View Full Version : JAO foolproof?

03-21-2007, 11:08 PM
Either God made a better fool or this stuff is just not my cup o' mead.

I started a one gallon batch in early January and racked it over tonight. Other than the racking tonight, I followed the directions exactly. The fruit never fell but it did get pretty clear.

I had a sample and it tastes like some sort of cleaning fluid to me. There's a definite alcohol burn as well.

I think I'll give it another 3-4 months before tossing it.

03-22-2007, 12:23 AM
should have left it alone longer..... at first its very rough but at around 6 months the alcohol backs off and the orange takes over. it says to wait 3 months and its fine, looks like your about a month early?

03-22-2007, 07:34 PM
JAO is foolproof but its not d*** foolproof ;D

Sorry, but everytime someone says they followed instictions to a tee but it isn't right, we find out they did not exactly follow the instructions. A different yeast was used or something else was done "that won't make any difference". Variations are ok and make this hobby fun. But you need to have some idea what you are doing.

My JAO had a hot cinnamon taste at two months and was wowwing a crowd at 3 months. At 3 months, the heat was gone and the flavor was good - orange with a hint of spice.

03-23-2007, 07:21 AM
I ended up racking (and drinking) my first batch of JAO after only a month (Hey, it was clear). Admittedly it was with a bit of prodding from a couple of buddies who were anxious to try it. It was definitely still hot, it was definitely too young, and we definitely mixed it with some OJ and drank it anyway. :drunken_smilie: LOL

My second batch is hitting the one month mark this week. I'm not touching that one until the end of April give or take a week (or two). I'm outta this sandbox sometime in May so there's no use keeping it in storage for someone else to enjoy after I'm gone.

It's hard to be patient over here when it comes to alcohol, but once I'm back home I'll set back a couple of gallons of JAO and let them age an appropriate amount of time to really smooth out. I'd like to see what it's potential really is after say 3-6 months. I figure if I set back two gallons, I can try one batch after 3 months and the other can sit back until the holidays. That should showcase the difference a bit of aging can make on this fine starter recipe.

04-09-2007, 04:33 PM
I finally racked off my first batch of JAO last night. I followed the recipe to a T and let me tell you . . . whooooo. Fantastic stuff. Even when I took a little sample a couple weeks ago it was bitter and hot. Last night . . . heaven :angel10:

I racked off into another gallon carboy and some into a 750ml wine bottle to let it age. The rest I plan on drinking up ASAP.

04-12-2007, 06:01 PM
my joa is done after only a month. I used a very light honey though, but it's sitting in the carboy fruit and all, its nice and clear. I'll bottle it at the two month mark..

05-05-2007, 05:09 AM
JAO is foolproof but its not d*** foolproof ;D

Sorry, but everytime someone says they followed instictions to a tee but it isn't right, we find out they did not exactly follow the instructions. A different yeast was used or something else was done "that won't make any difference". Variations are ok and make this hobby fun. But you need to have some idea what you are doing.

Thank you for the condescension. The implying I'm a liar and / or an idiot goes over well with me too. If I make this in the future, I write to get YOUR "instictions".

The recipe, as printed on this board and praised by so many, was followed to the letter. I read the 400+(?) posts about "Can I do _____?" and "What if I substitute ____?" Due to the consistent answer of, "Yes, but this really is fool-proof," I decided to try it.

I'm willing to concede that this just might be a case of "I don't like it." As I posted in another forum, "Millions of people apparently like Budweiser, Liver, Asparagus, and Cilantro. I don't like any of those." However, I took it to my LHBS and they said, "Yeah, based on the recipe, I can see it tasting like that. Bread yeast sucks."

To see if it's my process or just something I don't like, I am meeting a gentleman around 13:00 today at another HBS here in town to try his batch of JAO. I've also been invited to sample a year old batch next time I pass through a town about 1.5 hours North-East of here.

I'll be sure to post my opinions on the other batch(es) I try.

05-05-2007, 07:10 AM
I haven't had any JAO that was aged for 6+ months or anything like that, but as a starter recipe I've got no complaints. I don't love orange pith, I'm not a huge fan of cloves, and I'm sure there are better yeasts to try out as well. I do however think it's a good starter recipe to see if the potential of a really quality mead is something you'd want to drop the cash into. I for one am glad Joe developed it and chose to share it with us all. He's earned a lot of respect among a lot of mazers due to his efforts towards everyones enjoyment in this hobby.

If you just don't like JAO, then you don't like it. I personally can't STAND asparagus, but I don't begrudge people that like it their *ugh* enjoyment in eating it. :icon_puke_l: ::I think it's a vile weed:: LOL

There are a lot of recipes to try out though. Check them out, pick another and hit it again. I'd be willing to bet you'll find one you like after a few attempts. At least with the JAO you're only out a few bucks and 2-3 months.

Just keep in mind that mead is a flexible hobby. "If at first you don't make mead, try, try again."

Heck, I'm still at the "I wonder what'll happen if I brew this?" stage of the game myself. :laughing7:

I don't do condescension, but I'm not going to try to convince you that you like something you don't either.


05-05-2007, 08:02 AM
Hey 4th .... I would not toss that mead, even if it is not quite what you are looking for in a few months. You will be amazed at what time does for mead - including so called 'quick meads' like JAO, Joe's No-Age Pyment, and Joe's No-Age Sweet Mead.

I made one 5 gallon batch of JAO in February of 2006 and I still have a few bottles left. I also made 2 batches of the Pyment and 4 batches of the Sweet Mead. Personally, I like the the others more than JAO, but that's my personal preference.

