A blog originally for keeping track of my hobby of being a Beekeeper which has evolved to include Home Brewing and even more recently to follow me and my families approach to "The Good Life". Eventually I hope to include baking recipes and stories of our flock of chickens also reporting on the success and failure at the allotments.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Ginger and Lemon Mead

I have started another batch of mead. This one is very experimental and again I haven't followed a strict recipe. This mead (as it contains honey, lemon and ginger) will be called medicinal mead!

To start this one off I copied instructions I had found for making a yeast starter. This involved putting a teaspoon of wine yeast in a jam jar with a couple of teaspoons of ginger and a couple of teaspoons of sugar. I then gave this a good shake and then added the juice of a whole lemon. The next thing to do was to put a piece of kitchen towel over the top to stop dust getting in. Within half an hour it was fizzing quite happily.

The next day I added another couple of teaspoons of grated ginger and the same amount of sugar. By this point it was fizzing like a freshly opened can of ginger beer and smelling like one as well!! I left the jam jar for about 12 hours then made the mead. To start I boiled a large pan of water and left it to cool; this is done to get rid of the chlorine in the water. I then weighed out 1.5kg of honey. This was easier said than done as all my honey has now solidified and I did bend a spoon or 2, I eventually went for the wooden spoon option. The honey was then dissolved in about 2 litres of the pre boiled water which was still warm so dissolved fairly easily. This honey water was then put in to a 1 gallon demijohn. The juice of 2 lemons and the rind from 1 was added into the demijohn along with a handful of sultanas and about a tablespoon of grated ginger (I didn't measure this and just added to taste). The last thing to go in was the contents of the jam jar. When all the ingredients were in I put further water in the demijohn to make it up to 4.5 litres.

Using my newly bought hydrometer I then took a gravity reading that was 1.080; this is known as the specific gravity or SG. When the mead has fully fermented I will take a further reading and then be able to work out roughly how much alcohol is in the brew by using a formula. The formula is quite complicated so I will be using an online calculator. About half an hour after adding all the ingredients and looking on the Internet at different SG levels I decided my level wasn't quite high enough so I added sugar to make my SG level 1.090. After I applied an airlock I checked back on it after about half an hour and found it to already be bubbling away very happily, almost worryingly fast!

I will now leave this in a warm place for a few months and then rack it and take another gravity measurement. If the alcohol level is 12% or above I will probably bottle it then.

This picture was taken a day after everything was put in the demijohn and you can see a layer of foam forming at the top as it is fermenting so rapidly. The bottle that is partly in the shot, to the right of the main bottle, is my first mead which is still not quite ready.

I would also like to add a note thanking my proof reader and editor, Steph, for the work she does correcting my grammar before I publish new posts. She has started writing her own blog about chickens, I think you should follow this link and have a read!