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Good morning! Thanks for reading. I’m new to brewing in general, and definitely to wine making. My interest began with my pregnant wife pining to have some ginger wine available post-partum. We had some at a friends, and I got the recipe. Very simple - 1 lb ginger per gallon, 2.2 lbs sugar per gallon, Montrachet yeast, water.

My first mistake was probably essentially pureeing the ginger (overly chopped in food processor), next was maybe not putting the ginger in a tea cloth but letting it loose in the fermenter. I let that go the prescribed three days, then sealed with an airlock. It fermented vigorously. After another week or so I transferred to another bucket w airlock, where it sat for a month or so. At transfer I tasted a bit and thought it was mighty strong (ginger) tasting, but I thought maybe it would mellow a bit with time. But it didn’t really. After over a month, I made yet another newb mistake and diluted it with about 60% more water/sugar combo and pitched in some more yeast in hopes of reclaiming some of the abv. It seemed to not take, although in the last few days it has dropped from 1.02 to 1.015 sg. Unfortunately I did not take a reading at the start.

My next concern brought me here in search of information and advice. With some simple litmus strips, it appears as though the ph is about 5.0, in a microbe happy land. I’m wondering about how to bring that down without disrupting (hopefully invigorating) this prolonged fermentation phase - if possible. The stuff tastes pretty good now, still with ginger heat but much more drinkable than prior to dilution.

I’d like to save it before it gets biologically dangerous.

Having done what I’ve done, what would ye do?

Thanks again for your time
 
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BigDaveK

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Live and learn!
Kudos for trying to keep the little lady happy!
With 2.2 lbs sugar in a gallon your starting SG was probably a bit under 1.090.
I really see only one mistake. Overall you could have done things a little different to improve the outcome but nothing was disastrous. You know what you did so I'll skip a critique.
A pH of 5 is a concern, though. Yeast like a bit of acid and like you said it protects the wine. I'd add lemon juice, citric acid, or acid blend and get that pH under 4.0 for sure, in the neighborhood of 3.6. Some kmeta or campden tablets might be a good idea too. Hopefully it's not too late.
Maybe a couple more experienced wine makers will have better ideas.

I haven't made a ginger wine, yet, but it's on my list.
 

FlamingoEmporium

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While running your fruits etc. through a blender may seem to be a good idea to extract more flavor etc, it is usually just a nightmare when it comes to getting your wine clear.
better off letting the yeast chew on it for a few days then simply crush it a bit and let it go some more. If you read the beginners thread you will get some great info.
in most cases an open container (not under airlock) for primary fermentation works great for fruit wines etc. and don’t go by a time table. Go by the ferment. Maybe three days was enough or maybe it wasn’t done fermenting enough to go to secondary. SG should be close to 1.010 or under indicating your ferment is winding down.

oh and welcome to WMT
 
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Live and learn!
Kudos for trying to keep the little lady happy!
With 2.2 lbs sugar in a gallon your starting SG was probably a bit under 1.090.
I really see only one mistake. Overall you could have done things a little different to improve the outcome but nothing was disastrous. You know what you did so I'll skip a critique.
A pH of 5 is a concern, though. Yeast like a bit of acid and like you said it protects the on wine. I'd add lemon juice, citric acid, or acid blend and get that pH under 4.0 for sure, in the neighborhood of 3.6. Some kmeta or campden tablets might be a good idea too. Hopefully it's not too late.
Maybe a couple more experienced wine makers will have better ideas.

I haven't made a ginger wine, yet, but it's on my list.
 
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Ratflinger - I’m not sure of the ABV. And the burn of the ginger masks it well. Maybe in the future I’ll try making a ginger brandy?

Big Dave - would lemon juice be best as fresh squeezed? Is RealLemon and the like off limits due to additives?

FlamingoEmporium - I definitely won’t use anything so pulverized in the future. The loose instructions said “chop in a food processor” and, well, every second counts in those - in this case against me. If I make it again I’ll slice it. I didn’t transfer after three days, btw, but rather slapped a lid on it w airlock.

One thing I’d wondered - after adding the additional water/sugar/yeast, I didn’t see much action in the airlock - and wondered if the new yeast would benefit from some added nutrients. Any thoughts there?
 

VinesnBines

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Your ginger amount was way too much. My recipe calls for a 5 inch piece per gallon. Much less than 1.5 lbs. Some recipes do call for as much as 500 g. Most recipes also need either raisins or white grape juice for body and additional nutrients.

How much did you make? If only a gallon, now about a gallon and 1/2, and you think it is drinkable, you can let it go and see what happens. You can also add some raisins (about one pound) and sugar to get the sg higher, maybe 1.050 and see if fermentation renews. Finally, you can make a gallon of either white grape or maybe strawberry and blend with the ginger batch.
 
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ChuckD & VinesnBines - thanks for the tips

I did misquote the recipe ginger amount - it was 1 lb per gallon rather than 1.5 lbs/gallon. Will edit original post.

Started at 3 gallons and now it’s closer to 5
 
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ChuckD

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I agree with the addition of rasins. I think any time you are making a sugar-water wine that is basically flavored with small volumes of secondary fermentables you should add raisins to provide body and nutrients… and you still might need additional nutrients.
 

VinesnBines

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I'd add some raisins and bump the sugar to get to a higher ABV. Adding grape juice will be too much volume. Try three pounds of raisins chopped a bit, let them soak in your batch for a day or two. Measure the SG and them add sugar to get the SG up to at least 1.060 so that fermentation restarts. Since it is partially fermented and we have no idea how much, we don't want to pump it too high.

Others may have better suggestions.
 

BigDaveK

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Big Dave - would lemon juice be best as fresh squeezed? Is RealLemon and the like off limits due to additives?

Flavor of ingredients is always important. Yes, fresh squeezed is best. I think 2 lemons per gallon is a rule of thumb - could be wrong. Realemon has sulfites (used in wine making) and can be used but will possibly adversely affect an active fermentation. I never use it for anything - to me it has an odd taste.
 
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Thanks for all the help everybody. I bottled about a gallon as is which I’ll keep in the refrigerator to avoid possible bombs, and added the juice of 4 lemons today to the remaining 4 gallons and swirled the fermenter gently. I’ll check ph on Saturday - adding more lemon juice if needed - and report back. I’ll probably add sun dried raisins then as well - I ran out of time this morning but also noted the airlock was a bit active today while yesterday was relatively still. Hopefully that’s yeast action and not something less friendly.
 
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@jeffersonmueller, welcome to WMT! If this is the worst mistake you make in your winemaking career, you're doing good. ;)

I don't have anything to add to the winemaking advice, but have a few thoughts regarding after it's bottled -- first, as long as the wine is drinkable, it's good for cooking. If the flavor is just too strong, it will probably make a good marinade. Second, you might add sparkling water to a glass to dilute it, probably making a refreshing digestive.

Now that you've found WMT, in the future vet the recipes in the group mind. Ask 10 winemakers, you'll get at least 11 opinions, but anything glaring will be weeded out. It's typically fun conversation.
 
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Thanks Winemaker81!

Here to report back on more actions:

Added juice from 4 more lemons . I probably should get a ph meter, but I’ve been using litmus strips. The juice appears to bring it down between 4-5.

Added 3lbs sun dried raisins. This got the fermentation up and running with quite an active air lock. Ph still presenting between 4-5.

I’m considering other acids to bring the ph down a bit more.
 

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