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Looking for information on adding citrus (lime, lemon, grapefruit, etc) juice at kegging to make a shandy. I have made several fruit beers by adding fruit juice, actual fruit, zest, and even flavored liquors to the secondary. I would like to make an actual shandy for the summer.

I toured Miller in Milwaukee a couple years ago and the Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy was super, super lemony at the brewery. I asked about that and was told that is because the lemon juice is added late in the process and much of it reduces through bottling, transport, storage, etc. This was fresh and very lemony. I want that in my keg at home.

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    You could just mix it in the glass... – Robert Apr 5 '16 at 21:46
  • I have mixed ginger ale around 50/50 with cider in the glass. – Chad Clark Apr 5 '16 at 22:43
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    I have actually been mixing in the glass to test it out. about 75% beer / 25% grapefruit juice seems pretty good. – Ryan Whitt Apr 7 '16 at 19:29
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Shandies (and Radlers for that matter) are beer cocktails from their respective home countries. A true shandy is a mix of light wheat or lager beer with lemonade and done in the glass. Companies like Miller are capitalizing by putting it in a bottle. The strip the yeast out of finished beer, blend with lemonade and then carbonate it on the way to the bottling line.

Fellow brewers I know that have sampled shandies form suffer form the same issues of trying to back sweeten ciders and meads effectively. They suffer from over carbonation later in the bottle. Then nature of the lemonade changes slightly to as a result of the minor referment.

I have always found that the most enjoyable shandy was made from blending in the glass. More importantly, everyone around the table is able to make the shandy as sweet or beer-y as they want. As a homebrew experience I found doing it this way more enjoyable to more people.

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  • +1, a bottled shady is really dependant on force carbonation and yeast inhibitors. – Evil Zymurgist Apr 6 '16 at 10:52
  • Agreed, nice to let folks choose. However, I also like it it be as easy as right out of the tap. I have wall taps in my home bar and just like offering convenience of having friends/family pull ready to drink beer (in this case Shandy) from the tap. No mixing. – Ryan Whitt Apr 7 '16 at 19:32
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By "late in the process" miller means they mix finished beer with the lemonaid then carbonate.

Pretty easy to do. Use a Yeast inhibitor if it won't be refridgerated after mixing. campden / Posassium Metabisulfite

Go up to a 50/50 blend.

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  • "Late in the process" I presume means they mix finished beer, yes. That was not clearly stated as such, but I understood it as at the point of conditioning for bottling. – Ryan Whitt Apr 7 '16 at 19:27
  • for us homebrewers, this woudl be at the point of kegging and force carbonating with CO2 or at the point of bottling and bottle carbonating. I only keg carbonate, so that is my plan. – Ryan Whitt Apr 7 '16 at 19:28
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If you plan on creating any of these beer cocktails and have access to a kegging system, this is your best approach:

  1. allow primary fermentation to complete
  2. add potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulfite (Campden tablets)
  3. wait 12 hours
  4. rack to keg and carbonate

If you follow the above directions, you should be able to add any normally fermentable juices without triggering fermentation. The main issue with this is that it completely removes the option to carbonate your beer via bottle priming.

Note: Potassium sorbate prevents yeast from reproducing, while Campden tablets shock the yeast (normally not enough to completely kill them). Potassium sorbate on its own will heavily hinder fermentation but not entirely stop it, and Campden tablets will stall fermentation temporarily, but either option on its own is not enough to completely prevent continuing fermentation.

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  • ...there's also the Occam's Razor solution of just having the mixing ingredient (in your case, citrus juice) on hand and mixing it at serving time! – DamienMann Apr 11 '16 at 19:23
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You can make a bottled shandy by using the zest of the fruit rather than the juice of the fruit. The zest is oil and terpine based rather than juice based, and it is magnitudes stronger in the taste of the fruit without all the extra sugar.

Additionally you can add and should add it in the beginning while all the ingredients are being sanitized.

If you are adding it after, I would boil some water up, and blanch the zest for 10 seconds before adding to your bottling beer. You will need to experiment with quantity because each fruit is different, but a good start would be the entire zest of 1 or 2 pieces of fruit per gallon. Yes it can be that strong, stir it in, let it rest and taste it again tomorrow to decide if it needs more.

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  • I added sanitized zest of 4 large grapefruit to the secondary. It gave it a higher bitter flavor than the sweet flavor I was looking for. As an after-thought, I figured I would add the sweet by adding juice to the finished beer and call it a shandy. So far, 75%beer/25% juice is pretty good. – Ryan Whitt Apr 7 '16 at 19:30
  • Bitter? Did you add the whole pith? Zest should just be the yellow color, no white at all. Grapefruit however is naturally bitter, the fresh juice too, so...maybe grapefruit isn't the best choice for home made shandy. I'd use Lemon myself, but that's just me. – Escoce Apr 7 '16 at 19:32
  • just zested the outside rind, no white but still got some bitter. could be way ingredients combined tho. – Ryan Whitt Apr 8 '16 at 17:33

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