Mike’s Hard Lemonade

By: Mike Dixon
3rd Place Shamrock 2003

Category 24 Experimental - 3 gallon batch

Note: I doubt anyone can recreate this beer/concoction, it was an experiment gone good.

3 lb cane sugar (2 lb for fermentation, 1 lb to sweeten)
4 cans lemonade concentrate (thawed)
1 gallon Pils Wort (Saaz hopping)
36 ounces Maltodextrin


Doric dry yeast
Edme dry yeast
Danstar Nottigham yeast

(all fermentation temps were ambient garage temps)


Dissolve 2 lb cane sugar in water and top up to 2 gallons with water and ferment with Doric yeast (yeast nutrient added)

Rack and add 4 cans frozen lemonade concentrate (thawed) and add packet of Edme yeast

Rack and add 1 gallon of 1.040 pils wort lightly hopped with Saaz and add packet of Nottingham yeast

Rack into 3 gallon keg and added 36 oz maltodextrin

Add potassium sorbate and 1 lb cane sugar dissolved with 1 cup water to sweeten

The truth was the original sugar water was an experiment to see how much pressure could be created inside a closed keg before yeast became dormant (in this case 45 psi). I used crappy Doric yeast, and I had racked this into a keg that had previously held a Blue Whale clone and had not been cleaned before I put the sugar water and yeast into it. I tasted it afterwards, and it was odd, but not bad and thus the experimental hard lemonade began. I started this brew in January 2002, added the lemonade in April, the beer wort in June, kegged it in September, and sweetened it in October...

Another fluke is this brew is about 30% beer wort while the real hard lemonades, malternatives, and alcopops are only 2% beer wort. Of course mine is probably in the 8%+ ABV realm while theirs cannot go past 6% ABV or they have to meet the requirements of a regular beer.