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jpog
03-21-2012, 04:37 PM
Hi All,

I am new to the site and new to mead making, I am definitely a newbee. Anyway, two weeks ago I made two separate 1 gallon batches of the simples recipe ever. The JAO recipe...you know the one wth the balloon.

My question is that one you just shake the gallon and put the balloon on and wait. All othe rmead sites I have been too says the last thing you want to do is agitate or stirr your mead because you can introduct impurities from the aiar and such. That you want the must sealed and almost in a semi-sterile environment. That being said...why is everyone suggesting to stir the must for the first 14 days on this site...I realize it's to get oxygen to the yeast but if that is really needed then why would JAO recipe work so well because th eonly oxygen introduced is in the first shaking. Just curious..and throughly confused. Thanks

HunnyBunz
03-21-2012, 04:59 PM
The JAO recipe is the ONE mead recipe that breaks all the rules (i.e. bread yeast, no SNA, no aeration schedule, etc.) of conventional mead making and still works. It's a good starter recipe to get your feet wet if you're new to brewing and it produces a pretty good mead.

Maybe others can chime in on why it works while standard recipes require much more attention. Incidentally, there are many variations of the JAO recipe on the web that alter the original and will not have guaranteed results like the one on GotMead, so be aware of that.

Take a look at the NewBee guide in the yellow section on the left if you haven't already. That will answer a lot of your questions about making mead.

Good luck and welcome to the forum.

wayneb
03-21-2012, 05:00 PM
Hi, jpog, and welcome to "Gotmead!" For general answers to your questions I'm going to refer you to the NewBee Guide (look for a link to it over on the left side of this page), because the answers to most of what must be confusing to you are pretty much all in there. But let me answer your question about oxygen, and the apparent differences between JAO and other (more care intensive) recipes.

The bottom line is that all yeast need oxygen early in their lifecycle to build up cell wall integrity, to support metabolism, and to promote reproduction. Building up a large colony of strong yeast cells is the secret to success with any fermentation. That goes for both the bakers' yeast that is used in the JAO recipe, and for the wine yeast strains used in other meads and wines. But, the higher the ethanol content of the finished wine/mead, the more oxygen is required by the yeast to build up the largest possible cell count, and to support the synthesis of certain chemicals in the cells that prepare them for extended life in that rather toxic environment. The ethanol tolerance of bakers' yeast is somewhat low to begin with, and JAO is not a particularly high initial gravity (i.e. high sugar concentration) must, so Joe found through experimentation that a good initial shake, designed to get a good amount of O2 dissolved in the must right from the outset, is usually enough to allow the yeast to finish their job, leaving you most times with a sweet to semisweet, spiced citrus melomel that isn't very high in alcohol. For many wine yeast strains, fermenting under similar circumstances, they will ferment a similar must to about the same point with no terrible ill effects. However, some wine yeasts need more O2 to really thrive, and others can throw off some off-putting chemicals (like hydrogen sulphide, the "rotten egg" gas) if not properly nourished, so we like to ensure that the yeast get absolutely as much O2 as they can use (no more, but certainly no less). That is why many of our other recipes call for extended oxygenation.

Soyala_Amaya
03-21-2012, 05:28 PM
Hi jpog and welcome to gotmead!

Your answer is a fairly simple one, but it actually has more than one answer. The reason that other sites talk about absolutely no stirring to prevent infection is that a lot of original brew methods came from beer brewing. Beer is a LOT more prone to infection than mead, and itís only been through trial and error (and the work through the mead gurus, several of whom started this site) that the differences have been figured out.

Second, the difference between a JAO and a regular mead is the yeast type. JAO uses bread yeast which has a different life cycle than wine yeast. And actually one of the main things youíre doing with a good aeration isnít just introducing O2, itís helping CO2 to get out of suspension. Wine yeast doesnít reproduce as well in the presence of CO2, itís waste product to them, just like us.

