Super spicy ginger wine

Discussion in 'Beginners Wine Making Forum' started by Shayne Edwards, May 3, 2018.

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  1. May 3, 2018 #1

    Shayne Edwards

    Shayne Edwards

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    Disclaimer: I have stuffed up approximately 90 litres of wine so far, with a quick calculation in my head that is 20 gallons US. So be it upon your own head if you follow this recipe/approach without applying your own wine making knowledge. However, if you are just coming along for the ride welcome and honestly all input is welcome.

    While having a go at Skeeter Pee I decided to do a ginger wine, and yes I stuffed the skeeter pee up. My darling wife is Sccccoooootish so I looked at some of the recipes from Scotland initially. On you tube I found a bloke from New Zealand called Papa Reecio showing how to make ginger wine his recipe follows (scaled up).

    Conversions
    1 kilo = 2.2 US pounds
    I US ounce = 28 grams (weight)
    4 litres = 1.06 US gallons (liquid) I checked this on google but I always thought it was 4.5 litres (who knew??) Can someone confirm this?

    Recipe
    2.9 kilo root ginger (fresh ginger)
    4.8 kilo white sugar
    I kg dark sugar (this sugar has a fine grain and feels a little sticky like there is still some molasses in it)
    1.8 kilos of raisins
    4 oranges
    8 Lemons
    Citric acid (if needed)
    2 teaspoons Pectolaise
    4 Campden Tablets
    2 teaspoons Sorbate Potassium
    Yeast Nutrient
    Yeast (EC1118)
    Water to 20 Litres

    Because I can't help myself, I always need to run before I can walk so I didn't follow this recipe totally as Papa did it, and in my defence I hadn't started on this forum enjoying the info that was available. However if you are like me and can't help but stop and watch an accident unfold a little before jumping in to help, you my friend, are in the right place. That said, this maybe my first successful batch of wine, come along for the ride if you will.
     
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  2. May 3, 2018 #2

    Shayne Edwards

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    Will add the diary notes tomorrow night, it's nearly 9pm local and need to go tuck the little bloke into bed. Night all.
     
  3. May 3, 2018 #3

    BernardSmith

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    That is a lot of ginger, Shayne. I mean a lot. (about 6.5 lbs in 5 gallons which is about 1.1 lbs or half a kilo of ginger per gallon) I occasionally make ginger beer and I use about 2 inches (about 5 cm - or about 0.5 oz or 14 or 15 grams) of ginger root per gallon (4 L) and that might take a few months for the heat from the ginger to cool down. My "beer" uses enough sugar to give me a starting gravity of about 1.060 (about 7-8 % ABV). Last made some in June and cracked open a bottle the other evening and it was very drinkable.
     
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  4. May 4, 2018 #4

    Shayne Edwards

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    Thanks Bernard, when I wrote this last night I had three or four glasses of courage on board. Upon reflection the thread should be about how not to make wine because as I said it was put together prior to finding this forum and taking on board the advise so freely given here. I expect as I share what I did there will be more than a few people cringing or laughing a bit.
    However, I took a sample from the first racking and gave it to an experienced Scots distiller and after his mouth unpuckered he stated that he could, "no drink a whole bottle, like" but reminded him of an old fashioned after dinner tonic, which I suspect was a polite way of saying it was too strong. That said I love ginger and I liked it, probably as it is the first wine without any off smells or flavours. I haven't tasted for balance or gaps in the palate when I get to that point I suspect I will be a little disappointed, guess I will find out at that point but I do intend to be honest through this process and not cover up any of my mistakes of which there will be many. The one thing I hope is stuffed up is the ginger dosage rate because it is quite expensive here, $15 - $30 per kilo or 2.2lbs..
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
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  5. May 4, 2018 #5

    BernardSmith

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    The truth is that as a home wine maker the only person you need to satisfy is yourself and as you progress in your wine making you may find that person harder and harder to satisfy...
     
