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Old 05-08-2011, 08:43 PM   #1
Mar 2011
Lincoln, Nebraska
Posts: 34

First the recipe:
5 gallon batch
12lbs honey
16oz Unsweetened Hershey Chocolate powder
2 packs of D-47 Yeast
3 Teaspoons of yeast energizer

OG-I forgot to take a brain fart
2/22/11-Transfer to secondary on top of 4lbs of honey.
3/1/11-Used clarifying agent to clear up the ultra cloudy mead
F.G. 0.999

I have a few questions so bare with me

Okay so I've read to let the chocolate mead sit for nearly a year or two in a carboy (secondary). So far I've let it sit in the secondary for 76 days give or take. As many of you know glass carboys aren't cheap and because I live in an apartment with no storage space I can't just go out and buy another carboy. I have 2 plastic buckets, 1 6.5 G glass carboy, and another 6 G carboy that the chocolate mead is in. Can I transfer the mead in bottles now and just age them in there to free up a carboy, or should I just stick it out?

Would this mead taste okay sparkling? Or should I just leave it as a still chocolate mead? Or should I just do half still half sparkling?

Should I add anymore honey? I've given it a few sample tastes. It's bitter as you can imagine. It's currently in between very dry and dry. What do you think? This was my third mead ever so I really am still new at it. I prefer a little sweeter mead, but I don't want to mess with it and change the recipe around when I really have no idea how it's going to turn out.

That's it! Thanks in advance for any help or recommendations!
^Liquid Sex: Giving credit where credit is due

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Old 05-09-2011, 09:11 AM   #2
oldmate's Avatar
Jun 2010
Sydney, Australia
Posts: 908
Liked 24 Times on 22 Posts

I think you should make it however you like the taste. If you like it sweeter, stabilise and add honey, etc.

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Old 05-09-2011, 10:01 AM   #3
Jan 2011
Marysville, OH
Posts: 334
Liked 7 Times on 4 Posts

Medium sweet meads generally use about 3.5 lbs of honey per gallon. With your chocolate mead I would probably shoot for closer to 4 lbs/gal. Personally I would rack onto the additional honey, and add about 12 oz strong tea and add some acid blend. You'll have a much better ferment, and I think closer to what you are shooting for. Good luck, Mack

P.S. Maybe 1 or 2 vanilla beans would enhance the chocolate, and give a smoother potable. Just my 2 cents.

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Old 05-09-2011, 12:38 PM   #4
Apr 2010
Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 79
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

I'll admit, my personal thought on this recipe was "holy smokes, that's not a lot of honey!" It actually interested me partially because of that. A 5 gallon batch with 12 pounds of honey sounds like a good deal to me! Have you actually tried a prepared batch of this in the past?

I like the recommendation of "make it how you like" - but it's really hard to make that decision now, especially if you bottle it. It may be easier to wait until the cocoa mellows out and stops being bitter, and then draw off a small amount of it and backsweeten to the point you want it, and then duplicate it in the rest of the batch. Being aware that mead will sweeten up a bit as it ages (and the honey notes come back).

How did you plan on making it sparkling? Because if you decide to go sweet with it, sparkling is darn near impossible to do properly at home. Way too easy to make bottle bombs. But a sparkling dry mead isn't impossible. I haven't done one, however, so others might have recommendations if you decide to take that path.

What does the clarity look like on this mead at 75 days? That would be yet another reason to continue to bulk age, if the cocoa powder is still suspended.

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Old 05-10-2011, 07:04 AM   #5
Mar 2011
Lincoln, Nebraska
Posts: 34

I do want a sweeter mead, but I'll take Daedolon's advice and give the cocoa to mellow. From what I've read the cocoa is the hardest to mellow out, which is why a year or year and a half bulk aging is recommended. When it comes time I'll decide wether or not I should add some more honey to sweeten it up. Rockape66, I may add some vanilla beans, I have a few left over from a Vanilla Strawberry mead I made so why not?

