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Jao The Ultimate Beginners Mead Recipe

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#41 Brewer Pete

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 05:21 PM

Wait until it really gets going :D

Full and heady aromas that include hints of vanilla mmmmm :P


Now the sad thing is all those lovely aromas we smell from gorgeous recipes like JAO is aromas and flavours leaving the fermented liquid and entering the air. So sad thing is its stripping some of them away, this is why we don't boil our honey to start with, its bad enough losing it to the fermentation process without amplifying the loss by tossing in boiling as well.


Cheers,
Brewer Pete

#42 watchUburn

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 12:04 AM

Hi Pete,
I've got a JOAM that's been fermenting for 6 weeks now. Mine kinda looks like it has similar clarity to the pic you posted with the fruit dropping, but mine's still floating. I've read that when you can read a newspaper through the bottle that it's clear enough to bottle, but the original post seems to suggest that the mead will be ready before the fruit drops.

I really want to try this mead, but at the same time I don't want to be premature....

#43 Brewer Pete

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 07:35 AM

Its all dependent on the temperature you are fermenting a JAO at to the time invovled. The batch in photos is at ambient so it got decent fermentation temperature but shortly after Canberra cold hit and its been clearing and aging below rcommended temperatures so it will extend the time significantly. That said patience is good up to fruit dropping stage, it will happen just about the time you think it will not. After drop if you really want to sample it right away you could hit it with a clearing agent. I am letting mine go as I am wanting to baseline my honey with the yeast in a benchmark. As I try new honey varietals I slowly build a list of data of good combinations for Australia.
Cheers,
Brewer Pete

#44 watchUburn

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 10:11 AM

Very excited here. The fruit has dropped !!! Well, mostly anyway. I think there's an obstinate raisin still hanging in there...
It's still fairly cloudy though, so I might wait a week or two more. Maybe if it still hasn't cleared I'll try a clearing agent.

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#45 Brewer Pete

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 11:58 AM

Mate! I'm coming over! Looks like you are almost ready :)

Congratulations!


Don't mind the rude raisin or two. As the CO2 is released from the yeast cake at the bottom the bubbles can catch on the fruit so you will have the odd dancing raisin or two that go up and float then sink, then go up and float, then sink :P

What kind of honey did you source in Darwin? And don't forget to brew some more so you can see first hand what flavours each varietal adds to your JAOs until you find the one your taste buds just like the best of them all - whether it be the cleanest fermenting honey or one that throws an added flavour you just like stick with your preference. Then with your best tasting honey get that 23-25 Litre batch going and invite us all over :D

While JAOMs drink early and are desired for that factor alone, they don't age as well in the bottle past the 2-3 year mark you'll start to decline. But if you treat this as your "session" Mead (long stretch I know) then when you get hooked and put down other Meads you can drink this in-between waiting the year or two for the others to come into the prime in the bottle.


Cheers,
Brewer Pete

#46 watchUburn

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 12:12 PM

Well the weather in Darwin is quite nice (at the moment), so you'd probably enjoy the trip ;)
I must confess that I used honey from the supermarket :unsure: , but as this is my first attempt I just wanted to see how it worked out...
I found a local honey when I was at the local corner shop, so my next mead will probably come from there. I have no idea what the bees have collected to make the honey... probably tropical fruit like mangos I guess.

I've also found myself a freezer that I'll be picking up later today. Once I've sourced a fridgemate I'll have a proper controlled enviornment to brew the next batch :) I think this one endured some rather hot days...

Hopefully it turns out nice, but if not, maybe the next one will!

#47 Brewer Pete

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 12:28 PM

Well not to worry, but thats why you beat everyone to the finish gate. If it was too high and you get fusels then you'll just have to age it longer before drinking. So I guess you end up at the same place in the end as the rest of us :P

Temperature control is the best thing you can add to your collection of brewing gear. It will serve you well across every type of fermentation you can think of from beers, meads, wines, sakes, yeasts, moulds, mushrooms, you name it you can grow it -- well that last two also require humidity control but thats as easy from a container of water to an actual humidity generating device. Moulds will be your Sake rice and cheeses, and Mushrooms are just a step up from cheeses grown on jars of grain. So you can see you opened a very large door onto possibilities with that one device.

Supermarket honey will work, but its actually the most expensive to buy and you can almost guarantee pastuerisation and blending of honeys. But still, for a first JAO its all alright to use if it gets you started on your path to brewing Meads.