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  6. May 5, 2018 #6

    Shayne Edwards

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    Okay, as promised, my diary notes (scribbles really) on making this super spicy ginger wine. What I have learned on this forum is that I need to take more time on this part because as I review the notes I realise just how hotch potch they truly are. The other realisation is that I need to take a breath, slow down and just enjoy the process but please bear in mind all of my failures (90 litres of them) leading up to this batch, was colouring my perception along with not having a good understanding of what each component does and how it contributes to the wine making process lead to some uninformed, panic type decisions which even if it is to my eternal shame I will share.
    So if you are coming along for the ride, grab a glass or bottle (if you will) of your favourite tipple, sit back and enjoy the train wreck that is my wine making.
     
  7. May 5, 2018 #7

    Shayne Edwards

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    Just trying to set the scene a little, I live in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. This means heat, humidity and mild winters, the only frost I see is in my freezer and the stuff which is encroaching upon my hair colour. As a comparison think of a milder version of Florida, for the climate, not my hair.

    I have an undercover screened in area off of the back of my house (the mosquitos don't seem to understand that it isn't Florida) where I do the wine making (much to the annoyance of my ever loving and forgiving partner, God luv her!)

    Five days previous I had put down a 30 litre batch of Skeeter Pee which was still smelling bright and tasty as it fermented (my confidence was on the ascendency) and as I had the gear out I decided to make some ginger wine. I hunted on You Tube and found the video mentioned previously and decided to follow Papa.

    So on Saturday morning I set off to purchase the needed fruit, in particular, the 2.9 kilo (just over 6lbs) of fresh root ginger. I went to the local chain supermarket only to find a price of $30/kilo for ginger and when your mind is telling you, " chances are, you are going to stuff this up and $90 will buy you some very good bottles of red wine", you back off pretty quick.

    In all honesty I was going to just give it up, yet I decided to drop into a local market which had some fruit and veg stalls. The third stall had 1.5kg of ginger for $15/kilo, which I cleaned out and I found another stall with lots but was charging $20/kilo. I tried out my negotiating skills on the Asian gentleman to get the price reduced. Turns out he had a lot more experience than me but was willing to throw this dog a bone in the form of 1/3 kilo of free ginger, why this even needs mentioning will become apparent shortly. While I was there I grabbed the oranges and lemons needed.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2018
  8. May 5, 2018 #8

    Shayne Edwards

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    Monday 17th April, following on from Saturday's shopping run.
    Oh my lord, you are still reading this convoluted, meandering story. At this point I will guess you are the person who grabbed a whole bottle of your favourite tipple before starting on this journey with me. With that in mind I will try to type faster. In the mean time feel free to critique the mistakes you see in front of you or just laugh out loud at home while shaking your head, I truly won't mind.

    Firstly, I don't know how to write Kitchen Wiz in US speak, it is a large blending unit that has a topper unit that you feed produce into with a blender unit on the bottom to chop up and blend what you add.

    OK, are you ready? Lets get on with it.

    Because of my amazing negotiating skills I now had 3.2 kilos of fresh ginger and rather than waste it, you guessed it, straight to the blender. Following Pappas advice, ginger wasn't peeled, rather it was checked for soil and then cut into knobs and fed into the food processor/kitchen whiz and broken up into a mince of ginger. I had to do this in 3 batches.

    I've got a 10litre stainless steel pot that I use for doing soups, pickles and preserves and this was put into use on the stove top. Ginger mince added, to be followed by the rest of the ingredients.

    The oranges and lemons were dumped into a sink filled with 50 degree hot water (100 degrees = boiling, 0 degrees = freezing) and then scrubbed to remove any wax. I used a zester to remove the skins on 3 oranges before I got too impatient. After this I used a vegetable peeler to remove the skins of one more orange and 2 lemons but being careful to not take the pith. Because taking the pith can get you into all sorts of trouble, apparently. (Australian note: In our vernacular " taking the piss" means you are having a lend of or making fun of someone or a situation. Which can sometimes can end in a broken nose or sore ribs. It normally goes something like this, "Are you taking the piss out of me? Right! Cop this you dozy bastard, followed by bruising and spilled blood.) So I didn't do all of the lemons as instructed. The zest and peel was added to the pot. The citrus fruit was retained for a later step in the recipe.

