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Medsen Fey
06-22-2009, 11:51 AM
That may have to be the name for my newest batch!

I want to come forward and confess that I have had a Mead Eruption Accident. Yes my brothers and sisters in M.E.A.D.S. (Mead Eruption Accident Decrement Society) I stand before you humbled again by this admission. No matter how long it has been since your last MEA, you can never let your guard down. NewBees take note!

I have been thinking about a chocolate orange mead, perhaps patterned off JAO for sometime now, and when I saw Displaced Hick's Mud batch (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14454) I got inspired to get going. Seeing how it was summer solstice and Father's Day, I figured that had to be a good time to start, so I mixed everything up in a gallon jug (I'll post recipe details at some point, and I even used antifoam drops) and pitched the bread yeast.

A few hours later one of my children hollered, "Dad, what happened!" :eek:
I walked into the laundry room to find a mixture of orange/honey/chocolate sprayed all over the room, the appliances, and the clothes. The chocolate had risen into the airlock and had hardened (it was difficult to get out) creating a plug that lead to blowing the stopper out and spewing rich delicious chocolate mead must everywhere.

With my daughter's assistance I was able to clean it all (though she kept wanting to lick the chocolate off the wall - hey, at age 9, an explosion in a chocolate factory sounds like fun). It did create a unique bonding moment for a father's day. :)

All I can say is that apparently, yeast like chocolate too!

MEAdsen

wildoates
06-22-2009, 12:16 PM
Oh, my...I hope that never happens to me. I don't have any 9 year old daughters to help me clean it up--and I don't think the cats would be much help.

:eek:

skunkboy
06-22-2009, 01:15 PM
No Oompa Loompas singing songs as you fight to cleanup the eruption?

Displaced Hick
06-22-2009, 02:34 PM
This one sounds more like one of the boiling mud pits in Yellowstone.

akueck
06-22-2009, 02:38 PM
<midgets dancing>

Oompa Loompa doompa-dee doo,
I've got another lesson for you.
If you feed yeast choc-o-late too,
Cleaning walls will make you blue!

</midgets>

;D

Displaced Hick
06-23-2009, 06:12 PM
Thanks Akueck, now I have visions of midgets in orange makeup dancing around in Florida with chocolate coated mops.

Medsen, I was wondering if this experiment was salvageable or if you are going to have to start over from square one? After my first try I figured the next version of Mud is going to be done in a bucket fermenter. I also realized that even though there isn't any fruit it, this one would probably benefit from punching down the cap, although in this situation I think "Mud Pack" is a better definition of what is going on.

I was also thinking of trying this with a modified version of hot fudge. I am not sure what the fermentation process would do if I used a hot fudge that used cream, so I was thinking of one with no dairy products used in it (It would also be homemade so I know there are no preservatives in there that might slow down fermentation).

Medsen Fey
06-23-2009, 06:57 PM
Oompa Loompa doompa-dee dee,
If you are wise you'll listen to me
There's yeast and orange and chocolate too
but use a bucket, or you'll see it spew.

The good news is that although the mess was large, the actual amount of must lost was relatively small. I cleaned out the airlock and replaced it and it is chugging away nicely. I am swirling to punch down the mud-pack cap.

My recipe was as follows:

3.5 lbs clover honey - cheap costco stuff, but tasty.
1 orange cut into eighths
1 small handful of raisins
3 oz baker's chocolate (3 unsweetened squares)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract.
1 packet Fleischmann's yeast.
8 drops antifoam
Spring water to 1 gallon

I took the baker's chocolate and microwaved it with enough water to liquefy it fairly well and poured that in with the honey and added added all of the other ingredients except the antifoam. I then shook it to get things dissolved (pretty much). I then put the antifoam on top and put the airlock on.

The rest you know...

I now have the jug sitting in a large bucket with a lid. If she blows, the mess will be contained. I think the vanilla really helps bring the chocolate flavor out, and I do like the taste of the must. We'll see how the mead tastes.

