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Jao The Ultimate Beginners Mead Recipe

Discussion in ''Non Beer' Brewing' started by pdilley, 11/5/09.

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  1. pdilley

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    Posted 11/5/09
    JAO_TWINS.jpg
    JAO Twins, 1 Clove and 2 Clove, a few days after pitching yeast.



    This recipe is designed for beginners. Everyone else with an opinion can just buggar off!

    For a 5 litre demijohn
    -------------------------------

    1.6kg honey (never boiled or lose the taste and aromas) (if I meant 1.5kg I would have written it)
    1 large orange (at most cut into eight pieces -- rind and all)
    1 small handful of raisins (25 if you can count)
    1 stick of cinnamon (its brown, its wood, its good)
    1 whole clove (or 2 if you like high potency)
    optional (a pinch of nutmeg and allspice )( very small mind you )
    1 tsp of bread yeast (now don't get holy on me about bread yeast -- after all this recipe is DESIGNED for it)
    Balance water to bring batch out to 3.8 litres (did you know, there are 3.785411 litres per US gallon)


    Process:

    Use a clean 5 litre demijohn.

    Dissolve honey in some warm water and put in demijohn

    Wash orange well to remove any pesticides and slice into eights (may wish to zest slightly, just shove em through the demijohn's hole)

    Put in raisins, clove, cinnamon stick, any optional ingredients and fill demijohn with water to about 3.8 litres with cold water (need some room for some foam -- you can top off with more water after the first few days foaming frenzy). (You did remember to pour in a measured 3.8 litres and mark off the level on the outside of the glass demijohn before hand right?)

    Shake the hell out of the demijohn with the top on or bung in (of course). This is your sophisticated oxygenation process.

    When liquid is at room temperature, put in 1 tsp of bread yeast (no you don't have to rehydrate it first -- the ancients did not even have that word in their vocabulary -- just put it in and give it a gentle swirl or not)(The yeast can fight for their own territory)

    Install water airlock. Put in dark place. It will start working immediately or in an hour. (Don't use grandma's bread yeast she bought years before she passed away in the 90's -- use the fresh stuff) (Wait 3 hours before you panic or call me) After major foaming stops in a few days add some water and then keep your hands off of it. (Don't shake it! Don't mess with them yeastees! Leave them alone except its okay to open your cabinet to inhale deeply the smell every once in a while.)


    Racking -- Don't you dare!
    Additional feeding -- No! NO!
    More stirring or shaking -- You are not listening, do not touch!


    After 2 months and maybe a few days it will slow down to a stop and clear all by itself. (How about that) (You are not so important after all) Then you can put a hose in with a small cloth filter on the end into the clear part and siphon off the golden nectar. If you wait long enough even the oranges will sink to the bottom but I never waited that long. If it is clear it is ready. You don't need a cold basement. It does better in a kitchen in the dark. (Like in a cabinet) likes a little heat (20C-25C). If it didn't work out... you screwed up and didn't read my instructions (or used grandma's bread yeast she bought years before she passed away) . If it didn't work out then take up another hobby. Mead is not for you. It is too complicated.

    If you were successful, which I am 99% certain you will be, then enjoy your mead. When you get ready to make different types of mead you will probably have to unlearn some of these practices I have taught you, but hey -- This recipe and procedure works with these ingredients so don't knock it. It was your first mead. It was my tenth. Sometimes, even the experts can forget all they know and make good ancient mead.

    This mead should finish quite sweet, if it finished dry, most likely your bread yeast has higher alcohol tolerance than Fleishmann's Bread Yeast (original recipe USA brand of dry yeast -- 12% alc tol. and high flocculation). In Australia for the past few years all the dry yeast sold is imported from China. So add more honey in the next batch and so on until it finishes sweet instead of dry or switch brands (but then again all the Australian brands today are probably from the same barrel of imported China dry yeast). Don't like it sweet? Add less honey next time.

    Keep in mind, that will completely void the "warranty" of Ancient Orange recipe if you randomly use a different yeast. Different yeasts have different alcohol tolerance, and it just so happens that the Fleishman's active dry bread yeast is perfect for this recipe in regards to alcohol tolerance. Using another yeast would probably give better results *IF* the honey was re-balanced to suit the yeast. Again, this recipe is all about *BALANCE*. The bitterness from the orange and the sweetness of the honey balance perfectly with the alcohol level. I don't know if I just don't have a well enough educated palate or what, but I can't discern any yeast flavour in my Ancient Orange. It is young even by this recipe's standard; the batch cleared at about 4 weeks and is currently in bottles. Even at such an extremely young age, it turned out incredibly smooth with a wonderful flavour of the varietal honey that I used. The spices are "just right" and everything comes together perfectly. If it is not clear, just wait longer as one day it will magically turn from cloudy to clear and the fruit will drop meaning its time to bottle. Like any mead if you leave this one to age (although only need 6 months) then it just keeps tasting better. Foaming and clearing times are dependent upon yeast and temperature conditions.


