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Two Unrelated Questions - Mead & Ginger

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Luek

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I'm going to make a dry, sparkling mead tomorrow, but I'm not sure what ratio of honey to water I should use for an sg of approx 1050 for about 7.5% (correct?).

I've looked online but either my searching skills are terrible or the only sources are imperial and not very precise, ie."for a dry mead try about 2 pounds of honey per gallon of water" with no hint as to what gravity or abv to expect.

I know I could use a thermometer, hydrometer and online calculator to achieve this but was hoping someone could help me out to avoid the headache of heating water, adding honey, testing temp and gravity, repeating ad nauseum if I don't get lucky from the start.

Now, what sort of honey to use? I'm limited to Woolies honey or I'm up for a long drive. What are the best honeys available at supermarkets in regards to mead making?

I skinned through a topic here about supermarket honey and noticed it got derailed quite quickly in favour of braggots and oak chips. Plus the only honey I recognised was beechwood so I guess products have changed since the thread died in 2010.

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I also have a question regarding ginger - I made a ginger beer from scratch and it's nice, except I don't like the spicy/hot flavour I got from my ginger. Next time, how can I be sure I have as little heat as possible?
Half the ginger was left over from a previous kit and bits brew, and was kept in the cupboard for a week or two then the freezer for a month or two. It was fine.
The half fresh off the shelf at Woolies was hot as hell.
Was it my storage methods or is it fated to taste how it does off the shelf?
 

Luek

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Thanks for the links, that clears up my ratio questions. I'll be using 585g in a 3.5L must, to later rack into two 1.5L grolsh bottles with different adjuncts.
What about supermarket honey? Beechworth *looks* better for price but there's always honey from "organic" sources in health food sections...

And anyone know their ginger?
 

DUANNE

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his is where i buy my honey from http://www.archibaldhoney.com.au/buy/ . its only ten bucks postage and the orange blossom makes a way better mead than supemarket stuff. i tried a mead with supermarket honey once and it was quite bland and flavouless untill i added a shitload of blueberries!
 

brettprevans

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his is where i buy my honey from http://www.archibaldhoney.com.au/buy/ . its only ten bucks postage and the orange blossom makes a way better mead than supemarket stuff. i tried a mead with supermarket honey once and it was quite bland and flavouless untill i added a shitload of blueberries!
i organisaed a bulk buy of honey from archibalds (thread is on AHB). there honey is awsome and a load cheaper than ubermarket
 

popmedium

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On the ginger question:

I've brewed a few ginger beers, both with fresh chopped ginger and candied ginger from harris farm. If you want less hot go with candied ginger. Only thing is it has sugar content so you have to account for that when calculating your gravities. Or you can not worry about it and surprise the misses with an 8% monster.

Swap "%" with "inch" and have a chuckle.

j
 

Fat Rocky

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I've never been to Branxton, but I know that the Hunter Valley has a few apiaries (bee keepers). I live in Orange NSW and get my honey from my local apiaries for about $5 a kilo. The honey is wonderful and fresh and I'm sure you can find something similar near Branxton.
 

Luek

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I found one in sawyers gully but it's really not worth a trip out for small batches. I don't have the liberty of storage space if I were to buy more than a kilo or so.
 

bum

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Half the ginger was left over from a previous kit and bits brew, and was kept in the cupboard for a week or two then the freezer for a month or two. It was fine.
The half fresh off the shelf at Woolies was hot as hell.
One possible (most likely) difference between the two is the word "fresh". The flipside of that coin is "old shit".

Buy fresh aged ginger (the woody looking stuff) if you want a stronger flavour over the heat - the yellow-y skinned stuff ("young ginger" - which is what most chain supermarkets seem to get in my experience) will be hotter in balance.

Having said that "scratch GB"s (as usually described here - i.e. not plant GB) are generally one dimensional firewater regardless of the maturity of the ginger. Some people like them, some don't. Try a kit version with, say, 500g of fresh ginger and selected spices and see if you prefer that.

[EDIT: clarified poor explanation of aged v young. Ultimately, if you want less heat just use less of either type. Fresh is best.]
 

Luek

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I'm aiming for a dry ginger beer. Sort of like dry ginger ale. Or as close as one can get with ginger, water, yeast, and sugar.

I think I mentioned earlier that I've made kit and bits before... and everyone that tried it loves it. Too sweet and murky looking for my tastes.
 

bum

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My experience of dry ginger ales is that they are basically dry in name only (but very heavily carbed, off-setting mouthfeel). Drier than a Bundaberg GB, for sure.

Just try less ginger rather than having it whither in the fridge. I find cinnamon and cardamom can add depth that might offset (but not remove) some ginger heat. Try getting some less fermentable sugars in there (but resist the temptation of mashing anything - everyone deserves more than beer with ginger instead of ginger beer). While dark brown sugar does not add significant amount of unfermentable sugars it does add body and sweetness that will combat your heat issues.
 

Luek

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My beer in fermenter at the moment (from memory):
6.4 L batch, OG 1.056
400g ginger, grated
530g raw sugar. or was it brown sugar? Can't remember,
250g honey
1 cinnamon stick, crushed
1 lemon, juiced, and approx 50% zest
1 lime, same
1 orange, juiced
US-05

Chucked zest, sugar, ginger, cinnamon in 50min soft boil. Added citrus juice at flame out.

It's sitting at full attenuation right now, tastes great except for the heat. So next batch = ginger without the heat and should do me fine.
 

popmedium

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Edit: ginger reply!
Is that like crystallized buderim? If so, how would you add it in? Just chuck in boil?
http://www.buderimginger.com/home/image/ca...25g-400x400.jpg
Yeah mate that's the stuff. But if you have a Harris Farm Market near by they have it in giant bins next to the nuts. You just scoop out what you need and weigh it.

You can either add it at shut off (which i did to avoid dealing with the extra sugar) or you could add to secondary though I'm not sure what would happen with that.

Comes our incredibly dry!
 

Josh

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I just put down my first M E A Ds last night.

1kg Honey gave me about 5L of 1.062 must.

1.6kg Honey gave me about 5L of 1.090 must.

I pitched two 1.062 demijohns with Wyeast Sweet Mead and Rudesheimer yeast. The 1.090 with Sweet Mead.

Next time I plan on bumping the OG up over 1.11 to finish above 1.000 for an actual sweet mead. That gotmead.com website was pretty helpful in answering a lot of my questions last night. So these first batches were just trial for me. It's a learning process.
 

Luek

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Google maps gives me a "hit" at a cafe about 25mins drive for Harris farm markets, but that's probably unrelated. The closest confirmed by the Harris farm website is over an hour away in a direction I rarely go during "office hours".

I might try a small batch with crushed ginger. Crushed has no "bite"
 
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