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Any Tips, Pointers or Recipes for fermenting Citrus Juice?

edited October 2016 in Recipes

Hi all,

I am trying to work out how to make a decent sugar free citrus wash that doesn't taste bad. The recipes I see online all have sugar added. I want to avoid that if possible.

What can you tell me about:

  1. Any treatment required eg freezing before juicing or boiling?
  2. What about nutrients or enzyme usage eg pectinase?
  3. Of course yeast is going to be critical. What strains work with high fructose?
  4. Any buffering required?
  5. How long to ferment / age before use?



  • +1 Interest here also :)

  • I can't think of any product on the market, traditional or otherwise that comes from distilled citrus.
    No 'wines' either. Given how big the citrus industry is there must be some very good reasons for this.
    Possibly, it's pH related but I'm guessing it's because the end product is revolting.

  • My lime vodka is all over the net in recipes section, but you excluded it as it has sugar added. Definately not revolting.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • Comes from fermented lime?

  • Come to think of it I have had fermented lemonades that weren't discussing but I think the lemon was added after the fermentation.

  • I do know the citrus oil extraction industry utilises rather different techniques away from steam distillation due to the high oil content of peel/ zest etc.

    Yet from a recipe perspective - Limoncello & the like are simply peel + neutral infusions & diluted to bottling ABV with the simple syrup to back off the tartness.

    Just back from a Italy trip with several commercial Grappa & Liquer distillery tour/ site visits.


  • edited October 2016

    @jacksonbrown said: Comes from fermented lime?

    And sugar yes. I have also done it with lemonades from our tree.

    Punkins Lime Vodka @ AD

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • Cheers guys. my 1st preference would be to avoid sugar, but may need to reconsider.

    so is triple sec / contrieu etc made by adding zest?

    @jacksonbrown, wonder if there is a citrus industry council or the like who may be able to advise?

  • @crozdog said: so is triple sec / contrieu etc made by adding zest?

    That's my understanding, more like a gin maceration or steeped after distilling.
    There are shiteloads of biter orange/citrus liqueurs out there but to my knowledge none of them distill an actual citrus wine.

    Googleing fermented orange only brings up hippy healthfood sites which should set off alarm bells.

    @crozdog said: jacksonbrown, wonder if there is a citrus industry council or the like who may be able to advise?

    Dunno. Smaug is mates with a distillery called citrus distillers but they look more like a consultancy. I have no idea what they do. One would assume they know stuff about distilling citrus but going of the website it looks like it's just the name. (I think they're actually members here :\"> ) Perhaps they can help?

  • google fruit wine / citrus wine recipes. esp in US for Lime, Orange, Tangelo, Grapefruits etc..

  • @crozdog whe you're talking about citrus, what fruit are you targeting? Orange, lemon, lime?

    Generally, I think you're going at very low yield considering citrus fruit is on the lower end of the sugar content (compared to cherries, grapes, apples, pears etc.). So, without adding sugar, I think you'll be looking at meager yield at best. Additionally, you'll have to manage a low PH must (good against infections but yeast might be slow to take off).

  • edited October 2016


    Always considering the yield of the fruit itself. I think @FloridaCracker played around with blueberries and didn't get really anything use-able

    520 x 672 - 52K
  • That is an awesome chart

  • True. My blueberry fermentation/distillation was a complete bust.

  • We had an excess of oranges, so with my thinking "oranges are sweet so they should ferment ok" I had a go. pH was surprisingly neutral. Fermented out ok. Distilled on 4 plates, used that neutral to then push through the gin basket to make gin with Australian botanicals. There's a fantastic lingering citrus note that extends in the gin. Worked well, tastes great.

  • @Timsky

    what was your ferment recipe..?

  • I had a few fresh oranges and took a food processor to them. Used a dry wine yeast from Laffort (grapes are also high in fructose @crozdog) and made a low sugar starter w/ nutrients to rehydrate/reactivate . That's really all I can tell you cos basically I was just screwing around. It did work though.

  • great chart @unsensible. have been thinking that as all the recipes I see use sugar, it must be due to their lower sugar content.

    @Timsky, can you share any more details on your recipe / process? Did you use pectinase or tannin? what yeast? how long after fermentation did you run it? did you rack the wine periodically as I see suggested? what was the wine itself like?

    Thanks in advance

  • edited October 2016

    Schwarzer Bio Blutorangen Edelbrand 40% vol. 0,35l @ Weisshaus Shop

    Heidelbeerbrand @ Parzmair Destillerie

    Maybe it is worth asking those Austrian distillers how they do it. I have tasted both and they were delicious. In Austria it is forbidden by law to add any sugar before distillation.

    StillDragon Europe - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Europe & the surrounding area

  • Just put it on a yeast bed from a previous ferment. Squeezed a whole heap of oranges, no rind or pith added. No yeast nutrient, was still healthy. To be honest I can't remember if I added dextrose or not. Probably should've kept better notes! Whether you do or don't is ok in my opinion, there's no tradition to adhere to. So if you do add, you'll get some gravity whilst still getting the flavour. Fermented low and slow at ambient temperatures in the shed, racked a week before distilling. Plenty of availability of inexpensive oranges if you can drive to Mildura region!

  • @sunshine, thanks. have sent them both emails.

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