    Cheers,
    Brewer Pete

    JAO_TODAY.jpg
    JAO Twins today, note the honey is much lighter in colour now.
     
  2. Sammus

    Amateur Brewer

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    Posted 11/5/09
    this is something I'll be trying for sure. Cheers for posting!
     
  3. Verbyla

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    Posted 11/5/09
    Thanks for that!

    Definitely one i'll try in the future.

    You should add it to the recipeDB, even if its a short recipe that has the link to here

    Not trying to kiss arse or anything but i always love reading what you've got to say! :p
     
  4. pdilley

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    Posted 11/5/09
    No worries, enjoy.

    Without taking a Refractometer reading my calculations bring the Starting Brix to exactly 29 Degrees Brix.

    That would be a Starting Gravity of 1.125, a lot of pressure and sugars for the yeast to punch through.

    Once you get comfortable with the math you can check your attenuation of your yeast and on your next brew adjust the Starting Gravity / Starting Brix figure to make your targeted finish gravity... Lower if you find it too sweet for your liking... but of course by the time you're running calculations like this you can call yourself quite a bit more than a beginner.

    Cheers,
    Brewer Pete

    EDIT: Iron Bark honey is next up on my next batch of JAOs
     
  5. jayse

    Black Label Society

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    Posted 11/5/09
    Wicked, I'am gunna do it, cheers.
     
  6. pdilley

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    Posted 11/5/09
    Always good to have people on board. Good excuse to start adding 5 litre demijohns to the collection to get into small batch brewing, testing out fruit wines, meads, high malt bill beers, things that would cost a lot to do a full size batch when you only want to try it and see if you like it before going the full batch size or upscaling to double or triple batches.


    For flattop, if he takes his 3kg of Orange Blossom honey and does two JAOs, I estimate his Starting Gravity to be 1.117 or .008 gravity points lower. This will push the finish closer towards semi-sweet.

    My US-05 yeast in my Stringy Bark in the 60 litre fermenter started at 1.100 and I'm aiming for that to finish out completely dry. I have 12 brand new 5 litre fermenters waiting for the finished mead so I can rack into them for bulk aging and then use some for soaking vanilla beans, others with other spices, and some with high quality (usually expensive) fruits. Thats why I'm keeping the batch size 5 litres on those. Costs down, lots of variety up.

    That still leaves 2 more new 5 litre demijohns to do some other things... fruit wines perhaps?

    Small Batch, its a whole new angle :)
     
  7. Pumpy

    Pumpy's Brewery.

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    Posted 11/5/09
    I think we should appoint Brewer Pete the AHB site mead expert .

    I suppose with mead such a strong drink you can split it up and add all sorts of adjuncts to mini batches .

    maybe cranberries , sour cherries

    Pumpy :)
     
  8. pdilley

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    Posted 11/5/09
    Sour Cherries will go good. Cranberries, I am not sure if you can get them fresh over here. Not sure if dried cranberries will impart a lot of flavour. Kind of like making wine with raisins :)

    I have three cherries in the back yard but the bloody birds ate them all except one this last season. I was more upset to find everything that used to be legal is now illegal to get, oh like pellet rifles :) And even though the birds are a pest they are protected by local laws.

    I have quite a few fruit trees in the back yard, nothing to the number Ken Schramm has, but I'm working on it.
     
  9. pdilley

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    Posted 11/5/09
    One word of warning, store bought fruit from the supermarket is utter crap for use in brewing. Most likely for your health as well.

    You need the fruit of yesteryear, bred over the centuries for juicy ripeness and full of flavour, not this new generation of supermarket fruit thats been injected with fly eyeball DNA. A fruit whose entire genetic modification by modern science is to #1 Look Good even if it is not, #2 Last a hell of a long time on the shelf without rotting. #3 is forgotten about, taste like the actual fruit it tries to resemble in appearance.

    You have to find all those abandoned fruit trees of the older breeds in the countryside as the supermarkets took over the country and crap became the new standard. You'll have to go out of your way to get good fruit, and you'll have to pay for it too. Its the same story, you can not make better quality finished product than your honey, same with the fruit you use.


    Cheers,
    Brewer Pete
     
  10. Bizier

    Petite Mutant

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    Posted 11/5/09
    You should write a book Pete, half rant and philosohpy, the other half recipe. "The Zen of Mead Maintenance" ?
    Great posts.

    OT: have you brewed with Banksia honey? It has a distinct and interesting smell and taste, dry, earthy and woody. I imagine this fermenting well.
     
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  11. Sammus

    Amateur Brewer

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    Posted 11/5/09
    Sorry if it's obvious... but what's JAO?
     
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  12. pdilley

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    Posted 11/5/09
    JAO is Joes Ancient Orange, JAOM would add Mead on the end.

    Banksia sounds interesting, I have not had that varietal yet nor letherwood. Your best bet is to dilute down your candidate honey or group of honeys about one part to 3 parts water or more to get an idea what they are like around recipe dilution. Then you will get to know first hand what you have to work with. It will be sweet but focus on the taste and aroma at that level and see if it does anything for you.