Displaced Hick
07-27-2009, 05:35 PM
So how are the Oompa Loompas doing in the bucket?

Medsen Fey
07-27-2009, 06:38 PM
It finished fermenting without further excitement. I took it out of the bucket and it is sitting quietly in a dark cupboard. It is slowly clearing but there is some chocolate material that keeps floating on top of the oranges. For now, I'm inclined to just let it clear and I'll rack it later. I haven't tasted it again.

Bryon
07-27-2009, 11:26 PM
Oh I gotta try this one. I've been wanting to do a Chocolate meat for a long time but for one reason or another I just haven't got too it yet.

One thing I have noticed with the JOAs I've done is that if the Temp gets up to 80 or more it foams like mad but anything below 78 and it's manageable. I've not added Chocolate thought or anything else to give the yeast a feeding frenzy.

Kee
07-28-2009, 01:14 AM
... I don't think the cats would be much help.

You would be surprised. I cannot keep primary buckets on the floor. The combination of honey/yeast attracts my dogs, especially from about days 2-4. They won't leave the airlocks alone! I've had one erruption so far. It was in a one gallon. I only knew because the airlock was missing and there was some must on the ceiling, which I only noticed because I was actually looking for it. It blended in a little too nicely. The dogs had already licked the floor clean! They were very happy that day for a few reasons.

Kee
07-28-2009, 01:19 AM
Medsen Fey, how did you like using the baker's chocolate? Does it have any of the usual issues (hard to clear,...)?

Medsen Fey
07-28-2009, 09:03 AM
I don't know if it will be any easier to clear; I don't really expect it to be. Using the baker's chocolate was okay. It was a little messy trying to warm and melt it to pour it in, but not a big deal.

Meriadoc
07-29-2009, 12:36 PM
My recipe was as follows:

3.5 lbs clover honey - cheap costco stuff, but tasty.
1 orange cut into eighths
1 small handful of raisins
3 oz baker's chocolate (3 unsweetened squares)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract.
1 packet Fleischmann's yeast.
8 drops antifoam
Spring water to 1 gallon


This is a JAO-based recipe, right? You've used less raisins than in the original, am I correct? I'm thinking that the chocolate will be nice, but given that JAO is relatively sweet, the addition of sugars from the chocolate will make this a really, really sweet mead! Especially considering that the Fleischmann's isn't a high-alcohol yeast, you know?

Over and above that, I'm thinking that the fact that Fleischmann's doesn't floc well, is gonna mean that this one will be a bear to clear!

Sounds interesting, though: it'll be cool to see how it goes!

(My guess, if I were doing this one: dump the oranges (unless you're particularly looking for an orange/chocolate taste), since they're meant to balance the sweetness; pitch a wine yeast (since it'll take care of the excess sweetness); consider substituting out the raisins for other nutrient (sure, you'll lose tannins, but is that what you're looking for here?). Yes, this takes you pretty far afield from the JAO, and yes, you're looking at a 1-2 year aging to get the fusels out, but it should be interesting! Oh -- and my mantra has always been "ferment to dry, backsweeten to taste", and a chocolate mead has the opportunity to backsweeten with a honey/chocolate mixture! Yum!)

Merry

Medsen Fey
07-29-2009, 01:13 PM
This is a JAO-based recipe, right? You've used less raisins than in the original, am I correct? I'm thinking that the chocolate will be nice, but given that JAO is relatively sweet, the addition of sugars from the chocolate will make this a really, really sweet mead! Especially considering that the Fleischmann's isn't a high-alcohol yeast, you know?

Yes, it is based on JAO. I looked through lots of potential recipes using everything from syrup to cocoa nibs, but I wanted to see if I can produce a simple chocolate orange recipe that anyone could make with ingredients easily found at the supermarket.

The raisin amount is the same as JAO. I just decided to leave out the clove and cinnamon, and used the chocolate and vanilla extract instead.

