View Full Version : What a surprise!

05-17-2013, 04:48 PM
So sometime in September of last year, I decided to make some JAOM. I'd already made a dry, white plum mead (currently tasting like some strange combination of jet fuel and the inside of a woman's purse, with a delicious honey and white plumb note as an aftertaste--this is aging much, much longer--i expect great things), and I had about five gallons yield worth of honey left over. So I did. I made three gallons of the stuff to spec, and one gallon with blue/blackberries.

The standard JAOM was magnificent. Two months later and we were drinking like the stuff like the world was going to end. Gonna have to make five gallons of that so it's simply on-hand and just in rotation.

But you see, there was a few lbs of honey left over. Hmm, out of oranges, out of spices. Well how about I follow the JAOM template and just say screw all but the raisins? Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Two months in. Won't clear, smells yeasty.

Cold crash. One month later. Not clear. Is someone baking bread?

One month later, clear. Odor suspiciously that of a bakery. Bottle it anyway cuz what the hell!

Fast-forward to now. Doing some other bottling (apfelwein, imperial IPA, the white plum mead for long term bottle aging) and I see the gallon carboy I made the stuff in. I had neglected to clean it. I expected it to smell absolutely rank, however being me (and male, and human, so completely unable to resist even the foulest temptation) I took a big whiff.

Wow. Honey punch to the face. There's no way... NO WAY.. Is there? The stuff in the bottles... It can't possibly... Gotta crack one.

Chilled. Corked. OMG.

It's like a sweet traditional mead.. But it's absolutely fabulous. I want to eat it with deserts that will make me obese, I want to reduce it and MAKE MORE deserts that will make me obese. Fleischmann's yeast, I kind of love you, you underrated thing.

Anyone else uh, try this? :)

05-17-2013, 06:45 PM
Classic. My first mead was honey, water and yeast. No aeration, no nutrients, no racking, no yeast preparation, nada. Dumped it in a carboy and pray.

It was the most delicious thing I've ever tasted, though it took along time to get there.

All the additional stuff we do is to speed it up, but you don't need it if you wait long enough.

05-17-2013, 07:54 PM
You know, that's actually my favorite approach. When I started this hobby, I was so concerned with starting gravity, precise measurements, doing everything exactly to specifications for tried and true results. As I have ventured beyond mead and into beers, fruit wines and ciders... I find myself throwing it all out the window and experimenting more.

I couldn't care less about any of the details anymore. Is it 13% or 15%? Medium sweet, dry or sweet? Wil the flavors be excellent or will I have to age this to let it mellow? Who actually cares? The excitement of the result is half the addiction of the process.

The hobby is becoming more of a hobby and less of a science project, and that's exactly how I like it. Maybe it's just more fun this way? :)

Chevette Girl
05-17-2013, 09:42 PM
I started out with fruit wines, and pretty much everything I knew (which turned out to not be all that much) was based on one book whose mantra was "Don't worry, do the best you can."

Really, as long as you like what you're producing, call it a win no matter what "mistakes" you made.

I fell in love with the concept of JAO before I even found this forum (through a common member of a now defunct winemaking forum) and had started messing with it pretty much as soon as I finished one batch to specs... it really is one of my standbys, I've made 40-some JAO's and variations compared to... what, I'm on my fifth batch of traditional now?

05-18-2013, 01:05 AM
Concur pretty much. I've learned a lot of the "tech spec" type stuff so I understand how to sort things if they do go "pear shaped", but I don't enjoy mega sweet so I have to meddle a little but not too much.......

I'm far to lazy for that.....

05-18-2013, 09:51 AM
I grew up on making beer (ok, not exactly grew up given that I didn't really start on it until well after 40) and found early on that there are two absolutes. You have to have proper sanitation, and you have to control the temperature. After that it's all playing around with all the different variables and trying to find combinations that really do it for you. I'm now just starting on making meads -- I've done one 18 liter batch that I'm thoroughly enjoying, and am about to do an 8 way experiment with 4 different yeasts and 2 different starting gravities. Gotta learn the basics of what to expect, but I agree that the joy of trying things out trumps the geeky pleasure of doing things precisely. I think I prefer the combination of the two, though.