    Leatherwood sounds like I might find in a store in smal amounts than at the local farm as it ls description says that it is made in Tasmania.


    Cheers,
    Brewer Pete
     
  13. flattop

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    Posted 11/5/09
    This was my original choice for a recipe, i think i will go with that since i have a limited quantity of honey... i can feel another bulk buy coming on....

    Perhaps i will do a split batch, one with bread yeast and another with US-05 that i think you BP said was a great yeast for Mead...

    Anyhow i need to get some good non supermarket oranges from the orchard down the road first...
     
  14. pdilley

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    Posted 12/5/09
    With JAO there is no need to stress the oranges as they dont come through for flavour. Instead its the pith providing tannin like bittering to balance the sweet finish which is why you are told to add eighths so you have enough exposed surface area. If you make lots of thin slices you will over bitter. If you optionally zest do very little as the aroma addition you get might not survive through fermentation and you will increase your bittering depending on how deeply you cut into the skin. Make at least one according to recipe to base your changed upon and for use as a comparison baseline.

    Most people will make JAO true to recipe as if you fermented out dry you could find the balance doesnt work anymore for your own palette. I have not used US-05 in a JAO but dont see a whole lot wrong with it compared to English, Irish, Scottish Ale yeasts which leave rubber bands twang that will require aging to mellow out of the finished Mead. Wine yeasts will most like take JAO straight to dry finish.

    Cheers,
    Brewer Pete
     
  15. Airgead

    Ohhh... I can write anything I like here

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    Posted 12/5/09
    Oh man.. Call me a coward if you will but I still worry about the whole bread yeast thing.

    I know its all still S.Cerrivicie but there's not guarantee as to the strain. One manufacturer may have a completely different one to another manufacturer and everything I have ever tasted brewed with bread yeast was ordinary (at best).

    I still say you are better off forking out the $5 for a packet of dry brewing yeast. At least that way you have some control over the attenuation and flavour profile. Honey (good honey anyway) isn't cheap so I would be loath to risk it on bread yeast.

    Cheers
    Dave
     
  16. pdilley

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    Posted 12/5/09

    I won't call you a coward, but I will call you a non-beginner hence this recipe is not for you, and will call you on your alternative recommendation.

    With the rare exception, most Ale brewing yeasts will put off flavour twangs into Meads that need to be aged out. Honey Must is not Barley Water, Mead is not Beer, the rules of beer yeasts on Mead does not apply. To recommend a beginner go out on his first try and not use a yeast the recipe was designed for is setting them up to potentially encounter off flavours and put them off making mead entirely and as such is a disservice to that beginner.

    Maybe you need to brew this particular recipe out with bread yeast then come back and comment. Have some faith, I'll hold your hand and cheer you all the way :)


    More importantly i'm a bit worried about your Braggot :p so lets talk about that one on the other post.

    Cheers,
    Brewer Pete
     
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  17. flattop

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    Posted 12/5/09
    I have no problem with using bread yeast, but i saw other mead recipes with US-05 as the yeast of choice... Wine yeast with a dry finish is not for me, the missus won't drink it so i'm looking for a sweet finish...
    Anyhow i am starting to think about buying a demijohn instead of a large fermenter, obviously your orange slices fit back out of the neck of the bottle after the mead is finished....
     
  18. pdilley

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    Posted 12/5/09
    US-05 is one of those rare ale yeasts that wont twang a mead but will add a touch of clove and bannana to the finish. It also is great for fake lagers as its clean profile comes out at the low end of its temperature range.

    I love the little glass demi's, they are $15 ea. so cost wise they can not beat a large glass demijohn, but they make up for it in being more handy, easy to lift, easy to clean, easy to oxygenate. Bungs are less, S airlocks are the same price, if you go for a rubber solid bung seal its not much but if you get the grolsch style tops
    they are around $4 ea.

    Upside down with bottle brush up and down will clear out the dregs.

    Big fermenters still have their place. If you really get stuck into Meads you'll bulk primary ferment in large fermentation vessels then rack to the smaller vessels to age and flavour individually. You will stabilise, clear and slowly adopt a more wine like brewing style. And you will even ferment to dry and backsweeten to an exact degree that matches the flavours from the quality of the ingredient combined with the flavours each different yeast imparts.

    For now you'll just keep it simple, go easy on yourself and have fun and enjoy making your first Mead(s).
     
  19. Chad

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    Posted 12/5/09
    I haven't got time to read the entire thread just yet, but I had done this recipe nearly two years ago and it is one of the best meads I have made yet. And yes, I did use bread yeast.
     
  20. flattop

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    Posted 12/5/09
    Thanks BP, i think i will splash out and get the glass mini as it will be easier to store for 2-3 months and it doesn't tie up my fermenter, if i brewed enough mead i can justify the outlay on hardware.. guess i could use it for mini beer brews as well...
     

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