The chocolate is unsweetened baker's chocolate - no sugar. I figure the bitterness from the chocolate may help balance the sweetness a bit, if I have enough chocolate in there. It is planned to be a sweet mead - I don't know if a dry chocolate orange would be any good (I'm not sure if a sweet one will be either for that matter) :D

The gravity should end up in the 1.020 range like a JAO with around 13% ABV



Over and above that, I'm thinking that the fact that Fleischmann's doesn't floc well, is gonna mean that this one will be a bear to clear!

I hope it will clear in a reasonable time, like JAO. If not, I'll do some fining, but I'm hoping to have a really simple recipe that a beginner can follow. The chocolate will probably have more to do with slow clearing than the yeast.




(My guess, if I were doing this one: dump the oranges (unless you're particularly looking for an orange/chocolate taste), since they're meant to balance the sweetness; pitch a wine yeast (since it'll take care of the excess sweetness); consider substituting out the raisins for other nutrient (sure, you'll lose tannins, but is that what you're looking for here?). Yes, this takes you pretty far afield from the JAO, and yes, you're looking at a 1-2 year aging to get the fusels out, but it should be interesting! Oh -- and my mantra has always been "ferment to dry, backsweeten to taste", and a chocolate mead has the opportunity to backsweeten with a honey/chocolate mixture! Yum!)


All good and reasonable suggestions if the goal were to make a dry chocolate mead. I'd also probably use cocoa nibs to enhance the clearing rather than powder or baker's chocolate, and I'd consider some long aging with heavy toast oak to enhance some of that character. That might be a fun batch to try.

Medsen

Gardenfish
07-29-2009, 01:59 PM
Very interesting Medson. I have 1# of cocoa nibs due today or tomorrow. I could make the exact same recipe with the nibs and we can compare clearing times. I can ferment at the exact temp as yours also. What amount of nibs do you think it would take to be comparable?

Gardenfish

Displaced Hick
07-29-2009, 02:00 PM
The Mud I made cleared up very nicely. I treated it like other batches of JAO, racked and bottled it before the oranges had settled to the bottom. I just had to keep the racking cane between the layer of yeast/chocolate at the bottom and the layer of orange/raisin/chocolate at the top.

Medsen Fey
07-29-2009, 02:36 PM
What amount of nibs do you think it would take to be comparable?


I think that since powder is basically the treated nibs pulverized that the amounts of weight would be about the same. The nibs however will have less surface area and the extraction will probably take a lot longer unless you use a higher amount.

I'm not quite sure how much more. Perhaps someone more familiar with the nibs can address it.

The fermentation temp was about 75F by the way.

Medsen

Medsen Fey
08-17-2009, 02:37 PM
Day 49
gravity 1.022

This batch has long since finished and is in the clearing stage. The fruit, along with a good deal of chocolate material is still floating on top, with a very thick layer of lees on the bottom. I decided to go ahead and rack it today.

It is still cloudy but slowly clearing. The aroma is decidedly orange, with some chocolate in the background, but I probably could not tell you it was chocolate without knowing it already. The flavor is sweet on the attack with orange and the mid palate has hot alcohol and some bitterness (to be expected) with the chocolate very much subdued.

My first impression is that there isn't enough chocolate in there. Perhaps the chocolate flavor will strengthen with time and with the clearing, and if not, I may add a bit more. The lees were very chocolaty, and the flavor of the chocolate might have increased with sitting on those chocolate lees for more time.

I'll reassess this once it clears.

Sasper
10-14-2009, 11:40 PM
Have you tasted this one recently? I'm very much interested in it!

Gardenmead
10-16-2009, 06:26 PM
I am also interested to know about any progress on this batch. I think it is very commendable of you to make a batch like this in a way that would be easy for newbies to recreate!

As far as chocolate flavor goes, I recently made a batch of beer with cacao powder and was surprised by how much the flavor hid in the background. It really does not stand out so much in alcoholic beverages as you might think.

In the future I would like to try a chocolate mead, perhaps based on your recipe!

