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RE:Ginger Mead (fwd)

Just a little recipie i keep on hand for such requests


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 31 May 1995 14:30:41 -0400 (EDT)
From: Eric Jon Campbell <ejcampbe@c00051-100lez.eos.ncsu.edu>
To: Eric Jon Campbell <ejcampbe@c00051-100lez.eos.ncsu.edu>
Subject: Ginger Mead

Greetings to the folk in the Piazza from Robyyan.

(Notice how I've given up on the naming discussion -- I'm just going to
use one *I* like until either it catches on or something else takes over)

Xavier asked about a recipe for the lemon ginger mead served at Feast of
Herne.  I wasn't there, I was at University instead (and had a great
time) but second and third hand reports tell me Terafan made the mead.
Since I gave him a recipe a couple years ago for a ginger mead that I
know he's made several times for feasts since, I'd guess that its the
same recipe.  And even if it isn't, this is so simple and easy its worth
trying just to see if you like it.  Its very low alcohol, refreshing and
pleasant.  Its based on a recipe in Digby.

Ingredients for one gallon:
        1 gallon water
        1 to 1.5 lbs honey
        1 lemon
        hunk of fresh ginger about the size of your thumb
        8 cloves

recipe for one gallon for the experienced brewer:
       boil and skim honey and water
       when clear, squeeze the lemon into the mix, and add the peels,
        cloves, and peeled and coarse chopped ginger
       boil 15 minutes
       pitch yeast
       after the initial fermentation falls off (2-3 days), bottle
       don't leave the bottles out of the fridge for more than a week...
       (You can skip bottling entirely, and put your gallon jug into
        the fridge if you want.  There won't be quite as much carbonation,
        but then you don't need to prep all the bottles, either...)

Recipe for one gallon for the less experienced:
(Suggestion: find an experienced brewer to make this with you one time)
        mix the honey and water in a large pot (preferably stainless steel
	 or enamel) and bring it to a boil.  As it heats, a scum will rise
	 to the surface.  Skim this off.  Sometime after it comes to a 
	 boil, if you've been skimming diligently, there will be no more
	While the mix is heating, peel the ginger and chop it coarse.
	When the honey and water don't have any more scum, cut the lemon
	 in half, and squeeze all the juice into the mix.  Also add the
	 ginger and cloves. (I push the cloves into the lemon peels, and
	 drop the peels in. This makes it easy to get the cloves out
	Boil 15 minutes, then remove from the heat.  The temperature now
	 needs to drop to something welcoming to the yeast.  Without a
	 thermometer to check the temperature, aim for something around
	 your body temperature -- room temp is a bit too chilly, although
	 generally not terrible.  You can place the pot in an ice bath, 
	 wait overnight (make sure its covered!), or whatever to get the
	 temperature down.
	From this point on, your mead-to-be needs to be treated carefully.
	 Its full of sugars that bacteria and yeast both like to feast on.
	 We want the yeast, we don't want the bacteria.  To keep the 
	 bacteria at bay, you must sanitize *everything* the mead comes in
	 contact with from this point on -- fermenter, strainer, bottles,
	 siphon tube, even the thermometer you may have used in the step
	 above.  To sanitize your equipment, you can boil it, treat it with
	 sulfites, or treat it with other chemicals.  I tend to use chlorine
	 bleach, but that experienced brewer mentioned at the beginning can
	 probably explain the options more fully than I can take the time
	 to do here.  Just make sure you do _something_ to sanitize your 
	Once the temp has dropped, move your mix into a fermenter (a plastic
	 gallon jug will work, although glass is much better) straining out
	 all the lemon, clove, and ginger pieces.
	Add the yeast.  You can use just about anything, each kind will have
	 slightly different effects.  I like ale yeast, Fern likes when I use
	 champagne yeast, and even Fleishmann's bread yeast works well enough.
	 Use whatever you've got available.  There are lots of ways to go
	 about adding the yeast, some of which will come closer to 
	 guaranteeing success, but are more trouble.  The compromise I use
	 between trouble and success is to rehydrate dried yeast (just let
	 it soak in a little water for 10-15 minutes) and add it.  Use 1/2
	 teaspoon or so of dried yeast.  If you're using something else, 
	 I'll leave you to figure it out on your own.
	Cap the fermenter.  If you have a fermentation lock, use it.  If you
	 don't, cover the fermenter with plastic wrap held on with tie bands.
	 The yeast are going to eat a lot of sugar and burp a lot of carbon
	 dioxide, which needs to be able to get out.  On the other hand, we
	 want to keep the outside air from getting in, since that's where
	 the nasty bacteria are.  Just don't put anything on the fermenter
	 that will prevent gas from getting out, or you'll have a mess to
	 clean up.  Keep the fermenter somewhere out of the way at room
	Wait a couple of days.  You should see a foam rising on the top of
	 the fermenter, and if you filled it too far, it will spill out the
	 top and make a mess.  Expect to do this at least once in the first
	 couple of batches you make.  After a few days, that foam drops down
	 again.  That's the time for the next step.
	You can put a real cap on the fermenter and move it straight into
	 the refrigerator.  When chilled, drink.  This is the simplest thing
	 to do.  Try not to stir up the sludge that collects on the bottom
	 when you pour -- it won't hurt you, but it isn't esthetically
	 pleasing to most people.
	Or, you can bottle it.  Find your friendly experienced brewer again,
	 and ask for help.  I'm out of time for this right now, so I'm not
	 going to go into detail -- briefly, sanitize bottles, siphon the
	 mead into them, cap the bottles.  (Plastic twist-top soda bottles
	 will work)  Leave the bottles at room temperature for up to a week,
	 then put them into the refridgerator.  Bottles left out longer have
	 a tendency to get over-inflated and explode.  (Remember that CO2 the
	 yeast are burping?  They're still at it...)
Good luck -- its a really nice drink, and quite easy to do, at least
after you've made it p