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OrionMead
05-20-2011, 04:12 PM
I figured that I'd put this into another thread, rather than my first from earlier...

Here is my recipe for my modified JAO recipe for mead. I know the recipe calls for 1 gallon, but I was extremely eager to put my new 6.5 gallon carboy to good use, so I went ahead and tried this...just not sure how it's going at the moment. Keep in mind, I've only been brewing for three months, and I've never added cinnamon or cloves to my mead before...and that's what's throwing my sense of smell of (explained below).


3/27/2011 - JAO-style mead
6.5 Gallons total.
1.5 packets of Lalvin D-47
1 lbs Orange Blossom Honey, 15 lbs Clover Honey
5 "pinches" of Nutmeg
5 Small Cinnamon Sticks
5 Large Oranges
1 small box of Raisins
1 Clove

In hindsight, when making 6.5 gallons, I should have just put them into separate containers. Live and learn, I guess. The modifications in the recipe were made to appease the 6.5 gallon carboy, and also because I didn't happen to have the correct yeast on hand.

For the first three days, there was no activity in the airlock at all. Then slowly, I started to notice about 1 burp every 10 seconds or so. Unfortunately, I broke my hydrometer (tip: don't hold it by the stem and use it to move "chunks of fruit" out of the way), so I wasn't able to get an OG reading. About this time, we also hit a cold snap down here in Sierra Vista, Arizona, and so the temperature dropped in the pantry where this giant carboy was sitting on the floor. Thinking that it could stall the yeast, I moved the carboy on top of the clothes dryer (luckily, ours isn't one of the monstrous vibrating ones).

On the 1st of May, which is about a month and a week into this mead going, I finally got my new hydrometer and took a reading, and then did it again two weeks later.


5/1/2011
Temp: about 70F
SG - 1.120
ABV - 16%
Sugar - 30%

5/18/2011
Temp: about 80F
SG - 1.110
ABV - 15%
Sugar - 27%

According to the Hydrometer Temperature Correction Calculator (http://hbd.org/cgi-bin/recipator/recipator/hydrometer.html?13666709), an SG of 1.120 at 70F adjusts to 1.121 at 60F. A temperature of 80F adjusts an SG of 1.110 to 1.112.

What I'm having a hard time understanding, is the hydrometer readings. For instance, the (adjusted to 60F) SG went from 1.121 down to 1.112. This means that it's still chugging along, just slowly and silently, right? I see no activity in the air lock (I sat there for a good 30 minutes staring at the damned thing). I also see no bubbles inside rising like I would with a normal mead.

Also, how can the % of sugar go down AND the ABV go down 1%? Are sugar level/ABV readings bogus after you've already pitched yeast into the must and let it ferment?

Since I have so much of it, I drank what I was using as a test for the hydrometer. It is VERY strong smelling (cinnamon/clove), and very thick...if you get any of it on your hands, your hands WILL be sticky (as opposed to my other meads, which I guess are all pretty much dry as it's not that sticky if I spill some on the countertop). I can smell the alcohol coming off of this large batch, but it's mixed with cloves, cinnamon, and orange...so I'm not quite sure if it's the alcohol or if my nose is being assaulted by the spices.

It hasn't cleared, though. It's just a golden yellow color, just a tad bit darker than most lemonade jugs you can get at the supermarket.

The only mead I've had were the ones that I've finished (just two), or the ones that I drank BEFORE they finished because they were just so darned good (even though, I did end up with some gas in the pants...my fault for drinking yeasties that were still farting?). These were: strawberry, classic mead, green-apple, and orange mead. So nothing that had a strong smell to it.

I'm open to any criticisms or advice, as always. Still very new, so as I experiment I think it's good to get feedback from the vets ;-) And (if the wife approves), I'll soon be able to hit Patron status to rifle through the awesome recipes that I'm sure abound within! I just hope to one day bring a fount of knowledge into that forum...as it stands now...I'm just playing with what I find in the fridge (pineapple, pear, peaches, apples, grapes, pizza...yes...I thought about it!).

- Orion

Chevette Girl
05-20-2011, 05:13 PM
Hiya Orion.

I was going to refer you to the Newbee Guide but I can't find the info quickly myself :)

Oh, and you know how messing with the recipe voids the warranty? ;D D47 is not a minor substitution.

The way it works is the % you see there is your alcohol potential, not the alcohol content.

Initially it will be high, as will your sugar amount. As the sugar is eaten, there is less of it and also less potential to make more alcohol (because it's already been converted). That's why your sugar and potential alcohol percentages both decrease with the decrease in SG.

