Joe Mattioli's Ancient Orange Mead

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

Wade E

Jul 3, 2006
Reaction score
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 Fleismann'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
This is one I have shared before but it may have got lost in the rebuild. 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 fool proof. It is a bit unorthodox but it has never failed me or the friends I have shared it with.
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 day 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 yeastees! 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 a 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 a good ancient mead
has anyone done this one?... i gave it a try as my second run with a wine ever and it seems to be clearing faster than my 1st batch... but then again i have 6 G of that to compare to the 2g i made with this mead.... tastes ok as of right now, still seeing bubbles but very clear at this point.... i want to say its only be 4 weeks.
I tried a 3 gallon batch but strayed from the directions and used wine yeast and also used more cloves then I care for making this mead not to my liking at all. I will try it again eventually and follow the instructions to a "T" this time.
In many experienced meaders view, this is not nice at all.
To newbies like myself, it's pretty bloody good mead. I've made 4 now and I'll make more. All have been troublesome and long winded to clear; but worth it in the end. I can't get the correct yeast down here so make do with what I can get - maybe that's the trouble. Anyway, it's easy doand tasty, go for it.
well i did a double batch and it seems pretty darn clear already. but then again none of my batches have finished yet... so maybe i dont know how clear is clear
I did a batch and honestly one day it was cloudy and the next BAM! it was clear. It was pretty amazing. I would try this one again even though I think it's a bit too sweet. I plan on taking a bottle to a dinner party where there will be many people and maybe suggest it as something to drink with dessert.

I think the modifications I would make would be to use fresh OJ not oranges because those were a pain to get out of the jug. I also add way more cloves than the recipe suggests because I love cloves.
I've only brewed this as a tweaked recipe, using Wyeast sweet mead yeast, and the zest of an orange (plus its juice) rather than tossing it all in there.
That eliminated the 'pithy' flavor that everyone says has to age out of JAOM.

I like the is light bodied, sweeter, and lower on the alcohol compared to other recipes. It does give you a good idea of what mead is 'like' and how its differnt from wine and beer (and distilled spirits).
why raisins?
and is the orange cinamon and clove for the flavor?
'Pithy' taste seems to be the main drawback to this mead; have to say have never found it a problem, unlike some of the other citrus based wines and meads I've done. They all mellow out in time but Joe's has been drinkable straight up.
I've tried your tweak Malkore. First time took 6 months to get into the bottle and obviously needed more time. Opened another bottle just last night; much more best.
The second is still fermenting after 4 months, is clearing ever so slowly.....has been a continuous ferment rather then the first which was a stop/start affair for some reason.
mine i clear as hell after 4-5 weeks.... i havent racked or anything but there are still a small amount of bubbles every so often...

After 2 months I finished up my gallon today. It had stopped bubbling, was clear as glass and the raisins had been doing this funky up and down in the liquid dance for a couple weeks now. Gotta say this was most difficult racking I've had yet. I wound up pouring it into a sanitized colendar and bowl and then racking out of the bowl into another gallon jug. Gotta confess, I did one thing differently. I didn't include the rind of the orange and I used 1 clove. This stuff is good and even my wife who didn't think she would like something made with honey, likes it. I can see this being really good come Christmas.
Bill W,

JAOM is an okay start in mead fermentation and darn good drop when it's all finished. Aware that there are scoffers but think that's primarily an elitist thing.
Glad you enjoyed yours after your difficulties.
Envy your quick time; maybe it's the yeast. Just can't get the same same down here; my last has been 6 months in gestation and still has a way to go. But I reckon it's worth it, that's why I made a 4 gallon batch. :h

I justed joined and this thread caught my eye becasue I have done JAO. I think the cloves are a little too much but I left a couple of bottles aged and after 6 months this stuff was pretty good. I still have one bottle left that I am keeping for one year.

After making JAO I decided to tweak it some. Instead of the oranges and spices I used 12 oz of Red Raspberries, 4 oz of Blackberries and one lemon. This stuff was fanastic

I have a gallon bubbling away steadily, followed the directions to a T, including the yeast; settling out but far from clear at this point, but it's only two weeks. I have neighbors with bees and want to give them some, so we can do a honey-for-mead exchange - it would help a lot if it was drinkable! I had a raspberry mead at a winery in Chenango Forks, NY, and it was really good - light and not too sweet. Pretty color too!
I was talking with my husband about the recipe last night and wondering if oranges and cloves and cinnamon wouldn't have been hard for a lot of people to come by way back, wondering what those unable to find or spring for what must have been "exotic" ingredients used for flavoring. Anybody know, or know a source to find out? Of course, my kids think I'M ancient, so all things are relative...
Thanks Wade for the post on mead. I got some ideas off of it and started 7 gallons last night. This is what I did:

7 Gallons of water
4 Quarts of Honey
6 whole cloves
2 TBS of ground cinnamon
7 Granny SMith Apples Juiced them

Checked my gravity and it was too low 1.060
So I added 4 crushed campden Tablets and 10lbs of sugar that moved the gravity up to 1.100 with a PH of 4.4
And I used the Lavin K1-1116 Killer yeast since there's snow up here in Michigan :) Plan to move it into a carboy on it's 6th day or when the gravity drops to 1.07

I didn't want to have to use the sugar but I already had $21 in Honey and was on a budget. Jim
I have a six gallon Carboy and I thought I would fill it 2 inches from the top and then would have enough to fill a liter bottle on the side to play with. The rest will be sediment. My plans are to add some oak chips to the one liter bottle. Then later when I rack I can top off my carboy with the oak mixter and won't have to water it down any. I'm still new at wine making and my last wine I made I topped off with water. And I promised myself I'd find a better way. Jim
7 gallons of water + 4 quarts of honey + 10 lbs of sugar + the juice of 7 apples has to bring you some where in the 9-10 gallon range Im guessing!!! What are you fermenting in or is there a type O somewhere?
Ya know I never really thought of it like that. lol It's not a typo just a miss calculation. I'm using a 18 gallon Rubbermaid Rough Neck Storage Box(Blue). And It is half full. 9 gallons (sigh). I bought it, washed it , and then Sanitized it using Potassium Metabisulphite. Guess I can always fill up a couple gallon bottles on the side. On the bright side I did use my hydromiter!
Looks like you made more then you bargained for. By the way, any nutrient or energizer?