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View Full Version : First homebrew attempt - curious about sparkling



Honeybadgers
07-08-2012, 03:06 PM
Hi everyone, I FINALLY got my first homebrew kit, and am currently making a sweet stout in it, but before I started the beer, I wanted to make sure I wasn't being a total moron and bought (for a whopping $10, ingredients and all) the stuff necessary to make Joe's ancient orange mead to put up first, seeing as the recipe was so simple. (it's on the main page, or here, if you don't want to click around http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_rapidrecipe&page=viewrecipe&recipe_id=118&Itemid=459)



All is going well with the mead, it's bubbling away, about 3 weeks in, and I'm wondering about doing a second ferment to make it sparkling.

First, I'm wondering if it's even possible with such a simple mead, second, I'm wondering when would be the right time to bottle it off for the second ferment, and third, would it be as simple as throwing in some more priming sugar (and how much to use for 1 gallon) and bottling/capping it?

I've never had a sparkling mead before, but I'm absolutely in love with regular meads, everything from dark and sweet blackcurrant wine that drinks more like port, to Skye river meadery's offerings, which are all just stupidly tasty. If this works well, I'll be buying two more carboy setups and will be doing two batches of mead along with every batch of beer.

Oh, and it's going in glass cocoa cola bottles, because I have about 80 of them ;D

Riverat
07-08-2012, 03:20 PM
I wouldn't recommend trying to get a JAO to bottle carb as when it's done it isn't like a beer in that you can add priming sugar to it then bollte, there is a ton of sugar (honey) left, when finished the bread yeast has done all it can to at that gravity / alc combination, and a glass grenade experiment if you try to time the bottling with the end of the ferment......but if you have the stuff to force carb it....

kudapucat
07-08-2012, 09:11 PM
I wouldn't recommend trying to get a JAO to bottle carb as when it's done it isn't like a beer in that you can add priming sugar to it then bollte, there is a ton of sugar (honey) left, when finished the bread yeast has done all it can to at that gravity / alc combination, and a glass grenade experiment if you try to time the bottling with the end of the ferment......but if you have the stuff to force carb it....

+1

If you want to carbonate it, use a soda siphon. (or a keg setup)

Another option is OzTops.
Bottle it before it's done, and place an Oz-Top(tm) on it.
These lids vent excess pressure and thus regulate to a nice carbonation level.

You'll need to play around a bit to ensure you don't have MASSIVE lees, but it does work.

Honeybadgers
07-08-2012, 10:52 PM
Thanks for the replies, guys.

So, those of you that've made JAO, what is its taste/texture resembling? A regular white wine (like a sweet moscato) or a syrupy, dense port? I'm particularly a fan of the latter (when I can find it, kupriowski is my favorite,) cut slightly with club soda, but a lighter, thinner result is fine too. But that raises questions:

What changes would I make to result in a different style of mead? If I used beer yeast (I didn't use the standard bread yeast, I used wine/mead yeast from my brew supplier) would I be able to do a second ferment? Would I need to change my ratio of honey to water? would this change manage to preserve the honey's sweetness?

If I wanted a thicker, more syrup-like consistency, like a port, what ratio of honey to water would I use, and what yeast?

Overall, I'm actually not the hugest fan of dry meads. I'd like to keep them sweet or semi-sweet.

kudapucat
07-08-2012, 11:05 PM
Well first. Bottle carbonating can only be done with dry meads. So you'd best learn how to force carb if you want fizzy.

Second. Many describe my JAO as a nightcap or fortified style.
It's not as thick as port, but you could not call it thin. More like a moscato.

Third. The compulsion to fiddle.
I'd try a few known recipes first before fiddling dramatically.
Changing the yeast is an extreme mod to the recipe, and this early on in your meadhing life would be il-advised.

Try a touch more honey or a touch less. Try more and less spices.
Try different spices.
Try a different citrus fruit.
Try a different fruit altogether.
Research JAOv (v for variant)
Check out ChevrtteGirl's efforts.

Don't dick with the yeast.
Follow a different recipe if you want to change the yeast.

Honeybadgers
07-09-2012, 12:04 AM
Well first. Bottle carbonating can only be done with dry meads. So you'd best learn how to force carb if you want fizzy.