Again, give it time. And even though it may not be your favorite, it will no doubt improve as the months (years?) go by.

- GL63

05-06-2007, 03:20 AM
I had the pleasure of meeting another local homebrewer this afternoon who shared his batch of JAO with me. It's the recipe I don't like. His tasted almost exactly like mine. (He used stronger honey and a tangelo instead of an orange.)

We sat (stood) around and BS'd while we sipped on the JAO, some Cherry / Peach Mead he had made, some of my Raspberry Mead, and some of my Peach wine.

After comparing notes, I think this mead would most assuredly benefit from aging. I'd like to make it w/ less honey or a more attenuative yeast.

I'm not one to toss much of anything out. I sorbated and sulfited the rest of the batch and will bottle it tomorrow sometime. I'll be sure to put it back in the far corner of the wine rack where it will get lost for a year or so.

05-07-2007, 12:55 PM
Ancient Orange just isn't for everyone. It is a good starter recipe that is truly hard to botch. But the result is not going to be a fine mead, just a drinkable one...

My problems with JAO center around the pithiness, which has remained "nasty" in my batches, even after more than a year. I am trying different methods to try and get rid of the pithiness. Personally, I have not found anything that retaining all of the piths adds to the batch other than maybe taking off a little of the initial alcohol burn. But I allow all of my meads to age at least 6 months before I bottle or consume them so my goals are different than those normally associated with "quick" stuff...

There is a fairly significant difference in the intended outcome of a "quick" mead, whose goal is to be drinkable in a month or three, and a regular mead, whose goal is to be more like a fine wine that may take a year or more to age properly.

Choosing JAO for a first batch is a wise decision if only because it allows you to gain the experience and confidence of doing a mead once. What you do for your second batch needs to be determined based on your goals. Quickly consumable alcoholic beverages or fine wines or something in between?

It already sounds like you have branched off into several other batches. I'll be waiting to hear how the Raspberry Mel and the Peach Wine turned out. Peach Wine sounds REALLY good right now...

Good luck,

Dan McFeeley
05-07-2007, 01:45 PM
Hello Fourth --

Welcome to the forums! (if no one else has welcomed you yet)

JAO is by no means an absolutely fool proof mead, although, as a basic recipe, it works amazingly well in the majority of the cases. Strangely, for those who report sucessfulness, it seems to be a recipe that doesn't allow for tinkering. You have to follow the instructions to the letter, with little leeway for adjustments. I've done this myself -- made small changes in Joe's basic recipe with disasterous results.

Myself, I get good results with JAO after nine months of aging. The pithy taste is too strong for me, even after following recomendations from successful JAO makers -- cutting off the ends of the orange to reduce the amount of pith. Aging works well for my JAO batches.

Much may depend on the local oranges available in your area. I've seen some posts on this topic.

It may also be a matter of taste. This isn't supposed to be a great mead, only a good mead. The spiced pithy orange taste of a JAO may not be to everyone's palate.

Apologies if you had a negative impression from earlier responses to your posts. Part of it may be from memories of Joe Mattioli -- the originator of the recipe and a past frequent poster to these forums. He hasn't been around for a while (too busy with other affairs!) but the enthusiasm for JAO has much to do with fond memories of Joe M. A great recipe, a great meadmaker, and an all around good friend on this list who is missed.

05-10-2007, 03:33 PM
I love the orange flavor and aroma in the mead. I used a "low-pith" type orange, so pithiness isn't the issue with mine. I think it was too sweet for me, and the bread yeast doesn't bring anything pleasant (other than alcohol!) to the game.

I DID do something that seems to really bring the orange flavor, cut the sweetness, and cut the thick round mouth-feel quite a bit compared the "other guy's" batch I tried. I had one bottle that was a little shy of full so I topped it off with water. It really "brought it together" for me. Still not something I'd want to drink a bottle of, but definitely better.

If I try it again, I'll shoot for something drier.

06-06-2007, 10:48 PM
ive tinkered with this recipe many times the last time i used a 1/2 LB less honey and oaked it thru the whole fermentation. it was pretty strange for the first year and now it has blended into one of my favorites.

08-14-2007, 07:16 PM
I'm hoping that this is the place to post for this kind of reassurance. :D My first batch of mead, which of course is JAO, reached the end of its second month. The fruit hadn't fell yet, but it looked pretty clear, despite the dark color from the honey. I actually used a very dark honey from last year's fall collection from our farm. I'm pretty sure it was done, because I had burped the condom I was using for an airlock and it was still flat.

There were some bubbles when I racked it, but I managed to get about two-thirds of a three liter bottle from the fermentation. And the taste was very sweet with an orangey alcohol burn at the end. And I do mean burn. It didn't taste like wine or anything like the mead I had tried a few years ago. So, I filled the bottle the rest of the way with water, placed another condom on it as an airlock in case it still had any yeast in it, and now it's back in the cabinet.

Did I do the right thing? I know it probably needs to age maybe time to clear, but I'm concerned. I'm about to make a try another variation on JAO with apples and some of that same honey left from last year and would love some input before I start.

08-15-2007, 04:53 PM
Having not seen many glass 3-liter bottles, I'm going to assume you're mead is currently in plastic.

I would NOT age the mead in plastic. Stabilize it and get it in glass for long-term aging. Others may have a differing opinion, but I've had bad luck w/ aging mead in 3-liter soda bottles.