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Old 06-13-2013, 05:39 PM   #1
curtisdahl
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Default Help with first mead

So I started my mead 4june and it started about 24 hours later at or bubble every four seconds. As of today ( 13 june ) it's slowed to about one bubble every 12 seconds. It hasn't cleared at all. I'm concerned that it puttering out to early. Can anyone help me understand what could be happened or have any ideas?

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Old 06-13-2013, 05:46 PM   #2
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First, post recipe and better even your Original Gravity reading and a current hydrometer reading. Bubbling, be it mead or beer or wine only tells you excess CO2 is escaping, not when the CO2 was produced, or at what rate. Think of it this way, if you coudl measure the sugar in a cup of coffee, that is definit amount, but just tasting it only tells you that there is none, some, enough, or to much. Same way with bubbles.

Off hand you sound fine, but get soem hydrometer readings.

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Old 06-13-2013, 06:03 PM   #3
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It's a JAO with K1V instead of the bread yeast. OG of 1.12 ( I think it was the first time so I'm hoping I read it correct ) ill get another reading today or tomorrow standby.

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Old 07-05-2013, 07:55 PM   #4
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So my mead is about a month in primary now and while its is much clearer than it originally was ( i can see the shadow of my hand on the other side but its not clear enough to read threw) I wondering if I should rack it to the secondary to let the remainder settle. I'm worries that the fruit in it may become bad and taint the batch. Ideas? Thoughts? Concerns? Picture attached . Also no airlock movement in a couple of weeks

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Old 07-05-2013, 07:58 PM   #5
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Leave the mead alone. JAO recipes can sit for months just fine. Just wait till the fruit drops to the bottom or about till when it is 3 months old. Then rack or bottle if it is clear enough.

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Old 07-05-2013, 08:04 PM   #6
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I did that recipe back before Thanksgiving. I didnt pay much attention to airlock activity, but it did take ~2 months to drop clear.

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Old 07-06-2013, 09:58 AM   #7
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Oh dear. Another "homework free" batch!

It's like this. The JAO recipe, whether accidentally or by design, is formulated so that by using quite a high gravity start and bread yeast, you end up with some residual sugar.

That's needed, because the recipe as it stands, enables the new mead maker to get all the ingredients in a grocery store.

Now with orange, the flesh doesn't actually add too much flavour, that comes from the outer, orange coloured part of the skin. The down side is that the white part of the skin, the pith, will contribute a considerable level of bitterness to the batch.

The main reason for using bread yeast, is so that the residual sugars, left because bread yeast has a lower tolerance (a level of alcohol that it will produce before the alcohol causes the yeast to die off) than wine yeasts do.

It so happens, that you've chosen to use one of the more hardy and higher tolerant yeasts (K1-V1116 is tolerant to 18% ABV).

Hence it's likely that you will have to let the batch finish and it's probable that it will finish dry. When you taste it, you'll get some idea why JAO doesn't lend itself to being made as a dry mead.

All isn't lost. You will need to rack it off the fruit, then stabilise it with sulphites (usually in the form of a crushed campden tablet) and sorbate.

Give it a day or two, then use some half honey half water syrup to top it up. Do that incrementally, a bit at a time, stirring the topping up syrup gently after each addition, then taste it. Keep doing that until it hits a sweetness level that you like. The bitterness will never go away entirely, but it's balanced by the residual sugars in the recipe.

Hence never make a JAO with wine yeast. It doesn't work.

Equally, some have posited that if they made it with just the flesh and then zest the orange part of the skin off the orange and used that, would that work ? Well I haven't tried that, but if the batch was made with bread yeast, then possibly but I'd suspect it would end up too sweet. It may work if a wine yeast was used instead.

Generally speaking, it's best not to meddle with the JAO recipe to much, just make it "as is". Equally, you can change the fruit, use nutrients, wine yeasts, etc etc, but then it's not a JAO is it...... So in that respect, it's better to follow more conventional technique/method.

Oh and it'll be fine to just leave it as it is, until the fruit has dropped etc.

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Old 07-06-2013, 01:05 PM   #8
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To avoid excessive bitterness would choosing oranges with a thin pithy layer help with that?

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Old 07-06-2013, 02:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lungus View Post
To avoid excessive bitterness would choosing oranges with a thin pithy layer help with that?
Well that is still like peeling and removing the pith. You might as well try a recipe that is not a JAO and will have a better chance of working. Here is a mead variation of one of Jack Keller's orange wines from his sight:

Quote:
8 medium-sized oranges
1 lb chopped or minced golden raisins or sultanas
1 lb 7 oz ripe bananas
3 lbs Honey
water to make up one gallon
1/4 tsp grape tannin
1 tsp pectic enzyme
1 tsp yeast nutrient
wine yeast
Put two quarts of water on to boil. Meanwhile, peel the oranges and remove all the white pith (it is bitter and will ruin the wine). Break the oranges into sections and remove all seeds. Drop them in a juicer or a blender and liquefy (you may have to add a cup of water to the blender). Peel and slice bananas and simmer in one pint of water for 20 minutes. In a primary, add chopped or minced raisins (or sultanas), 2-1/2 lbs of the honey, the orange juice or liquefied orange pulp, and two quarts of boiling water. Stir well to dissolve honey. Over primary, pour simmering banana slices into nylon straining bag and allow to drip until cool enough to squeeze. Squeeze lightly and then discard banana flesh. Stir in tannin and yeast nutrient and enough water to make up one gallon total. Cover with cloth and set aside to cool. When cooled to room temperature, add pectic enzyme, recover and wait 12 hours. Add wine yeast. Ferment 7 days, add remaining honey, stir to dissolve, and ferment another 3 days. Rack off sediments into secondary and fit airlock. Rack every 30 days for 3 months. Stabilize and sweeten to taste. After additional 10 days, rack into bottles and set aside one year to age before tasting.
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