Cheers,
Brewer Pete

P.S. I'd recommend looking at Ross's TempMate at CraftBrewer link on the suppliers up top. It will cover heating and cooling, although I'm sure you got the first covered in Darwin :)

Edited by Brewer Pete, 05 July 2009 - 12:29 PM.


#48 Fermented

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 05:56 PM

Sorry for a potentially daft question, but is storing it in the cupboard an anti-skunking and basic temperature stabilisation thing?

Would it be OK to maybe just put it in a big cardboard box on a shelf?

Only reason I ask I that I'm slightly out of storage space. :)

Cheers - Fermented.

#49 Brewer Pete

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 06:18 PM

Sorry for a potentially daft question, but is storing it in the cupboard an anti-skunking and basic temperature stabilisation thing?

Would it be OK to maybe just put it in a big cardboard box on a shelf?

Only reason I ask I that I'm slightly out of storage space. :)

Cheers - Fermented.


Its only to get it out of sight and as expected in a temperature stabilised environment.

Box on the shelf should be fine, theres plenty of time to put down a few more JAOs in a cupboard .

I ran out of room in my cupboard, so I moved mine to the other room by the Hop plants in the corner section out of the light. :icon_cheers:

Cheers,
Brewer Pete

Edited by Brewer Pete, 12 July 2009 - 06:56 PM.


#50 watchUburn

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 07:00 PM

Out of sight is good. I find myself opening the lid to have a peek every now and again. I know nothing will have changed (in the 1-2 hours that have passed) but I'm really impatient :)

#51 Brewer Pete

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 07:03 PM

Out of sight is good. I find myself opening the lid to have a peek every now and again. I know nothing will have changed (in the 1-2 hours that have passed) but I'm really impatient :)


Let me know when you start dreaming about your Meads! Then you know you are hooked, well and truly!

I've not put down all the Eucalyptus varietals to profile them properly yet. So is it 6 to 8 weeks or 6 to 8 months for them to clear during bulk aging :) time will tell!


Cheers,
Brewer Pete

#52 bakkerman

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 03:53 PM

Brewer Pete,

I have a question regarding bottling the mead. Do you add fresh yeast and a bit of sugar to carbonate and scavenge the remaining oxygen in the bottle?

Or do you just bottle in wine bottles with an additive like sulphite to prevent oxidization?

Beers!

#53 Brewer Pete

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 05:13 PM

Brewer Pete,

I have a question regarding bottling the mead. Do you add fresh yeast and a bit of sugar to carbonate and scavenge the remaining oxygen in the bottle?

Or do you just bottle in wine bottles with an additive like sulphite to prevent oxidization?

Beers!



JAO ferments with residual sweetness left over by design. That rules out carbonation with the existing yeast. JAO is bottled like a still wine. Most people won't sulphate a JAO as its not designed to age gracefully and again is designed to be drunk young so even good for Dave's wife. Most people just bottle and cork/cap as is. If worried, keep the bottles under refrigeration. Using a champers yeast you could carn in the bottle but you ruin the balance of residual sweetness as the yeast will chomp through not only the added sugar but all the residual and ferment it dry.

Usually if a JAO comes out right you have a lot of problems keepin them around long enough to get any decent aging done. Upsizing to batch sizes of 23 litres or more doesn't seem to help keeping it around to age either for some funny reason :)

Cheers,
Brewer Pete

#54 3GumsBrewing

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 09:28 AM

Got my first JAO down on the weekend, easy as!
Thanks for whacking this recipe up.

One question just how vigorous is the fermenting supposed to be. Maybe I am too impatient, how does one wait 3 months!

#55 watchUburn

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 06:41 PM

I added 2mL of isinglass finings to my JAO mead on Saturday, but it still hasn't had an effect. Do you think I should add more?

#56 Brewer Pete

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 06:14 PM

That will teach me to post near midnight. If you want to assist in clearing you don't have to crash chill to greatly lower temperatures. 5 to 6 C is all you need to lower it by to start the effect chilling has on clarifying a fermented Mead. If you are in Darwin or your temperatures are normally above 26C then you might want to instead increase the chilling temperature up to 10-12C colder than ambient temperatures to get the same effect.

Given time Mead will clear on its own. However sometimes we are impatient :) The JAO is perfectly fine to sample as it is. If the suspended particles are yeast then as we know from beer brewing experience you can get a slight change in taste from yeast than in a perfectly cleared Mead. Some people like the taste as it is, so its an individual thing.

