Brewing Tips & FAQ
10 Gallon Brew System
5 Gallon All-Grain
Extract w/ Grains Brewing
Sour & Funky Beers
Build a Keg Washer
Chest Freezer Kegerator
Quick & Easy Drip Tray
Hard Seltzer (aka
As much as I want to say I can drink super juicy NEIPAs &
barrel-aged stouts all day long, it's just not true. I used to have
a hard cider or something lighter after a couple more robust
beverages, but lately I've been trying more brands & flavors of hard
seltzer instead. What I really don't like is the $15 per
12-pack price tag, considering it's just sugar, yeast, and
flavoring. After doing a little research and trying a few
different batches, I think I have the process down. While my
seltzers may not have a perfectly clean fermentation profile, I can
knock out a 5-gallon batch for less than the cost of a 12-pack at
the store. I'll call that a win! I've listed out my process
for brewing MikeClaw below along with a few references and the
recipes I've brewed so far. It's a really easy process and
turns out a crips & refreshing beverage!
process for hard seltzer is super quick and and easy.
I've listed my process below along with a few important
things to consider before brewing your first batch.
Water: There is quite a bit of discussion on
water for hard seltzer, mainly around the clarity of the
finished product. I use tap water for mine since I
don't care if it's a little cloudy or not. Mine does
usually clear out almost completely after sitting in the
keezer for a week or two, but I don't stress about it.
If you choose to use RO or Distilled water, you may need to
add some brewing salts back in, depending on how much you
get into water chemistry.
Yeast Nutrient: Since you are only fermenting
sugar and water, the yeast will want/need a little help to
get going. I'm lazy, so I only do one yeast nutrient
addition in the kettle. Others have had good luck with
staggered nutrient additions, which have really caught on in
the mead world over the last few years. That requires
buying different types of nutrients and adding them over the
course of a few days when fermentation is first starting
off. Both methods will result in a good seltzer, so do
some experimenting and see what works for you.
Flavoring: There are several different
flavoring options for hard seltzer. I've experimented
with the standard beer fruit flavorings (usually made by
Brewers Best (BB)) as well some
Amoretti Craft Puree, which adds a really fresh and
bright fruit flavor. Both have their benefits and
drawbacks. The BB flavorings are relatively
inexpensive, but some are better than others. I find
the Cherry to be very artificial tasting, and the Peach
tastes more like canned peaches rather than fresh. The
Amoretti has really great and fresh fruit flavor, but the
cost is around 4-5 times that of the BB option. I have
been experimenting with the BB flavors at kegging, and then
adding a splash of the Amoretti Craft Puree to each glass if
I think the batch needs more flavor. As I dial in what
BB extracts I like and in what volume and combination, I
will probably use less of the Amoretti, but it all depends
on what I'm looking for. I would suggest trying both
and seeing what your preference is, or go with a combination
as I have been doing.
Yeast: I used a pack of 71-B yeast on my first
batch of MikeClaw since I already had that in the fridge.
The end product seemed to have a little more frutiy esters
than what I wanted, but at least I proved the process
worked. After that, I've been using Lavalin EC-1118
champagne yeast, and I'm finding that to be a bit more
neutral. There is still some fruity pear esters in the
aroma, but the flavor is really clean. I find that the
light esters compliment the post-fermentation fruit flavors,
so it's not a big deal. I've seen other recipes that
call for US-05 or another neutral ale yeast, but I haven't
tried that yet. Wine yeast just seems like the right
choice for this beverage.
gallons of water to a boil along with the 4lbs of table
sugar. Make sure to stir the pot frequently until
the sugar is totally dissolved. Alternatively, you
could bring just the water to a boil and add the sugar
off heat, stir to mix, and add it back to the heat.
Boil for 5
minutes and turn off the heat.
Add 1 TB
Yeast Nutrient (and lemon juice if you're using) and
stir to combine.
Chill in a
water bath or other chilling method until the temp is
around 80-85 degrees.
chilled sugar water to your sanitized fermenter and top
up to 5 gallons with cold tap water or RO/Distilled.
yeast, attach lid & airlock, and wait.
Fermentation seems to take a little longer with wine
yeast, so give it a couple weeks before taking a gravity
This is where I
will add the Brewers Best flavoring to the keg and rack the
seltzer on top of the flavoring to mix. I've found
that 4-6 oz of BB extract is about right for me, depending
on the flavor(s) being used. This is where you can
experiment with blending different flavors and amounts to
see what works best for you. I would start with less
flavoring than you think, then rack the seltzer onto the
flavor, and try it again before you're done. For
carbonation, I just use the standard process, pressure, and
temp as with my beer. I find that the carbonation
isn't quite as high as commercial brands, but that's not
necessarily a bad thing, since those tend to make me burp a
ton. If you have a dual-pressure regulator, you can
try a higher pressure to see what you prefer.
Here are a few links to the Hard Seltzers I've made so far.
I'll keep adding more as I go along on my
page, so check that out for updated recipes, processes, and
Batch & Dilute: After talking with some pro
brewers and fellow homebrewers that are making Hard
Seltzer, they seem to be brewing higher gravity/double
batches of seltzer and then diluting them with water
post-fermentation. I like this idea for a couple
reasons. First being that you can brew two (or
more) batches of seltzer using only one fermenter, as
well as the time savings. The second would be
potentially reducing the amount of esters that I've
noticed after fermentation completes. If I brew a double
batch and then dilute with water, I would assume the
overall yeast character should be diluted as well and
result in a more clean tasting alcohol base for the
fruit. I'll be giving this a try on my next batch
to see how it comes out. As part of that
experiment, I will also be using tap water to dilute one
half, and distilled on the other to see if I notice any
Different Fruit Flavorings: A few of our
homebrew club members have tried what appear to be
vaping flavorings on both their beers and seltzers, and
have had good luck with the
Wizard Labs brand. One thing they all
mentioned is that these flavorings are VERY
CONCENTRATED, and only require a few drops for a whole
5-gallon batch. This kind of scares me a bit, but
I may need to order a few and try them out. The
prices seems very reasonable for how much flavor they're
supposed to add.