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I've been dabbling with simple ciders in the past few years. I've been particularly enjoying those made with honey as an adjunct - I'm not sure whether it should be classified as a honey cider or a cyser, but to my uneducated palette, it's delicious. Big honey aroma, with just a hint of sweetness.

What I'd like to do is introduce some spice character to it, specifically ginger. Is there a "preferred" method of adding ginger or other spices to a cider or mead? I've done some looking around but haven't seen much consensus.

Using fresh ginger root has a certain aesthetic appeal, and I'd love to go that route - but I can imagine the result being vegetal or astringent if I don't handle it right, or if it goes in too early.

Anyone who's been down this road or a similar one, I'd love to hear what you found to work.

My current simple-as-I-can-make-it method for a nano batch:

+ 2.5 quarts pasteurized apple juice (I use Simply Apple)
+ 12 oz honey from the hippie aisle of Fred Meyer
+ Mangrove Jack's cider yeast
+ One month in primary, many months in bottle (I've made it up to a year so far)

EDIT: I ended up trying the approach from Evil Zymurgist's answer.

I think I either pasteurized the ginger too long or at too high a temperature, because it had a "cooked ginger" taste for the first few months. However, a few months later, it tastes great!

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Ginger has its own microbes that will change fermentation. You will want to kill if you just want ginger flavor and aroma.

I would suggest making a ginger slurry then pastureize it by bringing it to about 200°F (90°C) for about 3 minutes. Cool it in a sanitary way (cover / seal). Then add this slurry late fermentation when most of your alcohol is present.

  • Thanks for the suggestion, that makes sense and I think I'll try something like that. Would you recommend adding the ginger slurry late to the primary, or rack onto the slurry as a secondary? – tempest_col Mar 7 '18 at 21:08
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    @MattTyers late primary is good – Evil Zymurgist Mar 7 '18 at 22:07
  • Ginger is an antimicrobial and inhibits bacterial growth. Because of this, add it post fermentation. I don't think pasteurizing is necessary or going to have any impact on it's inhibiting of fermentation, so even if you do, still add it after fermentation. – Wyrmwood Mar 13 '18 at 18:35
  • @Wyrmwood ginger root has naturally occurring lactobacillus. If you want a sour then try it. As far as ginger being antimicrobial and inhibiting bacteria, this ,would only be to the extent that hops do. Which isn't very much. Definitely pasteurize fresh ginger. Unless the intent is to have a ginger bug based beverage. – Evil Zymurgist Mar 13 '18 at 19:26

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