Mead Lover's Digest #0860 Sat 21 July 2001


Forum for Discussion of Mead Making and Consuming
Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor



Re: chocolate mead (Steven Sanders)
Subject: Chocolate Mead answers & questions (
government ("Micah Millspaw")
RE: Chocolate Mead answers & questions (Joe Kaufman)
Re: Using demi-johns (Phil)
tupelo honey, chocolate mead, CaCO3 (Chuck)
Moving Blues (Tess Snider)
Re: Weird Thought (
Re: Chocolate Mead (Terry Estrin)
Re: mead rookie and exploding bottles (Joe Nelson)


NOTE: Digest appears when there is enough material to send one.
Send ONLY articles for the digest to
Use for [un]subscribe/admin requests.
Digest archives and FAQ are available at There is
a searchable MLD archive at

Subject: Re: chocolate mead
From: Steven Sanders <>
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 05:18:47 -0700 (PDT)

> ALSO!, what results have other people had from
> making chocolate
> mead? I'm very curious as to whether I screwed up
> (the mead is HORRIBLE!)
> or whether chocolate meads are just horrible while
> young.

I had a bug to make chocolate mead a little while
back, and I went about researching different recipes,
and from what I found, every recipe involving cocoa
had to age for at least a year before it was
drinkable. Im a very impatient brewer, and that
offended my sensibilites. So I figured Id try and make
a stout-like braggot with chocolate extract, figuring
that the mead is making chocolate extract anyway, so
why not save myself some grief and skip ahead to that
step? Anyway, the recipe I used was

3.3 lbs dark malt,
6lbs dark missouri autumn wildflower honey
2pkgs of nottingham ale yeast.

after primary ferment, I added 3 bottles of an organic
chocolate extract I found on the net. (I can give
details if you need it) Its not really enough, as I
get barely any chocolate nose off of it. There is a
aftertaste of dark chocolate to it, though. So I will
probably add more soon as I can… Oddly, it tastes a
lot like a red wine. Its about a month old right now.


My moon based death ray
panics the people of earth.
Mock my theories now!

Subject: Subject: Chocolate Mead answers & questions
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 13:34:35 +0100

> ALSO!, what results have other people had from making chocolate
> mead? I'm very curious as to whether I screwed up (the mead is HORRIBLE!)
> or whether chocolate meads are just horrible while young.

Not mead, but I did try to make a chocolate wine once (to be used as a base
for a chocolate liqueur), from 1320 g white sugar, 100 g cocoa powder, 2.8
litre boiling water, 1 litre UHT white grape juice, 1 tsp Gervin Minavit
yeast nutrient, and 1 pkg Gervin No.3 wine yeast.

Instead of a normal head, it developed an oily skin and large bubbles during
fermentation — it looked and smelled like an industrial accident. After a
month it got worse instead of better so I threw it away. Except for the cocoa
powder, I have successfully used all the other ingredients in other wines
and meads.

My theory is that fermentation does something very nasty to the cocoa
powder, so if I ever tried this again, I would add it after fermentation is

On the other hand, I made some good beers several years ago with baking
chocolate — around 200 g for 22 litres, I think.

  • — Adam

Subject: government
From: "Micah Millspaw" <>
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 08:09:58 -0500

nutwood> Do you really think that government
nutwood> heavies are going to sledge hammer through your meadery
nutwood> door because you dared to freeze some mead.=20

>Well… Probably not. But…

Some years back, while living in California, one of my neighbors
having seen me washing out several caboys in my yard, called the
authorities. I got a visit from the FBI out of it. After explaining that
I wasn't making crystal meth or something, but was making beer.
They informed me that home brewing was illegal. I declared that
it was not. It required several phone calls on their (FBI) part to
verify that everything was legal. It was fortunate that they were not
the shoot first ask later guys.

Micah Millspaw – brewer at large

Subject: RE: Chocolate Mead answers & questions
From: Joe Kaufman <>
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 07:55:45 -0700 (PDT)


I have made a chocolate mead that was absolutely turpentine at first, but
a while later it got GOOD.

