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Old 09-26-2011, 06:22 PM   #1
thrstyunderwater
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Default Anyone ever done Jack Keller's Chocolate Mead?

I can get honey for $1 a pound so I'm wanting to try out some mead recipes. I was reading about this chocolate mead recipe and thought it sounded pretty good. Thoughts?


http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/reques28.asp

Also if anyone has done his blackberry mead I'd like to hear about that as well.



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Old 09-27-2011, 02:36 AM   #2
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Yes - in secondary. Sorry, wait a minute. Back up. A dollar a pound? Give me a phone number for that source and I will tell you more...

Honestly, as I stated, it's in secondary. Chocolate is notorious for being a pain, in that the bitter oils take at least a year to mellow out. So disregard a mead being hot - that is a given. The real situation is that the chocolate doesn't taste good (or even like chocolate, really) for a while.

I've been experimenting with chocolate, however, and tried a few different things. Cocoa nibs seem to be giving me the proper aroma, without much chocolate flavor. And they are less messy. Oh yeah, fermenting chocolate powder? Give it a lot of headspace ... it billows up something fierce.

I have now tried nesquik, cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, and combinations of cocoa powder and cocoa nibs. I like the combo of cocoa powder and nibs, personally. They are all 1 gallon batches, and all aging, so I can't give you a final answer, but ... that's where I stand.



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Old 09-27-2011, 02:52 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daedolon View Post
Yes - in secondary. Sorry, wait a minute. Back up. A dollar a pound? Give me a phone number for that source and I will tell you more...

Honestly, as I stated, it's in secondary. Chocolate is notorious for being a pain, in that the bitter oils take at least a year to mellow out. So disregard a mead being hot - that is a given. The real situation is that the chocolate doesn't taste good (or even like chocolate, really) for a while.

I've been experimenting with chocolate, however, and tried a few different things. Cocoa nibs seem to be giving me the proper aroma, without much chocolate flavor. And they are less messy. Oh yeah, fermenting chocolate powder? Give it a lot of headspace ... it billows up something fierce.

I have now tried nesquik, cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, and combinations of cocoa powder and cocoa nibs. I like the combo of cocoa powder and nibs, personally. They are all 1 gallon batches, and all aging, so I can't give you a final answer, but ... that's where I stand.
What are nibs, are you talking just about semi-sweet morsels? Regardless do you always put them in the secondary fermenter? I'm planning on aging it at least a year so we should be good there.

Any other chocolate tips? Hurry up and crack open some bottles and let me know how they are!
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Old 09-27-2011, 03:27 AM   #4
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Cocoa nibs are essentially the last step before it becomes "processed" View it like unprocessed cocoa powder. This is the first link to cocoa nibs on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Navitas-Naturals-Organic-Chocolate-Cacao/dp/B001ELL9GI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317093817&sr=8-1 Note I am not endorsing that product (or that quantity, because that is the actual product I used) - it is simply the first item on the Amazon search for "cocoa nibs".

I put the cocoa powder in primary, the cocoa nibs in secondary. They aren't even bottled, yet. As I always say "Please, give me patience, and give it to me NOW!"

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Old 09-27-2011, 12:31 PM   #5
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Have you tried powder in secondary?

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Old 09-29-2011, 03:09 PM   #6
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Has anyone ever made the mentioned recipe?

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Old 09-30-2011, 12:24 PM   #7
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I would like your source for $1 a pound as well. I could take 10 galons of that if it is a good honey that hasn't been processed to death.

Currently I have a double batch of chocolate going.

I got my nibs roasted from chocolatealchemy.com They have a bunch of different ones. I am using 2 pounds per batch of 6 gal.
I started with 12 pound honey primary. Then Fermented til it was one bubble per minute or less in the airlock. Racked and put in a Loose bag the nibs which I put through a coffee grinder for maximum extraction. I got a killer smell and it's been in there a month. I plan on backsweetening it with about 6 more pounds of honey and a pound of maltodextrin, for a good mouthfeel.

I also put 2 vanilla beans in a hops bag, split and sliced open but not scraped. I have noticed that all chocolates that taste good have vanillin or vanilla in it. I think it rounds out the flavor.

The think you need to keep in mind with chocolate is that dark chocolate is about 40-60% choloclate and the rest sugar and other items. An that's for a dark and bitter chocolate. Things like hershey's is about 35% chocolate. So when you sweeten it up is when the chocolate flavor comes out. Other ingredients can enhance the chocolate flavor as well.

I plan on mixing 1/4 teaspoon of mint extract to one to make a chocolate mint. The other I am making a hazelnut extract for and it's going to be a chocolate hazelnut flavor.

If you are doing a small batch then I would go with 1/4 pound per galon of nibs. Some can go futher but I wouldn't go higer than 1/2 pound. Put in a 1/4 to 1/2 vanilla bean per galon and stabalize/back sweeten it. I would also oak it with medium toasted oak.

And be patient with the aging.

That's my suggestions but then again, this is my first couple of batches and what I found based on the research I have done both here and on gotmead.com.

Hope it turns out well.

Matrix

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Old 09-30-2011, 03:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matrix4b View Post
I would like your source for $1 a pound as well. I could take 10 galons of that if it is a good honey that hasn't been processed to death.

Currently I have a double batch of chocolate going.