As far as sparkling or still it's not a huge deal. When the time comes I might try to sparkle a few bottles if it makes sense.

The clarity is actually not all that bad. For the first 40 or so days it was very cloudy. I added some clarifyer to the mead while in the secondary as the recipe recommended. It cleared nicely with that, since then it's been clearing on its own, slowly, but clearing none the less, so as much as I really want to free up a carboy I can probably stick it out a few more months.

Thanks for all the help guys!

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Old 05-10-2011, 03:11 PM   #6
Nov 2008
Posts: 641
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Originally Posted by gsmith12 View Post
Rockape66, I may add some vanilla beans, I have a few left over from a Vanilla Strawberry mead I made so why not?
I would add the vanilla. Here's why, look at a Chocolate Bar wraper: Contains Vanillian. Now check other items with chocolate in it, bet you it contains vanillian. That is basically vanilla. I think that it is essential for making chocolate taste better and more chocolately and smooth. When I do my Chocolate Mead, I plan on adding 2 vanilla beans to my 5 gal batch. It should blend with it. I also would consider oaking it for 2 weeks on some medium toasted oak chips or for a month on medium toasted oak cubes. The cubes take longer to infuse but provide more complexity and is simpler to judge if enough has infuse, from what I hear. Oaking really smooths things out in the short run and in the long run makes for a much tastier mead. Trust me, I have done 2 batches of strait honey mead and oaked one of them, the oaked was done sooner (as far as aging) and had a better overall taste profile.

Hope it goes well.

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Old 05-10-2011, 07:31 PM   #7
Mar 2011
Lincoln, Nebraska
Posts: 34

Matrix4b that sounds good, I'll add the vanilla beans and look at adding some oak chips (which I've been interested in doing to previous meads, just never actually did it), smoothing this mead out is going to be important since the cocoa puts a bitter taste on the mead for the first year of bulk aging. Now that I have some reassurance, I'll go ahead and use the vanilla beans for sure though.

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Old 05-20-2011, 01:51 AM   #8
biochemedic's Avatar
Jun 2010
Carnegie, PA
Posts: 2,176
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Thanks to a PM from Daedolon, I saw this thread (which I had somehow missed the first time through...)

My recipe is the same one as referenced (Lord Rhys'), but I had gotten it from another source (which also has a lot of other cool info).

I do 6 gal batches, so keeping the same ratio (3 lbs honey per gal, and 4 oz chocolate per gal) I used 15 lbs of honey and 20 oz of cocoa (I did use the Hershey's unsweetened baking cocoa. I did use heat (not actual boil) to help dissolve the honey and cocoa, which I found immensely helpful -- cocoa is difficult to get into solution otherwise...

You will need to have a LOT of patience for this really does need some time to come into its own. For me it required a couple of rackings and almost 2 full years to clear all the lees and cocoa that comes out of solution, not to mention a couple of hits of finings to get all the rest of the haze to clear. I think I actually bottled at something like a year and 8 months from date of brewing. Eventually, is is crystal clear (but dark), just as the original recipe suggests.

I did backsweeten, but only to lightly semi-sweet (mine was 1.012 after backsweetening)...I don't particularly like overly sweet meads, so I think the suggested 1.030 would have been terribly cloying, but to each his own. That being said, while I really do like dry meads, I don't think this one would work dry. I used Wyeast Dry Mead yeast, so mine did finish dry...when I tried it that way I found that the cocoa lends an odd bitterness (perhaps an acquired taste, but again, I think this one works best with at least a small amount of residual sweetness).

I think adding vanilla is an interesting idea...I had considered that, as well as cinnamon and perhaps even something hot (? chipotles). I'm not sure about the oak...gsmith12 will have to fill us in on how that works out...
Packaged: Fruitcake Old Ale
Primary: Simple Cyser '15
Secondary: Why do I keep this line here...?
Bulk Aging: Cocobochet, Wild Cider (2014 & 2015)
Planned: So many ideas, not enough time to brew them....

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