Author Topic: Ginger Ale Mead?  (Read 1722 times)

Offline erockrph

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Ginger Ale Mead?
« on: August 04, 2013, 06:48:53 PM »
I've had an idea that keeps popping up in my head, so I'm thinking of giving it a go. I was thinking of brewing a relatively low gravity (1.050-1.060ish) mead that would be a bit more refreshing than my typical 15%+ "dessert-wine" style melomels. I want to shoot for something like a fruited ginger beer (thinking raspberry, lime, or both).

Anyone have any experience with a recipe in this style? Would I use as much fruit as I would for a bigger melomel, or cut it back? Also, any recommendations on how much ginger root to use? Lastly, I'd want to bottle carbonate, but I've never done this with a mead. I'd assume the preferred priming sugar would be the honey I used for the mead, correct? I'm thinking of priming to 3 volumes in normal beer bottles.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Ginger Ale Mead?
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2013, 07:13:49 PM »
Your biggest challenge will be the bottle conditioning. If you bottle condition, it will be completely dry as honey is simple sugar and completely fermentable. Ginger without sugar probably won't be what you want (but maybe it is?) This will be much easier if you can keg, stop fermentation, force carbonate and then bottle.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Ginger Ale Mead?
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2013, 08:01:24 PM »
Your biggest challenge will be the bottle conditioning. If you bottle condition, it will be completely dry as honey is simple sugar and completely fermentable. Ginger without sugar probably won't be what you want (but maybe it is?) This will be much easier if you can keg, stop fermentation, force carbonate and then bottle.

I'll probably start off with a pilot batch, but I'm thinking bone dry will be OK. I think you can still have the impression of sweetness in a dry mead since the flavor of honey is innately perceived as sweet. I think as long as their is some acidity and tannin (from fruit or a tannin addition) and the spice level of the ginger isn't blowing your palate off, then hopefully I should be OK.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Ginger Ale Mead?
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2013, 06:08:23 AM »
I think there's a light, sparkling ginger mead recipe in the bible (Complete Joy of Homebrewing). You might want to check that out.  Honey would make a great priming sugar and it would increase the honey perception. Even dry meads tend to stop tasting like honey when the sugars are gone. It's amazing how important sweetness is to some flavors.  Nice think is it should be easy to make a gallon or even half gallon to try it out.
Jimmy K

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Offline erockrph

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Re: Ginger Ale Mead?
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2013, 09:13:28 PM »
I think there's a light, sparkling ginger mead recipe in the bible (Complete Joy of Homebrewing). You might want to check that out.  Honey would make a great priming sugar and it would increase the honey perception. Even dry meads tend to stop tasting like honey when the sugars are gone. It's amazing how important sweetness is to some flavors.  Nice think is it should be easy to make a gallon or even half gallon to try it out.

Thanks for the tip on that recipe. That's exactly the kind of starting point I was looking for!
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline punatic

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Re: Ginger Ale Mead?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2013, 06:45:08 AM »
Barkshack ginger mead.   :P

I cannot tell you how many horrible attempts at that recipe I had to gag down back when I was a beer/mead judge.  Don't waste your honey.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Ginger Ale Mead?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2013, 02:30:09 PM »
Barkshack ginger mead.   :P

I cannot tell you how many horrible attempts at that recipe I had to gag down back when I was a beer/mead judge.  Don't waste your honey.

What made them so bad?
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline punatic

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Re: Ginger Ale Mead?
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2013, 10:46:24 PM »
The low original gravity combined with champagne yeast, aggressive use of ginger and the sparking finish made for very unpleasant dryness and astringency. 

Apparently this is a recipe that many first time meadmakers are attracted to.  As such, they were prone to having many inexperience flaws in them too.

I used to cringe when I got the flight list and find multiple sparkling ginger meads listed.  It's tough to think of positive feedback comments to write with your mouth puckered to the point of causing tears.  But, because it was many first timers it was important not to be discouraging in comments.

However, here, I can tell you it is a waste of honey.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Ginger Ale Mead?
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2013, 11:08:40 AM »
Thanks for the frank feedback. Maybe I'll save the raspberry-ginger thing for a backsweetened cider this fall instead.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline tcanova

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Re: Ginger Ale Mead?
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2013, 12:03:53 PM »
I made a strawberry, peppercorn "short" mead a little over a week ago and it is quite nice.

My recipe
6# honey
4 bags freeze dried strawberries
1 1/2 tablespoons crushed peppercorns

I pulverized the strawberries and added them and the crushed peppercorns to boiling filtered,water and let them simmer for about ten minutes.  I warmed the honey in a water bath and poured into a sanitized fermenter and then added 2 gallons cool, filtered water and shook to dissolve.  I then added the strawberry mixture, solids and all to the carboy and topped off with filtered water to 5 gallons.  Pitched 1 pack champagne yeast and let ferment for 1 week in a closet (72-74 degrees)  Then crash cooled for a day and kegged and put on gas for a day. 

It is light and refreshing, with a strawberry nose and a little bite from the peppercorn.  My wife says I made a wine cooler.  ::)

I got the idea from Drew Beechum and from this blog.
http://mylifeoncraft.com/?cat=24

It was quite easy and I'm already looking for some new ideas for recipes.
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Offline punatic

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Re: Ginger Ale Mead?
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2013, 12:29:41 AM »
Black pepper in a mead, hmmm...  I am not a big fan of metheglins, but I love the flavor of freshly ground peppercorns.  Methinks experimenting needs to happen.  Luckily my girls have provided me with a great deal of albizia blossom honey this year.

I have so much I am playing around with making honey vinegar, with an eye towards going commercial with it.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 12:31:46 AM by punatic »
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Ginger Ale Mead?
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2013, 04:32:01 AM »
Black pepper in a mead, hmmm...  I am not a big fan of metheglins, but I love the flavor of freshly ground peppercorns.  Methinks experimenting needs to happen.  Luckily my girls have provided me with a great deal of albizia blossom honey this year.

I have so much I am playing around with making honey vinegar, with an eye towards going commercial with it.

Honey vinegar?  That's hard for me to imagine what it would taste like.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Online hopfenundmalz

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Re: Ginger Ale Mead?
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2013, 05:40:12 AM »
Some guy named Ken Schramm makes a ginger mead that is excellent, and he has called it "The Tina Louise", and some of you may have had it at the NHC previously.

Now that he is just about to open his Meadery, he will call it Ginger. Looking forward to a bottle of that.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline punatic

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Re: Ginger Ale Mead?
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2013, 12:38:32 PM »
Black pepper in a mead, hmmm...  I am not a big fan of metheglins, but I love the flavor of freshly ground peppercorns.  Methinks experimenting needs to happen.  Luckily my girls have provided me with a great deal of albizia blossom honey this year.

I have so much I am playing around with making honey vinegar, with an eye towards going commercial with it.

Honey vinegar?  That's hard for me to imagine what it would taste like.

It is most highly excellent in flavor.  Like honey and mead the flavors vary with floral source.  A high end product that requires no ABP licensing to do commercially.  Something to do with all of the honey my girls are bringing in.  You make mead (anaerobic), then make it into vinegar (aerobic - bacterial).
There is only one success: to be able to spend your life in your own way.


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