A third point, you donít want to aerate for the first 14 days of fermentation. That would actually cover almost, if not all, of a normal primary. You really only want to aerate for the first 1/3 to Ĺ of fermentation. Anything past that can stress your yeast and at that point theyíre not producing as much CO2 so the protective blanket isnít as strong and it would be easier to introduce infection.

Anyway, JAO is an entirely different beasty than any other thing you will ever ferment. It breaks all the rules and still winds up drinkable. Sometimes weíre not sure why. J Just lose the bad habits before trying a real wine yeast.

Chevette Girl
03-21-2012, 09:29 PM
Hey jpog, welcome to the wonderful addiction- er, hobby of meadmaking! Forever will it dominate your destiny... <ahem>

I just wanted to add a point about sterile technique... if you come at meadcrafting from a winemaking perspective, and you look at the industrial processes that make your table wine, well, let's just say it's the complete opposite end of the spectrum... one of our posters reported that while working at a winery where they process the grapes directly, there was a chalkboard with a list of things they'd found in the grapes... bugs, spiders, leaves and twigs don't even make the list but they'd found birds, squirrels and even a cat. And this doesn't seem to spoil THOSE batches. Although I distinctly recall one wine kit my uncle got local to him from the year where we had a ladybug invasion in Ontario and the finished wine tasted very similar to the way a squashed ladybug smells... so they're obviously nowhere near as careful about what gets into their wines as I am...;D

Back to the point I was trying to make before I went off on a tangent, wines and meads are pretty robust and as long as your yeast kicks up before spoilage organisms can take hold, this is why we presume that if you use a good sanitizer on anything that touches your must, you should be fine no matter how much you poke or prod it in its early stages.

skunkboy
03-21-2012, 10:25 PM
[COLOR="Purple"] there was a chalkboard with a list of things they'd found in the grapes... bugs, spiders, leaves and twigs don't even make the list but they'd found birds, squirrels and even a cat. And this doesn't seem to spoil THOSE batches...... so they're obviously nowhere near as careful about what gets into their wines as I am...;D

*ahum* car parts *ahum*

wayneb
03-22-2012, 12:09 AM
*ahum* car parts *ahum*

Yeah, but she's very discriminating about which Chevette parts go into her batches! ;D

Chevette Girl
03-22-2012, 03:06 PM
*ahum* car parts *ahum*


Yeah, but she's very discriminating about which Chevette parts go into her batches! ;D

And they've been thoroughly sanitized. And I'd rather have a chunk of my car in my mead than a dead squirrel :p

Altricious
03-22-2012, 03:13 PM
And they've been thoroughly sanitized. And I'd rather have a chunk of my car in my mead than a dead squirrel :p

Dead Squirrel Mead. Please, no one decide to make this one on purpose. Please?

fivecats
03-22-2012, 08:20 PM
Dead Squirrel Mead. Please, no one decide to make this one on purpose. Please?

Papazian's The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing quotes an Olde recipe for an ale that features an whole chicken. Not quite squirrel, but it's still odd beyond my comprehension. :rolleyes:

Chevette Girl
03-23-2012, 12:43 AM
Papazian's The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing quotes an Olde recipe for an ale that features an whole chicken. Not quite squirrel, but it's still odd beyond my comprehension. :rolleyes:

Yeah, a friend of mine refused to judge a mead at an SCA event because the mazer followed an ancient recipe including raw chicken. I think the protein in the meat might be intended as a nitrogen source for the yeast? But we'd all rather avoid salmonella, thanks, some modern updates are a GOOD THING...

fivecats
03-23-2012, 06:53 AM
Yeah, a friend of mine refused to judge a mead at an SCA event because the mazer followed an ancient recipe including raw chicken. I think the protein in the meat might be intended as a nitrogen source for the yeast? But we'd all rather avoid salmonella, thanks, some modern updates are a GOOD THING...

The directions, such as they are, in Papazian's NCJHB, are nothing I'd ever want to try. And the mead is one of the few times I'd flat-out refuse to drink something as well. Papazian apparently did find someone who had tried it and quoted him as saying, "It wasn't all that bad."

