The summer shandy is an extremely refreshing beer that is absolutely perfect for hot summer days. The shandy is very similar to the German Radler, with the main difference being the type of juice mixed with the base beer. Shandy’s are almost always made with lemonade. The ratio of the lemonade and the type of base beer varies, but I will walk you through exactly how we make ours. The summer shandy’s base is very similar to our American wheat beer. Most of the differences will be during the boil and secondary fermentation. One thing to note before you start, you may want to consider adjusting the post-boil volume. The lemonade that we add to the secondary vessel will severely limit the headspace and can cause carbonation issues.
Summer Shandy Ingredients
The summer shandy has a very simple grain bill, consisting of just wheat malt and an American pale malt. You can split it right down the middle at 50/50, or add slightly more wheat at a 60/40 ratio. This will give you a nice grainy, bready base to pair with your lemonade.
For the summer shandy, there is a low to moderate bitterness. I would use around a 0.3 – 0.5 ratio of IBU/OG (for example, an IBU of 20 and an OG of 1.040 would be 20/40 or 0.5). You do not need to add any flavor or aroma hops, but you can add a small amount of citrusy hops to compliment the lemon flavor.
For the summer shandy, the yeast should be clean and neutral, while also non-flocculant. I prefer not to use a German hefeweizen strain with the shandy because I don’t want the banana or clove flavors taking away from the lemonade, but that is completely up to you. There will be some esters, but they should not be prominent. The following strains are excellent choices.
- American Hefeweizen Yeast – WLP320 (White Labs)
- American Wheat – 1010 (Wyeast)
Last but not least, the water. My summer shandy water profile looked like this:
- Calcium: 50 ppm
- Sodium: 5 ppm
- Sulfates: 75 ppm
- Chloride: 60 ppm
You will add your lemonade to the beer in a secondary vessel after primary fermentation has finished. If you are making fresh lemonade, you will need to add potassium sorbate to your fermenter at least 24 hours before transferring. This will prevent the yeast from fermenting your lemonade, which would change the lemonade flavor and cause a foamy mess. If you are using a store-bought concentrate you may not need to add potassium sorbate. Many of them contain preservatives that will prevent additional fermentation. You can use any lemonade recipe you would like, but we have included ours below. We will not add all of this to our beer, but we will get into the mixing process later.
- 1 gallon of water
- 1 pound of table sugar
- 36 ounces of fresh lemon juice or lemon concentrate
- 2.5 tsp of potassium sorbate per 5 gallons added to the fermenter 24 hours prior to transfer if using fresh lemon juice
Summer Shandy Recipe
The following is a 5-gallon version of a summer shandy. The numbers for this beer are listed below.
- Original Gravity: 1.049
- Final Gravity: 1.008 – 1.013
- Alcohol by Volume: 4.8%
- Bitterness: 16.1 IBU
- Color (SRM): 3.3
- Wheat Malt – 5 lbs (55.6%)
- Pale Malt – 4 lbs (44.4%)
Since there is so much wheat malt in this style, I would highly recommend adding rice hulls. The rice hulls will help stabilize your grain bed and prevent a stuck mash. For a five-gallon batch, I would use around half a pound of rice hulls.
- 0.35 oz of Citra at 60 minutes (14.7 IBUs)
- 1 oz of Mandarina Bavaria during whirlpool (5.4 IBUs)
- 1/2 oz of sweet orange peel (boil for 10 minutes)
- 1/4 oz of coriander (boil for 10 minutes)
- American Hefeweizen Yeast – WLP320
Add your salts if needed, and fill your mash tun to the required volume and temperature for your mash to drop to 152 degrees. For us, it was 2.8 gallons at 161 degrees. Hold the mash at 152 degrees for 60 minutes and then proceed to mash out. After you reach 168 degrees for mash out, sparge with 5 gallons of water. Pre-boil gravity should be around 1.043.
Boil the wort for 90 minutes and add the hops as needed. At 10 minutes I added a yeast nutrient. I also added the orange peel and coriander in a mesh bag. These spices are typically found in witbiers and enhance citrus and herbal flavors. The length with which you leave the spices in contact with the boil is up to your preference, but we usually stick to around 10 minutes of contact. Once the boil is complete, whirlpool the wort for 10 minutes and let it wind down for 10 minutes.
Knock the wort out in your heat exchanger so that the pitching temperature is 60 degrees and then measure the gravity and pitch the yeast. Make sure to adequately oxygenate your wort due to the lower fermentation temperature. Initial gravity should be around 1.049. I let this free rise to 62 degrees as fermentation starts. Hold the temperature at 62 degrees for 5-7 days until the primary fermentation starts to slow down, and then let the temperature free-rise up to 72 degrees to finish. Once your fermentation is fully complete, cold crash to 33 degrees for at least a day and then prepare to transfer it to the brite tank. At least 24 hours prior to transfer, add the 2.5 tsp per 5 gallons of potassium sorbate to prevent the yeast from fermenting the lemonade you are going to add.
Before transferring your beer to your carbonation vessel, you need to make your lemonade. Whether you are using our lemonade recipe or your own, make sure the water you use is sterile and suitable for brewing. If this is your first time brewing a shandy, I recommend brewing the wheat beer base by itself first and mixing varying amounts of lemonade with 4 ounces of beer to get your lemonade-to-beer ratio down. If you want to skip this step, you can use our ratio of 1 part lemonade to 4.25 parts beer. So, for a 5-gallon batch of beer, you will want to add about 1 gallon and 20 ounces of lemonade. This ratio makes it lemonade-dominant, but not so much so that it is sickly sweet.
We mix the lemonade up and add it to our sanitized and purged brite tank before adding the beer. This allows the beer to mix in with the lemonade during the transfer. Once the lemonade and beer are transferred, maintain a 33-degree temperature and carbonate your shandy to 2.6 vols. After 3 days in the brite tank, keg it, and enjoy!
If you decide to try this recipe, or another summer shandy recipe, feel free to send us a comment and let us know how it went! And if you want to see more recipes like this, sign up for our newsletter below to be notified when a new post is released. Cheers!