Here was my recipe (for five gallons)…

10 lbs normal grocery store honey (basic clover honey)
4 lbs Hershey's Chocolate Syrup
4 – 2 liter bottles of Dr. Pepper
1 tsp Irish Moss (don't know why…shouldn't really need this since I didn't
1 tsp yeast nutrient
2 packets Red Star champagne yeast (just pitched once must cooled, no starter)

Pasteurized the must (something like 180 degrees F for about an hour), cooled,
placed in carboy, topped off to 5 gallons, and pitched yeast. Starting
potential alcohol was 13.5%

I made it on 8/31/1997, and bottled on 9/23/1997, so it was a quick ferment
for me as well.
Finishing potential alc was 1.5%, so final alc is something like 12%.

At first it was a brew only a mother (me, in this case) could love. It was
astringent, smelled strong, and burned going down. I would say it wasn't
until late 1999 that it got really drinkable, and by 2000 it was damn fine.
I wish I had saved more now, and am about to make another batch (with
slightly more honey and without pasteurizing)! So yeah, we are talking about
a 1.5 to 2-year wait here, but try to save it if you can!

One difference in our recipes was that you used powdered cocoa and I used
syrup. I know the syrup introduced a lot of non-honey sugars into the mix,
but it seemed to work out OK. Also, I used Dr. Pepper as my main filler
liquid, which added some flavors to be sure.

I also made a Chocolate Covered Cherry that I bottled way too soon and it
is very cloudy, but I am hoping it turns out OK in a while too!

Good luck! I highly recommend letting your chocolate age, and perhaps even
making more so that in a couple years you can enjoy!


Subject: Re:  Using demi-johns
From: Phil <>
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 11:22:51 -0700 (PDT)

I have been advised by my supplier that, once filled,
a demi-john should never be moved. Its glass is so
thin that the slightest bump or jolt will cause it to
break, creating a honey-scented tidal wave in my
apartment. If anyone was to pick up an empty
demi-john (without the rubber bucket it comes with),
you'll see that it doesn't weigh that much more than a
6.5 gallon carboy; the glass is that thin. My
supplier advised me that screaming at a full demi-john
could be enough to break it. I believe her because I
once unclog a toilet by screaming at it (but that's a
story for another day).

With this in mind, I'll be placing my demi-john on top
of a six foot tall bookshelf and fill it from there to
the thirteen gallon mark. When I rack to secondary,
the second demi-john will be about four feet off the
floor. After racking, I'll top the bottle off with
another gallon of must.

Tertiary will be two feet off the floor and the
quadrierty (?) will be on the floor itself.
Hopefully, it will be clear enough at this point where
I can keg 5 gallons of it for longterm bulk aging.
The remainder will be bottled.

I do appreciate everyone responding to this thread and
will keep you informed of how everything is going.


visit the New York City Homebrewers Guild website:

Subject: tupelo honey, chocolate mead, CaCO3
From: Chuck <>
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 14:02:21 -0500 (CDT)

In MLD # 859 Phil <> wrote:

> Seems to be the way to go. I purchased a sixty pound
> pail of tupelo for this. I figure I'll use 45 pounds
> of the stuff in a 13.5 gallon batch (with a primary of
> 12 gallons or so).
Just be forewarned Phil, I have found that tupelo honey, as
good as it tastes, seems to have something in it that makes
it ferment V E R Y S L O W L Y. Most of my meads take no
longer than three weeks to ferment out. My tupelo honey
show mead took about a year.

Also "Kemp, Alson" <> wrote about
her chocolate mead:

> I saw the chocolate mead recipe here:
> The recipe that I used was:
> For 1 gallon of must:
> 3# sage honey
> 4oz Hershey's Cocoa powder pasteurized
> in some water
> 4g acid blend
> 4g DAP
> 4g yeast food
> 4g cream of tartar
> 1 packet of Lallemand K1V-1116 made
> into a starter
> 50ppm SO2
> It fermented to dryness in 3 days and smelled
> absolutely HORRIBLE
> (like I would imagine used diapers smell like… yes… that
> is NOT good).
> To be honest, after 1 month the chocolate mead tastes truly
> horrible. Recommendations: leave out the acid blend, use 2oz of cocoa
> powder (perhaps better cocoa than Hershey's?), add cocoa after
> fermentation?, reduce all nutrient amounts?
Gee, I made a three gallon batch and a five gallon batch.
I used only water, chocolate, honey, and yeast, and of
course, the honey wasn't heated in either one. Both
fermented out in 16 days.

