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I have a wheat beer I'll be bottling this weekend. I want to add some lemon flavor to a portion of the bottles, creating something akin to (but hopefully better than) Leinie's Summer Shandy. Very refreshing for summertime.

I've had no luck finding any tips on this, although I was told to use a drier (not too sweet) lemonade in the mix. Any suggestions on how to do it, what to use and what to watch out for are appreciated.

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2 Answers 2

Maybe add a bit of Limoncello, some other lemon liqueur, or lemon extract.

Another option would be to bottle about 60% beer and 40% lemon-lime soda. This is how authentic Austrian Radlers are made (although a lot of people seem to think they're made of lemonade), which I think are considered a type of shandy. This weakens the strength of your beer, but makes for a very thirst-quenching, crisp brew. The drink was originally developed for bikers in the Alps, so it's not going to be insanely sweet.

I agree with brewchez though about over-carbonating and bottle popping potential. With the sugar and carbonation already present in the soda (and lemonade, if you decide to go that route), you might consider lowering, or not adding any priming sugar, and conditioning them in a cooler or something to minimize damage.

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Just Do It

Add lemonade to your bottling bucket after you bottled the normal portion of wheat beer. Remember that most lemonades will contribute sugars that the yeast will eat. Try to figure out the content you are adding and subtract it from the priming sugar. Watch out for bottle bombs.

Measure It

It is easy to figure out the volume of lemonade to add by doing it on a small scale.

  1. Pour yourself a glass of wheat beer and add a (small) measured amount of lemonade.
  2. Taste it and judge if you need to add more lemonade.
  3. Return to step 1. until you reach the perfect taste
  4. Record the lemonade volume and beer volume and scale it up to your bottling volume.
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I'd fear that the amount of lemonade used to get the desired flavor would bring more sugar to the batch than just priming sugar alone...leading to bottle bomb potential. –  brewchez Mar 31 '10 at 22:52
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If calculations show that to be true (sugar content should be listed on the label) then it would have to go through another short fermentation until the gravity drops again. –  Dean Brundage Apr 1 '10 at 13:27
    
Refermenting out the sugar from the added lemonade wouldn't make the beer taste very lemonade like. I think the only way to do this is if you are kegging. That way you can do the mix and keep it cold so it doesn't ferment out. Or better yet, just brew a great beer and mix it in the glass. I am all for experimentation, but you might not be able to get the right mix of flavor and "safety". –  brewchez Apr 2 '10 at 0:39
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Or you could go with Crystal Light, or some other lemonade with an artificial sugar that is not fermentable. –  bazin Apr 2 '10 at 0:47
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