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Spicy Lemon-Ginger Mead

Classification: mead, metheglin

Source: Mark A Fryling (, HBD Issue #1162, 6/15/93

With all the recent posts on the network regarding summer brewing and specifically the use of summer fruits in brewing, I felt compelled to share some info about the excellent results we've had on our last few batches of mead. In particular I've found that Lalvin 71B-1122 (s. cerevisiae) is a very good yeast for meads and melomels (mead with fruit). The reason I like this stuff so much is that the samples seem to be quite fresh (high apparent percentage of viable cells), the fermentation is active and very quick, and the strain is not overly attenuative so that a slight residual sweetness remains in the finished product (sorry but I dont have numbers on SG and FG). We've now made two batches of a spiced mead (no fruit) and both were completely clear and ready to bottle after spending 1 wk in the primary and only about 3 wks. in the secondary. Other yeasts I have tried (including Red Star Pasteur Champagne, and Eppernay 2) have taken much longer to clear out and have finished a bit dry for my taste.

We also experienced very quick (about 5 wks.) clearing on our the one melomel we made using this strain (a Kiwi mead with 8lbs honey and 12lbs crushed kiwi fruit). A strawberry melomel (8-10lbs light honey and 15lbs frozen strawberries picked last weekend) is on the list for tomorrow.

Believe it or not, this stuff tastes great after only a month or two in the bottle. It has a mouthfeel thats not unlike a medium sweet champagne, but of course, the flavor is mead all the way.

For melomel, I generally cut back to about 8lbs of honey and replace the sugar with 8-15 lbs of crushed fruit. My best results, though done with different yeast, have been with black rasberries (fresh picked then frozen before use), and a combination of peaches and strawberries (yummy). I've heard of different techniques, but we've had good luck and no unwanted innoculations just adding the thawed and crushed fruit to the hot honey wort just at the end of the boil and steeping (read pasturizing) the fruit for 15min. Oh, BTW the spices should also be cut back or deleted all together to let the fruit character come through.



Bring honey to a boil with 2gal good brewing water. Boil 15 minutes. Add tea, hops, and ginger at the end of the boil and steep for 15 min. Cool to about 75F and dilute to 5gallons. Add 1.25 tsp yeast energizer, and 2 pkgs (10g total) of Lalvin S. Cerevisiae rehydrated according to instructions.

When completely cleared in secondary, bottle with 3/4 cup corn sugar if a sparkling mead is desired.