If you boil your fruits and you get a cloudy finished product you would have had pectin haze. We can tick that off. Put your pectic enzyme away.

If you used grains and tubers in making your Mead then you could have starch haze. We can tick that off. Put your iodine away as we don't need a few drops to see if it reacts with starch turning it indigo blue.

If you did a malo-lactic fermentation and got the haze then it would be bacteria induced haze. We can tick that off. Put your campden tablets away.


So what is in your finished Mead determines what fining agent you use to try and knock it out of suspension faster than time honoured waiting. What you have suspended as particles in the Mead possess either a positive (+) or a negative (-) electrical charge. The idea is to chose a fining with the opposite electrical charge so that they bond together and hopefully are bulky enough to drop out of suspension.

Positive (+) charged particles are usually Proteins and Metals
Finings to use are negatively (-) charged finings such as tannin, bentonite, Kieselsol (liquid silicon dioxide), and even yeast itself. If using tannin, its more of a "next time around" affair where you add it to the Must before you ferment it either directly or a teabag or two and if your second JAO ferments perfectly clear then you know its Proteins in solution. Bentonite is my favourite of the lot but you add it as needed depending on the haze as too much and you get an earthy flavour which is natural since bentonite is a fine clay material.

Negatively (-) charged particles include your yeast, your tannins, your bacteria, phenolics and anthocyanins (swallow what your chewing on before saying that one aloud!).
Finings to use that are positively (+) charged include your Isinglass, gelatin, Sparkalloid (I like this), egg albumin (egg white), casein and chitin and sometimes crushed baked egg shells.

Try chilling the Mead down before adding a fining (2 to 3 weeks in the fridge should improve it). Its not easy with a beginning recipe like JAO to expect everyone to have pH meters or paper strips in their testing gear yet but when you get there, understand that higher pH lessens the effectiveness of especially the organic finings. Isinglass is sturgeon bladder so you could have been stymied by pH in solution.

The organic fining agents work in some but not all cases. I think this is why the clays like Bentonite and Sparkolloid (polysaccharides in a diatomaceous earth carrier) are becoming popular with some brewers.


All said and told you can over fine and add flavours to your Mead so its a fine balance point between how much cosmetic clarity you want versus how much added flavourings from fining agents you want to accept.

As a beginner you should not stress it as much and lean more towards accepting and enjoying what you have. Come competition time, bring out your big guns!


Cheers,
Brewer Pete

Edited by Brewer Pete, 28 July 2009 - 06:17 PM.


#57 watchUburn

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 06:56 PM

Thanks for that Pete. As ever a clear explanation.
This is the first time I've tried a clearing agent so i didn't know all of that. I tried chilling the mead at 4C for 2 weeks but it didn't have a noticeable effect.
I would leave it to clear naturally but I'm worried that if I leave it too long the bitterness of the orange rind will get a bit overwhelming... And I'm impatient to try my first mead :)

I think I might just try bottling it and leaving it for a few more weeks to age in the bottle.

#58 Brewer Pete

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 07:01 PM

I think I might just try bottling it and leaving it for a few more weeks to age in the bottle.


Be sure you get brewers prerogative in a small sample for the brewer as you are bottling. This will let you know how it tastes and if you like it as it is going into the bottle then you know what to do :)

Cheers,
Brewer Pete

#59 watchUburn

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 02:43 PM

:(
Bottled and sampled the JAO today.
It's really bad. The bitterness from the orange peel is overwhelming. You can really feel the alcomohol hit you, but the flavour is not very enjoyable.
Hopefully after a month or two aging, and some sweetening it might be drinkable

#60 Brewer Pete

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 08:56 PM

I'm sorry to hear that. I looks like you have been hit by two brewing problems on your first try of the recipe.

Over bitter and what sounds like high fusels.


I have decanted some of "JAO 1 Clove" into a glass as this is my first brew using a metric conversion instead of imperial and JAO 1 Clove is definitely not bitter, a but strong sweet orange mead liquor with a balanced spice background as I remember JAO, very addictive! 3 or 4 sips and its just starting to hit me so when you get your first perfect JAO don't drink it quickly in one go!

I gave the glass to the wife while I get a chance to type this. Its not clear but its ready to consume. No high fusel alcohols no out of balance characters. With my cloves from the local Indian grocery shop their potency level shows 1 clove is enough.

So don't lose hope whatever you do! It is simply just a bum first try and get another one going but with a closer eye on controlled temperature during fermentation. I'll talk about how you can look at this batch below but be sure to put another batch on the go because once you hit a properly fermented JAO you will know it is all worth it.