    At this point I added 1.5 kilo of white sugar and 1 kilo of the brown sugar and added water to bring it to approx. 8 litres (2 gallons?) Now, on the notes from Pappas youtube post it said he felt the wine was missing something and he would add bananas next time. Seeing how I had 4 medium/large ripe Cavandish Bananas I peeled, broke up into 2 inch pieces and added them as well.

    This mix was heated at a slow boil for 45 minutes and occasionally stirred, I now think it should have been a fast simmer but not sure.

    Once finished, I dumped this into my primary fermenter which is a 30 litre plastic drum with a large screw top lid that has a hole used to place a water trap. I suspect they are really designed for brewing beer. Then using the stainless steel pot I transferred tap water to the fermenter until it reached around 22 litres. I added 2 teaspoons of nutrient and 2 teaspoons of pectonaise before adding the lid and leaving to cool overnight.

    Okay, that is enough typing for the moment. Cheers, Shayne
     
  9. May 5, 2018 #9

    Shayne Edwards

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    Tuesday 18th April A.M.
    Back to work today so was a little rushed for time. I gave the must(?) a little stir and as I didn't have an appropriate thermometer to use, I put the palm of my hand on the side of the fermenter and it still felt a little warm but not in a bad way. The temperature would have been fine for rehydrating bakers yeast for doing bread or pizza dough. After using cold water steriliser on my hydrometer, turkey baster and tube for hydrometer I took a rough reading which was 1.04. From memory Papa was looking for 1.09 which meant I was too low.

    The recipe called for the use of EC-1118 yeast which I couldn't find at any of the 3 local home brew stores. I ended up using a Mangrove Jacks branded yeast called SN9. The description is as follows; SN9 is a particularly neutral fermenter contributing significantly to weight and structure, an excellent choice for flower or low fruit recipes or where uncertain recipes are employed and fermentation reliability is a key factor. SN9 is a rapid fermenter with high stress and ethanol tolerance and high glycerol production. No rehydration required - add direct to grape must and stir well.
    For best results ferment at 14-27 degrees C (57-82 F). 8grams or 0.3 OZ packet size.

    OK, before we move on to my next mistake, why do I want glycerol? Does this add to mouth feel i.e. doesn't taste thin?

    At this point, a lot of the fruit was floating on the surface of the must and in my ignorance and/or rush I tipped the contents of the yeast packet into the fermenter, screwed the lid on, covered with a clean tea towel (remember the lid has a hole for a water trap)and buggered off to work.
     
  10. May 5, 2018 #10

    wildhair

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    Being of Scottish decent myself - and having an uncanny ability to turn a short story long - I for 1, am loving this post. I made a Lemongrass & ginger wine myself this year past and is in the bulk aging stage now. I did not "stuff it up" with ginger, however, I also like the taste and smell of ginger. Possibly because I am one myself..... a ginger, that is.

    You mentioned "glycerol" in the last post - but I did not see it in the initial recipe. The raisins will give it body, glycerine is a sweetener, but may add some body as well.

    I have had excellent luck with SN9 yeast - it's a low foaming alcohol tolerant yeast and is great for flower & herb based wines.

    I hope you did NOT add the pot. sorbate in the initial must............ it's purpose is to stop fermentation and is added before bottling & if you are backsweetening.

    I have also blundered my way thru various recipes and found this group most helpful in correcting my errors and preventing new ones. So welcome aboard, Shayne. Cheers!
     
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  11. May 6, 2018 #11

    BernardSmith

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    One secret of wine making - or rather learning to make wine is not to berate yourself too much. Learning means that you don't know everything today, you learn more tomorrow and the next day you apply what you learn... with still more to learn.
     
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  12. May 6, 2018 #12

    AkTom

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    I love sagas. Carry on please.
     
