Lemonade Wine Recipe (Skeeter Pee)

On this episode of “Doing the Most,” we’re revisiting Skeeter Pee, a lemonade wine perfect for summer.

Last year, around this time, we released a video about Skeeter Pee, a recipe that’s been around for a while. It’s a time-tested way to make a delicious summertime sparkling alcoholic lemonade.

Now, this is not to be confused with hard lemonades like Mike’s Hard Lemonade. It doesn’t taste like that at all. It is its own delicious thing. And if you’re a new brewer, you should make this at least once just to try it out. I love the stuff, my friends do too.

So in last year’s video, we made 10 gallons worth, and I know that was confusing for some folks. So we wanted to put out another video that shows just the five-gallon version. So there’s no confusion about how this is made.

The ingredients for this delicious lemonade wine are 96 ounces of 100% lemon juice, seven pounds of sugar to ferment, three-quarters teaspoon of tannin, water to four and a half gallons, and a yeast slurry from a previous batch.

Eventually, you will also need potassium metabisulfite and potassium sorbate to stabilize, and one and a half pounds of sugar to back sweeten.

And now I will preface this by saying, you’re going to have a real tough time finding lemon juice that doesn’t have preservatives in it. We’re using two different brands of lemon juice here, and both of them have preservatives like sodium benzoate and sodium metabisulfite.

Now, typically we would advise against fermenting anything that’s got these stabilizing agents in it. However, we’re going to be able to ferment this because we’re using some pretty hardcore yeast that you just use to ferment a batch, and we’re going to be feeding it along the way.

I don’t know if this is still considered best practice, but when I first started making this, people were rubber banding paper towels over the top of the lemon juice to let it gas out for a few days in hopes that the preservatives would kind of off-gas into the air.

I don’t know if that’s how it actually works. I don’t know if it’s the equivalent of standing on one leg and waving a rubber chicken over your head, but I do it because that’s how I’ve always done it. Feel free to try it without, your mileage may vary.

After a few days, we’re ready to make it. And we have all of our ingredients here, and now I will confess I’m making a 10-gallon batch because I would like enough to last all summer for family gatherings and other get-togethers. But we will make sure to only show you the five-gallon version.

So with a little movie magic, we’ll get started, and this really couldn’t be easier.

You’re going to dump in your sugar, making sure to weigh it out as you go, and then pour in one bottle of the lemon juice. Now, these are usually sold in 32-ounce bottles. So preferably, hopefully, you’ll start out with 3 32-ounce bottles, which in total will give you your 96 ounces.

After that’s stirred up into a kind of a slurry, we’ll add our wine tannin. Now, this step is optional. You don’t have to do this, but it helps kind of round out the palate on this brew. And then we’re going to add our brewing water up to four and a half gallons.

Now, the reason we’re going up to four and a half gallons is that we’re going to be adding the other two bottles of lemon juice later. And we want to make sure that we don’t go over five gallons.

In addition to that, our yeast slurry for this batch actually came from the hydro mills that we fermented in our collaboration with Homebrew Ohio. I harvested the yeast off of that and put it in the fridge until I was ready to make this. It’s sad. It’s gone a little bit dormant.

So I decided to revitalize it with a little bit of go-ferm. Be careful because go-ferm does clump up, but just make sure to weigh it out. I’m putting about six grams in here. I also put in about a teaspoon of diammonium phosphate.

And now we’re going to give that a quick shake, and about half an hour later, we’ll go ahead and dump that into our batch.

And it goes, stir, stir, stir, lid goes on, and we’re fermenting this open with an upturned coffee mug. About 24 hours later, it started to kind of buzz to life, and 48 hours after that, it had lots and lots of foam.

Our yeast had taken off and started cutting through all that sugar and all that lemon juice. And then about a third of the way through fermentation, we’re going to go ahead and add a dash of diammonium phosphate.

It’s about a quarter teaspoon of diammonium phosphate, and about halfway through fermentation, we’ll sprinkle in another pinch of diammonium phosphate and add our second bottle of lemon juice.

