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otherchuck
06-26-2012, 07:16 PM
Newbee here, enthusiastic about starting my first batch on the weekend.

I am planning to make a ginger mead, and am wondering when I should introduce the ginger to the process. Should I boil it with the honey? And if so, should I remove any or all of it before the must goes in the fermenter? Or do I put the grated or sliced ginger into the fermenter without boiling it into the must first? When, if ever, do I remove the ginger from the process?

For the record, I am doing a 5 gallon batch, so any rough estimates of amount of ginger to use would also be appreciated. Also, it seems people like citrus with ginger; I have lemons at home, so if you think I should add those, when/how would I introduce/remove the lemons from the process?

Thanks for any advice,

Otherchuck

akueck
06-26-2012, 08:37 PM
While I've tried a handful of ginger meads, I've never actually used it myself. But you can find many threads and detailed brew logs involving ginger. Give the search engine a shot and see what you turn up. Not all approaches are the same in terms of when, how much, and how long. But given the comments about flavor, you should be able to pick a method that suits you.

You mention boiling the honey. Most of us here don't boil. Boiling will reduce the amount of aromatics in the honey. Most of the time, this is not desirable. [in some cases, the aromatics are not that pleasant to begin with!]

In case you are worried about contamination, honey is darn close to sterile all by itself. Heating it up won't make it any more clean. And botulism spores can't survive the low pH found in fermenting mead, though they can survive a boil at ambient pressure.

Chevette Girl
06-27-2012, 12:12 AM
So far my preferred results with ginger involve making a nice strong ginger tea from grated ginger and straining out the ginger before I ferment... I used a pound of ginger for a gallon of hydromel for a kick in the arse amount of ginger, you could probably start with that amount in 5 gallons and have it be noticed. But do check out the forum search tool for ginger like Akueck suggested, and you should get some good recommendations for amounts and descriptions of how strongly it came through at that amount.

Oh, and if you add lemons, the zest has all the flavour, you'll barely notice at all if you just use juice. I find zest of one lemon per gallon to be just noticeable if I zest it straight into primary (the little shreds eventually sink into the lees), you might get better lemon flavour if you add the zest in secondary. A good scrub with soap and hot water before zesting oughtta get enough pesticides off the peel if your lemons aren't pesticide-free (I hesitate to use the term "organic")... (I chuck them in when I'm doing dishes, before I put the dishes in the water).

Along with not boiling our musts, meadmakers also tend to be careful about adding too much acidity because honey has its own acidity and can become too acidic for your yeast if you make acid additions like a lot of wine recipes suggest.

wildoates
06-27-2012, 02:05 AM
Allow me to third the no boil and no up-front acid addition--you really do not need either. Mead is not beer. :)

And if anyone knows how to add an ingredient to a mead, CG will be that one. :)

Deacon Aegis
06-27-2012, 03:08 AM
Just to jump on the bandwagon, I wouldn't recommend boiling the honey either. I did the same on my first batch, then found out that the boiling technique is actually an out-of-date technique and often produces undesireable results (as well as alot more mess to clean up. Another thing that I'd be interested in knowing is what type of yeast you are planning on using. Now, as far as the amounts of ginger to use, definitely go with a forum search, though Chevette Girl is pretty durned experienced with the stuff, so I'd be inclined to look at using her technique for adding the ginger to the must. I do know folks who have sliced ginger root and added it in to their secondary as well with pretty good results, but the specific amounts I'm not sure of.

Chevette Girl
06-27-2012, 11:43 AM
Thanks guys but I'm hardly an expert :p, I've just made lots of mistakes to learn from... in my experience, thinly sliced or chunked ginger doesn't have good enough extraction, especially if you use it in primary, and finely grated ginger in secondary was a bad idea (especially leaving it loose), it made all kinds of sulphur-stink that didn't quite ever come out and was so fluffy I think I had to siphon it out and then strain the ginger out so I could put some of the must back in the carboy! Ginger juice (if you have a juicer) or ginger tea in secondary should be fine, or grated ginger in a spice bag that you remove after a week would probably be fine too, I think my mistake was leaving it in too long.

There's also the "do you peel it or not" argument, I've never bothered with that, I just throw chunks in the blender and hit the button till the bits stop dancing.

Deacon Aegis
06-27-2012, 12:20 PM
Thanks guys but I'm hardly an expert :p, I've just made lots of mistakes to learn from... in my experience, thinly sliced or chunked ginger doesn't have good enough extraction, especially if you use it in primary, and finely grated ginger in secondary was a bad idea (especially leaving it loose), it made all kinds of sulphur-stink that didn't quite ever come out and was so fluffy I think I had to siphon it out and then strain the ginger out so I could put some of the must back in the carboy! Ginger juice (if you have a juicer) or ginger tea in secondary should be fine, or grated ginger in a spice bag that you remove after a week would probably be fine too, I think my mistake was leaving it in too long.

