How to Make Mead

The process is very simple; being patient is the hard part. I will briefly explain the steps and the equipment into making mead right at home. You will be shocked at how easy this honeymooner’s beverage is to produce:

The basic equipment needed for mead making isn’t very expensive, and usually lasts for a long time. Local Homebrew shops generally have these items in stock daily. If you have any items at home already, feel free to use them. Here is the list of items that I recommend you have in order to make mead:

  • Stainless Steel Stock Pot
  • Thermometer
  • Hydrometer
  • Plastic Fermenter
  • Glass Carboy
  • Fermentation Lock and Stopper
  • Racking Cane and Tubing
  • Sanitizer
Instructions for How to Make Mead
Now the part that you all have been waiting for, the steps involved in making your first batch of mead. You will start out making sure all your equipment is clean and sanitized. Anything that touches the must(unfermented honey and water mixture) should be sanitized.

Put a gallon of water into your stainless steel pot and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. After boiling for 10 minutes remove pot from heat and add yeast nutrient, yeast energizer, and honey. Stir the pot until the honey and water have mixed completely. Hold the must at that temperature(around 170 degrees) for 10 Minutes. Chill the must down to 80 degrees. Take a hydrometer reading. Pitch(add) your yeast into the must, stir vigorously for 5 minutes. Place the lid on your fermenter with the air lock attached. Fermentation should begin about 24 to 48 hours. 2 to 3 weeks later(or when fermentation is done) rack mead into a sanitized carboy. Let it sit another 3 to 4 weeks. Rack for the final time into another sanitized carboy and let it sit until the mead is clear(another 2 to 3 months).
Now that you have finished making your mead it’s time to bottle. For a still mead you will need to add potassium sorbate to stabilize. Mix the sorbate through out your entire batch then bottle. For a sparkling mead DO NOT add potassium sorbate. Use champagne style bottles for carbonated mead.

Here comes the hard part, letting the mead mature or age in the bottle. Mead will improve dramatically with age. Leaving it sit for 6 months to 1 year before opening is ideal. Be patient and it will really pay off. Enjoy!

Monday April 18, 2016

The Garden Is In , Now It's Time To Make A Batch Of Wine

     It's been a very busy week here at Blue Moon. After a rear end collision last weekend & now neck problems I still had the garden to get in. I had hardened off the starts for the last couple of weeks on the front porch & they seemed ready to be planted. We had a few cold nights, but I hope we're all done with the cold weather. If not, I have plenty of  old sheets to throw over the raised beds.
      I started 6 gal of Vintners Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon this afternoon. This is my first attempt at a kit wine. I have always made it with fresh fruit or concentrate from my local brewery shop I am doing this to see if price per bottle is still low enough to make it worth it. Every ingredient comes in the kit so those don't have to be bought (Wine Yeast, Bentonite Metabisulphite, Sorbate & Clarifier). I  will post the progress as it  goes along.                

As of 5pm, 3 1/2 hrs. after starting wine I already have fermenting. Airlock is bubbling every 15 seconds.  

 Almost done!

How to Make Alcoholic Ginger Ale

Alcoholic ginger ale is gaining popularity today, but has been around for centuries. Long before Not Your Father’s Ginger Ale in the United States, Crabbie’s and other brands enjoyed a long history of success in the United Kingdom. Regardless of where you live, the good news is that alcoholic ginger ale is very easy to make, and it’s easy to adjust a recipe to suit one’s own particular tastes.
This article will walk you through the basic ingredients of alcoholic ginger ale and give you a simple, easy-to- modify recipe for your first batch. Using basic techniques that even beginning brewers can master, a great alcoholic ginger ale is just a fermentation away!

Sourcing Ginger for Alcoholic Ginger Ale

Ginger comes in a lot more forms these days than just the ground powder on grandma’s spice rack. For brewing ginger ale, you’ll get excellent results from a mix of fresh ginger root and crystallized ginger. Ginger root is a branchlike rhizome made of fat knobs or “lobes” found in the produce section of most supermarkets. It gives an unmistakable bite, crispness and flavor to ginger ale that makes for a very refreshing beverage. To use it in ginger ale, break off a lobe at a time, scrape the peel off with the tip of a spoon, and then dice it very small (but big enough to strain out later) and add it to the hot – not boiling – water before fermentation.
making hard ginger ale with chopped gingerChopping ginger
Though fresh ginger root is a key ingredient, it is not concentrated enough to give the strong ginger punch that you may be looking for. Crystallized or “candied” ginger will add that punch and take your ginger ale from tasting like the fizzy soda in the green can to a pungent and well-rounded fermented beverage. Crystallized ginger is usually found in the bulk section of organic and gourmet groceries, near the dried fruits. Please don’t confuse crystallized ginger with ginger candy chews, which are a taffy-like candy flavored with ginger. You want the kind that is actually sweetened, cooked chunks of ginger that looks like this:
02 - Crystallized ginger chunks-FCrystallized ginger should also be diced to maximize surface area of contact with the “wort”, but be prepared to wipe your knife clean frequently … it’s sticky.
The earlier you add ginger in the brewing process, the less aroma you are going to get in the final product, due to evaporation of volatile oils during steeping and the escaping of gases during fermentation. Be prepared to add more ginger to the ginger ale after fermentation, just like dry hopping a beer.


