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TheGreenOne

The Mead Thread

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Good question. I immediately assumed Martin meant chocolate malted barley but you could be right. I used to make a fairly good stout with a lot of espresso and plenty of chocolate malt. Good chocolate has enough bitterness to make it interesting but the cocoa butter might foul up the works.

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The cocoa butter is an issue. It makes a kind of scum at the top of the must in the first couple of days of fermentation and when you rack it into the secondary, you rack under that scum and just leave it. And I'm actually using a cocoa powder for this one. The next time I do it, I'm going to try freshly ground cocoa nibs for that full blast of chocolatey bitterness.

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Cocoa powder is low in oil content and works for a Cocoa Porter or stout.

 

There is also Star Kay West essence that can be used.

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Dutched cocoa powder or regular? Isn't "dutching" supposed to remove some bitterness? Although it may be insignificant here. Also changes the pH slightly? Now I'll have to consult my references.

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On the topic of bottling accidents, I'm reminded of my first attempt at making wine. I was 18, and did no research, preferring the "intuitive" method so popular among teens. It consisted of mashing up a bunch of blackberries, putting them in a gallon pickle jar topped up with water and sugar (no yeast)... and screwing on the lid. This was put on the top shelf of the kitchen closet, in July.

 

It lasted about two or three days.

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Substitute blackberries and yeast for dry ice and orange juice, age 18 for age 12, and July for November and you've pretty much described my accident. Mine lasted about five seconds. Like I said...more curiosity than common sense.

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I think that the cocoa nibs are going to be your easiest, best best. I think that they will be lovely. That makes me think of xocoxatl chocolate made by Dagoba-it's my absolute favorite chocolate, and it has cocoa nibs, and chilis in it. Delicious. I think that adding the chilis would be an excellent addition to a mead-a nice Aztec mead. Yummy.

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Martin, that's right up there with dodging bullets.

 

In ten+ years of brewing, I've lost about a half dozen bottles. Most of the losses were due to my own impatience and a couple were lost to wild yeast infections.

 

I usually fill a few 2 litre pop bottles with mead to take on rafting and hiking trips. They work fine, are large enough for several drinks and don't have the weight of glass bottles.

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I used Dutch processed cocoa powder for mine. So far, it hasn't interfered with fermentation. I think I may start another small batch of an herbal mead this weekend. I was thinking maybe a melissa/sage mead might be nice. Gotta get the herbal proportions right, though.

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Substitute blackberries and yeast for dry ice and orange juice, age 18 for age 12, and July for November and you've pretty much described my accident.  Mine lasted about five seconds.  Like I said...more curiosity than common sense.

Some years ago - and, I admit, totally defying common sense - I loved doing fun things with dry ice. This photo was taken ten seconds before the cork was screwed on, and the plastic bottle completely disintegrated with a deafening bang.

Didn't try it with orange juice though, maybe that would give even greater an effect than plain water?

post-354-1149107065_thumb.jpg

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Mindshifter: I don't know if the orange juice had an effect on it, but the fact that I used a glass bottle surely did. No, really...it was amazingly stupid of me.

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It's extraordinary any of us survive our childhood. For that matter, the same could be said for our youth, young adulthood and middle-age. Too often, a zest for life leads us to tread in precarious places that seems just silly in retrospect.

 

Martin, if you're interested, PM me once you get that metheglin up to speed. Maybe we can figure out a mead swap. :cheers:

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Gladly. It's going to be a while, though...this particular mead takes about a year to age.

But I've got a dry blueberry melomel aging. It should be drinkable by the fall.

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Substitute blackberries and yeast for dry ice and orange juice, age 18 for age 12, and July for November and you've pretty much described my accident.

I was also about 12. The ingredients were different, but that was because my experiment was about making hydrogen.

 

It also didn't explode because of pressure in the container, but because I wanted to try its reaction with open fire.

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Lalvin 71B-1122 is a really nice yeast for mead.

 

Have you tried the Lalvin EC-1118? I noticed it was advertising an 18% alcohol claim. I just started my slurry with it so I hope it's up to snuff.

 

Gladly.  It's going to be a while, though...this particular mead takes about a year to age.

But I've got a dry blueberry melomel aging.  It should be drinkable by the fall.

