Saturday, September 24, 2016

An updated (improved ?) take on the JAO/JAOM recipe by Jon Talkington.......

Jon is someone I know via facebook. He is currently working as a professional brewer but has been making meads for a long time.

I haven't tried this version yet (having only just found it), but Jon seems an all round good guy who does "know his stuff", hence no hesitation in recommending that it's gonna be worth a go (even if you scale it down to try a smaller batch first IMO). 

Jon’s Spiced Orange & Raisin Mead (A modern take on JAOM) 5.5 gallons
I have made the classic Joe’s Ancient Orange Mead...bread yeast and all. People either love or hate it. JAOM is good for what it is and its easy for the hobbyist mead maker, but I made it this way for people to step up their skills in mead making. The problem with bread yeast (I know Joe was going for ancient) is that its inconsistent and produces many off flavors like phenolics and esters when fermented warm so I used an ale yeast for a cleaner and more consistent flavor. Another issue is the orange cut in pieces and added whole, you end up getting the bitterness from the pith of the orange. So I zested the orange with a citrus zester and used the juice, no whole orange in the recipe. The raisins do provide flavor and extra sugars however they are not “yeast nutrients” as is suggested so I added yeast nutrients in a staggered fashion which will make for a better ferment.This mead makes a nice sweet spicy orange mead to sip in the autumn and winter months. Enjoy!! Recipe: 17 to 18 lbs Honey (a lighter variety will work) 5 x Large Oranges (Zested and juiced) 12 oz. Raisins (you can use golden or dark. The darker raisins will have more of a sherry flavor) Make sure they don’t have sulfites. 4 medium sized Cinnamon sticks (I like to use Vietnamese Cinnamon its very sweet in flavor) 10 whole cloves or 1/2 tsp of ground cloves 1 tsp Ground Allpsice 1 tsp Ground Nutmeg 15 grams dry ale yeast such as Fermentis US05, S-04, S-33 or Cooper’s Ale Yeast rehydrated with 18.75 grams Go-Ferm or Start Up rehydration nutrients. I’ve use all these yeasts with good results in mead. Directions for mixing up the Go-Ferm and yeast. Mix Go-Ferm in 20 times its weight in clean 110°F (43°C) water. So this would would be 12.6 oz of 110 degree water..Let cool to 104 degree F (40°C) then add the 15 grams active dried yeast. Let stand for 20 minutes. Slowly (over 5 minutes) add equal amounts of must (juice) to be fermented to the yeast slurry. Watch the temperature difference. Do not allow more than 18°F (10°C) difference between the must (juice) and the yeast slurry. 10 grams Yeast Nutrient such as Fermaid K or Super Food added in steps. 5 grams added right when fermentation begins at 24 hours and the other 5 grams added at 72 hours. Water to top to 5.5 gallons Make sure all fermentation equipment is clean and sanitized. Mix honey,orange zest & juice, spices and water into the bucket (no boiling the honey) stir well to make sure the honey is all dissolved thoroughly. Rehydrate the yeast with Go-Ferm in warm water per directions. Aerate the honey mixture and pitch in the rehydrated wine yeast. Add the nutrients as needed and ferment 2 to 3 weeks at 64 to 68 degrees F before racking into a glass carboy for secondary fermentation and aging. Rack as necessary, when clear and stable the mead can be bottled. Cheers! OG- 1.130 to 1.135 FG- 1.020 to 1.025

If you read "around the bazaars", you will find the original version of the JAO/JAOM recipe, along with many variants. Of the variants, people often substitute a wine yeast for the bread yeast, but that leads to issues of bitterness.

Jon has gone some way to modify the recipe with lots of apparent (as above, I haven't tried this yet) improvements that remove some of the issues that arise from just using the original version of the recipe with wine yeast instead of the originally suggested bread yeast.

It reads to me that while a total novice could make the original recipe by just following the recipe/instructions, you only need to have a little bit or prior knowledge to follow Jon's version as it reads to me like an easily followed, straight forward update/improvement.

Thank you Mr T. Nicely put :D

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Oak chips anyone ?

Doug kindly sent me this link for oak chips. It's a German based site, so some appears to be in English, but not all so you might need to do a bit of translating.

I haven't personally tried it, but when I take into account the excellent assistance and customer service I got when I used the Walter Lang GMBH site to get some honey I couldn't find any closer, I'd be happy to try the "oak chips site".......

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Glass V Plastic fermenters, containers etc etc.

There's long been questions about whether it's safe to use plastic instead of glass for fermentation.

Glass is the traditional choice, but it does come with a few caveats i.e. heavy, breakable, etc etc.

