Craving that bubbly drink but don’t want to shell out the money? Make your own using this how to make hard seltzer guide.
Hard seltzer is a summer staple and provides a refreshing taste at a fraction of the calories and far less sugar than wine or beer. If you are thinking about making your own hard seltzer at home, here are some things to consider before you begin. Not only do you need high quality equipment that you can depend on to make your own hard seltzer, but there are endless flavor choices when it comes to making hard seltzer.
How to Make Your Own Hard Seltzer
Craving that bubbly drink but don’t want to shell out the money for that 4, 6, or 12-pack? The great thing about these spiked fruity drinks is that you can use off-the-shelf flavors or customize to your own taste by mixing flavors together.
Total Time: 6 weeks total – (4 weeks fermenting, 2 weeks in kegs or bottles)
Equipment Needed to Make Hard Seltzer:
Since hard seltzer is made from water and carbon dioxide, most home brewers should have everything they need. Below is a rough guideline of items you will need to gather.
- Cleaner and Sanitizer Star San Sanitizer | Beverage Elements (beveragelements.com)
- 5 Gallon Fermenter with drilled lid or use can use a brewing bucket or glass carboy
- 8 Gallon Stainless Steel Brew Kettle with Lid
- Long Stainless-Steel Spoon
- Stopper & Fermentation Airlock
- Auto Siphon Racking Cane
- Hydrometer & Test Tube to determine ABV
- Narrow Range PH Test Strips Kit
- Flavor Kit – Your choice of flavor
- Ball Lock Keg (Choice of size based on finished product)
- CO2 Cylinder (Choice of size based on how much you are serving)
- Liquid and Gas Disconnects and Lines
- CO2 Regulator
How to Make a Hard Seltzer
Hard seltzers can be made in one of two ways. The first is water, CO2, vodka-type alcohol, and your choice of flavoring. The second method is fermenting sugar solution, carbonating it, and then adding flavoring. Regardless of how you decide to create your seltzer, you will always start by preparing your equipment and ingredients. Begin with a great cleaner and sanitizer. We recommend Star San because it is odorless, flavorless, and USDA-accepted. This will ensure your equipment is clean and safe to use, as well as help in avoiding any odd flavors leaching to your product.
You will want to have Narrow Range PH Testing Strips available to tell you the acidity level of your seltzer. The narrow range provides the level of detail you need as opposed to Wide Range PH Testing Strips. In tandem, a hydrometer will measure the sugar levels to ensure you have the correct levels during fermentation and carbonation.
When transferring your liquid from your fermenting container to a keg, it’s great to have an Auto-Siphon Racking Cane on hand with food grade tubing. The auto-siphon has a manual pump built into it allowing you to get liquid quickly and easily into the tubing to siphon your liquid effortlessly into the keg.
Once your liquid is kegged, allow to cool to a serving temperature. Cold liquids accept and retain CO2 better than warm liquids. Attach the gas and liquid disconnects, lines, and CO2 regulator to your keg and CO2 cylinder. To quickly carbonate your seltzer, set your regulator to approximately 30-40 PSI. Allow the CO2 to absorb into the seltzer for a few days to give it a nice heavy carbonation, and then bring your PSI down to a serving pressure of approximately 15-25 PSI. You may need to ‘burp’ your keg to release extra pressure. You can do this by lifting on the pressure relief valve in the lid of your keg.
Once your hard seltzer creation is finished, you can store it in a keg or bottles until you are ready to enjoy the flavor-filled drink.