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Old 09-13-2012, 12:45 PM   #11
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I've basically tried the recipe in the first post. Yes the 1118 does work well. The lemon taste I did not care for at all. Normally I really like lemons but something about it in the ferment makes it taste funny. I have a 6.5g and 5g going to make more right now but without lemon, and with raisins.

I take the ginger root, peel what I can easily peel off, then put it in a 1/2 gallon mason jar and use one of those stick blenders to make it into a pulp. Then I pour/squeeze that down into the carboy.

I have seen suspicions out there that some ginger root gets irradiated when imported.

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Old 09-13-2012, 06:32 PM   #12
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I've basically tried the recipe in the first post. Yes the 1118 does work well. The lemon taste I did not care for at all. Normally I really like lemons but something about it in the ferment makes it taste funny. I have a 6.5g and 5g going to make more right now but without lemon, and with raisins.

I take the ginger root, peel what I can easily peel off, then put it in a 1/2 gallon mason jar and use one of those stick blenders to make it into a pulp. Then I pour/squeeze that down into the carboy.

I have seen suspicions out there that some ginger root gets irradiated when imported.
Hmm, well, I have planted bought ginger roots before and they have actually grown, so hopefully they are not, but shouldn't matter anyway. Funny about the lemons, maybe the zest needs to be cut down on.

Think I will peel, then juice in the juicer and then just chuck the whole lot in. Still debating the ratio of ginger to water, but it ain't gonna be 6:4, that's for sure...!

I wonder if I should put a chilli pepper in... I have a couple of habaneros growing on my window sill Or maybe ginger wine doesn't need that zing like with ginger beer...
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:50 PM   #13
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Hm that sounds good. Fermenting seems to change many flavors so much, like things you might think would be nasty actually taste wonderful, and the other way around, so maybe hot peppers or other ingredients would work! Yes maybe I did include too much zest with the lemon. It just overpowered the whole flavor, I could hardly taste the ginger, and this slightly off lemon taste was pretty present. I will say it did have some kick to it though and I'm glad I started two more batches earlier.

I'm sure not all imported ginger is irradiated, and maybe it was a suspicion only for the u.s. The thought was that you should be able to start ginger beer without adding any yeast if you leave enough of the peel on the ginger, since naturally the root has yeasts on it. Some people couldn't get it to work, and that makes suspicions that it might have been irradiated. Yes I"ve noticed with my root too if I don't keep it in a very dark place it starts to grow chutes. I've noticed it also gets a bitter taste when that starts happening.

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Old 09-14-2012, 02:50 PM   #14
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Well, I have kicked off my ginger wine experiment, using a sort of hybrid of the methods here, by shredding a load of ginger - gave up on grating/juicing, as it is so fibrous it just fouled up the food processor, so I just used the knife attachment and whizzed it up, along with a pound of raisins and the zest from 4 lemons (yeah, I thought I would just risk it, but I didn't zest very aggressively so there is not THAT much in there).

I used a POUND of ginger (450g peeled), which is WAY more than any of the recipes I have seen - because I am going to make only 5 LITRES (around 1.3 gallons) of the final product, not the 3 or 4 times that amount that people are making. I just don't need that much ginger wine . So the ginger kick is going to be very strong - maybe I overdid it, but that's why we do these experiments .

I poured about 2 litres (about 1/2 gallon) of boiling spring water over the whole lot and am leaving it to steep for 24 hours, wrapped up to stay warmish, though it's basically back to room temp now. Don't want to leave it too long for fear of contaminants, and I don't want to use preservatives if possible.

This evening I will boil the rest of the water (2-3 litres) and melt the brown sugar or honey (still undecided about that!) in it while still hot, add the lemon juice and bananas to the cooled mixture (I thought hot water would destroy the taste of those) and then put in a demijohn somehow (pulp and all - not sure how to get it in there, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it!) and pitch the wine yeast (not 1118, some unidentified Saccharomyces cerevisae - it ought to be alright), and just leave it. I MAY have to finally get a hydrometer though because I really won't know what's going on. I may also consider adding sugar/honey in stages depending on gravity and sweetness, to see if we can get the yeast to eventually die off and leave a bit of sweetness.

We shall see..!

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Old 09-17-2012, 07:41 AM   #15
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Just thinking, I guess the tradeoff with this recipe is leaving the mixture in the bin as long as possible to get the maximum extraction of all the flavours, but not too long so as to risk contamination. Some recipes reckon 3-4 days is enough, I have seen others saying 2 weeks. I suppose you just have to decide for yourself - probably give it a taste, too, to see if you are happy.