And then when we’re about two-thirds of the way through fermentation, we will add that last bottle of lemon juice and one more pinch of diammonium phosphate. And that should be enough yeast nutrient to get it through the rest of this fermentation.

Skeeter Pee can sometimes be a slow slog from beginning to end of fermentation. Adding a little bit of diammonium phosphate as you go, especially when you’re adding that extra lemon juice, helps push it over the finish line.

Diammonium phosphate (DAP) is usually a pretty good yeast nutrient up to about 9% alcohol inside your fermentor. At that point, it doesn’t really contribute a lot to the yeast.

And so I know we didn’t take a starting gravity on this. That’s because we’re going to be adding extra bottles of lemon juice. And so the gravity is not going to be really accurate at the beginning.

But if you run it through a batch calculator, it comes up to just under 9% alcohol by volume. So adding DAP here is kind of helping nudge that yeast over the edge.

Once that has completed fermentation all the way down to 1.00 on our hydrometer, it’s time to stabilize. So we’re adding potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulfite as per the packaging instructions. And then about 48 hours later, after it’s had time to do its thing and stabilize and keep that yeast from fermenting further, we’ll add some Sparkolloid as a fining agent.

It’s a hot mix, so you put Sparkolloid with some boiling water and then mix that into your batch. While I’m stirring here, I’m also doing a little bit of degassing to try and off-gas the suspended carbon dioxide that might get in the way of it clearing.

And then we’re going to rack that off about a week later. And at this point, it’s mostly clear, but it still has some clearing yet to do. A week later, now we’re clear, and I am going to be putting this batch into a keg and carbonating it.

Typically, Skeeter Pee is served chilled. So this is the point where if you’re into bottling, you would just go ahead and sweeten with your one and a half pounds of sugar and put it into bottles. I find it’s best kept in beer bottles with crown caps.

That way, you can chill them as you want them and consume them without the waste or expense of corks. This stuff goes fast.

I’m putting mine in a keg so I can carbonate it. I have always wanted to keg Skeeter Pee and finally have the ability to do so. This is actually my first time having sparkling Skeeter Pee. I racked a little bit of the Skeeter Pee into this Mason jar with my pound and a half of sugar.

I mixed that up into a slurry and then dumped that in the bottom to rack on top of. As I’m carbonating and rolling this keg around, all of that sugar will disappear into solution.

I wanted this to be a pink lemonade, so I added a little bit of red food coloring, about an eighth of a teaspoon, just to give it a light pink color. You can do this or you can skip this step.

In the past, I’ve actually put a Kool-Aid packet in my five-gallon batch to give it a little berry or strawberry flavor. Feel free to try that out too. It can lead to some really fun colors.

And there we have it, time to pour ourselves a pint and see how it tastes. Crisp and astringent as always, it has a nice lemonade flavor, but really is a fermented lemonade flavor. You can taste the fermentation, the chemical changes the yeast have brought about in the lemon juice.

I don’t think you would get that if you just stabilized and then added the lemon juice. I think fermenting it in the must really benefits the overall flavor. It’s just lightly sweet.

Now, the original recipe calls for about twice as much sugar for back-sweetening, but I prefer this less sweet version. I’d love to try back-sweetening with honey. I think it would add a really nice richness to it.

I’m curious to do some A/B testing of a sugar versus honey batch and see where that lands. This is so good, so incredibly refreshing. When I go out fishing on Sunday afternoons, this is what I take with me. It really is one of my favorite things.

Thank you for watching. If you haven’t subscribed, I would love to encourage you right now to subscribe to the channel for more content like this. We do a lot of homesteading and homebrewing stuff, and we really appreciate the ability to share our projects with all of you and get your feedback on them.

Have you made Skeeter Pee? Let us know how it turned out in the comments, particularly if you added some fruit or other flair to it.

Continue: How to Make Wine at Home

As always, you can find us on Instagram and Twitter at DoingTheMost. Until next time, keep doing the most and enjoy your summer.

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