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Old 01-01-2013, 12:31 AM   #1
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Default Chocolate Mead

I have done some reading on this board about chocolate meads which has inspired me to give it a try. There are many different recipes out there, the most famous one I found was the Lord Rhy’s; another poster did an experiment with several different forms of chocolate. From my reading I understand that using cocoa powder can be challenging from incorporating it into the must to getting it to clear. I’ve read that you should bulk age at minimum one year all the way to 1 year 8 months and the final taste is not a strong chocolate one but noticeable. Chocolate syrup is a little easier to incorporate and it clears quicker but I’m not sure on how it tastes. I’ve also read about using chocolate nibs in secondary but I haven’t read how it tastes.

When deciding how much chocolate to use I’ve read that if you want a strong chocolate flavor to use 6 oz per gallon to a not as strong but still there taste at 3.2 oz per gallon. Any consensus on on how much chocolate to use?

Any consensus on which form of chocolate to use, nibs, powder, or syrup?

Anyone have a good recipe to use that they’ve gotten rave review’s on? At this point I was thinking of trying the Lord Rhy’s recipe.

Let me know what you guys think!

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Old 01-01-2013, 12:39 AM   #2
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The Lord Rhys recipe is good. Many guys refer to it as liquid panty remover. Ahem, I am female and am pleading the 5th!!
Anyway, I like to use four ounces by weight of dutch processed cocoa powder, Droste is my favorite, but I have also used basic Hershey unsweetened and their Special Dark. A sucker for the Special Dark. I also like to add one cup of Hershey Syrup per gallon to a mead that has cleared. It drops out within two weeks and imparts a nice kiss of chocolate. I find the use of powder imparts an even stronger chocolate profile, and aging for 1-2 year is ideal. Even though the powder creates a foam and fudge lees, you will be very happy. You can intensify the chocolate by incorporating espresso or vanilla at very late stage bulk aging. You seriously need to experiment to find what you like. The commercial chocolate wines do not hold a candle to these.

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Old 01-01-2013, 03:37 AM   #3
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I'll give the Lord Rhy's recipe a shot with the Droste cocoa powder and adding the Hershey syrup later. You said you add the syrup once it has cleared, how long was that for you? Thanks for your input!!

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Old 01-01-2013, 10:47 AM   #4
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How long before the mead cleared so I could add the syrup?

My most recent chocolate experiment, started 9/3/12, which had an OG of 1.105 used 3 oz cocoa powder by weight/gallon added during primary, entire contents transferred to carboy and airlocked on 9/8. Was clear by 11/15, racked off sludge at that time and then added 1/2 cup per gallon Hershey Syrup. The mead was clear in less than a week. I actually made 5.5L of this because I wanted to make sure I had adequate volume for topping up.

Here is a photo taken last night, just to show you what it looks like since its start in September. Thoroughly delicious and smooth at room temp, even this young, a touch of heat on the back of the throat. FG is currently 1.000, and while I adore semisweet, I do not think I will backsweeten this, it is perfect.

If I make a basic mead to which I want to add syrup to after clearing, it depends on the OG--can take longer to clear. But I have never had to wait more than four months for clearing, no finings used. Now, if I make a melomel and incorporate cocoa powder in primary it may take nine months to clear--just so many variables like OG, fruit pulp vs juice, temperature, etc.

In closing, the reason you see a recommended aging on Lord Rhys' recipe is because it takes this long for the acids/enzymes in the cocoa to break down and impart that magic voodoo that only chocolate can do. And I know LordRhys recipe does not have you rack for one full year. But using dutch-processed will knock that time down significantly...but then you still have the fact you have a mead on hand. I can only imagine how good my chocolate mead will be in September, and yes, I am making a larger batch of that SOON. I can forsee it becoming a favorite, especially blended with my raspberry melomel or other fruit meads/wines.

forumrunner_20130101_063239.png

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Old 01-01-2013, 03:58 PM   #5
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My most recent chocolate experiment, started 9/3/12, which had an OG of 1.105 used 3 oz cocoa powder by weight/gallon added during primary, entire contents transferred to carboy and airlocked on 9/8.


Did you start your must fermenting in an open bucket for the first 5 days? There are not any concerns of contamination?

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Old 01-01-2013, 04:21 PM   #6
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Just lay the lid on top of the bucket, but don't seal it. That will keep any contamination concerns at bay.

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Old 01-01-2013, 05:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K9Handler View Post
My most recent chocolate experiment, started 9/3/12, which had an OG of 1.105 used 3 oz cocoa powder by weight/gallon added during primary, entire contents transferred to carboy and airlocked on 9/8.

Did you start your must fermenting in an open bucket for the first 5 days? There are not any concerns of contamination?
Open bucket, lid resting on top, not snapped on, until the OG had dropped by 2/3, or my maximum is 10 days before I transfer to carboy and attach airlock. Whichever comes first. The bucket lightly covered allows oxygen access, which is something you desire for the early stage, typically 5-8-10 days. Plus I stir twice a day from the bottom up for about two minutes each time until I transfer to carboy/airlock. When you add cocoa powder it is common to get foam development in 12-36 hours so you want headspace during primary fermenting days. It calms down when in carboy.
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:59 PM   #8
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@saramc - nice picture of it in the glass.

Chocolate is something that I wouldn't even consider trying in a batch, but the pic looks marvellous, certainly nothing like the sludge brown I've imagined when reading about people making batches with choc.......

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Old 01-02-2013, 12:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbloke View Post
@saramc - nice picture of it in the glass.

Chocolate is something that I wouldn't even consider trying in a batch, but the pic looks marvellous, certainly nothing like the sludge brown I've imagined when reading about people making batches with choc.......
Thank you. It really does clear up. I use it in wine too, have a killer chocolate raspberry chambourcin. Ruby red, no sediment, tastes like chocolate dipped raspberries blended with a rich red. Backsweetened some, oaked some, fortified some. Quite unlike a few commercial chocolate wines, which say to gently shake to suspend the chocolate--ga'ross with a capitol G. I challenge you to give it a try.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saramc

Open bucket, lid resting on top, not snapped on, until the OG had dropped by 2/3, or my maximum is 10 days before I transfer to carboy and attach airlock. Whichever comes first. The bucket lightly covered allows oxygen access, which is something you desire for the early stage, typically 5-8-10 days. Plus I stir twice a day from the bottom up for about two minutes each time until I transfer to carboy/airlock. When you add cocoa powder it is common to get foam development in 12-36 hours so you want headspace during primary fermenting days. It calms down when in carboy.
Ok. I have been using a 6.5 glass carboy as my primary. I guess I need to get a bucket.
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