Plastic is a more modern material, but also seems to have it's issues. Damages easily, only certain types are "safe", you can't really use it for certain production techniques, some are air permeable, etc etc.....

I'll let you decide for yourself, but here's an interesting thought/idea/comment on it.....

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Interesting read.........

It's a bit of a "dry" read if you're not into making meads, but seems to contain some useful info about honey etc..........

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Thinking about flavours etc........

I spend much time reading, reading, reading....... Particularly at the forums and places on facebook that focus on meads (no surprise there).

So what's the issue ? Well, I might not be much of an expert, but some of the flavour combinations are absolutely fucking ridiculous.

For example, anything with chocolate. Why ? I hear you say........

If chocolate was such a good and easy material to use, it'd be in every fucking thing! It's marvellous when made into hard(ish) confectionery. Equally, it makes a wonderful, warming, winter evening drink. Mostly because it's got milk mixed with it or at least some sort of lower calorie non-dairy whitener......

Pure cocoa/chocolate powder is not a good flavouring element for everything. If you look at the sort of alcoholic drinks that do contain it, the ones that are successful are the ones that have a cream base.

Now I can't say for certain, but there do seem to be so many reasons to stick with the basics of flavour combinations, so as not to bother making anything slightly unusual.

Ok, I'm happy to admit that there are some strange ones out there, that have been proven to be successful despite being counter-intuitive, like chocolate and chilli or strawberry with black pepper, but these are exceptions not the rule. Most of them have been found or worked out by experts in the field, like chocolatiers and molecular gastronomists etc.

Not by use home booze makers.

Sure, there will be some flavours and tastes that are culturally localised, but outside that region the sort of combinations that nobody would normally consider.

Maybe the issue is what the wine/mead is made from ? Tomato wine ? Parsnip wine ? what the fuck are those. Tomato is great in cooking, but the flavour changes so much with primary fermentation (which is, after all, controlled rotting, so "it" changes to a different flavour), parsnip is just something that I don't like anyway, so I wouldn't eat it let alone ferment it.....

Of course, it's fair to say that if it's edible it's likely that it can be fermented. Equally that doesn't mean that it SHOULD be fermented.

As I said above, there are good reasons to use materials with a proven track record. Why bother using materials that produce stuff that tastes like puke!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Allergic to wine or sulphites in wine ?

Don't talk out of your fucking arse !

Read this and you'll understand what the likely problem could be......

And if you don't know who Tim Vandergrift is, look him up and you'll see why he knows his stuff.......

Monday, October 27, 2014

"Making Mead" by Roger Morse.

When my copy of this book first arrived, I "power read" the first part/intro section. Well written, with a few bits of info and sources that I hadn't come across before.

Puffed with enthusiasm, I posted an initial post.

I've since decided to delete that post. Not because I'm any less enthusiastic about making mead, for real or via the book.

Just that it was interesting to read, but much of the guidance is now quite dated. No less relevant, just that things have progressed since it was written. Better or maybe just more up to date ideas, materials, ingredients, methods etc.......

Ergo, I recommend it as a good book to have in a library of mead making books, but it's not the "be all, end all" book to have.

Worth getting a copy though. Some of his concepts/info about mead making are good to know, but if you keep up with current ideas, you'll follow why I prefer not to expound this older info.

Hey ho!, there is a more recent book to get. More recent than even the Great Ken Schramms, "The Compleat Meadmaker".

It's called The Complete Guide to Making Mead, by Steve Piatz.

I can't say whether it's worth getting, as I haven't got a copy yet, but on looking at Amazon, the 5 reviews at the time of checking, all give it 5 stars. So I'll be ordering myself a copy once I can get into bloody Amazon.........

Monday, August 25, 2014

More easily understood nutrient info

Grapestompers provide this guide/info about nutrients. It's quite a nice, straight forward, explaination.

I've included it in the links on the right too........

Sunday, August 03, 2014

An interesting read......

Got this link from one of the Facebook groups I read. Some of it I knew, some not.

It mainly focuses on the US wine industry, and I generally don't enjoy American or other "New World" wines. Not to say I didn't enjoy the read........

A satisfying afternoon

Cabernet sauvignon pressed, juice racked etc. 1 x 11 litre carbohydrates and 1x 1 imperial gallon DJ.

The other 3 x 11 litre carboys are the Primitivo, Merlot and Shiraz. The 1 & half gallon DJ's are the excess from the racking of the P, M and S. I expect another drop of sediment from them, as the 3 x 11 litre carboys were carefully racked, whereas the blended bits are from closest to the lees.

I don't know if you can see from the picture that the sediment in the cab is dropping out already.