To figure out how much alcohol you've made based on how much sugar your yeast have eaten, you subtract your final potential alcohol from your initial, OR run your SG readings through something like this conversion site (http://www.grapestompers.com/calculations.asp).

Now, because they make those dratted hydrometers so flimsy, you don't have an accurate initial gravity reading but I'm betting it was probably around 1.130 or more.

With your numbers, I get 1.2% alcohol, so it's increased its alcohol content by this much in that time. If these readings were taken two weeks apart after a month and a bit of fermentation, it is still fermenting, just really, really slowly. A lack of airlock activity is not a good indicator of anything other than that many airlocks are not properly sealed and leak enough air that they don't bubble, and I wouldn't expect to see much from a fermentation going this slow anyway.

Given that after a month and a bit where you DID see activity previously and it was still over 1.120, I am thinking that this was a really high-gravity must and your D47 was overwhelmed. Did you pitch it in dry?

To give you an idea, your current specific gravity 1.110 is around where normal wines START, so it's no wonder your poor D47 is chugging along so slowly. Bread yeast seems far more forgiving than wine yeasts for being dumped dry into a high-grav must, I had one must containing some EC1118 that refused to get started, but I added bread yeast, that got it started and then the EC1118 took it right dry by the end...

I'd suggest getting a couple packets of bread yeast, hydrate them and toss them in to help... or try diluting your must a little bit so the sugar and the accumulated alcohol won't be stressing your yeasties so much.

Or to really speed it up, you could try an acclimated starter with bread yeast OR another packet of D47, hydrate yeast in 1/4 cup water, wait the 15 min it suggests on the packet, then add 1/4 cup of must, give it an hour, then add a half-cup of must to double the volume. Every hour or three, double the volume again till you've got a gallon or so, and you should be able to tell just looking at it that it's working before you dump it back in.

Good luck!

AToE
05-20-2011, 05:19 PM
Someone should put a disclaimer on that recipe stating that the yeast is quite possibly one of the biggest changes you can make to it, because boy do we ever see a lot of people thinking it's a minor change and then ending up with something too dry to balance out the spices and orange pith bitterness.

Chevette Girl
05-20-2011, 06:05 PM
Someone should put a disclaimer on that recipe stating that the yeast is quite possibly one of the biggest changes you can make to it, because boy do we ever see a lot of people thinking it's a minor change and then ending up with something too dry to balance out the spices and orange pith bitterness.

No kidding. Maybe we should write an entry for the FAQ?

kudapucat
05-20-2011, 06:59 PM
Someone should put a disclaimer on that recipe stating that the yeast is quite possibly one of the biggest changes you can make to it, because boy do we ever see a lot of people thinking it's a minor change and then ending up with something too dry to balance out the spices and orange pith bitterness.

I would really like somebody to find a suitable substitute yeast for JAO but am way too scared of the effort and consequences of finding it myself.
D47 would have been my first choice, but I think you need to be a lot more experienced than I at JAOs before you attempt it.
This is why I have a JAO, JAOC, JAL, JALC, JAOA and a JAOA2 all on at the moment, and these ALL use bread yeast. For more info, please see the brewlog I haven't started yet :-$

THawk
05-20-2011, 08:20 PM
Someone should put a disclaimer on that recipe stating that the yeast is quite possibly one of the biggest changes you can make to it, because boy do we ever see a lot of people thinking it's a minor change and then ending up with something too dry to balance out the spices and orange pith bitterness.

Yeast and the amount of honey you put in, actually...

Variety of honey isn't that big of an issue since Joe does mention that you can use whatever you want...

akueck
05-21-2011, 12:20 PM
I'd consider adding some yeast nutrient and giving this some aeration/vigorous stirring. I realize those aren't on the list for JAO, but D47 is a much different animal than Fleischmann's.

This mead is not anywhere close to done, in fact it's barely started. I'd try to keep the temp low (definitely below 75, less than 70 is ideal) after you do the nutrient/air thing. D47 does not like the heat very much. If you have more D47, I'd also consider rehydrating it per package instructions and adding it in to boost your cell count. 1.130-ish is a very high starting gravity and normally I'd say use 3+ packs of yeast for that @ 6.5 gallons.

akueck
05-21-2011, 12:24 PM
I would really like somebody to find a suitable substitute yeast for JAO but am way too scared of the effort and consequences of finding it myself.
D47 would have been my first choice, but I think you need to be a lot more experienced than I at JAOs before you attempt it.
This is why I have a JAO, JAOC, JAL, JALC, JAOA and a JAOA2 all on at the moment, and these ALL use bread yeast. For more info, please see the brewlog I haven't started yet :-$

There is no suitable wine yeast that can substitute in JAO. The mead will change A LOT by using wine yeast instead of bread yeast, and you'd need to make many more changes to get a similar mead using D47, for example. There are recipes for JAO-inspired meads that use wine yeast; I believe Angus has a good example floating around. (Found it (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10783&highlight=orange).) But the honey changes, the OG changes, the spices change, etc etc and it's not really the same recipe anymore.

kudapucat
05-22-2011, 04:21 AM
There is no suitable wine yeast that can substitute in JAO. The mead will change A LOT by using wine yeast instead of bread yeast, and you'd need to make many more changes to get a similar mead using D47, for example. There are recipes for JAO-inspired meads that use wine yeast; I believe Angus has a good example floating around. (Found it (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10783&highlight=orange).) But the honey changes, the OG changes, the spices change, etc etc and it's not really the same recipe anymore.

Thanks for the link. I'd like to try a NQJAO for my comparison tasting.

THawk
05-25-2011, 03:22 AM
This is why I have a JAO, JAOC, JAL, JALC, JAOA and a JAOA2

so what do all the letters after "JA" mean? :)

I'm assuming that the first is a plain JAO? :D

kudapucat
05-25-2011, 04:07 AM
so what do all the letters after "JA" mean? :)

I'm assuming that the first is a plain JAO? :D

O for orange
C for clove
L for lemon
A for anise

JAO. - standard by the recipe (not flieschmans but bread yeast)
JAOC - 2 cloves as per 'joe ordained' recipe mods
JAL - lemon instead of orange
JALC- lemon with 2 cloves
JAOA- orange with 1 star anise
JAOA2- orange with 2 star anise.

Notes:
Lemon variety is slower than orange. Perhaps the acidity = lower ph.
Everything smells good ATM. Still in primary fermentation. Maybe 1 week old. (I'd have to check)

TheAlchemist
05-25-2011, 09:14 AM
so what do all the letters after "JA" mean? :)

I'm assuming that the first is a plain JAO? :D

JA is for Joe's Ancient

kudapucat
05-25-2011, 05:43 PM
JA is for Joe's Ancient

well yeah. ;D

THawk
05-26-2011, 03:11 AM
what does the star anise do to the flavor??

kudapucat
05-26-2011, 03:50 AM
what does the star anise do to the flavor??

I don't know yet. But ouzo and black sambucca galliano are made from it. It's similar to licorice.

kudapucat
07-22-2011, 05:55 AM
Well I know now. Definitely a hint of sambucca, 2 seed pods are more to my liking than one, especially as it may fade as it ages.
was really good straight from primary. Better than any of the comparison batches, even the 'control' JAO

fatbloke
07-22-2011, 06:43 PM
If the OP had bothered to ask, I'm pretty sure that plenty of us, who've also tried to vary a few bits in the JAO recipe could have saved the time, effort and probable waste of ingredients.

It doesn't make for a good dry recipe, in fact the only one other than the original that I found was even vaguely nice, was a substitution of the orange for a lemon. Apart from that, all my experiments turned out hideous, and includes after 18 months ageing.

There's plenty of proven recipes/methods out there that will work fine, but modified JAO isn't one of them. Certain the dry version anyway........

kudapucat
07-23-2011, 04:38 AM
If the OP had bothered to ask, I'm pretty sure that plenty of us, who've also tried to vary a few bits in the JAO recipe could have saved the time, effort and probable waste of ingredients.

It doesn't make for a good dry recipe, in fact the only one other than the original that I found was even vaguely nice, was a substitution of the orange for a lemon. Apart from that, all my experiments turned out hideous, and includes after 18 months ageing.

There's plenty of proven recipes/methods out there that will work fine, but modified JAO isn't one of them. Certain the dry version anyway........

Dry JAO is horrid. Reducing FG from 1040 to 1020 is almost too much.
spice modifications are ok, lemon mods I've tried are not great, but may be better if it ages some.

I'm with you on the don't play with it, but I just can't help myself. ;-)

fatbloke
07-23-2011, 06:45 AM
Dry JAO is horrid. Reducing FG from 1040 to 1020 is almost too much.
spice modifications are ok, lemon mods I've tried are not great, but may be better if it ages some.

I'm with you on the don't play with it, but I just can't help myself. ;-)
I know where you're coming from, but like the OP, I also didn't bother to ask and wasted a number of batches (wasted ? No, I took them round to a friend and we ran them through his still to recover the alcohol, so I could use it to fortify some other batches).

It just seems to be one recipe that's not worth the effort to meddle with it. Leave it "as is"........

regards

fatbloke

Chevette Girl
07-24-2011, 07:08 PM
I'm with you on the don't play with it, but I just can't help myself. ;-)

+1 ... :rolleyes: Try something good, then try to improve it... it's just what engineers and other inquisitive people do...

kudapucat
07-24-2011, 11:18 PM
Not improve so much. Just differ. I like variety.

Anyhow. FB took me a bit off track. I was just reporting based on the request for taste of aniseed in mead.

I'm certainly going to try an aniseed metheglin now.

Medsen Fey
07-26-2011, 03:17 PM
3/27/2011 - JAO-style mead
6.5 Gallons total.
1.5 packets of Lalvin D-47
1 lbs Orange Blossom Honey, 15 lbs Clover Honey
5 "pinches" of Nutmeg
5 Small Cinnamon Sticks
5 Large Oranges
1 small box of Raisins
1 Clove

On the 1st of May, which is about a month and a week into this mead going, I finally got my new hydrometer and took a reading, and then did it again two weeks later.


5/1/2011
Temp: about 70F
SG - 1.120
ABV - 16%
Sugar - 30%


5/18/2011
Temp: about 80F
SG - 1.110
ABV - 15%
Sugar - 27%



Welcome Orion!

I'm sorry your mead has stuck (It is moving so slow you might as well call it stuck). There are several reasons why this may have occurred:

1) inadequate nutrients - D47 doesn't run well on a few raisins
2) pH issues - I wouldn't be surprised if your pH was too low.
3) lack of aeration - If you haven't been opening and stirring it, the yeast won't grow as much. Again, D-47 and bread yeast are different.
4) lack of proper yeast rehydration.

I don't think your starting gravity was the issue. D47 can usually handle gravity that's pretty high. However, I have to question your gravity readings. Using 16 pounds of honey in a 6.5 gallon batch shouldn't give you a gravity above about 1.090, so you shouldn't be getting a reading of 1.110. Are you sure it isn't 1.010. It is possible to have a hydrometer read higher because of CO2 bubbles sticking to the side and buoying it up a little, but it usually won't cause it to read 20-30 gravity points too high. If your current reading is 1.110, then something was not right with your weight of honey or volume of liquid.

If your gravity is still 1.110, then you can try adding some nutrient. You want some that looks like tannish powder - Fermaid K would be fine, Fermax is good, Wyeast nutrient blend will work. Add about 1 tsp per gallon and aerate the snot out of it and that might get things going. If that doesn't work, perhaps you can get some pH strips with a range from about 3-4.5 to see where it is at. If the pH is above 3.1, then your next step would be to pick a different yeast, and acclimate a starter (http://home.comcast.net/~mzapx1/FAQ/StuckFerm.pdf) before pitching.

Don't fret too much over it. Some of my best meads have come from fermentations that stuck. The exercise of unsticking it is priceless education. And by the way, if you haven't taken a look at the NewBee Guide, it is well worth it.

Endeavor to persevere!

Medsen

AToE
07-26-2011, 05:53 PM
+1 ... :rolleyes: Try something good, then try to improve it... it's just what engineers and other inquisitive people do...

The one change to JAO that seems to me to be more likely to work but that I don't see people attempting very often is swapping out the spices. I've never made the recipe, but I know that I don't like clove, so maybe cardamom would work well, it certainly plays nice with both cinamon and orange.

Chevette Girl
07-26-2011, 11:36 PM
I always put the spices in when I make it with orange but rarely do I include them with other fruits. I do often add nutmeg and allspice to the original recipe though. Tried vanilla too, took a bit of aging before I was happy with it.

kudapucat
07-26-2011, 11:40 PM
The one change to JAO that seems to me to be more likely to work but that I don't see people attempting very often is swapping out the spices. I've never made the recipe, but I know that I don't like clove, so maybe cardamom would work well, it certainly plays nice with both cinamon and orange.


Yep and it's the only change other than honey qtys that Joe approves of ;-)
Best spice change so far as I mentioned above has been aniseed.

pokerfacepablo
10-06-2015, 04:57 AM
Is the JALC a cyser? Curious to see if anyone has done it.

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