Saturday, March 03, 2012

JAO/Joe's Ancient Orange recipe (before I forget)...

So, I'm posting a copy of the well known JAO recipe. Not because I need too, but because whenever I need to find a copy of it, I have to dig around for it, so now I'll know where to get a copy from.

Oh and I copied this from the "Gotmead NewBee guide".

Joe’s Ancient Orange and Spice Mead
A little caveat before we continue.  This recipe flies in the face of just about all standard brewing methods used to make consistent and good Meads.  It was created by Joe Mattioli to make a fast and tasty drink out of ingredients found in most kitchens.  It is therefore perfect for the beginner, which has resulted in it being perhaps the most popular Mead recipe available on the internet.  As Joe himself says “It is so simple to make and you can make it without much equipment and with a multitude of variations. This could be a first Mead for the novice as it is almost foolproof. It is a bit unorthodox but it has never failed me or the friends I have shared it with. (snip) will be sweet, complex and tasty.”  Follow the instructions exactly as provided and you cannot go wrong.  If you want to make larger batches, just scale up the recipe keeping all ingredients in the same proportion.

1 gallon batch
3 1/2 lbs Clover or your choice honey or blend (will finish sweet)
1 Large orange (later cut in eights or smaller, rind and all)
1 small handful of raisins (25 if you count but more or less ok)
1 stick of cinnamon
1 whole clove ( or 2 if you like - these are potent critters)
optional - a pinch of nutmeg and allspice (very small )
1 teaspoon of Fleishmann’s bread yeast ( now don't get holy on me--- after all this is an ancient mead and that's all we had back then)
Balance water to one gallon
Use a clean 1 gallon carboy
Dissolve honey in some warm water and put in carboy
Wash orange well to remove any pesticides and slice in eights --add orange (you can push em through opening big boy -- rinds included -- its ok for this mead -- take my word for it -- ignore the experts)
Put in raisins, clove, cinnamon stick, any optional ingredients and fill to 3 inches from the top with cold water. ( need room for some foam -- you can top off with more water after the first few days frenzy)
Shake the heck out of the jug with top on, of course. This is your sophisticated aeration process.
When at room temperature in your kitchen, put in 1 teaspoon of bread yeast. ( No you don't have to rehydrate it first-- the ancients didn't even have that word in their vocabulary-- just put it in and give it a gentle swirl or not)(The yeast can fight for their own territory)
Install water airlock. Put in dark place. It will start working immediately or in an hour. (Don't use grandma's bread yeast she bought years before she passed away in the 90's - wait 3 hours before you panic or call me) After major foaming stops in a few days add some water and then keep your hands off of it. (Don't shake it! Don't mess with them yeasties ! Let them alone except its okay to open your cabinet to smell every once in a while).
Racking --- Don't you dare
additional feeding --- NO NO
More stirring or shaking -- Your not listening, don't touch

After 2 months and maybe a few days it will slow down to a stop and clear all by itself. (How about that, you are not so important after all) Then you can put a hose in with a small cloth filter on the end into the clear part and siphon off the golden nectar. If you wait long enough even the oranges will sink to the bottom but I never waited that long. If it is clear it is ready. You don't need a cold basement. It does better in a kitchen in the dark. (Like in a cabinet), likes a little heat (70-80). If it didn't work out... you screwed up and didn't read my instructions (or used grandma's bread yeast she bought years before she passed away) . If it didn't work out then take up another hobby. Mead is not for you. It is too complicated.
If you were successful, which I am 99% certain you will be, then enjoy your mead. When you get ready to make different mead you will probably have to unlearn some of these practices I have taught you, but hey--- This recipe and procedure works with these ingredients so don't knock it. It was your first mead. It was my tenth. Sometimes, even the experts can forget all they know and make good ancient mead.
And there you have it.  You have made your first Mead.  Now come the steps that must be followed to make a good, and eventually a great Mead.

I should point out, that it's a recipe normally done in US gallons, but I'm not American, so I stick to the numbers but I make it to 1 imperial gallon (4.55 litres instead of 3.78 litres) and it still seems to come out fine.

The thread about it over at gotmead (be warned, it's probably the longest single thread at gotmead, so it's a lot of reading), suggests that any change, however small, "voids the warranty". Which is fair enough, but I can't get the same brand of bread yeast here, so I just use a locally available one, something like Allinsons, or Hovis. It still seems to work out fine.

What I would say, is that some people insist on focusing on the presence of the pith of the orange and the fact that this is quite bitter. What they seem to miss, is that by using bread yeast, it will finish sweet, but it's the bitterness of the pith that balances the residual sugars.

Also, I've made other batches of this and tried various experiments, changing the fruit, using wine yeast etc. Well wine yeast usually ferments it dry, but that also highlights the bitter taste of the pith from the orange and hence it doesn't make for a good dry recipe. Changing the fruit, well the only one that came out even close, was the one where I used lemons instead. Limes where too strong and the mix of lemon and lime just didn't taste good.

So just use the recipe as written and it comes out quite good - not drinkable straight away IMO, I reckon it still needs to be aged, but it works well and seems good after 6 or 12 months. Either way, the choice is yours.

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