Apologies! This is not a beer post, but I had a Twitter request to blog my ginger wine and had no where else to put it. Disclaimer over!
Knowing me well as my family do, I was bought quite a few alcohol-related books for Christmas last year. Excellent news!
One of these was John Wright’s Booze, Volume 12 of the River Cottage Handbook series. The writing style’s very conversational and, for me, skirting uncomfortably close to be annoying most of the time. The fella seems to know his was around brewing booze at home, though, and that’s recommendation enough for me. I’ve very much enjoyed having the book.
Beer does seem to be less his thing and the book has turned my head a bit and got me looking at the other chapters. Specifically those on infusions and wine.
Now I’m impatient enough when waiting a few weeks for my beer to condition, so I was quite shocked to see that Wright recommends a year or more before his wine recipes would be ready to drink. It certainly made me think I’d better get on with this if, as planned, I wanted to be able to give some bottles of ginger wine away as Christmas presents.
So,strange as it was to be preparing for Crimbo in February, ginger wine was made in the following way (very close to Wright’s recipe).
50g of peeled and grated ginger was mixed in a large saucepan with 1.5kg of sugar and 4.5l of water. This was boiled for 30 mins. Once boiled, the mixture was poured over 100g of washed and chopped raisins in a fermenter. Once cool, the zest and juice of 2 lemons was added.
The must was sealed up and left alone for 2 days. After that, I stirred in 1tsp yeast nutrient and pitched some white wine yeast. This was then left for 5 days, stirring every day.
It then looked a little like this:
After a day’s rest, the majority of the liquid was siphoned into a demijohn. The remainder was strained in through a sieve and a funnel.
After half an hour or so, there was a lot of airlock activity. So we are in business!
This will be tucked away for a good long time until fermentation looks done. I’ll then siphon it into a fresh demijohn for clearing. Once this is done, the liquid will be shared between six bottles. The bottles will be short on volume so that they can be topped up with brandy (nice!)
For info, the original gravity was 1120 and was down to 1098 after the week. No idea what it will ferment down to, let’s see.
The process was really quite easy and, having had a cheeky taste while transferring, it’s tasting really promising. Still VERY sweet, but beautifully lemony as well. Not so much ginger really, but maybe that’ll come in time or as the wine becomes a little drier.
Looking forward to tasting this one properly NEXT winter.
Made: 19/2/14 / Primary: 26/2/14 / Secondary: 27/4/14
After two months in primary, and with fermentation seeming to have stopped, I racked this to a fresh demijohn for clearing (and potentially finishing off if there’s still a little more work for the yeast to do).
I took a hydrometer reading of 1060, which puts it at 8% abv. I don’t know what I was expecting gravity-wise, but this instinctively feels a little high to me and it is still rather sweet, but perhaps this is how it’s meant to be. Plenty of time anyway, so will leave it in a demijohn with airlock for a month or so and see what happens before bottling.
It tasted very sweet and sharp with lemon and ginger, actually really happy with how both flavours are coming through now. Should make palatable winter drinking anyway.