View Full Version : JAO mistake

05-09-2013, 06:30 PM
So this is my first post here and before I get started I just wanted to say thank you for this awesome site. I never had any intentions of making mead before I stumbled on this site, in fact I never really knew what it was, however the awesome resource that is GotMead.com led me to try it out.

So not to make a massive post Ill try and keep things short and sweat. I have my first two batches of mead going (both JAO). Im going almost exactly by the recipe except I added a few extra spices. Both batches are fermenting in 3 us gal buckets. First batch turned out very well, started on 3/22 and practically ready to bottle. Im just waiting for a little more clarity on that. Tastes fantastic but maby a bit sweat for my taste.

I started my second batch on 4/1 and here is where my problem starts. I checked the SG on this one a few days ago and my hydrometer reading was 1.00. I was certain there was something wrong with the hydrometer but after much denial I accepted the fact that I must not have added enough honey. I checked my original SG (1.122) and was dumbfounded. That would mean my mead is sitting at almost 15% abv. I know bread yeast is unpredictable but i thought the high end was 14%.

So after all that I wanted to hear any opinions on my options. The way I see it I have a few.

1) Leave it alone and bottle it when its ready.

2) Add more honey so see if it continues fermenting so its not so dry.

3) I have a 5 gal water jug so I was thinking blending both batches together in it and seeing if fermentation kicks off again and if not just bottle it all.

Im leaning towards option three but the only downside with that is I used two different brands of Honey for the batches. One cheap brand and one really cheap brand. I was curious to see the difference in flavor.

Any opinions would be awesome. Ive read that dry JAO's are good but require a good deal of aging. I am horribly inpatient so I dont know if thats the best option for me, however I will defer to you experts.

Thanks a bunch in advance.

Chevette Girl
05-10-2013, 10:55 AM
Hey Tooleo, welcome to the addiction- er, hobby!! ;D

The one thing you will learn with mead and winemaking, yeast are never perfectly predictable.

If you ended up with a wild strain or a really vigorous bread yeast in the second batch that dried right out, you may not want to mix it with your other batch, JAO's are best sweet, it's what makes them drinkable early.

My recommendation, if you want to get to it early, would be to backsweeten that dry batch until it stops eating, most of my JAO's start around 1.125 and finish around 1.030 but yours will have a bit of extra alcohol and need some extra sweetness to balance out the alcohol burn you might have.

Or enjoy the first batch, age the second batch for 6 months or a year before tasting it again and see if you like it dry and THEN decide whether you'll backsweeten it or just leave it, and in the meantime, start another batch to keep yourself away from the aging batch, this is the addiction part of it :)

JAO's are generally drinkable at two or three months but they really do improve if you can leave them alone for six months to a year. You can always drink MOST of a finished but unaged batch and save away one or two bottles to try later and compare with more recent batches.