A paragraph later, Papazian writes, "I have frequently read of the giving of "body" to ale and stout by means of the introduction to of horseflesh..."

I never thought I'd have to play my Vegetarian Card when it comes to homebrews of any kind. :rolleyes:

Loadnabox
03-23-2012, 08:34 AM
Dead Squirrel Mead. Please, no one decide to make this one on purpose. Please?

One word; Piscamel


Although I distinctly recall one wine kit my uncle got local to him from the year where we had a ladybug invasion in Ontario and the finished wine tasted very similar to the way a squashed ladybug smells

My "Angry Hornet Pyment" has at least 1 whole hornet in it. I wonder if I should add that to the ingredient list?

I found two half-hornets missing their head & abdomen (thorax only). Never found the remaining pieces.

Chevette Girl
03-23-2012, 02:09 PM
The directions, such as they are, in Papazian's NCJHB, are nothing I'd ever want to try. And the mead is one of the few times I'd flat-out refuse to drink something as well. Papazian apparently did find someone who had tried it and quoted him as saying, "It wasn't all that bad."

A paragraph later, Papazian writes, "I have frequently read of the giving of "body" to ale and stout by means of the introduction to of horseflesh..."

I never thought I'd have to play my Vegetarian Card when it comes to homebrews of any kind. :rolleyes:

Yeahhh... I'm no vegetarian, but raw meat in my booze? No way no how, not doin' it. I could make a case for bacon (everything's better with bacon unless you're a vegetarian) in mead, that sounds kind of amusing, but other than that, no.


One word; Piscamel

...and intentionally killing critters to put in your mead (or by putting them in your mead)? Absolutely not. That's just abject cruelty. Do a forum search on "piscamel" and you'll get to the original post about it, we all hope it was a joke.


My "Angry Hornet Pyment" has at least 1 whole hornet in it. I wonder if I should add that to the ingredient list?

I found two half-hornets missing their head & abdomen (thorax only). Never found the remaining pieces.

Meh, chalk it up to extra nutrients for the yeasties, I guess!

I learned the hard way that if fruit flies' larvae mature in wild grape wine, the adults are distinctly pink coloured (they crawled out on the wine side after being hatched in my airlock, nearest I could figure). But I do have an ick factor about bugs in my beverages so I bought a jet filter and fruit flies disintegrating when I tried to strain that batch was the main reason I got the filter...

And apologies to jpog for hijacking this thread! Bad forumites, bad!

browncoats
03-23-2012, 07:45 PM
Bacon mead makes for a great breakfast beverage on St Patty's day in my experience.

huesmann
03-24-2012, 09:00 AM
Gah! Why do people insist on calling it "St. Patty's?"

Soyala_Amaya
03-24-2012, 09:59 AM
Because it's only in the last couple of years that anyone in the USA has given a crap about calling it Paddy or Patty, and it's realistically a very small politically correct point since no one over here is actually celebrating the holiday in the correct ancient fashion anyway. What we have in America might as well be called St. Patty's because it's truly a whole different beasty than anything anyone yelling about Padraig gives a crap about. And this is from someone who's family names are Hagerty, Allens, Scalley, my grandmother spoke Gaelic, and I have cousins on the Isle who I email regularly. (The only Gaelic I picked up from grandma was how to royally cuss people out, she was senile by the time I came around.)

Now that I've had my politcal rant, bacon is a good thing, and we have two people (me me!) doing bacon meads on the board right now, and someone posted on Echostatic's brewlog that they sent a bacon mead to the Mazer's cup with pretty high marks. However...none of it was raw. Ew.

And back to poor jpog, do some searching on the forums and read some of the brewlogs. Mead has some a long way since the first beer and wine brewers thought they'd give it a shot. And read the newbee guide, it's got GREAT info! (Not just for newbee's either, it's just a handy thing to have around.)

browncoats
03-24-2012, 11:22 AM
Actually, I was just feeling THAT lazy yesterday, I normally type it all out. The whole wear green and be Irish for a day kinda cheeses me off as none of them actually knows 1. Who he was or even 2. That he was never beatified. It's usually when I celebrate my own birthday though and as a man of proper Irish descent I believe in drinking your breakfast on your birthday.