I got my nibs roasted from chocolatealchemy.com They have a bunch of different ones. I am using 2 pounds per batch of 6 gal.
I started with 12 pound honey primary. Then Fermented til it was one bubble per minute or less in the airlock. Racked and put in a Loose bag the nibs which I put through a coffee grinder for maximum extraction. I got a killer smell and it's been in there a month. I plan on backsweetening it with about 6 more pounds of honey and a pound of maltodextrin, for a good mouthfeel.

I also put 2 vanilla beans in a hops bag, split and sliced open but not scraped. I have noticed that all chocolates that taste good have vanillin or vanilla in it. I think it rounds out the flavor.

The think you need to keep in mind with chocolate is that dark chocolate is about 40-60% choloclate and the rest sugar and other items. An that's for a dark and bitter chocolate. Things like hershey's is about 35% chocolate. So when you sweeten it up is when the chocolate flavor comes out. Other ingredients can enhance the chocolate flavor as well.

I plan on mixing 1/4 teaspoon of mint extract to one to make a chocolate mint. The other I am making a hazelnut extract for and it's going to be a chocolate hazelnut flavor.

If you are doing a small batch then I would go with 1/4 pound per galon of nibs. Some can go futher but I wouldn't go higer than 1/2 pound. Put in a 1/4 to 1/2 vanilla bean per galon and stabalize/back sweeten it. I would also oak it with medium toasted oak.

And be patient with the aging.

That's my suggestions but then again, this is my first couple of batches and what I found based on the research I have done both here and on gotmead.com.

Hope it turns out well.

Matrix
Sorry, the guy selling honey wants to keep it local. I also know a place to get 5 gallon glass carboys for $19 bucks. I should post that on the general forum.

Anyway, Jack Kellers recipe calls for 20 lbs of honey in the primary, then topping off with another 4-5 gallons of honey in the secondary. Would you still use 2 lbs of nibs for a batch with 25 lbs of honey?
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Old 10-01-2011, 07:58 PM   #9
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I have made a similar recipe, which does not use a tannin addition (the tea), and uses a fair bit less honey. For a 6 gal batch, it calls for 15 lbs, but the same amount of cocoa.
As Daedolon mentions, don't be in a hurry with this one. The author of the recipe I used says to not even bother thinking about drinking it for at least 2 yrs.

I can agree with the need for aging based on personal experience, and should also mention that it takes for-EVER for this to clear. It had still barely cleared after almost 9 months in secondary. I added finings (Liquor-Kleer) not once but twice before I got it to really clear up, and that was after another few months.

When you're making a mead with cocoa powder, you really do need to heat it a little, otherwise it will take forever to dissolve the cocoa powder.

With the Lord Rhys recipe, it went dry using Wyeast Dry Mead (my go-to beasty for mead)...cocoa does really need some residual sweetness to make it even remotely recognizable as a flavor, and even then its pretty subtle in a mead. I stabilized and backsweetened my batch to ~ 1.012. I think it's turned out really nice, and one of these days I'm going to repeat it.

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Old 10-03-2011, 03:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thrstyunderwater View Post
Sorry, the guy selling honey wants to keep it local. I also know a place to get 5 gallon glass carboys for $19 bucks. I should post that on the general forum.

Anyway, Jack Kellers recipe calls for 20 lbs of honey in the primary, then topping off with another 4-5 gallons of honey in the secondary. Would you still use 2 lbs of nibs for a batch with 25 lbs of honey?

I would actually go with 12 pounds, stablize and backsweeten with 6-8 pounds. I would also add in a pount of maltodextrin or lactose for mouth feel and a bit extra sweeteness. See the problem here is if you start out with 20 pounds you will end up with a very potent product and then adding the honey later without stablizing it, the yeast will just eat up your sweetness. You would save yourself the cost of honey in this and then use the extra honey for another batch.

Most of the recipies I have seen have 1 pound of nibs in it. I found one person that used 4 pounds. Yes, it can turn out well but I am on a bit of a budget and looking at the different mixes of chocolate has convinced me that adding more nibs wont neccessiarliy get the flavor I am looking for.

When you look at chocolate:
Dark Chocolate: 60% - Is a bitter chocolate
Dark Chocolate: 40% - Still dark but better
Milk Chocolate: 35% - Sweet and good.
White Chocolate: Cocobutter only - not the flavor I am looking for.

So looking at it, less is more but you want to have enough to infuse the flavor. So when many recipies are going with 1 pound nibs for 5 gal and most recipies that I saw also have only 12-14 pounds, no back sweetening. I felt that it was good to double it with 2 pounds of roasted nibs and I put that through a rough grind on the coffee grinder. It resembles more of a coco powder. This I hope to extract better. Also putting that in a large fine mesh bag in a brew bucket. This will allow for lots of surfact area to infuse the flavors. Then When I take it out, I was planing on 2 months but may end up leaving it in only 1 1/2 months. And racking onto the extra sweetness.

I stablized the must well and waited for 1 week after stablization before I racked onto the cacao nibs. Because of this I did not get the large foaming that many have reported in making their chocolate meads. I also have noticed that it has one HELL of a nose. It smells great and I didn't lose that through the fermenting process.

From what I have discovered many other additions may make for a more chocolatey flavor. Hence the hazelnuts in one. So some research on what makes chocolate taste more like chocolate would need to be done. Sweetness is a part of it.

Hope this helps.

Matrix


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