Seems a real shame to chuck that pulp though, I bet you that could be cooked up a bit (to get most of the alcohol out), a few more spices added, perhaps some more diced vegetables and fruits and things, and you would have some sort of chutney

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Old 09-17-2012, 08:12 AM   #16
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My last batch of ginger wine had 1/2 pound of grated ginger added to secondary, but none at all in primary. The batch size was 3 1/2 gallons. The ginger flavor was about right after letting the grated ginger steep for about a day. So I removed it from the solution. That was a mistake. Two weeks later and there is almost no ginger flavor left.

Ginger also varies widely in strength and flavor profile. Young thin skinned ginger is much less fiery then mature thick skinned ginger.

In a previous batch I had cooked about twice that amount of mature ginger in water for an hour or so, and then added the liquid only to the brew. That reduces the fieriness, but leaves most of the flavor. Same batch size. The amount of ginger flavor in the final product was much better. It was not fiery at all though.

Imported ginger is sometimes irradiated. Though I believe that is only done to ginger that has been ground and dried before it was imported.

Since this kind of brew usually has lemon juice in it, it's a good idea to add some pectin enzyme. Citrus fruits are extremely high in pectin and your brew will not clear unless you do something about it.

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Old 09-17-2012, 12:37 PM   #17
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All sound advice, thanks. Looking around, I now realise I have REALLY overdone it with the ginger - a pound on the gallon It's going to be crazy hot, though I can probably tone it down with extra water and raisins or grape juice in the secondary - make it up to a gallon and half or two or something. But then I might just leave it like this and see if I can get quite a high ABV, almost like a liqueur or something. Glad I am keeping notes, this is a real make-it-up-as-I-go-along job!

P.S. No pectin enzyme to be found where I am, not too bothered if it's a little hazy.

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Old 09-23-2012, 08:09 PM   #18
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Just to update on the ginger wine, it seems fermentation has pretty much finished, after 9 days all told. I've had to guess at the OG because of the raisins, bananas etc., but I reckon I must have hit almost 16% alcohol and the yeasties have expired in their own waste products, so to speak. I have racked off into a new demijohn, but it was impossible to do so without sucking up a load of raisins and lees, so in the end I chucked it all through a cheesecloth to filter a little and it may need another racking before we're done. Most of the advice seems to be to leave to stand around for a couple of months even when primary is finished, before bottling. I hope the taste has mellowed out a little by then. It's quite a dry taste, as you would expect, the ginger is very strong, though not overwhelmingly so, but there is a bit of a harsh alcoholic tone right now. Have toyed with sweetening it, but don't really think that is what's needed. Anyway, it's certainly at the high end in terms of alcohol content, had just a small swig on an empty stomach and certainly felt it!

P.S. Oooh, no, wait, I see some bubbling action still going on. We could still be headed down to 1.000 territory. Not that I really want a higher alcohol content than I have...

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Old 09-24-2012, 04:52 AM   #19
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If the yeasties aren't done they you will probably get some mellowing. Even if your gravity doesn't continue to fall. Once all the sugars have been eaten yeast will eat up some of the other fermentation byproducts. That usually improves the flavor of the brew.

You might also try mixing a small sample with some tea. The tannin from the tea can be used to help reduce the apparent alcohol. If you like that, then you might want to add a couple tea bags to your secondary.

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Old 09-24-2012, 09:21 AM   #20
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If the yeasties aren't done they you will probably get some mellowing. Even if your gravity doesn't continue to fall. Once all the sugars have been eaten yeast will eat up some of the other fermentation byproducts. That usually improves the flavor of the brew.

You might also try mixing a small sample with some tea. The tannin from the tea can be used to help reduce the apparent alcohol. If you like that, then you might want to add a couple tea bags to your secondary.
Thanks for the ideas - it looks like the bubbling may just have been some residual gases coming off the trub after all, things look pretty much dead, though only the hydrometer will tell for sure, in a few days.

The tea idea sounds interesting, I will try some things like that out with the extra that didn't quite fit in the fermenter.

I wonder if the somewhat harsh alcohol taste may also be due to the white sugar used - I was a bit loath to use that much honey, plus I wasn't really sure what quantity I would substitute for the 1.4kg of sugar. But there's just something rough about alcohol from refined sugar...

Hopefully time will tell. MAYBE even a bit of sweetening might not do any harm. I notice that Stone's Ginger Wine (the one I am most familiar with) is about 13.25%, but also has about 20g of carbs per 100 ml - that's going to mostly be back-sweetening with sugar, isn't it? Sounds very sweet, I haven't tried Stones in ages so not sure, but I will actually try it on a sample just to see. May try it with caramelised sugar for a bit more taste.

TAKE 3: Ooh, wait, no there's definitely still some active bubbling going on. Well, quite surprised, those are some hardy yeasties, hopefully they are hard at work improving the taste
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