View Full Version : Brewing up JOA

12-11-2011, 07:08 PM
Good evening, everyone.

This is my first post around here, and I am very new to the process of brewing anything at all.

Last week I tried my hand at a gallon batch of plain old water/honey/yeast mead, and I will likely be asking about that soon (once I have time to type up the recipe and whatnot as per the FAQ suggestion). But I am also planning on brewing up some of the Ancient Orange now that I've seen it, and I had a quick question. Am I supposed to sanitize the equipment I will use before brewing it? I realize that sounds like a silly question, but there are so many reminders to "follow the recipe exactly", and, well, he doesn't actually mention sanitation.

Just curious.

I hope to become a regular poster, soon :)

12-11-2011, 08:20 PM
Oh yea, sanitizing is a given!

Chevette Girl
12-11-2011, 08:23 PM
Welcome to the addiction- er, hobby! ;D

Given that it's a quick-starting, vigorous fermentation that ends with enough sweetness to be pretty stable, you don't NEED to, a good wash with hot water and dish soap is sufficient. If you think about it, your orange can't really be sanitized, so as long as everything is as clean as your orange, good enough for JAO.

But if you have sanitizers on hand, it's not a dumb idea. I usually do swish my JAO jars out with my sanitizing solution.

And if you rack it before you bottle it, I would highly recommend sanitizing the new carboy and the racking equipment. Good sanitation is important all through the process, but it's MORE important when a mead or wine is no longer actively fermenting.

12-11-2011, 08:24 PM
Yes. Sanitize everthying. Star san is a good product that has served me well.
Put it in a spray bottle and you can save lots of time.

12-11-2011, 09:10 PM
Chevette brings up a good point that made me curious when I first started researching recipes.... sanitation is always stressed, but one cannot sanitize the fruit. How is it that the fruit does not end up corrupting the batch? Is there not enough bacteria to survive the rapid dose of alcohol?

Chevette Girl
12-11-2011, 09:18 PM
Essentially. The yeast are plentiful and vigorous so they pretty much beat out anything else that might be in there, either by eating everything that anything else would be interested in, or "polluting" the environment with their byproducts (like alcohol and CO2 which inhibit other things), and even if there's a tiny bit of a dormant bacteria in there, most of them won't be harmful to us and will stay dormant because of the alcohol content.

I shudder to think what ends up going into commercially-made wines (sticks, stones, squirrels), so I don't stress out about sanitation, I'm honestly more worried about the pesticides in the orange zest, so I scrub the heck out of them with dish soap too.

That said, it's no excuse to be slovenly, it's always a good idea to develop good habits. Especially if you move on to making beer, it becomes FAR more important when you're dealing with finished products with lower alcohol contents.

12-12-2011, 11:19 PM
Well, a JAO can be done in a store-bought water jug so if your jug is fresh from the store, you can safely assume it's sanitized (you ARE going to drink the water straight from the jug after all). You don't even need a water airlock -- a balloon with a few pinholes in it will also do the job... The most you can do for your oranges is wash them to get rid of any surface dirt but as what others mentioned, you really can't sanitize it... and the beauty of using a store bought water jug -- once you rack it, you can chuck the jug (unlike trying to get the oranges out of the carboy)... :)

12-12-2011, 11:21 PM
I shudder to think what ends up going into commercially-made wines (sticks, stones, squirrels), so I don't stress out about sanitation, I'm honestly more worried about the pesticides in the orange zest, so I scrub the heck out of them with dish soap too.

Kinda reminds me of reading fantasy novels that describe seedy taverns and alehouses where there are usually dead rats in the ale barrels!! :eek:

12-13-2011, 12:03 AM
You can always sanitize fruit with campden tablets 24 hours before pitching yeast. Or, as a recent thread pointed out, by using distilled white vinegar (I'm going to try it out with my next melomel).

12-13-2011, 01:10 PM
I scrubbed my oranges clean with soap & water and before I cut them I dropped them in starsan for a min with the knife I planned on using to cut them. A little starsan foam isn't going to hurt your ferment so it shouldn't hurt to have it on the outside of your orange.

Don't fear the foam

12-14-2011, 02:10 AM
I have started making mead not too long ago, after i started brewing my first few batches of beer. i came across the JAO recipe. i have tried a similar version just before so i decided to give it a try. I was making a two(2) gallon(U.S)batch. I used 5.5lbs of clover honey, and 1.5lbs of raw wildflower. I also omitted the orange as i am not a fan of the flavor....also left out the nutmeg and allspice.

As I am just starting out i used some Red Star bread yeast i found at my organic market. 2 1/4tsp. activated in warm water.

I also added a small handful of dried raisen, and also whole vanilla bean(the bean is in cheesecloth, the raisen are free floating)

i warmed the honey to 160F for 30min and began to cool. the last 10min before i added into ferment I tossed in the vanilla.

Everything seemed to be going fine, until tonight....i came home to find what looked like one of the raisen covered in a white fuzz. and also clumps of white floating. im not sure if this is the yeast, or a malignant culture....

also there is a very strong odor coming from the batch. it smells like a combination of good ferment, and sour milk almost. i cant tell. ???

I also have a one(1)gal batch of a very similar mead going, (3.5lbs raw wildflower, 50raisen, 1/4tsp red star yeast, and 2sticks cinnamon) this seems to be going very well. how long should i allow this to ferment before i consider racking into another container? I am watching the honey on the bottom slowly go away everyday. and the balloon is starting to take longer to stiffen up.....it has only been 4 days of ferment. I will try to post pictures for you guys. sorry i am jumping between batches.
Too new and So many questions. this hobby has me completely entranced. I would like to brew quality beverage! ANY AND ALL HELP PLEASE!

12-14-2011, 10:24 AM
First off, Welcome to Gotmead!

Second, JOA makes a very good drink when followed to the letter. It has just the right amount of sugars, nutrients, and everything else to do what it's supposed to do when left alone. Removing the orange and the spices are 1. not going to give any contrast to the SUPER sweet base. 2, I worry that you might not have enough of what's needed for this to finish out on a good note without the orange.

White fuzz on the fruit sounds like an issue to me. I'd rack out from under the fruit, hit it with some campden, and see what happens. However, at 4 days without some of the nutrients it's supposed to have, this is going to be mildly tingly honey syrup. You might try repitching after 48 hours to give the campden time to dissipate?

12-16-2011, 04:03 PM
Everything seems to be going well four days into the fermentation cycle on the JAO, but there is one interesting development. A small amount of yeast (possibly from swirling it around once it was in the carboy) has found its way above the must line and is just hanging out on the edge of the carboy. Not too concerning, but some of this yeast has risen on the gas train and has actually managed to force its way up around (and eventually past) the sides of the airlock. Is this something to be concerned with? Should I pull out the airlock, and clean the whole area with a sanitized wash cloth to remove the excess yeast and prevent further escapes? Or is it no big deal and should I just let it ride?

You'd think the yeast would want to stay in there with all the food *shrug*

12-16-2011, 04:21 PM
A new airlock (clean/sanitzied) can't hurt...I don't think I would want yeast hanging around there.

As for the yeast lurking above the must line - I have the same thing in one of my JAOs. At 7 weeks old though, I have noticed no ill effects.