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  13. May 6, 2018 #13

    Shayne Edwards

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    Bernard thanks for the words of encouragement, I am currently ordering the correct items (something that I could not have done without the help here) to have one more crack at Skeeter Pee and I hope it goes well this time because stuffing up 3 batches of lemon wine in a row would suggest the problem is me.
    AkTom, thanks for the reply and be it upon your own head, my friend, because I was worried about being too verbose and not inline with the spirit of this forum, yet it feels like I'm exorcising demons of wine making failures past.

    Mr. Wild Hair, always pleased to make the acquaintance of an exponent of the noble and ancient Scottish art of blethering and a ginger to boot, it doesn't get much better than that! Just as an aside did you know that recently in Australia, IVF clinics have been calling for red headed donors because apparently the demand has outstripped supply by quite a margin. Not saying you would have rock star status but popular? Probably yes. By the way, our current term of affection for our ginger haired mates is, "ranga".
    And, no I didn't stuff up with Pot sorbate in the way you suggested, I may have found a another way though.

    Righto back to this train wreck.

    Tues 18th April PM
    Got home from work carrying a great deal of expectation after this mornings yeast addition, unscrewed lid of primary fermenter and, ........nothing. Went into a mild tail spin with early onset panic over another stuff up. I remembered I had an out of date packet of SN9 in the fridge and without too much thought grabbed it and dumped it in.

    At this point, I noticed this morning's yeast still sitting on top of the floating fruit pieces on the surface of the must. If I have read the posts on here correctly I now think the floating fruit is called a cap(?). Feel free to correct me. I had also read on a blog (prior to this forum), how yeast needs oxygen but to be honest, part of me stills worries about introducing "wee, invisible beasties" who are just waiting to lead me down the path of failure yet again.

    After two large medicinal glasses of Mr Beams best, I girded my loins, grabbed the drill and plastic coat hanger and whipped that puppy like Captain Bligh on the Bounty. Screwed lid back on and fitted a water trap. Patted my wife on the head, kissed my son goodnight and then off to bed, bloody Jim Beam!!
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
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  14. May 6, 2018 #14

    Shayne Edwards

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    Bernard, lightheartedness aside, the learning part is the reason I keep going and quite frankly why I joined, the brewing forums I found here at home didn't really have much (or very little) focus on wine, they are all about beer and spirits as are the home brew shops. I suspect what I need to do, though is to reign in my enthusiasm a little and set up to make smaller batches initially, while following recipes a little more religiously but mostly take notice of the advice here. Hopefully, in a couple of years time, I may well be having a different style of conversation with your good self.
     
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  15. May 6, 2018 #15

    Shayne Edwards

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    Wed 19th April AM
    I'd like to tell you that I bounded out of bed to go and check the ferment except an evening with Mr. James B. Beam seems to prove the law of physics around equal and opposite forces. Last nights enthusiasm, had turned into this mornings feet dragging. However, on a bright note, the hugs and kisses had apparently forgiven the head pat and decided not to hold a pillow over my face as I slept.

    Also, seeing how I promised honesty, there may have been more than 2 medicinal glasses of bourbon.

    Before I left for work, I checked the water trap and no bubbling was evident. I like to think it is my fear of "wee invisible beasties" that stopped me opening the lid again but either way I didn't and headed off. That said, I thought I could see some movement through the semi-translucent side of the fermenter.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
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  16. May 6, 2018 #16

    Shayne Edwards

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    Wed 19th April PM
    Still no bubbles from the water trap. Aaagghhh! I was thinking to myself here we go again, I had found a new and more creative way to stuff up a batch of wine.

    With a bit of trepidation, I unscrewed the lid and my lordy, it was fermenting it's bottom off, so vigorously it was stirring bits of the cap back into the must. Have to tell you, it was a pretty fine feeling even though the no bubbles in the water trap was a little perplexing.

    I will finish off Wednesday night's adventure tomorrow, please bear with me.
     
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  17. May 6, 2018 #17

    Arne

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    If it is fermenting away and the trap is not working, somewhere you have a leak. The bubbles do not tell the story, tho. Get your hydrometer out and see where the ferment is at. You do not have to draw some wine into the test tube. You can just place the hydrometer in the primary if it is deep enough. Good luck with it and enjoying your story. Arne.
     
