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pweis909
10-03-2013, 03:53 PM
Hi,
I'm working on my 5th and 6th meads ever. One is a 1-gallon JAO variant started five days ago (variation: it has ~ 7% more honey, and in addition to clove and cinnamon, there is ginger and cardomom to give it a bit more of a chai character; also, oxygen additions, as described below). Another JAO thread answered one of my questions -- I shouldn't expect to drink it at Thanksgiving. I was starting to get that impression...

My other question relates to concerns about the fermentation over the first 5 days:

The airlock activity is sparse. I have been checking sugar content with a refractometer daily and it has dropped about 1 brix. In constrast, the basswood mead of the same strength that I started at the same time using the 71-B yeast has dropped 6 brix in this time. I have given that basswood mead 3 nutrient additions and 3 hits of oxygen from an O2 tank through an airstone. This is how I initially oxygenated the JOA variant. I know, the ancients shook their meads, but I didn't have a convenient lid for my jug, just a rubber stopper with airlock - shaking would have been messy so using the airstone seemed like the way to go. However, I worry that I just didn't have enough oxygen in the JAO variant. So, every other night since starting, I have added a short hit, just the amount I can add without it foaming over, but I still haven't seen much evidence of fermentation.

Another possibility for sluggish fermentation is temperature. This beer is in a room with 62 degree F ambient temperature. Maybe this is too low for Fleischman's yeast? I have not added any nutrients - just orange, raisins, and the spices mentioned.

Recommended actions? Warm it up? Give it more O2? Be more patient? Something else?

Thanks.

GntlKnigt1
10-03-2013, 04:11 PM
It would help if you posted the entire recipe you used to make both batches. It sounds like stuck fermentation... Might be due to pH, but we would need more info. I take it you come from a beer brewing background?

pweis909
10-03-2013, 04:58 PM
It would help if you posted the entire recipe you used to make both batches. It sounds like stuck fermentation... Might be due to pH, but we would need more info. I take it you come from a beer brewing background?

I've brewed beer about 10-15x a year since 2005, but only 3 meads and one braggot during that stretch. I saw the JOA recipe and thought "How delightfully simple..." Maybe not true. Here are the recipes I used for the JOA and the varietal meads discussed earlier:

JOA Variant:
3.75 # of wildflower honey
1 sliced organic orange, wash
~ 1/8th of cup raisins, which looked like about 25 or so
1 cinnammon stick
1 star anise
1/8th tsp fennel seed
1/2 ginger root, sliced
1 green cardomom pod
1/16th tsp black cardomom powder
All diluted to 1-gallon w/ dechlorinated tap water
~10-15 sec of oxygen through an airstone
1 tsp Fleishman's regular (not Rapid Rise) bread yeast, not rehydrated
O2 also added on day 2 and 4.


Basswood Varietal Mead
3.75# basswood honey
Diluted to 1 gallon w/ dechlorinated tap water
1 5 g pack of rehydrated Lallemand 71-B
Staggered nutrient additions: The following was mixed up with 20% aliquots added on days 0,1,2,4, and at 1/3 sugar depletion point (this last bit not yet added)
1/4 tsp yeast energizer (whatever kind LC Carlson repackages and sells, contains DAP, yeast hulls, and, I think, potassium sulfate?)
1/2 tsp yeast nutrient (also LC Carlson, labeled as a mix of DAP and urea)
O2 also added on day 0,1,2, and 4

The Basswood has dropped ~ 6 brix and shows airlock activity
The JOA has dropped ~ 1 brix and shows next to no airlock activity

I've not measured pH, but I think I do have some test strips or paper of dubious reliability that I could use...

MikeTheElder
10-03-2013, 07:12 PM
I'm a beginning Mazer but I like those recipes, that first one is going to have a nice cinnamon/licorice/citrus flavor.

I wanted a JAO for turkey day too but the experts said 60 days was really pushing it and suggested using the BOMM recipe.

pweis909
10-03-2013, 07:45 PM
I'm a beginning Mazer but I like those recipes, that first one is going to have a nice cinnamon/licorice/citrus flavor.

I wanted a JAO for turkey day too but the experts said 60 days was really pushing it and suggested using the BOMM recipe.

Yes, I saw your thread about the JAO and Thanksgiving. We must have started ours at about the same time. Well, maybe I can try mine for Christmas, if it picks up its fermentation. I tasted the samples I've been taking for the refractometer readings, and the spices are very nicely balanced. Who knows what it will taste like if fermentation picks up! Maybe I should just make myself some honey sweetened orange chai!

Chevette Girl
10-03-2013, 10:54 PM
I think your theory is as sound as any, bread yeast likes it a little warmer so you might want to put it somewhere else if you ever want it to finish. The instructions for JAO do indicate to keep it warm :)

pweis909
10-04-2013, 04:49 AM
I think your theory is as sound as any, bread yeast likes it a little warmer so you might want to put it somewhere else if you ever want it to finish. The instructions for JAO do indicate to keep it warm :)

Yes, the temperature. Dopey me! It ought to be the first thing I think of when using a new yeast, but I was so wrapped up the simplicity of JOA and the fancy staggered nutrient additions and oxygen with the other mead that I almost completely overlooked temperature. I think I dropped my guard when I read the comment that the Ancients never rehydrated the yeast and just became enamored with the idea that this thing might actually take care of itself. Warranty voided. I'll start ramping it up from 62-70 degrees F over the next couple days to see where that gets me.

Chevette Girl
10-04-2013, 06:59 AM
I'd just take the JAO batch out of the brewing room and put it in the kitchen or something...

pweis909
10-04-2013, 06:00 PM
I'd just take the JAO batch out of the brewing room and put it in the kitchen or something...

Too late! The cold front that came in last night has brought my house down to 60 degrees. I don't have the plastic on the windows yet, so the kitchen stays cold, I get a sweater, and the yeast get a heating pad.