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khooleo
09-23-2010, 11:09 PM
I am 1 week through Joe's Ancient Orange Mead Recipe. I have followed the recipe exactly! I have however scaled it to 3 gallons (US). It is fermenting in a 5 gallon plastic carboy.

My worries are :

1. The oranges are floating to the top and I'm afraid they're blocking the fermentation (I know I know, I see it that way...)

2. It was bubbling on the 2nd day but now at the end of the week it's really slow. I have 2 more months of slow bubbling?

3. Am using wild honey and it's really dark, as the recipe states it would clear after the stipulated time, will it get lighter? Clear as in clarity or lightness of colour?

4. All I smell is oranges... like a very citrus enzyme fermentation thingy. Isn't there suppose to be a fermented smell... yeasty maybe?

I'm from Malaysia and we don't have homebrew shops here. I had to pop over to singapore for the yeast and airlocks.

I do brew local stuff like tuak, not the milky kind but the clear caramel coloured kind. I used chinese wine yeast for that. The stuff in my carboy now doesn't smell anything like what the tuak smelled like.

Am I just anxious, impatient maybe? My wife told me to just let it ride its course and like the recipe says; don't touch it.

Thanks in advance.

Chevette Girl
09-23-2010, 11:30 PM
Welcome aboard, khooleo!

Generally when I start a Joe's Ancient Orange Mead recipe, I get very active bubbling for maybe the first week and then it slows right down after that. Listen to your wife, she's on the right track :)

Regarding the oranges 'blocking' your fermentation, don't worry about that, they're not. Presuming you shook the heck out of the must like the directions say, the yeast will have had enough oxygen to get off to a good start so they shouldn't need any more, I think they mostly need the oxygen to multiply, not to process your sugar into alcohol. Although if you're worried, go ahead and splash the must around with a sanitized long-handled spoon, it won't hurt this must, Joe's recipe is VERY forgiving..

Using a very dark honey will probably result in a fairly dark mead, when a must clears, it's the suspended solids that settle out to the bottom, things like yeast and fruit bits.

Hope this helps!

mmclean
09-24-2010, 05:00 AM
Hello "khooleo",

Welcome to Gotmead!

My first brew was 6 one gallon carboys of JAO. Everything sounds like it is right where it should be.

The hardest part of making JAO, seems to be, to leave it along. I think this is one of the lessons to be learned. The yeast do the work, we are only helpers, and sometimes all they need is to be left alone to do their job. I say, listen to your wife on this one. ;D

Can you post a little about tuak. I'll look it up, but would love hear about it first hand. Do you have a favorite recipe you would be willing to share?

-M-

khooleo
09-26-2010, 09:55 PM
Thanks CG & MM,

I'm just impatient because it's something new. We just made a box for it so it's nice and dark. Starting to smell the alcohol now.;D.

Was reading through the GotMead FAQ and Guide for newbies and got a bit paranoid with everything that could go wrong WOULD go wrong.

MM : Look here for a simple recipe for tuak http://thirstyblogger.my/2009/05/11/diy-tuak/ .

What you can do as a variant is either add honey as a substitute for the sugar or like me I used palm sugar. It gave the finish rice wine a deep chocolate colour with hints of burnt something ???

Oh unless you have a chinatown where you at, you probably won't find the chinese wine yeast. I think any yeast used for making port,sherry or sake would be fine.

Glad to help. BTW Brewing is illegal in my country.:cool:

mmclean
09-26-2010, 10:13 PM
My wife is from the Philippines, I may fine something in one of our local asian stores. Thanks for the link and good luck with you brew.

Oh, and watch out for those men in black suits and dark glasses.:glasses6::glasses7:

djslort
09-26-2010, 11:43 PM
I have a batch of JAO that I started 10 months ago. At this point it tastes increadable. Even better than when it was just 3 months old.

khooleo
09-27-2010, 12:56 AM
10 months! :eek: is it still in the fermenter or already bottled?

Nysrock
09-27-2010, 02:34 AM
I just bottled 2 different 1 gallon batches of this today. 1 was made with a dark wildflower honey and the other was a lighter clover honey. From what I can see the color in bottle is just about identical. They were both started at the same time and finished the same. Though I did notice the clover honey foamed up a LOT more.

As for djslort's mead, I would assume it has been bottled. My experience with JAO has been that while you can drink it when you first bottle it, it really tastes better after aging a few months. Though I have yet to make it past 6 months. ;D

ash
09-27-2010, 09:58 AM
I tend to age more also. YAO is great but yeah you need patience. My first batch of a self made receipe took a year to clear. But the YAO should be drinkable in 3 months.

fatbloke
09-28-2010, 04:00 PM
10 months! :eek: is it still in the fermenter or already bottled?
It's usually drinkable, pretty much straight away, but like all meads, it does improve with age

As for the orange "blocking" fermentation ? Well about the only thing that the oranges might be doing is holding on to some of the CO2, which is probably why they seem to take a long time to drop.

