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Thread: Problem with Joe's Ancient Orange

  1. Default Problem with Joe's Ancient Orange

    Soooo.... me and a friend of mine are newbie mead makers. So we decided to make Joe's Ancient Orange exactly to the recipe. 2 five gallon jugs of it.

    Everything was going nicely we made the Mead last November. We left the mead alone and forgot about it, checked it occasionally and.... welll... the oranges only completely dropped about 8 weeks ago. If ran short on time over the summer so we last checked the mead 4 weeks ago and all looked fine. Today we went to rack the mead and the oranges we're green and kinda gross at the bottom.

    We racked it to the secondary so I got a taste from it. It has a amazing smell, decent initial taste but a pretty strong sour after taste. It's really not that pleasant. Also there's the small concern the green oranges might mean the batch is bad... I drank a little and I'm not dead yet so that's a good sign I guess.

    Anyone have any ideas? I'm thinking about adding fresh oranges to the secondary for a few weeks without the rinds to sweeten it up a little?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    That's almost a year ago.

    I didn't keep mine around long enough to know if it improves after the fruit drop, but I only made a gallon and it was done in less than 10 weeks total. I CAN tell you that the first week after the fruit started dropping and it was clear there was a little bit of bitter aftertaste that smacked of rind, but that was gone a week later. (a few days after that, all the mead was gone too)

    My oranges weren't green, but they didn't look nice at all and the raisins looked like they fell out of the face of a walker from TWD.

    Maybe just rack it off the lees and see if it improves. I've only made one batch of JAOM but I have a feeling you guys left it on the lees a little too long. Was it cold or something where you were keeping it?

  3. #3
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    How sweet did it taste? If fo r whatever reason, your bread yeast got a little overzealous, it's gonna taste gross until the orange peel mellows out, try adding little drips of honey to a glass and tasting it to see if that helps, oranges won't contribute much sweetness and might make the mead cloudy. Did you examine the oranges when you'd racked off? I'd want to know if they were particularly stinky or looked fuzzy or anything.

    I've left oranges in the fermenter for almost a year myself with no ill effects...

    But the general rule, if it doesn't smell gross, it shouldn't kill you...

    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  4. Default

    Thanks for the posts.

    The oranges are kinda stuck in the carboy at the moment but really it didn't seem stinky. The oranges are definitely green and kinda gross looking I wouldn't eat one but it didn't smell or anything. Also the actual smell of the mead is pretty great!

    The taste was pretty good actually. Not overly or anything just pretty balanced and good I must say. The problem is getting hit with that after taste of sourness, it's not overwhelming just a unpleasant aftertaste. Usually the mead I've had has had a fresh enjoyable after taste, this just doesn't. My friend who tried it described a very subtle moldy taste but I didn't pick up on it, I'm thinking his taste may be suggested by the look of the oranges.

    I'll try adding a few drops of honey to a glass to see if back sweetening with honey is a option, didn't think of that. If we do try this how much would you recommend? Perhaps the better option for the time being is to let it sit a little. The 1 concern I have is there was so much "junk" at the bottom there's a fair amount of air space in the carboys and I don't want it going bad or turning into vinegar.

    Any advice is welcomed. We really took the advice to heart and let the mead age, unfortunately over the summer the oranges finally dropped and we had a few weeks we weren't able to rack.

    Also yes it was a fairly cool place the mead was stored. It was in a closet in a older home away from all light and a little cooler in there. They we're 5 gallon batches. I thought it was a little crazy how long it took for the oranges to drop but we could tell it was "doing stuff in there" so we really just left it alone.

    Thanks!

  5. #5
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    I'm sure it's fine. The pithy taste will probably age out after a few months (that's what everyone says...I am not speaking from experience.

  6. #6
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    It might be useful to check the gravity so we know where you are at.

    You did have this sitting on lees for a very long time. Most JAO batches are done and off the lees after 4-8 weeks. The unpleasant aftertaste may be due to autolysis. The good news is that it will most likely age out. You can either bottle it and wait or you can continue to bulk age and wait for improvement before bottling (I usually take the latter approach).

    If you bulk age, you will need to top up the containers. If you have 2 containers you may want to rack enough from one container to fill the other. Then you put the smaller batch in a smaller container, or use one of the other methods to manage the headspace.



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  7. Default

    Thank you for the helpful advice... I am a big fan of bulk again but my concern is one batch is less sour or whatever then the other. So I'm worried about contaminating my better batch... So maybe I'll just bottle it. I don't have carboys under 5 gallons right now so I think I might just have to bottle it up and be patient.

    Thanks!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    I've never seen the oranges turn green but they do look pretty disgusting by the time the fruit drops. I can tell you that JAO ages beautifully ... well, up to a point. I don't have any experience beyond a couple of years.

  9. Default

    So I sampled today. Wow! the bad taste is almost completely gone. Hopefully some more age will really mellow it out but I'm impressed with what it's done in such a short time. Just had to get away from those nasty oranges I guess.

    Thanks all

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