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  1. Default OK, new bee asking how to proceed

    I made one gallon of Joe Mattioli orange mead once many years ago. Good but too sweet for me. In April I started 2 one gallon jugs of the same with approximately the same amounts of honey. My measuring of honey was a little sloppy and one jug has been clear for over a week and the second is just beginning to clear. That means to me that the ferments are all but over. I'm guessing one jug will be sweeter than the other.

    I'm getting real close to racking.

    I want to combine the 2 jugs of mead together to make one flavor.

    But I think it will still be too sweet. Here's the questions:

    Could I add some water to the racked and mixed mead and add a little more yeast with the goal of it finishing with a little less flavor but dryer?

    what do I put it in for this secondary ferment?

    I probably got a week or so before I need to act on this. Thanks for any help you might provide.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Saratoga Springs , NY
    Posts
    1,502

    Default

    Hi courtesy flush - and welcome. Although JAOM is designed as a novelty mead and that means that you don't need any knowledge of techniques or underlying principles of mead making to make a batch of JAOM your concerns about the second batch can be best answered if you simply took an hydrometer reading of both batches. Never tried to make a batch of JAOM so I don't know the gravity (density) it is supposed to finish at though it is supposed to finish "sweet". If the gravity of both are the same (and they could very well be - the lack of clarity of the second may simply be due to the different amounts of particulates in each as a result of the different amounts of honey. JAOM uses bread yeast so the starting gravity should not be very high if bread yeast is to ferment the available sugars but while bread yeast is not cultured to make wines with alcohol levels in the stratosphere bread yeast should have no difficulty fermenting to 10 % alcohol by volume (or even more) so there is no good reason why even if you had a heavy hand while making one of the batches the yeast would not be able to ferment as fully as the first batch..

  3. Default

    Thanks for the welcome and thanks for the response. I'm going to need help with this and I think I'm in the right place.

    The one that is cloudy still, is I believe, just finished fermenting, but I don't really know. I'm a little suspicious of that jug to be honest. I think I started it a day after the first one. I guess I'll see if it begins to clear over the next few days. I hope so.

    I have a hydrometer but I'm trying to not disturb it till it clears and I'm ready to move on to racking it.

    Can you share any insight into mixing, diluting, pitching yeast and fascilitating a second ferment?

    Just a JAOM kinda person

  4. #4

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    Hi courtesy flush; welcome to the forums! So if your yeast have stopped fermenting because of they have reached their alcohol tolerance limit then diluting will reduce the alcohol level and can encourage the yeast to restart the fermentation process. Don't forget that adding water will also dilute all the flavors; including the sweetness (an oz of apple juice added to 7 oz of water tastes very different than 8oz of the juice). Sanitize your hydrometer and stick it on in there, or pull some out, with a sanitized turkey baster, to test and taste.

    There's not a ton of info you can gather from an active must but one, very useful, measurement is the SG. If it is holding steady for 2-3 days on daily checks then the yeast are no longer fermenting the sugars. If the SG has had a decent drop then the yeast are likely at their alcohol tolerance and are metabolizing along other pathways to avoid pushing the alcohol to toxic levels. If its still early in the fermentation then things have become stuck and additional information is needed. Clarity and bubbles are info... but not nearly as helpful as the SG.

    Hope it helps!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    537

    Default

    Be aware that the JAOM relies on the sweetness to offset the bitterness of the orange pith.
    Dave from New Haven County

  6. #6

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    I am not sure why you would say you have a week to move on this. You should never make a mead based on your time frame but let the meat tell you what it's time frame is. What could you possibly need to do the couldn't wait for a few more weeks or even months for that matter. After all it is mead, right?
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Saratoga Springs , NY
    Posts
    1,502

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    I am not sure why you would say you have a week to move on this. You should never make a mead based on your time frame but let the meat tell you what it's time frame is. What could you possibly need to do the couldn't wait for a few more weeks or even months for that matter. After all it is mead, right?
    But don't forget that the way the JAOM recipe is written it looks like you have been given instructions that if you fail to follow, civilization as we know it will end (not) and the JAOM will become undrinkable (not). And if you don't follow those instructions to the letter then all guarantees are null and void - including those for your TV, dishwasher and your mobile computer AKA phone - not.

  8. Default

    No, it's not quite that dire. Currently, the jugs are taking up a bit of space that I want back. After it's racked and whatever else happens to it, it will be 'put away' so to speak in a more more out of the way location, where it will stay til just before christmas, when I'll bottle it.

    Jug one is clear, fruit and stuff dropped out and it's ready to go. The second jug has all the fruit and stuff dropped out of it too but it's still cloudy. I don't really know what to make of that. The first jug cleared before the fruit dropped out. Exactly what happened when I made it many years ago. The second jug just the opposite happened. hmmm.

