Ginger Wine.

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Becks the Elder

Country Wines.
Feb 23, 2009
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So, now my mind is at rest regarding my elderberry wine I have to deal with a couple of problems regarding my test gallons of ginger wine.

A month or so ago I started two different gallon batches of ginger wine. I have problems with both at the moment. I would appreciate any advice anyone can give me regarding either one.

Recipe 1:

I have a juice based ginger wine based on Jack Kellers recipe at;

Basically I racked the wine and took a SG reading (1020 SG). At this point it stopped fermenting. I think it may have fermented out as far as it can because of the initial amount of sugar in the recipe (4.5 litres of grape juice, about 250g of raisins and about 1 Kg of sugar). At the point I added the yeast I took a SG reading which went so far off the scale that I had no idea what the reading might be. Has the yeast hit its operational limit (due to too much sugar or alcohol) or has it just 'stuck'?

Should I dose the batch with potassium sorbate and a campden tablet and rack it or should I try to get the fermentation going again?

Recipe 2 - My second problem...

This recipe is based on a nineteenth century English recipe and requires fortifying with brandy. While the previous question has arisen out of ignorence I'm ashamed to say that this one has arisen out of my own stupidity...

The wine had about fermented out and required stopping but as the head space was already a little greater than I was happy with I decided to dose the wine with potassium sorbate and a campden tablet and let it stand for a week or two by which time I would have managed to get some marbles to displace the air once the wine was racked. Unfortunately I had failed to take account of the fine lees in the bottom of the demijohn. Three days later the wine still seems to be slowly fermenting. I therefore assume that the sorbate and campden tablet have not killed off the yeast, presumably because there was still too much in the demijohn.

So, I need to know if I can re-dose with potassium sorbate and a campden tablet once I rack the wine off the fine lees even though I have already treated it with the sorbate and campden tablet once already?

Sorry to keep asking all these stupid questions. I promise that's the last one for the time being... :e

Any help gratefully received,


It is very hard to kill a fermentation in process using sorbate and sulfites, these additives are to prevent rnewed fermentation at this dosage and the amount to kill off a wine yeast would not be recommended, Wine yeasts have a higher tolerance to sulfites then wild yeast and thats why we use what we use in the beginning to kill off wild yeast and micro-organisms. Youre just going to have to let the fermentation complete by itself. As for the first batch it is most likely done fermenting and has outdone the yeasts abv tolerance.
I made ginger wine at about the same time as you Becks, mine hasn't finished fermenting and it's very slow too.

Thanks to you both for your comments. What was your recipe Allie? Is this a test batch or a version you've made before? The two I'm trying are intended as Christmas wines. High in alcohol and probably rather too sweet for my usual taste but here in the UK people often drink the stuff in the Winter. Is that the style of wine your working on or is it more of a conventional wine? Good Luck with it. Let us now what your verdict on it is when it 's finally finished.

So, back to my question (the second one), do you think it advisable to re-sorbate and campden the batch once it stops fermenting or would that cause problems?

Thanks again, Becks.
Hiya Becks.. mine has finally finished fermenting and is clearing.. it was the first time I had made it, it's a 3 gallon batch..

My recipe was based on stones ginger wine style finish, med sweet but I haven't fortified it... started with a 1.085 SG and every couple of weeks added a half cup of sugar to the wine to up the finished abv.. forgot how many times I did it in the end just kept going til the yeast couldn't cope with the sugar and alcohol and gave up! .. am guessing 4 times.. it was a long ferment and the final alcohol is about 15%. Am leaving it to clear naturally in the carboys and will taste test afterwards. I may fortify half the batch and leave the other at a lower alcohol. It has great ginger presence already and am very pleased with the result.. this will be made in a 5 gallon batch next time.. and I intend to cellar it for at least a year before opening.

It's one from my book Troy, will post the recipe for you later.

I'd appreciate that. Been thinking alot about a ginger wine.
The sorbate is intended to prevent renewed fermentation when adding sugar to the wine at bottling time. Sulfite it every 3 months or you will get too much in there and change the taste and smell of your wine. PM Wade or Allie for more details.
I am looking at her ginger wine recipe also.
Hi Allie,

I am toying with the idea of trying a ginger wine. I see you were pleased with the result. How would you rate it on a scale of reasonable, good or fantastic, and is the recipe posted on this site somewhere ? I would like to give it a try. What did you use in addition to ginger to give it sufficient body ?

Thanks !
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Found your recipe for ginger wine Allie, in the recipe section. Duh - I should have looked earlier. Looks delicious. I am going to try and reproduce it starting tomorrow. (Have just started a coffee wine tonight while sipping on Tia Maria for inspiration).

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