 

Martin, I'd invite Le Gimp to join us in a mead swap but I know he'd kick my butt. Actually, I'm sure there's several here that could. ;)

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It's true, Le Gimp would soundly kick both of our butts in a mead swap (or any alcohol swap, I suspect), but what a pleasant ass kicking it would be.

 

Careful with the EC-1118. It ferments out plenty high, but in my experience, it takes forever to clear and can leave a funky aftertaste in the wine. If you do use it, try feeding it in stages. My best results with it have come when I add extra sugars in the secondary.

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Thanks for the heads-up and yeast suggestions. I'll keep those in mind. You mentioned wine but have you tried the EC-1118 in mead?

 

I know there are a few mead makers here. I wonder if we could figure out a friendly mead competition? I'd happily watch the crown go to you or Gimp as long as I had the opportunity to sample your wares!

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I am making my first batch of mead, 10 days in the primary and everything looks good. During my research of mead making I noticed there seem to be two thoughts on transferring to secondary. One says after 7 - 10 days transfer, the other thought is 2 - 3 weeks before transfer. Any opinions on this? I would be more than happy to send out some samples in exchange for a little feedback from you more experienced mead makers.

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I would be soundly pummelled, I'm sure. But I agree...the chance to sample other folks' meads would be well worth it.

 

EC-1118 acted the same way in my blueberry melomel as it has in wines I've made. And at the moment I've got an orange spice mead that hasn't cleared a lick in several months.

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Hmmm, hazy, eh? I'm a bit leery of pitching it into my pyment, now. Perhaps I'll stick with my dependable Premier Cuvee' for this batch and save the EC-1118 for a lemonade cyser I've been thinking about. Martin, you may have saved a wedding mead! :cheers:

 

 

I am making my first batch of mead, 10 days in the primary and everything looks good. During my research of mead making I noticed there seem to be two thoughts on transferring to secondary. One says after 7 - 10 days transfer, the other thought is 2 - 3 weeks before transfer. Any opinions on this? I would be more than happy to send out some samples in exchange for a little feedback from you more experienced mead makers.

 

I transfer to my secondary based on whim. Sometimes, I count the bubbles in my airlock and anytime I get beyond 60 seconds between bubbles, I'll do my transfer. Sometimes, I'll just wait until it appears the adjuncts are settling nicely. One of my many problems, I'm an ok artist but damn lousy scientist! What are you making?

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I am making a chokecherry mead. It is actually my own recipe derived from various others. The honey was from a blend I made last fall, clover honey mixed with chokecherries. Very yummy. My start S.G. was around 1.095, shooting for a finish S.G. around 1.018.

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Hmmm, hazy, eh?  I'm a bit leery of pitching it into my pyment, now.  Perhaps I'll stick with my dependable Premier Cuvee' for this batch and save the EC-1118 for a lemonade cyser I've been thinking about.  Martin, you may have saved a wedding mead!  :cheers: 

 

Glad to be of help. I've actually been wanting to try a cyser. Got any good recipes?

 

 

I am making my first batch of mead, 10 days in the primary and everything looks good. During my research of mead making I noticed there seem to be two thoughts on transferring to secondary. One says after 7 - 10 days transfer, the other thought is 2 - 3 weeks before transfer. Any opinions on this? I would be more than happy to send out some samples in exchange for a little feedback from you more experienced mead makers. 

 

 

I'm of the same opinion as Theatre73. I tend to play it by ear when it comes to transferring into the secondary. Although I will say I've had more noticeable results when I've waited a bit longer for the transfer. Not necessarily better results, mind you, just more noticeable.

 

Did you blend your clover honey with actual chokecherries or with chokecherry honey?

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For both ale and mead, I started with Cats Meow 3 and I find I keep going back for new ideas. Take a basic recipe and tweak it any direction you like.

 

I was also about 12. The ingredients were different, but that was because my experiment was about making hydrogen.  It also didn't explode because of pressure in the container, but because I wanted to try its reaction with open fire.

 

Gertz, it's a wonder you're still alive. :cheers:

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"Did you blend your clover honey with actual chokecherries or with chokecherry honey?" - Martin

 

It's a blend of honey and chokecherries Martin. I just run the cherries thru a food processor and mix it in with warm honey. I don't recall the cherry/honey ratio off the top of my head but it seems that I blended up about 5 pounds of honey this way. I first tried chokecherry honey on a trip to Colorado and liked it enough to make my own.

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