Chocolate Raspberry Mead (First Mead Attempt)

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

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


Well-Known Member
Sep 16, 2015
Reaction score
Hello All

So after years of wanting to try it, I finally did it.

This is my first attempt at making mead.
1.25 gallons water
2 lbs Clover Honey
1 lb Wildflower Honey
3.3 lbs Raspberry puree
4 oz. Cocoa Nibs
1 tsp Yeast Nutrient
Wyeast 4184

O.G. 1.078

I'm thinking about a month in the fermenter and this will be ready to bottle and condition for an additional 2 weeks. I'd really like to have this ready for Christmas!
This came out to be very dry and with zero chocolate flavors. It's more like an extra dry wine than I thought a mead would/should be. It wasn't a total failure because I do like it. I've got a few ideas about what to change to bring up the sweetness in the next batch.
You can bring out the sweetness in this batch by adding sugar (or honey).. You need to stabilize the mead by adding K-meta and K-sorbate to prevent additional fermentation (if you still have a large colony of yeast then this will not work - so you may want to really chill the mead to force the yeast to flocculate and drop out of suspension and then rack the mead off the sediment that forms...) Then you add say, 4 oz of sweetener for every gallon of mead to raise the gravity by about 10 points . My suggestion is always to bench test as you may find that 6 oz of sugar helps better - or 5 oz or 2 oz or 10 oz..
To get more chocolate flavor you probably need to use about 4 oz of nibs per gallon, perhaps 8 oz. Think about it: if you were making hot chocolate how much cocoa would you use per cup? In one gallon there is - what? 16 cups? And you are using nibs and cold infusing them? So not really surprising that there is no real chocolate flavor...

As for dryness... That yeast should have had no problem fermenting brut dry anything with a gravity of about 1.080 (about 10% ABV) . There is nothing inherently "sweet" about mead except the residual sugars it contains and you fermented those out and so what is left is the flavor of the honey, the flavor of the raspberries and ... the hint of flavor of the cocoa - not sweetness. But as I say, you can add back sweetness to whatever level you prefer..
I also wonder about adding something that might give it a little bit of a "buttery" flavor. Chocolate isn't just cocoa, but also a lot of fats. Since you can't add "fat" to your brew, I'd investigate buttery flavors,(or more important, creamy mouthfeel) and see what can give it. Don't go overboard. A little can go a long way.
Haven't tried it, but I think the commercial mead companies make a base mead and then add the desired flavors after fermentation has ended. The process of carbon dioxide leaving the fermentor takes many of the flavors along with it. You could add the cocoa nibs like you would dry hop a beer and then add a commercial raspberry flavor.
It may take some trial and error to figure how long to leave the nibs in there to get the desired flavor. If you add raspberry puree the yeast will kick off again (and there goes your flavor) unless you intervene with chemicals.
Commercial mead makers probably use a sanitary filter to get rid of any residual yeast before adding fruit.
WVMJ - It was a commercial red raspberry puree that I used by Oregon Fruit Products.

As to the coco nibs, I actually used 4 ounces in primary and then another 4 ounces pitched into secondary for a couple weeks.

Overall I'm not disappointed with the finished product. Although as long as this mead has been going (less than 2 months) I'm not really sure it's actually finished. I tried really chilling it down to get the haze to clear so I'm pretty sure the cloudiness is a pectin haze.

This fermented out to an FG of 0.99 and 11.84% ABV

For madscientist451 and bernardsmith - Thank you both for the information. You really helped enlighten me on the "haze" issue and getting my future batches of mead to come out the way I want them.
Chocolate is very hard. I tried a couple but didn't have much success.

For a creamy mouth feel that adds a little sweetness (no much) use lactose. It is a non-fermentable sugar but it is about 1/4 as sweet as honey. One pound for 5 gal is what concentration that some of the beer guys use for a cream ale. I would use 1 1/2 pounds and maybe add a pound of Maltodextrin. Both of those will produce a more creamy flavor and a little sweeter but don't expect the sweetness to climb very high, you might still wish to stabilized and backsweeten it with a couple of pounds of honey. This is of course with a 5 gallon batch. Lesser quantities use proportionally less sweetener.

Then I would bottle it again and let it age and sink in for another 6 months. To properly integrate the flavors.

good luck
Yeah i feel the honey was a bit low which is the super dryness. The lower end for a dry wine is about 1.085 SG at start and yours was well below that.

How about making a normal rasberry flavored mead. Then instead of trying to impart chocolate flavor try drizzling a glass with chocolate syrup and pour the mead over it which will give it some festive looks and always garuntee a chocolate flavor with the mead. Plus you might save money over using a really high cocoa % chocolate powder to even get a mediocre flavor imparted.
Dungmonster - I had considered the amount of honey I used. I agree with you that it might have been low, but like I said, this was my first attempt. It was made for my girlfriend who is an absolute chocoholic and loves raspberries.

I'm planning on doing a peach mead for myself in the future and I definetly intend to up the honey content.
Don't try this lol but I was wondering if cocoa powder would work better than nibs??? Anyone know?
In my experience cinnamon powder gives me a stonger cinnamon flavor then the rolled cinnamon bark looking things so I would say the odds are more probably than not that the flavor would impart better especially since the cocoa powder would mix up in the brew alot better than nibs would. But you can eat the nibs after racking... sooo... a give and take lol