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 gallonsI 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