Lemon Wine

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Home Winemaker
Supporting Member
May 27, 2022
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Pittsburgh, PA
Started a few fruit wines this weekend and 2 of 3 are starting to foam nicely. However, my lemon must is flat and Im worried that the acid is too strong for the yeast. My initial pH reading was 2.77pH, so I added water to bring it up to 3.08pH. After sugar adjustment, I had 24.4 brix. Anyone have problems getting lemons to ferment? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Or, reassurance that it will work even better. Thanks!
Your corrected pH should be OK. I'd watch it for a couple of days and see if it ignites. Did you supply nutrients? Also, I wonder about the 24.4 brix (>14 % PA). That brix coupled with your current pH may have slowed things down a bit. Keep an eye on it and let us know. Lots of good advice here.
Thanks bearpaw8491. I appreciate your confidence that the lemons will ferment. I did supply the recommended dosage of yeast nutrient. I guess I was thinking that the alcohol needed to be higher since the acid was so strong. I couldn't find a recipe, so I was winging it a little on this one. My intent is to blend this with another strawberry wine that I have going. Im curious what initial brix level do you target for your fruit wines? I'm used to making reds, but would like my fruit wines to be fruit-forward tasting and I generally like to backsweeten with actual fruit juice. Thanks for your reply.
@ryanstimmel I'm all for "winging it", believe me(!), but this is a wonderful site with many knowledgeable wine makers who might have some great ideas. I always ask questions.

I haven't made lemon wine (yet) but tomorrow I'm starting a lemon balm wine. The damn thing is invasive, can't get rid of it, I'll try wine. I'll do fresh lemon juice and citric acid for acid and definitely add lemon zest. And then I'll dig them up like I do every year. It always come back.

Good luck with your wine. I agree there's a lot of potential for blending.
Thanks for your reply BigDaveK. Never tried lemon balm wine, but sounds like a cool refreshing summertime drink. I agree that a lemon blend can go a long way to enhance flavor and freshness. I still think about a strawberry lemon wine slushie that I had from blackdog winery, a year later. Delicious!
My Meyer Lemon using EC1118 yeast, properly started and yeast nutrient took 2 days to start bubbling just a bit. In 4 days was rolling well.
Thats reassuring Rojoguio. Im also using the same yeast EC-1118. Mainly because I had some in my basement fridge and I know it’s pretty reliable. Question: Most of the fruit recipes that I’ve seen also call for a dose of Camden tablets upfront to kill wild yeast to set up a more controled ferment using commercial strands, after waiting 24 hours. I usually follow this method but have often wondered if its make for a slow start to my ferment or even prohibits the yeast from flourishing. Does anyone have opinions about weather using camden tablets upfront is best practice? Thanks-
I wait two days before pitching the yeast. I have the same concern. The very first batch I made was Mandarin, the author of the book I used said put it all in at the same time which I did. It never started. I ended up throwing it out. Turns out this particular wine making book author was full of BS. I turned to the internet for my education.
Got it, I downloaded the video. I think after zesting my lemons with the peeler I will cut the pith off this way. Meyer Lemon pith is very thin so enough body to the pith will need to be left on the rind before I get busy with a knife. Both of my Lime trees are Loaded this year along with my Lemon tree. Thinking of buying a can of the raspberry fruit in a can to try a raspberry/Lime wine.
In case anyone is still following. Day 4, lemon ferment finally rolling along - just as Rojoguio stated. Im relieved that I can finally see that the yeast is clearly active. Still not vigorous like other fruit wines and I still have concerns that the yeast will quite before I want them to. Im doing all the tricks that I know to help guide this along. I removed the metal lid and Im using cheese cloth over top to get more oxygen to the yeast and air out the acid from the lemons. Im also considering another dose of yeast nutrient, but I think I'll wait until it starts to slow down before adding. Thanks for all of the advice. Will let you know if I can get this dry. If not, you'll see the headline HELPPPPP.


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I kept mine under a airlock with water in it. Once it got started I had to remove the water as it was making too much noise at night. Let it roll. Mine went 18 days before slowing down, too long of a extraction for me. I made 2 batches, one 3#'s sugar per gallon and the other 2.5#'s sugar per gallon. The 3# rolled to 18-19% ABV, the 2.5# rolled to 16.5% ABV.