Homemade Raspberry Lemonade Hard Cider
Nothing says summer like a cold glass of lemonade so why not make the hard or alcoholic version? I’ve been making frozen juice concentrate ciders for quite a while now and have been itching for something new. I’d seen the famous skeeter pee recipe but I didn’t make wine and hated adding much if any table sugar to fermented beverages. I finally went for it and ended up with a very tasty boozy version of a pink lemonade.
You should have everything you need if you’re already making wine, cider, or beer. Even if you don’t all you need is a fermentation vessel along with an airlock and some sanitizer. The one caveat is that this recipe is made specifically for kegging where bottle bombs aren’t an issue. I’ll add a bottled version when I get around to making a small batch.
Flavorwise you can go straight lemonade or use any of the varieties of juice blends available. Concentrate brand doesn’t matter as long as you avoid preservatives other than ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). At a 50 / 50 blend of concentrates, the lemon flavor will overpower the other juice but will leave some great residual flavors. The recipe below is specifically for a homemade raspberry lemonade hard cider but I encourage you to experiment. The final product will vary slightly based on the juice brand used.
Batch Size: 5 gallons
Original Gravity: 1.050 – 1.060
Final Gravity: 1.000
Final ABV: 6.5 to 7%+
Primary Fermentation: (Approximately two to three weeks in the fermenter.)
- 9 Frozen lemonade concentrate cans (thawed)
- 9 Frozen apple raspberry concentrate cans (thawed)
- 36 Cans of water
- 1 Pack of champagne yeast or whatever yeast you prefer
- 2 Teaspoons of yeast nutrient
- 1 Frozen Lemonade Concentrate Can (thawed)
- 2 Frozen Apple Raspberry Concentrate Cans (thawed)
Brewing / Mixing:
- Thaw out your 18 cans of juice overnight in the fridge.
- Sanitize your fermentation vessel and any funnels you’ll need.
- Microwave about 6 to 8 ounces of water till boiling. Add two teaspoons of yeast nutrient to the water and stir. Microwave another 30 seconds.
- Pour in one can of juice and then two cans full of water. Alternate so the mixture gets well mixed. Add nutrient mixture halfway through the cans of concentrate.
- Pitch sanitized yeast packet directly or make a yeast starter. A starter is quicker but directly has worked fine for me.
- Place rubber stopper with an airlock filled with sanitizer or vodka on the fermenter.
- Place in dark draft-free place with a stable temperature.
- Watch for bubbles in airlock within three days and pitch new yeast if nothing has started. You will generally see activity within 24 to 48 hours.
- Ferment for a minimum for two weeks for final gravity. Three weeks gives the yeast clean up time and help a lagging fermentation.
- Back sweeten with two cans of raspberry apple and one can of lemonade concentrate for kegging.
- Set to 10 to 12 PSI if kegging for a slow carb or quick carb at 30 PSI for a quicker carb. Check your keg until you get desired carb level. Mine generally tastes fine after 4 to 5 days at the slow carb.
Flavor / Color / Aroma:
The liquid is a hazy pink with a few surface bubbles. Aroma is of very strong pink lemonade. Taste is pretty well balanced between sweet and tart. It’s very similar to pink lemonade with a light hint of raspberry. The apple is completely covered up and the alcohol is barely noticeable.