    I guess I'll wait a few more days and if it looks the same I'll do the hydrometer thing and see where it's at and determine if it's still fermenting. No ferment and permanent cloudy? Is that even a thing?

  9. #9

    Default

    Ya. sure. some things in mead will never drop out in a million years without the correct adds to cause it to go away. Even filtering won't remove pectin haze. For example
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, ON
    Posts
    8,394

    Default

    I usually have JAO tap out around 1.025 when made with 3.5 lb honey in a gallon, interested in how far yours went
    "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

  11. Default

    The clear jug measured 1.008. The (still) cloudy one measures 1.124. Seems obvious to me that the cloudy one stuck and the clear one is well done.

    I kinda disturbed the cloudy one while it was still working so I'm probably responsible for it stalling. Go me.

    Maybe it's possible to restart the cloudy one?

    As these were always meant to be mixed together, maybe there is a better option?

    I read somewhere else on here about using boiled banana juice as a clearing agent, but I can't find much in the way of corroborating evidence anywhere else on the 'nets. Is that a real thing or what?

  12. #12

    Default

    that SG is pretty darn high. Seems like that second one didn't even start. Could try pitching the yeast again and see if it starts up. Chevette girl have you had a JAOM fail to finish? I don't have much experience with them. The 2 I made behaved appropriately and went to completion without issue.

  13. Default

    I floated some more bread yeast mixed with an equal amount of dead bread yeast on top of the cloudy and stuck batch and nothing happened. I also made some boiled banana juice and used it to top off the jug to somewhere up into the neck, which was maybe 2/3 cup. It also did nothing. Still cloudy and stuck

    Maybe I should just dump that jug?

  14. Default

    Forgive me as I know not how to inline video clips here, but the following shows the 2 jugs working. The one on the right is #1 and it is currently clear and quiet and ready to move forward. The one on the left is the trouble maker. That's #2 and it's cloudy, it's SG is pretty tall, it won't restart and it won't clear with the banana juice. This .MP4 was made while the ferments were raging along. You can see troublemaker jug #2 is working just as well as my friend jug #1

    Wanna see the vid? Right click the broken image icon below and from the drop down menu left click the <view image> option.


  15. #15

    Default

    I've never managed to get videos/images to embed/upload! So there are some fancy yeasts that are designed for stuck fermentations... but you'd be drifting out of the normal JAOM recipe. My understanding is that the JAOM is a bit of a balanced package deal and alterations can have significant impact. Clearing at this point isn't as important as getting it to ferment. My bias is that unless you are really married to the must ($$$ of honey in it) then just start over. Given that it spent some time fermenting I suspect you have another organism (probably a wild yeast) in there that is out completing your bread yeast. Unless you pitch a sizable quantity (5g/gallon) of a heavy hitting wine yeast in there you are likely finished. Some of the heavy hitters with more experience may have some better advice

  16. Default

    Yeah, it might be a do over, but I wanted to get as many serious replies as I could before I kicked it over.

    I really want to know more about this banana water thing.

  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by courtesy flush View Post
    Yeah, it might be a do over, but I wanted to get as many serious replies as I could before I kicked it over.

    I really want to know more about this banana water thing.
    Why not just use finning agents that are made for such things and actually work?
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  18. Default

    Yeah, it might be a do over, but I wanted to get as many serious replies as I could before I kicked it over.

    I really want to know more about this banana water thing.

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by courtesy flush View Post
    Yeah, it might be a do over, but I wanted to get as many serious replies as I could before I kicked it over.

    I really want to know more about this banana water thing.
    Do you understand how fining works?
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  20. #20

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by courtesy flush View Post
    Yeah, it might be a do over, but I wanted to get as many serious replies as I could before I kicked it over.

    I really want to know more about this banana water thing.
    So the banana thing might work; there might be some things in there that can clear a must. It might be that it does nothing and its success is from a positive memory bias (when it works you remember, when it fails the data is forgotten) of meads/honeys that were going to clear on their own anyway. Without doing 10-30 side by side tests it is tough to tell if the banana water is actually doing anything at all.

    Those tests have been done on a handful of fining agents such as bentonite, sparkaloid, and superkleer. You can read how fining agents work here at the bjcp mead judge study guide which is basically a book on this stuff.

    Most of the stuff in there is for "next step" meads rather than the JAOM. The JAOM is a mead that is designed to turn out well without knowing/using all the other stuff. Nothing wrong with that, and a good number of folks continue to modify/make the JAOM despite knowing the next step stuff. Chevette Girl is a long standing example of the JAOM connoisseur with a wealth of next step experience!

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