There's also the "do you peel it or not" argument, I've never bothered with that, I just throw chunks in the blender and hit the button till the bits stop dancing.

Well see there Chevette Girl, you just edumacated me there and in a timely way too. I've been thinking of brewing up a ginger mead very soon myself, so this is great stuff to know. I bow to your expertise. Mwahahaha :)

Soyala_Amaya
06-27-2012, 07:03 PM
See, I got LOTS of ginger flavor from chunking my ginger, and no issues with sulphur, by putting it directly into primary. However, I peeled mine, so maybe the issue is in the peel, not the meat? I'm working on a second run of the same recipe, and still no issues (except for a slow ferment due to acidity and stressed temps). My viking shandy was one of the fan favorites I've made.

Deacon Aegis
06-28-2012, 04:05 AM
See, I got LOTS of ginger flavor from chunking my ginger, and no issues with sulphur, by putting it directly into primary. However, I peeled mine, so maybe the issue is in the peel, not the meat? I'm working on a second run of the same recipe, and still no issues (except for a slow ferment due to acidity and stressed temps). My viking shandy was one of the fan favorites I've made.

Let us know how that turns out for you Soyala! Curious to know if pealing it does make a difference there.

Chevette Girl
06-28-2012, 10:11 AM
Let us know how that turns out for you Soyala! Curious to know if pealing it does make a difference there.

:rolleyes:At this rate, I'm never going to get my to-brew list shorter than three pages...

Fisk Jaegaren
06-28-2012, 11:32 AM
I just sampled a ginger clove mead that is still in the primary last night. I used 6 ounces of crystallized ginger ( I rinsed the sugar off before weighing) in a 5 gallon batch, and I must say it was quite good and can only see it getting better after some bulk aging.

Soyala_Amaya
06-28-2012, 12:03 PM
Let us know how that turns out for you Soyala! Curious to know if pealing it does make a difference there.

:confused: I already did it in my viking shandy part 1. I'm redoing the recipe right now with viking shandy part 2. The first batch was a huge sucess and I had a couple of friends nearly (playfully) get into a fist fight over the last bottle. I actually thought it was a little too strong on the ginger, so on part 2 I took out about 1/2 a pound.

Deacon Aegis
06-28-2012, 01:49 PM
:confused: I already did it in my viking shandy part 1. I'm redoing the recipe right now with viking shandy part 2. The first batch was a huge sucess and I had a couple of friends nearly (playfully) get into a fist fight over the last bottle. I actually thought it was a little too strong on the ginger, so on part 2 I took out about 1/2 a pound.

Ah, excellent. Thanks Soyala, I'll go look through the logs!

Soyala_Amaya
06-28-2012, 03:34 PM
The thread title to the part one is Lemon/Ginger and Cherry, that was posted before I figured out a name for it. Naming is usually the last thing I do with a brew since I'm usually always surprised on what the flavor really mellows out to be! (Take one I named Muspelheim, I used pomegranete and other really BRIGHT fruits to make a gorgeous red mead only thinking of the color...but the flavor is NOTHING reminiscient of fire. If I had the time to delabel all of them, I'd probably call it the Fist of Fruit, or something like that!)

TheAlchemist
06-29-2012, 09:29 AM
(Take one I named Muspelheim, I used pomegranete and other really BRIGHT fruits to make a gorgeous red mead only thinking of the color...but the flavor is NOTHING reminiscient of fire. If I had the time to delabel all of them, I'd probably call it the Fist of Fruit, or something like that!)
Can't you just put a new label over the old one without taking the old one off?

Soyala_Amaya
06-29-2012, 12:40 PM
...theoretically, but then my bottles would look funky and I'm kind of retentive. I like to give bottles as gifts and show them off, so making sure they look good is part of the deal for me...that and my OCPD would totally kick in if I couldn't cover the other label completely.

Chevette Girl
06-29-2012, 01:05 PM
...theoretically, but then my bottles would look funky and I'm kind of retentive. I like to give bottles as gifts and show them off, so making sure they look good is part of the deal for me...that and my OCPD would totally kick in if I couldn't cover the other label completely.

I discovered a typo on a label once AFTER I'd applied them (long enough after that they wouldn't just peel off nicely) so I reprinted and applied the corrected ones on top of the original ones, and it was a pain to get them straight, I was never very happy about it so and for I guess what you'd call professional reasons, the only one I gave away was the one I'd promised to the person who gave me the fruit. Kind of a good thing, it was a small batch of something very tasty so I enjoyed it myself!

Soyala_Amaya
06-30-2012, 04:24 PM
Nice to know I'm not the only one who HAS to make the bottle as pretty as what I've made inside it before anyone can drink it!