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I successfully fermented a must of lemonade, dextrose and honey with EC 1118. It is good but very dry. I racked it into a secondary and added more lemonade concentrate for sweetness. My problem is I left the concentrate cold and stopped fermentation altogether.

I wanted it to be carbonated but not sure how to make that happen at this point. Also would like to know if it is ok to condition in the secondary or should I just bottle it.

Thanks for any advice.

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2 Answers 2

Just to paraphrase, your main goals are to reduce the amount of dryness and to carbonate (in the bottle.)

If the concentrate is fully fermentable, then adding more concentrate can only help you achieve one of goals but not both at the same time:

  1. With the unfermented concentrate in the must add potassium sorbate to halt fermentation, leaving unfermented sugars in the must. You get sweetness, but no carbonation, since the yeast are inhibited by the sorbate, and can't ferment in the bottle.
  2. You can bottle, and let the yeast ferment the concentrate to provide carbonation. You get carbonation, but not the residual sweetness. (And since the quantity is presumably unknown, you risk overcarbing or exploding bottles.)

To add sweetness, you can add food grade glycerin. This adds sweetness and body, and is often used in winemaking.

In principle, you could then bottle with the concentrate already added as priming sugar. However, I wouldn't do that since you don't know how much CO2 will be released, risking potentially exploding bottles. Instead, ferment out the added concentrate - raise the temperature a few degrees and then gently rouse the yeast to help kick start fermentation, and If that doesn't work, pitch some more yeast.

Once the yeast have fermented out the concentrate, rack to a bottling bucket with added priming sugar - you can calculate how much priming sugar to use to reach 2.5-3.0 volumes of CO2. Then bottle away - the amount of priming sugar is known, so no bottle bombs!

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Thanks for the help. I think I will ferment the sugar out of what I have so far then sweeten it with an unfermentable sugar before bottling. As I do more distilling that brewing, what would you think the amount of priming sugar should be if I use 20oz. bottled for the finished product? –  Mike Apr 20 '12 at 15:00
    
I would calculate the amount of sugar required for the whole batch. Then boil that quantity with a little water, cool and add to a bottling bucket. Rack the brew from secondary into the bottling bucket and bottle from there. The racking on top of the sugar ensures it's mixed well. –  mdma Apr 20 '12 at 15:05
    
Will do...Thanks again –  Mike Apr 22 '12 at 18:49

It's very difficult to simultaneously get both a) carbonation, and b) sweetness. Particularly if the product in question is dry after fermentation is complete. See the answer by mdma for the reasons why.

There are basically two ways around this:

1) Force carbonation. You kill the yeast activity via chemical (sorbate) or thermal (pasteurization) means. Sweeten to taste. Force carbonate in a keg.

2) Artificial backsweetening. Add sucralose (Splenda) to taste. Add a pre-calculated amount of priming sugar. Bottle and wait for natural carbonation.

If you choose option #2 you'll have to wait for the extra concentrate to ferment out first, otherwise you risk bottle bombs.

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I've made (still) lemonade sweetened with stevia. There's a distinct flavor from the sweetener, but it goes nicely with lemon. –  Tobias Patton Apr 18 '12 at 19:59

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