Death by chokolate …mead …

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Cocoa mead

Chocolate mead – the Aztecs knew their shit.

The use of honey to create alcohol or wine, is arguably one of the oldest fermentation technique we know of As honey is available in large parts of the world, most historical cultures with bees in their flora, have at one point or another figured out the use of honey as a fermentation source.
Using chocolate in mead is something I first came across online a few years back. I was reading about the South-American cultures, and came across some notations on how they used cocoa beans fermented with honey, water, and other liquids, to create “intoxicating beverages”. Oh yes – they knew about mead!
Like most of you mead-freaks, I also made one, and it has since lingered in the back of my head.I guess its time I share the recipe. Now- for those in the Imperial area of the world – break out yer calculators. Here be metrics

Ingredients

Primaries

  • 8,2 kg Good quality honey (Oak or other darker ones works really well)
  • 12-liter water
  • 2 packets of high-quality yeast. (I like D47 myself)
  • Yeast Nutrient
    I’m sure you can do TOSNA2.0 on this but I haven’t tried it, so ill be following a more traditional path…

Secondaries

cocoa beans for chocolate mead

  • 54 gram  cocoa nibs
  • 85 gram Dutch process cocoa, (a.k.a the chocolate)
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • Bentonite

The Chocolate concoction (.. I have watched too much Big Bang Theory…)

Honey for brewing chocolate meadFirstly, blend honey and water. I always try to have honey blended at under 30 degrees Celcius, as I want to make sure I don’t ruin any of the subtle flavors.
I mentioned High Quality honey – for this brew, I used imported oak honey from Slovakia, which I was gifted from a friend. Try finding something nice and dark if you can, if not- go with what you have.
Aim your Original Gravity just on the upper side of 1.130-1.140.
Cook a cup of water along with your yeast nutrients, or however the nutrient instructions tell you to do it. DO NOT do it any other way. Mix this in with the honey and water must.
Rehydrate your yeast, and pitch as described with the yeast.
A quick note on rehydrating dry yeast – Even though a dry yeast is said to be direct pitch – always rehydrate. You save so much potential trouble.

Honey to fermenting

Allow fermenting for a week or 2 until  SG has dropped to between 1.025 and 1.035 depending on your need for sweetness. Then rack to secondary.
Already now, the scent of sweet mead should make your mouth salivate.

 

Now you add the bentonite ( read instructions as to how much and how to add it)
Add the cacao nibs, cocoa and vanilla. I then usually put this immediately into Cold crash. I want the fermentation to stop. but the alcohol to extract the flavors. The whole thing sits for 3-7  days, depending on the strength of flavor you’re after.
 Finally, when you are ok with the flavor, rack to tertiary ( glass carboy)

Goodness comes with age

Chocolate mead can now age for a good half year easily before bottling. You will find this brew to mellow out and get some really nice character the more you allow it to age. Further aging in bottle is also advised, but from own experience – that could be difficult.
Did any of this not make sense? Then read about the basics of mead in my 2 first articles.
Credits for feature image to Chop&Brew
Høvdingen
Høvdingen
Høvdingen - Norwegian for Chieftain, is the nickname of the main author on Viking-mjod.no This is a guy who despite having a full job at a normal company, dedicate all his free time to the pursuit of Viking knowledge, especially the use of natural ingredients in food and drinks. This is not to say that this guy is an expert on the subject - just very very interested ... Mead is one of the main interests, but the poor guy, this Chieftain - he has for some odd reason more an interest in the flavors, and less in the effect the alcohol has. Therefore- most of the mead he makes throughout the year - and that could be quite a lot - ends up with his VERY happy friends... ( and no .. there's no waiting list to be new mead-tasters ....)