How to make Hard Seltzer with a kit

Thursday, January 28, 2021

The trend used to be brewing Kombucha, and while brewing beer will chug along, the drinking rage these days appears to be Hard Seltzer.

Hard, as in Seltzer with alcohol in it.

And some fruit.  

Like 'Wild Cherry' because THAT implies a good time when drinking eh. 

Well, sure, there are lemon-lime fizzy drinks that give you hangovers that have been on the market for years but... the 'Marketing Team' will tell you that seltzers are perfect as low-calorie, low-carbohydrate alternatives to beer, and are thus ideal for consumers seeking out health-conscious drinking habits and an 'activewear lifestyle' in a post Covid Era. 'Post Covid? We're drinking because of Covid, get on the same field here Jim - Ed'.

Aside from marketing spin, seltzer is simply a sparkling drink with added fruit. 

If you are US based, you might know them as 'white claw' or 'lime claws'. White Claw is actually a huge American seltzer brand that has popped out of nowhere over the last few years, and is, as they say, all the rage. 

A good seltzer is easy to make with a seltzer kit, just as easy as a cider kit or ginger beer.

Here's how to make a good drop of it. 

brewing hard seltzer (like white claw)

The Sugar Based Method is a brewing technique and the other is to simply mix water with spirits, add some flavouring and force CO2 through it. It's kind of like making a gin from vodka

Which is nowhere as fun as fermenting your own:

lime mint seltzer

Sugar Based Method Steps for Seltzer with a kit

We trust you've sourced a seltzer kit and have read the instructions  -  take our guidance with the knowledge we've done a bit of brewing and that sometimes manufacturer's instructions are not handy enough for the real world. 

1. Heat 2.5 gallons of water in a large pot. You can do this on the stove or use a gas burner.

2. While heating, add  4 pounds of corn sugar to the kettle and stir until dissolved.

3. Bring this solution to the boil for 10 minutes.

4. Cool the mixture. When the 10 minute boil is finished, cool the sugar solution to approximately 70°F as rapidly as possible. Beer brewers will often use an immersion chiller at this point, or you can place the brew kettle in an ice bath in your sink or wash tub.

5. Sanitize your fermenting equipment, especially the drum (we love to use sodium percarbonate). While the sugar solution cools, sanitize your fermenting equipment – fermenter, lid or stopper, airlock and any stirring spoons or funnels. 

6. Fill primary fermenter with 2 gallons of cold water, then pour in the cooled sugar solution.

7. Add more cold water as needed to bring the volume to 5 gallons which is about 23 litres give or take.

8. If you are really keen, measure specific gravity of the wort with a hydrometer and record it so that you can work out your ABV and also determine when fermentation has concluded.

9. Add your yeast once the temperature of the sugar solution is between 50° and 80°F. This is called pitching yeast - the key part of which is making sure your sugar 'wort' is cold enough to not kill the yeast. This part may sound scary but it's pretty simple. 

10. Seal the fermenter drum tightly, and add your airlock/stopper as needed. 

11. Wait for fermentation to begin! Keep your drum in a warm place and try and keep the temperature as consistent as possible. It's now time for monitoring your batch and to add the nutrients in a timely basis:
  • If you take a reading using your hydrometer, you should see the specific gravity as has dropped steadily since your initial reading, and you may have seen bubbles come through the air-lock.
  • 24 hours after pitching the yeast, dissolve the contents of one yeast nutrient packet in a small amount of water and add directly to the fermenter drum
  • 48 hours after pitching the yeast add the second packet of yeast nutrient directly to the fermenter.
  • 72 hours after pitching the yeast, follow the above procedure and the third packet of yeast nutrient directly to the fermenter.
12. After a week, maybe two, primary fermentation should be complete. You are now ready to bottle your seltzer batch. At this point, you can follow standard beer making techniques to bottle your seltzer

As always, you want clean and sanitized bottles and caps.  You should also consider batch priming with sugar (not forgetting to add the flavours that came with your seltzer kit at this time!).

Using a capper will be quite helpful getting the caps on the beer so make sure you have one ready before you begin this bottling process. Once you have the bottles filled and capped your seltzer, you need to condition it (just like beer!) for one to two weeks and then it should be ready for a taste test. 

When pouring - make sure you seltzer has been cooled for at least a few hours in the fridge (24 is better), slowly pour into a glass - being careful to not stir up the sediment. Add ice and you are away. 

Enjoy your tasty beverage.

brands of seltzer

Why does hard seltzer need yeast nutrients to be added?

When making beer, the malt-based wort provides a nutrient and sugar-rich environment which help yeast fulfil their life’s only mission: fermentation. 

When making hard seltzer, the lack of malt means no nutrients are present that assist yeast cells to strengthen their cell walls and preparation for the process of converting sugar to CO2 and alcohol. 

So, by adding yeast nutrient at appropriate time intervals keeps the yeast alive and productively making your seltzer hard.

How to make hard seltzer clear

Every homebrew loves a clear beer and this is even more so for a seltzer drinking. As like most of these steps, clearing seltzer utilises beer brewing techniques. 

Ready to make your own seltzer? Here's a popular kit that's available for order on Amazon:

Here's a great video tutorial that you can also follow to make your own selzter. Raspberry flavour?



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