Unlike malt, fruit juice, or honey, ginger does not contain much sugar. So it is best to think of it as the primary flavor of your ginger ale, rather than the source of fermentable sugar.
To build a fermentable base for your ginger ale “wort”, you’ll need to dissolve sugar in water. You can use any fermentable sugar, but consider that using anything other than simple sugar will make something other than alcoholic ginger ale (i.e., honey = ginger mead, apple juice = ginger cider, etc.) so simple light-colored sugars are recommended.
True cane sugar from evaporated cane juice is better than table sugar (white sugar, beet sugar). Dextrose (corn sugar) found at homebrew supply shops also has a very neutral flavor that works well with ginger. Whatever you use, make sure it’s light and fermentable. Brown sugars like piloncillo or demerara will add too much molasses flavor for most ginger ales, though that might make for a nice holiday version. Non-fermentable sugars like lactose or maltodextrin will add body and creaminess, which are not recommended.
So stick to light, fermentable sugars and feel free to experiment. Golden syrupLight candi sugar? Why not?
Wood Background Banner - candi sugar


Ginger and sugar alone will make a one-note and somewhat uninspired ginger ale. Additional flavorings are a great way to add a little character.
Citrus is an excellent companion for ginger. Limes, lemons, and oranges are all good choices, but you can use any citrus you can get your hands on. Zest the fruit and add it (just the zest, not the white pith) along with the juice of the fruit to the hot water before fermentation. You can also add additional zest after fermentation.
Spices can also be added, and the possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Grains of paradise or pink peppercorns make excellent additions to a summer ginger ale, while holiday spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and clove would make a wonderful holiday ginger ale in the winter. Always add spices in moderation. Remember that you can add more later on if the flavor isn’t strong enough, but if you add too much and brew a spice bomb, there’s no way to take it out.


Ginger ale is a light, refreshing beverage, so neutral ale yeasts that throw off minimal esters and phenols are best. There’s no need to get fancy; simple dry yeasts like S-04 and US-05 are great choices, with S-04 producing a slightly fruitier version and US-05 a little cleaner. If you use dry yeast and keep the OG around 1.050-1.060, there is no need for a starter, but if you use a liquid yeast or more sugar, a starter would be best.
Adding yeast nutrient to the ginger ale “wort” is always recommended. Unlike beer wort, the simple sugar solution at the heart of your ginger ale is lacking in yeast accessible nitrogen, amino and fatty acids that yeast need to thrive, and it’s such a light beverage that off-flavors from stressed yeast will be noticed.
In a pinch, if you don’t have yeast nutrient, take a tip from meadmakers and add a handful or two of chopped raisins prior to fermentation.
Aerate well by shaking, stirring vigorously, or using an aquarium pump/oxygen system, and keep fermentation temperatures within ranges suitable for ale fermentation. Again, it is crucial to set the yeast up for success.


The simple sugar base of your ginger ale is virtually 100% fermentable. After fermentation you will have a very dry ginger ale with an FG in the 0.996-0.999 range and a flavor reminiscent of champagne, so you will probably want to backsweeten the brew. If you’re bottling, any sugar you add will ferment and cause bottle bombs, so you’re limited to artificial sweeteners. The recipe below calls for granulated (baking) Splenda, which measures out like sugar and produces a good ginger ale that any brewer can make.
If you keg, however, the best way to backsweeten would be to use potassium sorbate to stabilize the ginger ale after fermentation is complete (potassium sorbate will not halt a fermentation in progress) and add sugar at kegging time.
Whatever sweetener you use, it should be dissolved in water first so it will mix evenly.

Post-Fermentation Additions

Just like dry hopping beers, adding spices and other flavorings after fermentation is an excellent way to add a final burst of flavor and aroma to your ginger ale. Spices can be added directly to the fermenter and steeped for 1-2 weeks before racking off. Alternatively, you can soak spices and zests in a vodka tincture for 1-2 weeks and then add the entire mix to the fermenter, bottling bucket, or keg.


Finally, the recipe!
03 - Ginger ale in glass-FThis will yield 5 gallons of medium-flavored alcoholic ginger ale with an ABV of 6.4%. For a lighter, crisper ginger ale (like alcoholic Canada Dry) use about 2/3 of the ginger and limes recommended below.
For a fuller “craft” ginger ale flavor, use about 1-1/2 times as much ginger and citrus.
The recipe below takes 3-4 weeks from brew day to bottle. Primary fermentation will be done long before that – properly cared-for yeast make short work of those simple sugars – but as with beer, extra time will give the yeast time to clean up after themselves.
• 2 lbs peeled, diced ginger root
• 5 lbs organic cane sugar
• 5 limes (zest and juice)
• Water to make 5 gallons
• Yeast nutrient (dose per manufacturer instructions)
• 1 packet S-04 yeast
Boil 2.5 gallons of water, then remove from heat. Stir in sugar and yeast nutrient until well dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved add the ginger root, lime zest, and lime juice. Steep for 15 minutes. Strain and pour the mixture into primary fermenter and top off to 5 gallons. OG should be about 1.045. Aerate and pitch S-04 yeast. After 2 weeks, you should have reached a FG of around 0.996 and you’re ready to backsweeten. You’ll need:
• 2 cups of water
• 3 oz peeled, diced ginger root
• 4 oz diced crystallized ginger
• 3 cups granulated Splenda (for baking)
Boil the water, then remove from heat. Stir in sweetener until dissolved, then add both forms of ginger and steep for 5 minutes. Strain and add directly to the fermenter, or to a sanitized carboy and then rack the ginger ale onto it.
Let the ginger ale rest for 1-2 more weeks for the flavors to marry and mellow. Then rack to a bottling bucket with priming sugar, following usual beer bottling procedures. Target 2.5 volumes of carbonation.
Give the yeast at least 3 weeks to carbonate in the bottle
When carbonated, chill and serve for a refreshing ginger ale that is sure to please all your friends!

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