Adding Lime to Homebrew Beer Recipes (Zest, Peel, & More!)

The variety of lime-flavored beers available has grown immensely. Using lime as a garnish is a staple for some beers, but its growing popularity as a flavor has homebrewers wondering how they can add lime to a homebrew beer.

Brewers can add lime flavor to homebrew with the addition of lime zest or peel at the end of the boil or ‘dry hopping’ them after fermentation has finished. Lime-infused vodka can also be added just before bottling or kegging. Certain hop strains, such as motueka hops, provide a lime-like flavor that works well when dry hopping.

Read on to learn about the different ways a homebrewer can add lime flavor to a brew. 

How to add lime flavor to your homebrew beer

Experimenting is part of the fun when it comes to homebrewing. In the past, brewers have been hesitant about adding an adjunct to a beer due to the varying results. But now brewers are taking more chances with the hopes of finding a perfect brew, and this is no different when using lime.

There are several different ways a homebrewer can add lime to their brew. Some of the more popular lime products used are:

  • Lime Juice
  • Lime Zest
  • Motueka Hops
  • Tinctures
  • Lime wedge

With different option comes different methods on when and how to add the lime to a brew. Lime flavor can be added by either boiling the limes, adding during flameout, or even added to the finished beer.  

Lime Juice

Lime juice is one way a brewer can add lime to a brew. Lime juice can be added from a bottle or naturally squeezed.

Lime juice can be found online or at most stores.  If using lime from a bottle, make sure that it is 100% juice. Any bottled lime juice with any additives will make the beer much more acidic and tart than usual.

Although adding lime juice is a much easier option, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. Most brewers who have used lime juice say the brew will be more acidic and have a more tart flavor than the other options.

When to add lime juice to your homebrew

The lime juice can be added either at boiling, to cool wort, or even at bottling.  Be aware that the later the lime juice is added to a brew, the more tart it will be. 

Lime Zest

Lime zest is another option a brewer can use to add to homebrew. You can find zest at most stores, or you can grate it fresh before use. 

The lime’s skin is where you will find most of a lime’s flavor because of oils found on the skin. Take a lime and rub on a zester making sure to use only the green (if you see white, you have zested too far) part of the skin.

The only downside to this method is the zest may need to be filtered out.

When to add lime zest to your homebrew

You can add zest at different parts of the brew, either at flameout, after fermentation, or even at bottling. It is recommended to cold crash to prevent settling.

Brewers like this option because it has all the flavor but is less tart.

Hops with lime-like flavor

Hops are another option to add lime to your homebrew. There are some different hops available, with the Motueka hops being one of the most popular.

Motueka hops are another option available for adding lime flavor to your beer because these hops have a strong flavor quality similar to lemon and lime. This hop is excellent for pilsners, lagers, and Belgian Ales.

When to add hops with lime-like flavor to your homebrew

You can add the Motueka hop in either the mash portion of the brew. Some brewers prefer to add it with about 5 minutes left in the boil. This option will add lime flavor without the high acidity or tart taste of adding lime zest or peel.

Lime Tinctures

A lime-infused vodka tincture is another way to add lime to your brew. Using a tincture will help give a more even flavor to the brew and help sanitize too.

Tinctures are versatile, making them a great option to expand your flavor beer selection. Soaking herbs, berries, and other fruits in alcohol like vodka is one way to make a tincture. To make a vodka and lime tincture, add some lime zest to a mason jar containing vodka and let it soak for a day.

When to add lime tinctures to your homebrew

Add the tincture at boiling or during racking. It also can be added at bottling as well. 

Lime Wedge

Adding a lime wedge to a finished beer is one of the more simplistic ways to add that lime flavor to your homebrew.

What makes a lime wedge a great option is that it is easy and eliminates any risks of ruining a batch of beer with the addition of lime. The lime wedge will add the lime flavor to the brew plus could act as a garnish. Even though it lacks any imagination, it will still serve its purpose by adding lime flavor to your brew.