This entry, as the previous one, has its roots in the past ACCE (Spanish Homebrewers Association) congress held in Burgos last March. Among the full array of beers we were able to enjoy at the Congress bar, an alcohol free option could be drunk. A lemonade with hops that for some of us meant a little recess from alcohol before tasting new beers again. It seemed interesting the first time I tasted it, but the Congress continued so I forgot about it until I arrived home and started looking for some information. It was easy to find a post about this lemonade in the ACCE forum, where the brewer who made it explained the process and the recipe for it. So, props to this brewer, everything you’re about to read is based in the information provided by Beer of Thrones (nick on the ACCE forum). Thank you very much for sharing!
This was the first time we were going to use our recently acquired carbonator cap, a cap with a thread that fits most of the commercial PET bottles and that can be connected to beer or gas fittings used for cornys kegs. This feature, among other uses, allow you to carbonate liquids in PET bottles. It is something relatively easy to do but very useful for example if you’re taking a sample from your fermenter, transfer it to a PET bottle and carbonate it for a picnic or a reunion, or even to see how your beer is at that moment. There are several other uses for this carbonator cap you can watch in youtube videos with easy and clear explanations.
But let’s focus again on our hop lemonade. Based on the recipe from the forum thread above, the amounts of ingredients we used for a volume of 1,5 liters (0.40 gallons) were the following:
Limonade with hops (amounts for 1.5 liters, 0.40 gallons)
Zest from the lemons
52 g (1.83 oz) table sugar
8 g (0.28 oz) Citra hops (pellets)
Water to complete the volume
First, we heated about 250 mL (8.45 oz) of water where we were going to dissolve the sugar. At the same time, we washed the lemons and peeled them keeping their zests (only the yellow part). Then we squeezed the lemons and mixed the lemon juice with the water and the sugar already dissolved. We transferred this mixture to a PET bottle with the aid of a strainer to keep rests of pulp away. We added some cold water to finish filling the bottle and, before putting it into the fridge, we also added the lemon zests and Citra pellet hops. You can try this lemonade with any hop variety you like, but we thought Citra hops would be a good option for this lemonade. Once everything was in the bottle, we kept it in the fridge for 48 hours.
After this time, hop debris and lemon zests were settled at the bottom of the bottle. Before carbonating the lemonade we had to get rid of all of that solid rests. To do so, we transferred the lemonade to another PET bottle of the same capacity filtering it through a cloth strainer. While we were filtering the lemonade, Citra and lemon aroma were more than evident. The last step was to put the carbonator cap to introduce CO2 through it with our ball lock gas connector. To facilitate the diffusion of the gas into the liquid we shook the bottle several times.
Time to taste it. It has enough sugar to balance the lemon sourness and the aroma and flavor from Citra hops blend very well with the lemon juice flavor. Gas is also important since it adds some nice fizziness. Although the recipe is similar to the one of the lemonade I tasted at the ACCE congress, the change in the hop variety give this one a different touch. I think is a curious drink and with a lot of room for experimenting thanks to different types of hops you can use. We drank it after a little beer tasting we organized at home and we all liked it. A refreshing drink, perfect for summer days, even for kids (healthier than commercial soft drinks for sure). And also for adults that for one reason or another cannot drink alcohol but still want their hop dose.
*This post was first published in Spanish on 25 June, 2017