Ask Mr. Wizard

Fermenting Lemon Juice


Peter Owens — Australia asks,

I recently attempted a lemon alcoholic brew, because we had a full fruiting lemon tree in our backyard and had more lemons than we knew what to do with. The cultivar is Meyer lemon, which is both juicy and a little less astringent than normal Store-bought lemons.

Using a champagne yeast, this brew took many days to begin fermenting and then weeks to finish fermenting. I expected an infection but am happy to report that did not happen. In fact it never actually fermented fully; I was left with a sweet low-alcohol product. It was only drinkable if you further backsweetened.

I have been advised to carefully look at the pH as this might be partly responsible. Naturally I will defer any further experiments until I can pinpoint the probable causes of my initial result. If you have time I’d greatly appreciate any comments you think might help.

It seems that people, past and present, have accidentally or intentionally fermented just about everything. The easy way to categorize alcoholic beverages is by raw material; beer is made from grains, wine
Response by Ashton Lewis.