What do they taste like? Chocolate, of course.

Maybe you should try one without all the additions and see
what happens. :?>)

Daniel Morrison <> told us of some
excellent mead-based drinks and then asked:

> Another question that I was wondering about: How does the
> amount of CaCO3
> added to keep pH at about 4.0 affect taste? From various
> posts it seems
> that 4-5 Tbsp is not unusual. Seems like a lot. It's like
> using
> Burton-on-Trent brewing water almost. (As I said, I have
> only read up to
> #531 so this question may have been answered after that.
> If so please
> direct me to the appropriate place.)
CaCO3 can definitely add some bitterness to your meads if you
use too much. Not only that but it'll also reduce your acidity
to the point where your mead tastes, well, tasteless. I have
gone from being a proponent of it's use to now recommending
against it's use. Using my present no heat/no chemicals methods
I haven't found any situation where I need to use it.


Subject: Moving Blues
From: Tess Snider <malkin@Radix.Net>
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 17:54:57 -0400 (EDT)

Have any of you had to move in the middle of fermenting a batch before? I
am suddenly in a situation where I have to move, unexpectedly, and I have
two batches of mead (three weeks and four weeks old, respectively)
cheerfully fermenting away in 5-gallon beer fermenters in the corner of my
kitchen. Neither of them appear as though they'll be ready to bottle by
September 1st (when I need to be out), so I've somehow got to get them
from one house to the next, without hurting them. I know that I want to
avoid sloshing them too much or baking them in my car. Are there any
other issues I need to be aware of or precautions I should take?

Tess Snider

Subject: Re: Weird Thought
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2001 15:03:40 +1000

> Also here is a strange thought I had: Yeast + sugars = alcohol + CO2,
> right? CO2 is a well-known greenhouse gas. Well how much are we brewers
> (homebrewers & Commercial brewers & Vintners) responsible for global
> warming?

What a fascinating thought! However if you look at the big picture
virtually all traditional alcoholic drinks ( are there any that aren't??)
are produced from some sort of plant which actually means that
brewers etc are really reducing global warming. As mead makers
we probably do more good than anyone as we encourage bees who
do a huge amount of pollination to produce sufficient honey for that
glass of mead!!
Perfect; another excuse to have another glass. I'm a public
Cheers Steve

Subject: Re: Chocolate Mead
From: Terry Estrin <>
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2001 01:47:41 +0000

Here's my two bits about the "horrible" tasting chocolate mead:

I have never made a chocolate mead, but my guess is that cocoa is the

wrong source for chocolate flavor. It works for hot chocolate because the
milk (and the fats in the milk) balance out the cocoa's slightly acrid
taste. Try making hot chocolate with water and see what I mean. On the other
hand, if you use something called chocolate liquor it might just work.
Chocolate liquor is not a drink, it comes in tiny bottles with a dropper,
and is actually one of the flavoring components in many brands of chocolate.
It smells terrific and imparts a lovely chocolate taste.



Subject: sesame oil
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2001 18:35:37 -0700

I have come across several commercial meads that have a sesame seed oil
aroma and flavor. Its most unpleasant. Does anyone have any ideas what would
cause this.

David Brattstrom, Plymouth, CA

Subject: Re: mead rookie and exploding bottles
From: Joe Nelson <>
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 22:25:48 -0700 (PDT)

Hopefully I get a reply or two about this within a
week or so…

I'm hoping to start the same recipe that Cliff
mentioned in a few days (well hopefully tomorrow if I
can find a suitable pot) and I too had a few
questions. Item one: Has anyone made this mead and
done it precisely as the recipe says only to have it
turn into exploding bottles??? Also, Item two: If
your bottles did explode about how long had they been
sitting??? And last but not least, Item three (I have
one of the same worries that Cliff had) is that 1/4
cup of vodka really enough to kill off the

Hopefully awaiting any insight,
Joe Nelson

End of Mead Lover's Digest #860