fermentation. So I'll add hibiscus tea again but after fermentation.

Mine clears nicely as it ferments and it is always good. I'm glad your turned out and it will be a crowd pleaser.
 

ChuckD

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I missed this thread earlier. I made my hard lemonade in late March and added hibiscus tea in the water for fermentation. Last year I added the hibiscus tea in the back sweetening step. I think it had more color last year and the flavor was better to add after fermentation. So I'll add hibiscus tea again but after fermentation.

Mine clears nicely as it ferments and it is always good. I'm glad your turned out and it will be a crowd pleaser.
It did end up clearing. Of course adding more lemonade concentrate introduced some pulp. It does taste a lot like Mike’s Hard Lemonade. I had used strawberry lemonade, which left a nice pink color, but no strawberry taste remains.
 

ChuckD

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I think it is better than Mike's. Play with the recipe. Limeade is good too.
I’ll be starting a new batch this week. Probably limeade. After giving my tastebuds a break, you can indeed taste the strawberry in the last batch. I actually made it a little too sweet but everyone who tried it raves about it. My son and daughter in law were here for the weekend and between what we drank and what she took home, nearly half the bottles are gone! I may even make two so I have lots for the barn raising party later this summer.
 

VinesnBines

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It goes down smooth. Mix it with ginger ale or Sprite for an instant Sangria. I like it better than Skeeter Pee and I think it is easier. If you can keg it, it can be carbed. Some people bottle carb then pasteurize the bottles. I’m too lazy for that, besides non carb is good.

Even my teetotaler sister liked it.
 

ChuckD

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It goes down smooth. Mix it with ginger ale or Sprite for an instant Sangria. I like it better than Skeeter Pee and I think it is easier. If you can keg it, it can be carbed. Some people bottle carb then pasteurize the bottles. I’m too lazy for that, besides non carb is good.

Even my teetotaler sister liked it.
The ginger ale mix would be awesome! I’ve never had skeeter pee. I see how you could play with this recipe. Different frozen concentrates or adding fruit to a basic lemonade.
 

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