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First taste of my JAO, and other stuff...

Nverinder716

NewBee
Registered Member
Mar 14, 2012
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Staunton, VA
Someone said it on here earlier, when the Mead bug bites, it bites HARD!!!!

Just cracked open my first mead (Joe's Ancient Orange) last night, during the season 2 premiere of HBO's Game of Thrones (seemed REALLY appropriate), and I loved it! I can't believe I made such a palatable beverage with random ingredients lying around my kitchen! I had it down for the recommended 2 months, and then bottled it up, and let it mellow out for another 3 weeks. I did notice a pretty bitter note from the orange pith, and I'll definitely remove that next time. My wife even tried it, and was impressed although she doesn't like honey that much. Uber-proud of myself! (also, 2 bottles hidden in the hallway coat closet for long-term storage!!!)

Already have batch #2 down, a blackberry spice that I kind of conglomerated from a number of other blackberry recipes floating around out there (including stormthecastle), but took a very "JAO" approach to making it.

And wouldn't you know it, I've already got the gears turning for batch #3!!! I want to do a basic, small batch show mead. We've got a new bee-keeping shop that just opened up in town (of all things), and I'm itching to find something other than run-of-the-mill, grocery store clover honey for this one. In a lot of recipes, I keep seeing tannin pop up, usually in conjuncture with tea of some sort. I know a little about it, mostly that it assists with the aging process, but can anyone give me some more information on tannin? Also, any advice on a good yeast to use in a 1 gallon batch to produce a drier mead would be helpful, but I'm looking for that already! Thanks, and Slàinte!
 

TAKeyser

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Mar 4, 2012
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Detroit, MI
In a lot of recipes, I keep seeing tannin pop up, usually in conjuncture with tea of some sort. I know a little about it, mostly that it assists with the aging process, but can anyone give me some more information on tannin?
Most recipes calling for the addition of Tannins and/or acid additions early on in the recipe are usually fairly old recipes that continue to get passed on. Now-a-days it's a pretty universal opinion that these are only added later in the process only if needed to balance the taste of the finished process. Feel free to experiment though as that is half the fun.

Also, any advice on a good yeast to use in a 1 gallon batch to produce a drier mead would be helpful, but I'm looking for that already! Thanks, and Slàinte!
Any yeast will take a wine dry depending on the original gravity and the yeast selected. 3 lbs of honey in a 1 gallon batch should give you a gravity of around 1.100 so anything from Lalvin D47 to EC1118 would do the trick if treated right.
 

Chevette Girl

All around BAD EXAMPLE
Moderator
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Apr 27, 2010
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Ottawa, ON
Keep in mind, that bitter note will mellow with age so you might want to sample that again in 6 months before you pass judgement. you might find that if you leave the pith out, it's too sweet.

I use only the zest when I make JAO because I've discovered that leaving the pith in gives me heartburn (one of the very few things that does), but there are a few folks out there who will zest and discard half the orange peel so they only get half as much bitterness.

Do you mean a show mead (yeast + water + honey) or a traditional mead (honey, yeast, nutrients, energizer, tannins, etc)? If you find a really nice honey that you want to showcase instead of hiding behind fruit in a melomel, a traditional's definitely the way to go. Show meads can be tricky as there's not a whole lot of nutrition for the yeast...

Tannins. Ok, you know when you have a sip of red wine or the dregs of a really strong tea, your tongue sort of feels fuzzy and your mouth feels dry? That's how I perceive tannins, anyway... I've been adding tea for tannins to many of my wines and meads, it's just a little bit of a bite to keep it from being boring. You can also get grape or other powdered tannins from your local brew store but I still go for the tea more often than the grape tannins because I know I can't overdo it with a good strong cup of orange pekoe decaf tea (brewed hot, steeped till it's cold) per gallon. Plus it often lends a really pretty reddish colour to the must.

What yeast is best for a drier mead? Good question. How strong do you want it? If under 14%, DV10 is pretty nice if you can keep the temperature below about 70, 71B should be fine if you remember to rack it off the lees, or if you want something a little stronger, K1V-1116 is a good multi-purpose workhorse of a yeast.

Edit: and this time TAKeyser wins the thumb-wrestle!

 

Nverinder716

NewBee
Registered Member
Mar 14, 2012
11
0
0
Staunton, VA
Much thanks all around. Chevette, I guess you're correct, I'm aiming for a traditional, a little on the drier side, and an alcohol % around 12-15% is perfectly acceptable. So my idea is to brew a pretty strong tea, dissolve my honey in that, allowing it to cool, and then pitching my yeast (I looked at a few on Midwest Supplies, not knowing much about yeast in general, Red Star Montrachet jumped out to me via its description).

I really want to find a good varietal and let the honey shine through on this one, maybe with a little help from some subtle flavors in the tea.
 

TAKeyser

NewBee
Registered Member
Mar 4, 2012
1,228
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Detroit, MI
Much thanks all around. Chevette, I guess you're correct, I'm aiming for a traditional, a little on the drier side, and an alcohol % around 12-15% is perfectly acceptable. So my idea is to brew a pretty strong tea, dissolve my honey in that, allowing it to cool, and then pitching my yeast (I looked at a few on Midwest Supplies, not knowing much about yeast in general, Red Star Montrachet jumped out to me via its description).

I really want to find a good varietal and let the honey shine through on this one, maybe with a little help from some subtle flavors in the tea.
If I remember right Red Star says Montrachet has an Alcohol Tolerance of 13%, it's been a while since I've used it.

I don't think I'd go with more than 3 lbs of honey which would give you about 12.5%.

I like Orange Blossom as a nice varietal for Traditionals.
 

Nverinder716

NewBee
Registered Member
Mar 14, 2012
11
0
0
Staunton, VA
Thanks again, TAKeyser. For this one, it's really all about flavor (and an orange blossom was definitely at the top of the list!), and not so much on alcohol content. All my friends are eager to have a sip of something, so I want to have some options out on the table!
 

TAKeyser

NewBee
Registered Member
Mar 4, 2012
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Detroit, MI
I usually keep my meads in the 12-14% range, though I have made some high alcohols ones.

Not sure if it would still be a Traditional with the addition of the tea, it may be a metheglin. Not that it is a huge deal unless you plan on entering it in competitions.

You could use less of the Orange Blossom, say 2 lbs 12 oz and than make up the last 4 oz with another honey like Buckwheat to give it an additional layer of flavor.
 

machalel

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 1, 2012
115
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0
Australia
Yeah, it does bite hard... I'm currently planning my 4th batch, and I haven't even tasted the first yet >_>;

(also ignoring my 3 batches of beer, 2 of cider, and 3 wines) ;D


Tannin is often confused with astringency. Tannins are a plant polyphenolic compound that can be astringent and bitter. On a side note, they are also used for tanning leather! (hence the name).

If you are a wine drinker, consider the difference in mouth-feel between a strong Shiraz (lots of tannins) and a softer Merlot (less tannins). Or think of the dry, puckering (but not sour) mouth-feel that you get from a really strong tea.