So I've been a bit brew-crazy the past few months, I've successfully brewed 2 beers in the month of November, which I am now enjoying, or about to enjoy, and my wife has been just wonderful about the amount of gear that brewing necessitates, as well as the time it consumes on my part. So as an attempt to get her to appreciate my hobby more, I decided to brew something she would actually like, a Hard lemonade.
I heard rumour that Mike's Hard Lemonade is actually a malt beverage, meaning it is actually a lemonade flavoured weak beer. Although my last look at the label says it's a vodka drink, I'll presume they changed the recipe on account of Russian investment...who knows? I decided to take that approach, as I thought it'd be closer to a brewing process I was familiar with. Also my main complaints about commercial hard lemonades is that they are way too sweet, and generally have too much alcohol in them. I was hoping for something a little more refreshing and lower on the alcohol. I figured with a weak beer I'd be able to keep it suitable on both counts.
So the general procedure is to brew up a weak wort of pale malt extract, add some concentrated lemonade, and cool. Once cool add your yeast and let ferment (all accounts point to a 3-4 week fermentation period.) I also decided to add in about 20% raspberry juice to cut the tartness of the lemonade.
After brewing it up, it tasted good, if not a little too sweet. The yeast eat the sugar and turn it into alcohol during fermentation, so I wasn't worried about it being too sweet in the end, however after adding a bit more lemonade to balance out the raspberry flavour, the extra sugar pushed the potential alcohol to almost 8%. OK WAY to high for what I was hoping for, I was hoping around 4%. Not the worst thing that could happen, but I would probably alter the recipe in the future.
For now it's fermenting away, as my wife said on facebook "it'll be a long month'. I guess that means I've got her interested, hopefully the finished product delivers.
I'll update with a tasting when completed.