View Full Version : JAOM - How warm is too warm?

01-25-2012, 04:50 PM
So, I asked for supplies for Christmas and my birthday to make mead. Naturally, that prompted everyone to be all "Oooooh, when can we try it?"

Now, the next family gathering is Easter and I know they'll all expect it then and you can't do a proper mead that way so I decided to do the JAOM. However, my house is chilly. I figure if it's too chilly to get bread to rise properly, then the bread yeast in the mead would also struggle.

So, I've tented it by the heat register (hot air). I would never do this with a wine yeast because of the total lack of control and the wild swings. Am I safe in thinking this is ok for the JAOM? My worries are the temperature spike when the heat kicks in and the over all yo yo of the temps. I know liquid won't heat quickly, but the side that's getting the air directly has to heat up a bit.

I made no variations in the recipe, if that makes any difference.


Chevette Girl
01-26-2012, 02:27 AM
How chilly IS your house?

Bread yeast will definitely do its thing at room temp (I keep my place around 18C in the winter and my JAO's turn out fine) even though bread won't rise unless it's a little warmer than that. The cooler you have it, the longer it will take though, so if your house is less than about 17C leaving it in its tent might be a good plan, although perhaps wrapping it in another blanket might help to mitigate the temp spikes.

01-26-2012, 11:28 AM
How chilly IS your house?

Lets put it this way, my thermostat is set at 65 but that really applies to the upstairs. The downstairs is significantly colder. I don't have a thermometer there though, so I can't be precise.

I think I'll take your advice and add an additional wrap.


01-27-2012, 12:38 AM
I've made it at 80*F and it's been awesome. So you're at least good up to that point!

01-27-2012, 03:57 PM
I know it isn't JAOM but my first three batches used Fleishman's yeast and perhaps my results, since I, too, was temperature conscience and live in a cold house like some of the others on here do as well (as much by choice as by $$ and because it is just an old house the has breezes even when there are none outside.)

So, these are my first batches and the results:

#1 - 2 1ga Cyser's - one dry and one sweet. In the end I mixed them and drank them far too soon because I was a bit excited over my creation. I felt a lot like how Dr. Frankenstein must have felt. Anyhow, as they fermented I was worried about the temp in my house and the temp in the cubboard (which, it turns out, stays pretty warm. I chose the location because there is a vent right behind it) so I would take the jugs and put them in 120 degree water (about 1.5-2 gallons of water in the sink) and let them fly. Production of CO2 would become rampant. The resultant taste of this batch was decent but was the most strongly yeasty of any Mead to date (I now have 5 batches under my belt.)

#2 - 2.5ga Pyment, Sweet (7lbs clover honey + 2qt organic white grape juice) Again, I was concerned about the temp and would soak the fermenting must in the sink in 120 degree water. With this batch, being in a larger container, I would frequently soak in the tub in 10-12ga of water. This batch came out with little flavor at first and a VERY hot alcohol flavor. Very harsh. Around this time I had bought my buon vino filter. Filtering it made it even hotter. I tossed an oak spiral in it and tasted it again at about 10-12 days and the flavor was improving and the hot was tempering away. I know it was very young and a lot of the hot would likely go away over aging.

- Analysis: in batch #1 even though the temp was high, the low volume limited how much it could raise the temp of the 1ga of mead. I don't think the temp ever reached more than 105 degrees in the jug and even then only briefly. In batch #2 the higher volume ratio likely resulted in temps over 110 degrees that would hold for longer periods of time. Higher temps mean greater temp swings and more stress on the yeast.

#3 2.5ga of Clover Mead, dry (5 lb clover honey, 7oz fresh squeezed lemon juice) By this batch I was less concerned with temperatures since I had acquired a better thermometer and therm-strips to put on the jug. I maintained a consistent temp of 73-80 degrees, on some warmer days it would get over 80 in the cupboard, I would just open up the door until the temp was stabilized. This mead came out with a noticeable tartness and I was concerned that there was little or no alcohol at all in it because I just could not smell or taste it. Of course, it is there, it just came out smooth and completely unnoticeable. I could also taste the springwater vs the distilled I had been using in the previous batches. It tasted much like water with a wedge of lemon. This stuff is dangerous since my wife like water with a wedge of lemon and when I gave her a taste she quickly drank some more and was feeling the effects of the alcohol quite quickly.

Take from this what you will, but since I started maintaining a more balanced temperature scheme, the results have been better. I think the most important lesson to me is to have a consistent temp through fermentation.

There is also the matter of fermentation #0. This was the "beer" my younger brother and I tried to make in our basement when I was 14 and he was 11. It was interesting. We used a 3-litre soda bottle that we would release the gasses from daily. I can't recall what we put in it to start it, but daily we were adding a little something more. It was spring and we pulled buds off of the maple try and called them hops. We used syrup and sugar and apple juice that I can recall. It was a mess and neither of us was ever brave enough to taste it. As far as I know, it is still in the basement aging, lol. (That makes it 18 years old. It is old enough to vote!)

Chevette Girl
01-29-2012, 08:51 PM
Thanks for that info, Apathetik. I do a fair bit of brewing with bread yeast (mostly JAO variations!) but I've never really paid attention to the temperature, since I can't reasonably control it anyway.