End threadjacking. :)

jpog
03-26-2012, 04:28 PM
Thank you all for such a warm welcome. I will let you know how my addiction..I mean first batches of JOA turn-out. ;)

Dan McFeeley
03-26-2012, 08:23 PM
My question is that one you just shake the gallon and put the balloon on and wait. All othe rmead sites I have been too says the last thing you want to do is agitate or stirr your mead because you can introduct impurities from the aiar and such. That you want the must sealed and almost in a semi-sterile environment. That being said...why is everyone suggesting to stir the must for the first 14 days on this site...I realize it's to get oxygen to the yeast but if that is really needed then why would JAO recipe work so well because th eonly oxygen introduced is in the first shaking. Just curious..and throughly confused. Thanks

A vigorous shaking is all Joe recommends for introducing O2 into the must, just before you add the yeast. Otherwise, this is a mead that you can let sit and not give much attention, other than to check it regularly to be sure all is progressing well.

Stirring the must brings the yeast up from the bottom, putting more yeast cells into suspension and speeding things up a bit. It's a lot of work though, sanitizing the instrument that will be used to stir the must, opening the carboy carefully, making sure the carboy stopper is kept clean and sanitized. A simpler method is to use a lazy susan, sturdy enough to support a 5 gal. carboy, and just give a good spinning. The carboy stays sealed and you've stirred the lees.

--

machalel
03-26-2012, 10:00 PM
Apologies for reverting back to off-topic stuff, but mince has been used in cider / scrumpy for centuries, so theoretically you could put it in a mead? :)

wayneb
03-26-2012, 10:07 PM
Apologies for reverting back to off-topic stuff, but mince has been used in cider / scrumpy for centuries, so theoretically you could put it in a mead? :)

Of course you could, and somewhere in the bowels of the archives of this site is a recipe employing mince. Now I'm referring to the proper British mincemeat, which of course has no meat in it (although some recipes call for suet and/or lard). I've seen some recipes called "mince" that actually contain ground beef. I don't think I'd be fermenting that one anytime soon! ;D

machalel
03-26-2012, 11:44 PM
Wait a sec...

Mince != mince? Huh?

jpog
03-27-2012, 11:52 AM
I have a quick question: I forgot to top off my JOA's with water after the first several days of frenzy..it's been 3 weeks...can I do it now? Or just leave it alone.

wayneb
03-27-2012, 01:07 PM
To jpog - I think if you've got a good fermentation going, then there's no need to top up with water at this point. Let it go to completion as-is, and you'll have a better feel for how well the fermentation can proceed from a higher starting gravity.

To machalel - I believe your mince (definition) is my mince. But that isn't necessarily true across the board.

jpog
03-27-2012, 02:11 PM
Thanks.

So that leads me to my other question, it's been Three weeks to date and the balloon is still full of air and I can see bubbles still bubbling. How long does fermentation typically last in normal mead making and also in this easy JOA receipe. I am just curious because everything I read seemed to suggest that the balloon would deflate by now. That the main fermintation process typically lasts 14 days..and after that you just get hiccups..every so often.

Both definitely had super strong starts..I had tons of foam and the bubbles coming up from the bottom were crazy...looked like I opened a bottle of Champane

wayneb
03-27-2012, 02:49 PM
The length of fermentation of a JAO can vary widely. In some cases it can be over in 10-14 days, but in others it can take a week or so longer. In your case for these particular batches, with the higher initial gravity, it may be they will take a little longer. There's really nothing to worry about as long as CO2 is actively being produced, and nothing smells "off."

jpog
03-27-2012, 03:49 PM
Thanks...such a wealth of Mead knowlegde here...it's making me thirsty.

It is hard to smell with the balloon on though...but it looks ok...except for the bunch of yeast that tried to excape and left the brown yeast trails at the head of the bottle...but that is normal from what I understand...since my start was so bubbly.