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  18. May 6, 2018 #18

    wildhair

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    What Arne said - if it's fermenting, but there's not "burbling" in the trap - it's leaking. And you definitely need to keep testing with the hydrometer.
    However - in this early stage of ferment - I just cover the must with a clean towel. Until the hydrometer reads 1.020 or less -then you should get it under air lock. Since we're truth telling here - I usually rack around 1.000 myself into an air-locked secondary....... but......occasionally it's fermented dry before I can get to it.

    Both of my daughters are also gingers, and both of their first born girls - also gingers, all with green eyes, to boot. So the ranga DNA is strong with this one. LOL Funny that there is a demand now for red-heads. When I was just a little laddie - having red hair was like having a bullseye on your back for every schoolyard bully. And whenever somebody told the cops - "I saw a red-headed kid do it" - there were 3 doors in town where they knocked.

    You spin a wicked good yarn, mate. At this point, I'm with ya to the bitter end. Check your SG, check your ph (or use an acid test kit), stir it daily and forge on, brother.
     
  19. May 7, 2018 #19

    Shayne Edwards

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    Arne, good advice, I hadn't fit the split "o" ring to the lid hole properly. Note to self: Wear your bloody reading glasses when wine making. Funnily enough, I always thought wine making would involve lots of glasses just not the reading kind.

    Mr Wild Hair, great story, your granddaughters sound way too pretty not to have a proud granddad with a shotgun and a couple of spare shovels. Funny you should mention the bullying thing, what I learnt growing up was not go toe to toe with a ginger kid unless you were really committed because most of them had had a bit more experience at throwing knuckles. As for the "ranga" DNA the IVF clinics might need to fly you over to OZ.

    O.K. as promised, I will finish up Wed night.

    As I mentioned earlier the fermenter was going off and looked more than a little like a hot tub (spa) but without the loose items of clothing of course. (Not sure about the rest of you folk but the 80's and early 90's was an interesting time for me. Apologies, I will get back to the wine making.)

    Papa's recipe called for a second addition of fruit, I couldn't buy raisins at the local supermarket and all they had were dried sultana grapes so I grabbed 2 kilos of them. Again my fear of "wee invisible beasties" kicked in. I suspected they would be covered in wild yeast so after I did the whole Kitchen Wiz thing again, I dumped them in the boiler. Papa put them in the must.

    I'm also fairly certain that Papa didn't use all of the juice from the peeled citrus, but in my defence, I grew up with a very frugal mother and I can still hear her castigating our family with, "DON'T YOU WASTE THAT!!" So I squeezed all 4 oranges and 8 lemons and added that to the boiler as well. I followed this with approx. a kilo of white sugar, a teaspoon of dried, hot chilli flakes and roughly 2.0 litres (1/2 gallon) of water to cover. Slow boiled this for 45 minutes and left the lid on to cool over night.

    Please don't ask me why the hell I decided to add chilli flakes, all I can honestly say is that I can't blame Jimmy Beam this time. I suspect it had something to do with the other ginger wine recipes that I had read talking about paprika, which I couldn't find in the spice rack. Upon some reflection, I have now realised these recipes only used chunks of ginger around the same amount per gallon that Arne used for his beer making, hence why they may have used some paprika to boost the spiciness somewhat. So there you have it, massive amounts of ginger and some chilli for good measure. I am a dead set natural at this wine making caper.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2018
  20. May 7, 2018 #20

    Shayne Edwards

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    Thursday 20th April AM
    Off to work again, but I ran the hydrometer and discovered the must was already down to 1.000. I tipped in last nights dried sultana, chilli and sugar mix/ boil, hit it with the drill again and left it to sit while I got ready for work. Did another read before I left and it was back up to 1.030. Still no bubbles in the water trap, but we now know why so please give it as written that I didn't see any while doing this ferment.

    At this point I was glad to have a 30 litre drum as a primary fermenter because the addition from last night ran it well up over the 25 litre mark.

    Thanks for your patience, this thread seems to be going for ever, it gets better though the next post involves chickens and upset neighbours. Night all.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
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