Summer 2020-21 will be remembered in Australia as a summer like no other and one of the major changes in the drinks category we will witness is the rise of Hard Seltzer. What is a Hard Seltzer we hear you say? Hard seltzer’s popularity is a message from the market signalling demand for beverages that are lighter on the palate, skinnier on the calories, and less challenging to consume than big-bodied, highly flavourful, calorically rich beers.
Strip away the peripherals, and what is left is a simple cocktail something like a vodka tonic. Can I brew one for my friends and pop the base on the Kegerator and mix in some post mix syrups to make a rainbow of colours and flavours? Or can I brew a neutral hard seltzer base then fruit and flavour post fermentation? Yes, You can! Here, we are giving you a neutral Hard Seltzer base recipe from which the sky is the limit in terms of additions of flavours and fruit combinations. We even throw in some simple suggestions to create your own Lemon and Lime Hard Seltzer!
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Swing | Hard Seltzer Neutral Base Recipe Kit
Batch & Fermentation:
- Batch Size: 19 Litres / 5.0 US Gallons
- Fermentation time: 1 week
- Carbonation Time: 2 weeks
Standard 4% ABV Hard Seltzer Recipe
Calories per serving: 90 (estimated)
Neutral Base Ingredients:
- Fill your Kettle with 15 Litres of RO or distilled or filtered water.
- Add the sugar and 5g of Calcium Sulphate Gypsum (adjusts calcium concentration to 50 ppm) and stir until dissolved. Add water to top up to 19 L.
- Check the density with a hydrometer or refractometer, it should read 1.040 SG or 10°Bx.
- Check the pH and adjust to an appropriate pH for your yeast, if desired. (This is around pH 5 for beer yeasts or pH 4 for wine yeasts).
- Bring the sugar solution to a boil and boil gently for 5 minutes (this should not boil off a significant volume of water).
- Cool the sugar solution, aerate the mixture, and transfer to your fermenter. Pitch the yeast and yeast nutrients and Turbo Carbon.
- Ferment at 18-21°C for a week and take daily hydrometer reading. FG should be reached by day 3-5 and the rest of the week will be for maturation.
- As the fermentation nears its conclusion, you may want to swirl the fermenter gently for a few times each day or allow the temperature to rise slightly. Do not exceed the yeast strain’s recommended working temperature range.
- After fermentation, it is strongly advised you fine with Turbo Clear according to the instructions on the packets.
- After clarification, transfer the solution to a bottling bucket or a keg while being careful not to transfer any of the sediment at the bottom.
- Add your choice of flavouring, citric acid (if needed), and sucrose for back sweetening. If your back sweetening or flavouring with juice and/or sugar be sure to knock out the yeast by adding 4 x Campden Tablets (sold separately) or potassium sorbate to prevent fermentation of the sweetening sugar
- After those are dissolved, rack to a keg and carbonate to 2.8 volumes of CO2.
- You may also carbonate the beverage to normal beer levels, so you do not need to balance your draught system.
- If bottling, do not add the sugar for back sweetening Campden Tablets (sold separately) or potassium sorbate. Use heavy gauge bottles, such as those in which Champagne or Sour Beers are packaged.
- Follow typical procedure for bottling or kegging and enjoy your refreshing seltzer two weeks later!
- Sulphur off-flavours are common with hard seltzers. Carbon dioxide bubbling can be used to strip these unpleasant rotten-egg and burnt-match aromas from hard seltzer.
- Just be sure to vent the keg during bubbling to allow these volatiles to escape.
- Nutrient adjustments and/or yeast strain selection on future batches can be made to help dial in the process. The trial-and-error nature of this process is the primary reason that many commercial seltzer producers select a yeast/nutrient blend designed for these intentionally bland bases.
BeerCo Swing Neutral Hard Seltzer Base Recipe Kit Contents:
Optional Extras to Invest in: (NB: not included in the Neutral Base Recipe Kit)
Tips and Tricks for Flavour Additions to your Swing | Hard Seltzer Neutral Base Recipe:
Lemon and Lime | Swing Hard Seltzer
The last step is to add the flavour additions.
- Dissolve 14g of citric acid powder in the lemon and lime juice (250mL of each).
- Slowly release the pressure on the keg, open the top while flushing the headspace with CO2, and add the flavourings.
- Quickly closing the lid and re-pressurizing the headspace will minimize loss of carbonation.
- The lemon and lime juice in this recipe is intended to provide a slight haze, so if you choose not to filter, the juice will complement the haze of the Swing Hard Seltzer base recipe.
Possible Sauces for a Lemon and Lime flavoured Swing | Hard Seltzer
- 8 mL lime extract added after CO2 bubbling (if used) and carbonation or 250mL freshly squeezed lime juice or buy a bottle of 99% Lime Juice from your local Coles or Woollies in the baking aisle
- 8 mL lemon extract after CO2 bubbling (if used) and carbonation or 200mL freshly squeezed lemon juice or buy a bottle of 99% Lemon Juice from your local Coles or Woollies in the baking aisle
- You can also chop up freshly cut Lemons, Limes and Oranges and add to the glass post pouring.
- Another idea would be to experiment with Bickford's Traditional Cordials and pour Swing | Hard Seltzer off the Kegerator and post mix flavour to your guests liking or flavour of choice!
Sauces of Brewspiration and places to go to sauce some flavours and further reading on How to Make Hard Seltzer at Home easy peasy: