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Chevette Girl
05-20-2011, 07:18 PM
I wanted other folks' input before I PM a moderator.

AToE and I were commenting that maybe we need a way to indicate that the yeast is perhaps the most important part of what makes a mead Joe's Ancient Orange and there are WAY too many posts in the one thread with the recipe to expect everyone to have read and remember all of it and the search tool won't take you to which one of the 50 pages you want, some quick references might be a nice thing to do since it's such an awesome recipe, and if I see something I can fix, I try to helo... and the other day someone asked, "What is JAO?" because of course it won't show up on the searches because it's only three letters. So I checked the glossary and it's not there either.

I noticed that the FAQ from the NewBee guide (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_simplefaq&Itemid=82), which we still recommend to everyone, doesn't appear to match the FAQ if I click on the white FAQ heading from the forums (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/faq.php)... maybe the Newbee Guide FAQ should be redirected to the forum FAQ?

I found a reference to JAO in the Newbee FAQ asking if bread machine yeast would work but nothing about "what happens if I use wine yeast instead of bread yeast in JAO" but a search in the forum FAQ on "Joe's Ancient yeast" yielded nothing.

I'd like to suggest 1) that we make an entry in the glossary for JAO/Joe's Ancient Orange Mead which refers directly to the recipe (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_rapidrecipe&page=viewrecipe&recipe_id=118&Itemid=6), not the impossibly long thread (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6885)...

and 2) that we have an entry in the FAQ that explains why changing the yeast makes so much of a difference. My proposed text:

Q "Can I use wine yeast instead of Fleischmann's bread yeast in Joe's Ancient Orange Mead (JAO or JAOM)?"

A "If you use a wine yeast, you are not making Joe's Ancient Orange Mead (JAO or JAOM), you are making a spiced orange melomel. There are two big differences between the bread yeast and most wine yeasts - the wine yeasts will take this must closer to dry while the bread yeast will poop out at 10-12% alcohol and leave residual sugar, and the bread yeast is well-suited to pitching dry into a high-gravity (very sweet) must, whereas wine yeasts don't tolerate this as well.

The Joe's Ancient Orange Mead recipe is based on the balance of sweetness from honey to acidity from the orange juice and fermentation byproducts, and bitterness from the pith, and most have found that though it's very nice early when it's sweet, it's not very nice if it's gone too dry, either from skimping on honey or using a yeast with a higher alcohol tolerance than bread yeast. This is why changing the yeast is the most significant way to "void the warranty".

Or perhaps alternately, we could put a new sticky JAO recipe thread that's got its own FAQ on various substitutions (maybe a post for each ingredient?) but is otherwise closed and maybe has a link to the impossibly long one.

Comments, thoughts, admonishments? ;D

THawk
05-20-2011, 08:01 PM
How about removing the "Fleishmann's" and just leaving it as "bread yeast"? I can't get that brand where I am and I'm making perfectly good JAOM's with regular bread yeast... :)

Oskaar
05-20-2011, 08:13 PM
Thank you for the suggestion,

The original recipe will stay intact, because it calls for a specific yeast which is Fleishmann's, that's the recipe. If you're not using Fleishmann's then it is a JAO variant, no matter how great it is.

We do not modify the original recipe because Joe designed that recipe for that yeast along with the other ingredients. It would be like me taking one of your recipes and changing the yeast or other ingredients and calling it the same thing as you do, however it is actually a variant of your recipe.

If you are having success with a variant, then post it in the brewlog or recipe section and call out the yeast that you are using so other folks can benefit from your experience. JAO is a recipe of specifics and as such it will stay that way.


Cheers,

Oskaar

kudapucat
05-20-2011, 08:18 PM
Yes, I don't think defining the yeast more loosely will help Chevette Girl with here problem, in fact it will probably make it worse.

tweak'e
05-20-2011, 10:17 PM
Yes, I don't think defining the yeast more loosely will help Chevette Girl with here problem, in fact it will probably make it worse.

+1

one of the reasons i started to rewrite the newbee guide was because of that. i find a lot of recipes are very vague with what yeast they use.
they is no way you can make a certain taste if your ingredients are not accurate.

JAO is a good way to start IF you can get those exact ingredients.

AToE
05-21-2011, 01:30 AM
I think the suggestion CG was making isn't about modifying the recipe at all, just adding in something that explains more clearly to newbs that changing the yeast can be a huge problem, because many (MANY) seem to think it's a minor modification.

tweak'e
05-21-2011, 02:39 AM
I think the suggestion CG was making isn't about modifying the recipe at all, just adding in something that explains more clearly to newbs that changing the yeast can be a huge problem, because many (MANY) seem to think it's a minor modification.

exactly. :)

Oskaar
05-21-2011, 02:41 AM
I think the suggestion CG was making isn't about modifying the recipe at all, just adding in something that explains more clearly to newbs that changing the yeast can be a huge problem, because many (MANY) seem to think it's a minor modification.

Agreed. I was actually responding to THawk's suggestion to change the recipe to "bread yeast" rather than "Fleishmann's" which just isn't going to happen. Ya'll have it nailed down and a great grasp of the recipe and why changing it doesn't make sense.

Cheers and thanks for keeping me honest,

Oskaar

akueck
05-21-2011, 11:38 AM
If it's not there already, I'll add an entry in the glossary. Not sure how many folks use it, but it is a good spot to put something that everyone seems to need to find. :)

tatgeer
05-22-2011, 10:05 AM
Agreed. I was actually responding to THawk's suggestion to change the recipe to "bread yeast" rather than "Fleishmann's" which just isn't going to happen. Ya'll have it nailed down and a great grasp of the recipe and why changing it doesn't make sense.

Cheers and thanks for keeping me honest,

Oskaar

It sounds like you have your mind made up, but isn't this like specifying Sue Bee honey vs. honey? Or maybe the recipe could say "Fleishmann's (or other bread yeast if not available)" because I see a lot of comments about people who can't find that brand.

I agree that there's a lot of people who make changes and then mistakenly call the recipe JAO, but I don't think the yeast terminology is the same thing.

Oskaar
05-22-2011, 11:10 AM
It sounds like you have your mind made up, but isn't this like specifying Sue Bee honey vs. honey? Or maybe the recipe could say "Fleishmann's (or other bread yeast if not available)" because I see a lot of comments about people who can't find that brand.

I agree that there's a lot of people who make changes and then mistakenly call the recipe JAO, but I don't think the yeast terminology is the same thing.

That's what the recipe calls out, if you can't find it I understand, but the recipe is specific for a reason and we won't be changing it.

There are other people who have used other yeast including wine yeast if you read through the thread (which is definitely long and will need to be edited down, we have some folks working on that in their spare time when they are able)

Cheers,

Oskaar

Loadnabox
05-22-2011, 11:40 AM
I like CG's base idea, I was thinking that perhaps what is needed is an FAQ specific to JAO. I can think of several other things to add just from this brief conversation.

Q: I can't get fleischmanns where I live, can I use another bread yeat?

A: Many people outside of the continental US have this issue. Please keep in mind that using anything other than fleischmanns is a JAO variant and not a true JAO. Here's a few suggestions of bread yeasts that have been reported to have good results with a JAO


Foo
Bar
FooBar

Q: Can I use <name a wine yeast> instead?

A: At GotMead we never want to stifle innovation and won't tell you not to try it. We will tell you that so far no one has reported good results with wine yeasts. This is because wine yeasts will take a JAO much too dry resulting in EXTREMELY harsh alcohol tastes when combined with the spices and acidity.

Q: Can I use rapid rise/bread machine yeast?

A: Results with Rapid rise and bread machine yeasts are much more inconsistent even when using fleischmanns. Some have reported good results, but many more report incomplete fermentation, stuck fermentations,etc. For best results stick to the standard fleischmanns yeast.

Q: I'm worried about bitterness, should I remove the pith?

A: Personal tastes vary wildly. Your first batch should be by strictly by the recipe so you have a good point of reference for future batches. Be sure to let your first batch at least go until the fruit drops, as the "clear" taste will be very different from the slightly aged "Fruit drop" stage.

If after your first batch you decide to tone down the bitterness several things are several done to subsequent batches.


Choose oranges with thinner skins
cut the tips off the orange slices (the pith is often thickest at the tips)
pull the interior pith off the inside
zest & remove the peel from the the amount of orange used
If the above doesn't give good results you can remove all the peels and pith, but chances are you will like it better with some tartness.

Q: What about removing/replacing the raisins.

A: Removing the raisins is not recommended. They provide vital nutrients to the yeast. Reports from people that remove the raisins frequently involve "rotten egg" odors. Replacing with "Craisins" or other such nitrogen rich berries get much better results.

If you want to know about your specific replacement do a forum search of "JAO Variant" (use the quotes in the search or 'JAO' will be ignored) Chances are someone has tried it. If you can't find anything go for it and post your results! We want to hear whether good or bad so others know whether to try the same thing.

Q: What kind of Orange should I use?

A: The recipe doesn't specify, and good results have been reported with just about every kind of orange out there.

Q: What kind of honey should I use?

A: The honey isn't specified. Generally most people make this with "Sue Bee" or the cheapest possible kind of honey available at the supermarket with good results. For your first mead there's nothing wrong with going cheap on the JAO, you will still get something very drinkable.

Better quality honeys result in better meads. Let your muse guide you in this one. Search the forums if you're curious about what has been tried. If you can't find someone that has, go for it and report your results!

Q: What about something other than oranges?

A: People have tried it many times. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Search the forums for "JAO Variant" (with the quotes) and you will probably find someone that has tried it. If not, try it yourself and post your results!

Q: How do I make a batch bigger than 1 gallon?

A: Once you have made a 1 gallon batch you will undoubtedly find yourself wanting to make bigger batches. It's just too easy to drink it faster than you can make it in 1 gallon batches.

To make a bigger batch, just multiply everything except yeast by the new size. The same amount of yeast will multiply and do fine up to 5 gallons. For batches bigger than that add 1 tsp more yeast per 5 gallons. So for 7 gallon batch:

2 tsp yeast
7 Cloves
7 Cinnamon sticks
7 Oranges
ETC...

Q: What about adding more clove/cinnamon?

A: Mead is extremely good at extracting capsicum from spices. Try the original recipe first. Additional cinnamon and/or clove will become overpowering quickly so if on your second batch you decide you want more, take it up in increments. It's even possible with clove to add so much that you cause your mouth to go numb.

Q: What about removing the clove/cinnamon?

A: The clove and cinnamon help to balance the sweetness just as the tang from the zest does. Some people prefer it without either of these, but they tend to be in the minority. Again, make your first batch as as then make modifications.

In larger batches, it is easier to make minor adjustments to the spice level, often reported to have better results having only 3 cloves and cinnamon sticks per 5 gallons. If you have done a "by the book" JAO in the past, you will have an idea how much/little to add.

Again, let your muse be your guide on this

Q: I can read newsprint through it but it's still a golden color is it ready?

A: Clear indicates that it is mostly see through, but not clear in the sense of water or vodka. It will always have a golden color.

Q: There's one raisin still floating!

A: Many times not all of the fruit falls. Use your judgment, if you think it's party time then it probably is.

Q: What about transferring to secondary for bottling/aging?

A: Stick to the "Clear and/or fruit fallen" rule here. If that's done than many people will transfer to secondary to help keep the sediment down before bottling. If you plan on bulk aging it, then it's a good idea to get it off the lees. This doesn't violate the "no racking" rule so long as you let it go completely clear (finish fermenting) first.

Loadnabox
05-22-2011, 11:48 AM
Re-reading my last post I already found several technical and grammatical errors but I can't edit it (bummer)

I'll volunteer my services for running a JAO specific FAQ. That was fun!

Chevette Girl
05-22-2011, 11:52 AM
If it's not there already, I'll add an entry in the glossary. Not sure how many folks use it, but it is a good spot to put something that everyone seems to need to find. :)

It's not, please do! :) We have no glossary entries under "J" unless my browser is lying to me again.

Chevette Girl
05-22-2011, 12:06 PM
Re-reading my last post I already found several technical and grammatical errors but I can't edit it (bummer)

I'll volunteer my services for running a JAO specific FAQ. That was fun!

Well done, that's mostly along the lines of what I was thinking! A sticky thread with limited posters in the recipes section, is that possible I wonder?

I do like the emphasis on trying the strict, to the letter, JAO recipe at least once as a starting point, then instructions how to modify it. If we can cross-link to various threads to make it easier to find, that'd be neat too. I'll volunteer to proofread/edit ;D

...things like, "and please include the phrase, "JAO variant" when you post your results if you want to make it easy for other people to find it.

(now I'm going to have to try using bread machine yeast once as a side-by-side, just to see, I'm forever making bread machine recipes with regular yeast as long as I'm only using the dough cycle!)

Oskaar
05-22-2011, 03:15 PM
Wow, very nice dude!

I'll hit up Akeuck who is our glossar/FAQ maven dude to see about integrating it.

Thank you for the effort!

Cheers,

Oskaar

kudapucat
05-22-2011, 10:00 PM
<snip>

Q: What about adding more clove/cinnamon?

A: Mead is extremely good at extracting capsicum from spices. Try the original recipe first. Additional cinnamon and/or clove will become overpowering quickly so if on your second batch you decide you want more, take it up in increments. It's even possible with clove to add so much that you cause your mouth to go numb.

<snip>


Is this reference to 'capsicum' an error, or does it have a different meaning in the meadionary? I'm certain (as is google) that it's just a vegetable, which our US friends call a 'pepper'
If it's one of the typos you mentioned, cool, and sorry for picking.

H

Chevette Girl
05-22-2011, 10:55 PM
Is this reference to 'capsicum' an error, or does it have a different meaning in the meadionary? I'm certain (as is google) that it's just a vegetable, which our US friends call a 'pepper'
If it's one of the typos you mentioned, cool, and sorry for picking.

H

I'd just use the word, "flavour", myself...

akueck
05-23-2011, 12:31 AM
Glossary entry added. Feel free to critique, it is editable.

The big list of questions is good, I think we can fine-tune it and get some committee answers worthy of a great FAQ on the subject. [for the record it's pretty good so far.]

Capsicum I assume is referring to the spicy oil in chiles. This isn't what the spices here are giving, but something to the effect of "alcohol is a good solvent for the flavor/aromatic oils found in spices" should cover it.

Loadnabox
05-23-2011, 09:59 AM
Is this reference to 'capsicum' an error, or does it have a different meaning in the meadionary? I'm certain (as is google) that it's just a vegetable, which our US friends call a 'pepper'
If it's one of the typos you mentioned, cool, and sorry for picking.

H

It was indeed an error on my part, I was thinking of capsaicin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsaicin

the chemical that is "spicy"

Loadnabox
05-23-2011, 10:27 AM
A few corrections to my original post. Pardon the quasi html, hopefully it makes sense.

(from the section on Pith)
* (line modified)remove the pith from inside the orange but leave the peel on
* zest & remove the peel from (change)half (/change)the orange(s) to be used
* (added line) Be sure to cut into 8th's small pieces provide more surface area to impart pith taste

(from the section on raisins)
A: ...nitrogen rich berries get much better results. (Added sentence)Using "golden" raisins generally does not have as good of results as plain raisins.

(from the section about adding more spice)
A: Mead is extremely good at extracting (change)flavor(/change) from spices...

(from the section on removing spice)
A: The clove and cinnamon help to balance the sweetness just as the tang from the (change)pith(/change) does.

(new question)
Q: My JAO is way too sweet!

A: This is the most common complaint from people who prefer drier wines.

If you find your first JAO too sweet the best way to fix this is to modify the recipe to 3 pounds per gallon of honey instead of 3.5 pounds.

Chevette Girl
05-23-2011, 10:54 AM
(new question)
Q: My JAO is way too sweet!

A: This is the most common complaint from people who prefer drier wines.

If you find your first JAO too sweet the best way to fix this is to modify the recipe to 3 pounds per gallon of honey instead of 3.5 pounds.

I'd recommend starting with a 1/4 lb drop, that made a significant difference when I tried it once.

Or if you can't stand the stuff at all and are not going to drink any of your first batch, make it with significantly less honey and try blending the two batches to a suitable level of sweetness...

Loadnabox
05-23-2011, 03:17 PM
I'd recommend starting with a 1/4 lb drop, that made a significant difference when I tried it once.

Or if you can't stand the stuff at all and are not going to drink any of your first batch, make it with significantly less honey and try blending the two batches to a suitable level of sweetness...

I think your first suggestion is best and coincides with the standard recommendations that people slow add or remove things.

remove 1/4 pound per gallon until the taste suits you.

Dan McFeeley
05-23-2011, 08:41 PM
Some of the need for adherence to the original recipe for JAO might sound like religious dogmatism, or close to it, but there's more to the story. Joe Mattioli was one of the regular posters to the GotMead forums back in the early days. He hasn't been around for some time now, but us older folk remember him well and miss him.

Most people might have seen this post by Joe, but it's not the original post on what was to become an Internet legend:

http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_rapidrecipe&page=viewrecipe&Itemid=6&recipe_id=118

I have the original post somewhere, but it's still on the forum archives, you can find it if you search hard enough. It isn't much different from the post above, just not as much fun to read. At that time, Joe was responding to a request for an easy mead recipe, what was to become JAO was his response.

I enjoyed Joe's posts, and I really enjoyed meeting and talking with him at the 2004 International Meadfest in Boulder Colorado. Joe was great.

It was a funny thing. We found that experimenting with Joe's original recipe got poor results. It got to be a joke among us at that time -- it's fool proof, don't fool with it!

Joe's Ancient Orange is really not much more than an old country wine recipe for an orange melomel. We all know that, and like most recipes, there's room for variation. It takes some knowledge and skill, but there's reasons why these old time meadmakers put together the recipes the way they did.

A big part of why us old timers on the GotMead forums stick to the recipe is because it's a salute to an old friend. Whenever I make a JAO, and hoist a glass of it, I remember those conversations with Joe at the Outlook hotel in Boulder Colorado. I suppose I could make some changes, but I'm not going to.

Cheers, and cheers to Joe!

--

kudapucat
05-24-2011, 08:49 AM
I think your first suggestion is best and coincides with the standard recommendations that people slow add or remove things.

remove 1/4 pound per gallon until the taste suits you.

I've never weighed a JAO(variant). I just add honey until I get an OG I'm happy with.

I have suggested to a mate who's brewing JAO, to measure OG and decrease it by 0.010 until it tastes more like you'd want.
But I guess it's probably the same advice.

TheAlchemist
05-26-2011, 11:22 AM
Joe Mattioli was one of the regular posters to the GotMead forums back in the early days. He hasn't been around for some time now, but us older folk remember him well and miss him...

Most people might have seen this post by Joe, but it's not the original post on what was to become an Internet legend:

http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_rapidrecipe&page=viewrecipe&Itemid=6&recipe_id=118

I enjoyed Joe's posts, and I really enjoyed meeting and talking with him at the 2004 International Meadfest in Boulder Colorado. Joe was great...

Cheers, and cheers to Joe!

--

Where Have You Gone Joe Mattiolio, Our Forum Turns It's Lonely Eyes to You...

Loadnabox
05-26-2011, 11:57 AM
Where Have You Gone Joe Mattiolio, Our Forum Turns It's Lonely Eyes to You...

What's that you say Mr McFeely man? Brewing Joe has left and gone away?

TheAlchemist
05-26-2011, 02:15 PM
What's that you say Mr McFeely man? Brewing Joe has left and gone away?

HeyHeyHey...

Loadnabox
05-26-2011, 03:54 PM
HeyHeyHey...

Heyheyhey!

...none of that here ;-)

Chevette Girl
05-26-2011, 07:52 PM
I've never weighed a JAO(variant). I just add honey until I get an OG I'm happy with.

I have suggested to a mate who's brewing JAO, to measure OG and decrease it by 0.010 until it tastes more like you'd want.
But I guess it's probably the same advice.

I guess it depends on the volume of the fruit you're adding, but I think a standard actual, true to the recipe JAO for me usually comes out around 1.125 and if I make a variant with larger fruit volume it comes out maybe up to 1.135. Are your values much different?
<runs off to play Uriah Heep's Lady in Black to displace Mrs. Robinson from brain's audio reel>

kudapucat
05-26-2011, 08:07 PM
I guess it depends on the volume of the fruit you're adding, but I think a standard actual, true to the recipe JAO for me usually comes out around 1.125 and if I make a variant with larger fruit volume it comes out maybe up to 1.135. Are your values much different?
<runs off to play Uriah Heep's Lady in Black to displace Mrs. Robinson from brain's audio reel>

My yeast is not Flieschmann's and I get 14% on average. So I know it will drop 100 points.
I didn't like it sweet (FG:1040) so I usually go for OG:1120, giving FG:1020 or so...

Chevette Girl
05-26-2011, 08:11 PM
My yeast is not Flieschmann's and I get 14% on average. So I know it will drop 100 points.
I didn't like it sweet (FG:1040) so I usually go for OG:1120, giving FG:1020 or so...

I really need to get my pH meter calibrated and see if that's why mine stops early, some people have reported getting up to 12% with Fleischmann's but the few where I've taken an OG, I usually get around 10%. Something to start thinking about more with next batch of honey!