If you can resist it that long (and IMO, it's best if you do), then when it comes to racking, make sure that you're careful about not disturbing it too much, as bread yeast doesn't compact down (tech term is "Flocculate"). The same applies to the actual syphoning, caution needed the closer you get to the sediment.

Apart from that, it's a pretty foolproof recipe that seems to produce pretty good, consistent results....

regards

fatbloke

p.s. and yes, I've tried many different variations and nothing seems to really match up to the original - I have some that's about 2 years old......

crimsondrac
09-28-2010, 05:01 PM
The first few batches of JAOs I made, both cleared in under 3 weeks. I am not sure where they got that 2 month number from in the recipe, but it is more like 2 weeks. I was worried too, but that batch I made is now 5 months old and tastes great. Gonna let it age for a few more months before trying it again. I tasted it just after it cleared and I racked it the first time. It was horrible. Thought I did something wrong and was thinking about dumping it. Glad I held onto it.

Gonna try a batch of Show mead this week.

AToE
09-28-2010, 05:27 PM
The first few batches of JAOs I made, both cleared in under 3 weeks. I am not sure where they got that 2 month number from in the recipe, but it is more like 2 weeks. I was worried too, but that batch I made is now 5 months old and tastes great. Gonna let it age for a few more months before trying it again. I tasted it just after it cleared and I racked it the first time. It was horrible. Thought I did something wrong and was thinking about dumping it. Glad I held onto it.

Gonna try a batch of Show mead this week.

I'd recommend a traditional over a show mead for someone new to the hobby, it'll make your life a lot easier!

mmclean
09-28-2010, 06:56 PM
Joe says, "After 2 months and maybe a few days it will slow down to a stop and clear all by itself. If the temperature is in the 70's it finish even faster."

I just did 6 one gallon JOA

Batch 1 started on 7-19-10.
Batch 6 started on 8-01-10.
Fruit from all six batches droped on 9-06-10. :confused:

Temp stayed around 83F.

From 7 weeks to 5 weeks 1 day.

All batches were the same except batch one was a slow ferment do to lack of oxygen at start. It was my first batch. :rolleyes:

khooleo
09-28-2010, 10:49 PM
Aiyoh! So it seems nothing less than 3 months I guess. Do I rack it after that and let it stand? That's the aging part I guess.

I think the longest I let my rice wine ferment was 5 months and that was because I forgot about it. The result was this really dark cognac looking drink which had (i guess) 35% alc. Man did it go well with crabs!

I'm guessing the reason the oranges drop is coz the alc level rises and the oranges get heavier?

Will get back in a months time if anything goes wrong.

khooleo
10-12-2010, 11:20 PM
It is now been 25 days since the start. The bubbles in the airlock are now down to 1 release every 5 to 6 mins. Oranges haven't sunk yet. It is still not clear. I took a torch and viewed it.

Do I need to rack it yet? Or the bubbles have to completely stop. I did read somewhere that if I left the oranges to long fermenting it would spoil. Is that correct? However the colour of the oranges amazingly is still ok.

Chevette Girl
10-13-2010, 02:05 AM
25 days? Yeah, it's going to keep bubbling for a while. Don't worry about the fruit in a JAO, it's not going to rot or anything even after a couple of months, between the honey and the alcohol it'll be pretty well-preserved. I wouldn't rack it until there are no bubbles at all even after you give the jug a gentle swirl (I find this helpful in knocking off some of the stuff that collects on the floating fruit to get it to settle out, sometimes it also dislodges carbon dioxide gas from the fruit that keeps it afloat).

I usually don't rack JAO for about 3 months unless all the fruit has dropped and it's cleared right up, sometimes it clears early, sometimes not.

mmclean
10-13-2010, 04:29 AM
I waited until the fruit fell in all six batches of my JAO. All six were clear, with no bubbles coming up from the bottom of the carboy, not just in the airlock.

I didn't shake mine to degas it. Didn't want to shake up the lees.

I think it is best to at least wait until it clears real well before racking.

khooleo
10-15-2010, 12:10 AM
CG : I swirled it a bit and now *poof* no bubbles at all. Watching for the past 15 minutes w/ nary a *bloop* in the airlock. So now is just the oranges sinking.

khooleo
11-16-2010, 10:50 PM
Yes they have! ;D Will be bottling them soon. Will age the next batch I make, can't really wait as Christmas is around the corner and I want to add this to my menu.

Any of you think I should rack it longer?

fatbloke
11-17-2010, 03:07 AM
Yes they have! ;D Will be bottling them soon. Will age the next batch I make, can't really wait as Christmas is around the corner and I want to add this to my menu.

Any of you think I should rack it longer?
If all the fruit has sunk, then go ahead and rack it - if you used bread yeast then just rack it with care/caution as bread yeast doesn't compact/flocculate very well and it's easy to disturb it back into solution again...

maybe rack off where it's clear, then rack gently down to the yeast, but if you pick up a little, then put those bottles in the fridge for a couple of days as that usually helps to get the yeast to settle back down and it's easier to get most/more of the liquid off the top of the yeast/sediment layer......

regards

fatbloke