So I was told I can add lemonade or orange juice to my wheat beer to make a summer shandy, can I just put fruit in the second fermentation stage instead?

  • What kind of fruit?
    – Scott
    Feb 20, 2014 at 7:10
  • Lemons and/or oranges??
    – brewchez
    Feb 20, 2014 at 13:12
  • 1
    A shandy is really lemon soda mixed with beer (like 7up or Sprite). They call lemon soda lemonade in the UK, where the drink drink comes from. In the US lemonade is something different, in particular it's not carbonated. If you add it during fermentation you're not making shandy, you're making something else.
    – paul
    Feb 21, 2014 at 14:41
  • A shandy can be beer mixed with almost any soft drink. Feb 21, 2014 at 20:26
  • @WayneInYak Agreed. That's also what it says on Wikipedia. But if you go to any pub in the UK, where the drink named "shandy" comes from, and you ask for a shandy, you're going to get lemon soda and lager. The point of it is usually so you can have something that tastes like beer and not get drunk. They're pretty commonly ordered at work lunches or similar situations.
    – paul
    Feb 21, 2014 at 22:30

2 Answers 2


One difficulty you'll have with getting that signature shandy flavor when adding fruit to secondary is that the sweetness (sugar) of the juice will get converted to alcohol by the yeast, leaving you with mostly aroma, and a little flavor. A lot of people don't recognize how much sugar plays into the overall taste of the fruit. Without the sugars, it is not nearly as appealing as we may think. In my experience, the aroma tends to drop off over time as well. This is why people tend to add a lot of fruit, especially of the citrus variety.

The important thing to keep in mind with this is to really recognize how vital aroma is to our perceived tastes. I have a berlinner weisse on tap right now (mild on the lactic tartness) that I added 3 pureed pineapples to in secondary. The sugars from the pineapple fermented out, leaving you with only the faintest hint of actual pineapple flavor. Within the first 2 weeks, the aroma was nothing but pineapple. Friends (untrained palettes) would try the beer and remark that it tastes like pineapple juice, even though the actual pineapple flavor was very, very mild (likely they perceived the lactic acid tartness as a character of the pineapple additions and not the sour mash, I didn't want to downplay my beer or confuse them though). It's been in the keg for close to a month now, and I'm beginning to see a drop off in aroma. Without having that pineapple punch in the sniffer, it becomes more obvious just how slight the pineapple flavor was, when before, the very, very strong pineapple aroma would trick people into thinking it has more pineapple flavor than it actually did.

That's why people blend in things like lemonade and other juices when they pour it as brewchez recommended, as to avoid fermenting out the sugars. Without verifying, I suspect a lot of people who blend their shandies for production either filter out the yeast, or kill the yeast before blending so that the sugars can't ferment out.

  • Scott, thank you! That does make sense. I was thinking of using lemons and oranges for my shandy. I am wondering if I should use a little orange juice and a little lemonade instead now. Does it matter what kind juice and or fruit I use. Organic etc.? Feb 25, 2014 at 6:00
  • Shandies imply lemonade, but you could certainly blend anything you think tastes great. If you're blending a the time of pouring, you can simply blend with whatever juice you think is good, as it will be consumed right when you blend it, well before anything adverse could take hold. If you were to attempt to add fruit to secondary, I always advocate adding the freshest fruit you can find, organic being ideal (you put all this effort into making great beer, go all the way and purchase organic). Also, if possible, try to sterilize fruit with vodka or another hard liquor to kill off the bugs.
    – Scott
    Feb 25, 2014 at 6:56
  • Also, this question is relevant: how to add fruit to beer
    – Scott
    Feb 25, 2014 at 6:58
  • Thanks Scott. Ya I actually sanitized and had organic apples from michigan that I added in my second stage of fermenting in an IPA I just bottled yesterday. It taste amazing. I feel the apple helps with the bitterness and dryness of the hops. Feb 27, 2014 at 4:21
  • I was gonna ask you, could I add say lemon and oranges in the first stage of fermenting and then add fresh orange juice during the second stage of fermenting, then adding a pop during bottling. Here's another question though, if I use pop do I need to use priming sugar? Because doesn't that carbonate the beer? Feb 27, 2014 at 4:23

You can certainly try it. That's the major advantage of homebrewing.

However, just because these beers are coming prepackaged nowadays doesn't mean that's the way its done in the place of origin.

These things evolved really as beer cocktails.

I think its far better to just add the lemonade to the beer in the glass. That way you have great beer to begin with and don't have to drink it all as shandy. You can also dial in the amount of dilution to fit your own taste.

(Or try a Radler which is typically lemon/lime/citrus soda and lager beer together).

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