Second. Many describe my JAO as a nightcap or fortified style.
It's not as thick as port, but you could not call it thin. More like a moscato.

Third. The compulsion to fiddle.
I'd try a few known recipes first before fiddling dramatically.
Changing the yeast is an extreme mod to the recipe, and this early on in your meadhing life would be il-advised.

Try a touch more honey or a touch less. Try more and less spices.
Try different spices.
Try a different citrus fruit.
Try a different fruit altogether.
Research JAOv (v for variant)
Check out ChevrtteGirl's efforts.

Don't dick with the yeast.
Follow a different recipe if you want to change the yeast.

Sounds good, thanks for all the advice!

Chevette Girl
07-10-2012, 01:38 PM
Awwww, crap, now ya got me thinking... that's never a good thing...

Not sure what an Oz-cap(tm) is, but the brew-in-a-bottle(tm) stuff that I've made a couple of times comes in a regular 2-litre pop bottle with an altered cap, if you still have a plastic cap with the removable flexible gasket kicking around you COULD do something that might result in a sparkling JAO but you'd have to either start it in those or get your timing right and transfer it near the end of fermentation, without force-carbonation you can't really just decide "oh, this is nice, I want it sparkling though" without planning the batch that way.

Anyway, if you can get the flexible gasket out of a pop bottle cap (they've recently changed how they make the caps so you can't get it out anymore), remove the gasket and drill a 1/4" hole through the plastic cap. Use a large pin or the tip of an X-acto blade to poke a hole in the gasket so the hole is situated where the drilled hole in the plastic cap will be, replace the gasket, this will let off pressure if it builds up too high. Ferment or finish the ferment in the bottle, and when it's starting to clear on its own after a month or two, put it in the fridge, these things are supposedly a little explosive to open at room temp.

You might have to modify the recipe a little if you want to ferment in 2-litre pop bottles, cut the recipe in half between two bottles (half a cinnamon stick each) and maybe only use the juice and zest of the orange so you don't have the fun of trying to get orange pieces through a 3/4" hole...

jpog
07-10-2012, 04:27 PM
So, those of you that've made JAO, what is its taste/texture resembling? A regular white wine (like a sweet moscato) or a syrupy, dense port?

Depends on the type of honey and amount, if you made your JOA for $10 then you probably didn't use a ton of honey or got a really good deal on it, what was your recipe and tupe and amount of honey.

If I wanted a thicker, more syrup-like consistency, like a port, what ratio of honey to water would I use, and what yeast?

You would want to back sweeten it in the secondary container with more honey to achieve this. All my JOAv turned out DRY...and I used tons of honey, active bread yeast can go higher then 12% ABV. I had to back sweeten all my JOAs to get the sweet taste I wanted.

This is just me but I have had to use a minimum of 3.75 lbs of honey per gallon with active bread yeast to get a sweet like moscato wine..anything under 3.5 lbs has yielded dry results for me..(Like a chardonay)..if you want it like a port...you would want even more honey.

Hope that helps

kudapucat
07-10-2012, 05:38 PM
@CG: http://www.oztops.com.au/

@Jpog: JAO calls for 1.6kg honey per gal. 1.6kg = 3.6 pounds. Perhaps you misread the recipe?

Side note: please investigate the correct use of the 'quote' function. That post was hard to read.
Just put whatever you want to quote inside quote tags. Like this.
[ quote]quoted text[ /quote]

Chevette Girl
07-11-2012, 12:13 PM
I find most of the time my JAO poops out around 1.030 but the one that quit at 1.060 wasn't bad, just needed a bit more acidity to balance. I always start with 3.5 lb honey to give a starting gravity of 1.125-1.135, and the one time I knocked a quarter-pound of honey off because I thought the previous batch was a bit too sweet, I ended up mixing it with a too-sweet batch because it was pretty gross when it was too dry. Apparently Jpog has super-bread yeast, I sometimes can't get real wine yeast to take something from 1.135 down to 1.000 :)

Kudapucat, thanks for the link, those lids are pretty much what I was describing, but calibrated far better than "poke a hole in it".

jpog
07-11-2012, 01:27 PM
;) Yeh, I was suprised that the bread yeast worked that well. Probably just the brand or the batch of yeast I had.