If you have your brewing notes written down then post them and we can go through them:

1) We have to look at the oranges you used. Do you remember the variety of oranges you used. Was it a lot of pith and skin versus fruit in it? Do you remember the size of the oranges, and the number of slices of oranges you used. For example, thick skinned oranges like Naval oranges is not a good match for JAOs and over bitters them.

Bitterness will not age out with time. You have to balance the bitterness with sweetness. You have the idea already and I would recommend to use honey to back sweeten your JAO.

2) High alcohol/fusel alcohol "Hot" flavours are a sign of fermentation to fast at too high a temperature.

You've simply got a fast fermentation so your temperatures are higher than optimum for the yeast to produce a clean ferment. This will age out with time, give your first batch of JAO 6 months to age out the fusels. It also sounds like at the higher temperatures your yeast just chewed through everything it could in its over active state. The temperature range I went through helped the yeast stay in check and leaving it to chill in the cooling Canberra winter onset made the yeasts life more difficult which is what was needed to keep the fermentation without fusels and leaving enough residual sweetness to balance. I only have a clearing problem with JAO 1 Clove and JAO 2 CLove to deal with now.

If you look below I started JAO 1 Clove on a day with highs of 23 degrees, then it remained in the low 20's as fermentation took off. Then winter rapidly started taking hold and I was down to 18's and 16's in no time at all. Then extended periods with ambient temperatures around 14 then winter really hit and it got bloody cold :)

Also post what yeast you used. I have used the Defiance Quality Foods Instant Dry Yeast (12 sachets per box, 96g, 8g per sachet) that I picked up in Melbourne before I moved to Canberra. Best by Oct 2008 :P on the box so I'm at the end of the batch date now but it has produced lovely results with the JAOs I have put down with it.

I could only find Tandaco yeast locally which I don't remember seeing in Melbourne in the stores. I bought some but never used them for JAO yet although I got feedback it made a nice JAO as well.


We'll get you making perfect JAO in no time!

I am going to post my JAO 1 Clove brewing day notes for you so you can print them out and study them.

JAO 1 clove
Monday, 9 March 2009

Objective
Determine the quality of a Stringy Bark Honey with a Bread Yeast true to JAO recipe.
1. Test out the brew process with Defiance Bread Yeast.
2. Test out the brew process with Canberra Stringy Bark Honey.
3. Test out the difference using 1 clove instead of 2 cloves at this quantity of must.
4. Test out slightly less Honey, aiming for 1.5kg.
5. Determine if now is a good time to start brewing after the hot Canberra Summer

Materials
Fermentable Bill:
o 1.55kg Stringy Bark Honey
o 1 Orange, sliced in 8 pieces
Non-Fermentable Bill:
o 1 Clove
o 1 Cinnamon Stick
Brew Gear:
o Primary - 5L Glass Demijohn
o Small plastic funnel
o S style airlocks
Yeast Pitch:
o Dry Defiance Bread Yeast, direct pitch

Sanitisation Method:
1. Water (cold)
2. Regular Bleach (10mL for every 5L of water)
3. White Vinegar (10ML for every 5L of water)
4. Allowed to soak surfaces until ready for items (only really need 30 seconds to 2 minutes)
5. Rinse with water (hot) to neutralise even though not required for the amounts of bleach and vinegar used

Weather Forecast:
Sat-24/17, Sun 22/14, M-23/12, T-23/13, W-22/13

Procedures
1. 1.55kg Stringy Bark Honey measured out and weighed. Aimed for 1.5 but got extra weight.
2. Warm water added to Honey. Stirred slowly with spatula until liquid like pancake syrup.
3. Honey poured into 5L demijohn using small plastic funnel.
4. 8 slices of a washed and scrubbed Orange added.
5. 1 clove added.
6. 1 stick of cinnamon, smashed into pieces added.
7. 25 Raisins added.
8. Cold water to bring total volume of must to 3.8L added.
9. Closed Grolsch style lid and shook to oxygenate wort and mix in yeast.
10. S type airlock and bung fitted.
11. Airlock filled with sterilisation mixture.
12. 5L demijohn added to dark cupboard.


EDIT: I just noticed I forgot to ask for your Finished Gravity level. We can formulate an amount of honey to add to reach a desired gravity level if you don't want to add a little honey and then taste and decide to add a little more or stop.

Cheers,
Brewer Pete

Edited by Brewer Pete, 01 August 2009 - 09:00 PM.