Medsen Fey
10-17-2009, 11:03 AM
Day 118
gravity 1.013

I had racked this at the time of my last posting and I topped up with water (which is probably why the gravity is a bit low). Since that time it has cleared quite a bit forming a layer of fine lees on the bottom, and a layer of chocolate particles on the top. You can read through the mead in the middle, though I think there is more clearing that will occur.

It is a dark golden color in the glass and clear. On the nose there is some honey and orange along with alcohol, though the honey is muted. The aroma of the chocolate is there, but it doesn't come out distinctly as chocolate. It is lightly sweet on the attack with an orange flavor and some bitterness (not unpleasant) in the mid-palate and finish. There is a chocolate flavor that is indistinct but present and which adds to that bitterness in addition to the usual orange "pithiness."

It is drinkable now, but I think it may get better and smoother with more age. Given the extra bitterness that chocolate adds, I think it might do well with a little more sweetness, and starting with 3.75 pounds of honey might turn out a little better so that it would be a bit sweeter after being topped up with water. Alternatively, not topping up with water might leave it sweet enough.

I'd like to taste it done with twice as much chocolate to see if that brings the chocolate out more clearly. As for the baker's chocolate, I don't think it adds any advantage. When melted and mixed in it forms clumps and particles that still take a long time to clear, and which float. I think cocoa powder works about the same.

I'll taste it again in a few months.

Displaced Hick
10-17-2009, 03:34 PM
Now that you have posted your results so far I am going to make up a Mud v1.2. Based on the previous batch and what you have found out with yours there are a couple changes I am going to be making. I will be switching out the cinnamon and clove in the JAO recipe with vanilla extract as you have done.

The other change is going to be with the chocolate. I am still debating whether to up the amount I used, or switching to either homemade syrup (all the commercial brands I have seen are loaded with sorbates) or a homemade hot fudge sauce that doesn't involve milk.

Medsen Fey
10-23-2009, 01:37 PM
You know, a little cinnamon works wonders in hot chocolate (I use it all the time), and that might not be a bad thing to include now that you make me think about it.

Because this is kind of just an experiment, I decided that rather than do the prudent, tried and true, GotMead certified thing (i.e. wait and let it age) instead, I would mess with it. :)

I added another 1/4 pound of honey to sweeten it up.
I also added 5 ounces of bakers chocolate.

The chocolate comes in cubes that break in half making them easy to push through the opening of the jug. I didn't melt them - figured that would just leave a lot of chocolate floating around needing to clear. I just pushed them in and let them sink to the bottom. They work like glass beads raising the level of the mead up so that topping up wasn't needed. I'm hoping they may function somewhat like cocoa nibs and just sit there slowly releasing some chocolate flavor over the next few months.

I'll report back if it becomes more "chocolaty". If it becomes too chocolaty, well.... you really can't get too chocolaty for me. ;D

Angelic Alchemist
10-23-2009, 01:55 PM
You know, a little cinnamon works wonders in hot chocolate (I use it all the time), and that might not be a bad thing to include now that you make me think about it.

My absolute favorite chocolate bar in the whole world is made with cinnamon (the real stuff, not cassia) and cayanne pepper!

Gardenmead
10-23-2009, 06:25 PM
Because this is kind of just an experiment, I decided that rather than do the prudent, tried and true, GotMead certified thing (i.e. wait and let it age) instead, I would mess with it.


Hahahaha! I know the feeling. Sometimes, spontaneouly wanting to fling open the kitchen cupboards and sprinkle in random stuff!

I can't wait till I have an open carboy.

As far as sub-threshold chocolate flavors, it is kind of nice to have subtle flavor hints that are not so in-your-face and obvious. It can be a very interesting drink. Then it is fun to give it to others and see what they taste when you don't tell them what is in it. (this part is always so surprising to me!!! People taste, or imagine, such diverse things)

Medsen Fey
07-26-2010, 09:34 AM
13 Months
gravity 1.024

I racked this yesterday, and then bottled it. It had cleared nicely however there is a layer of chocolate powdery bits floating on/near the surface and there were the chunks of baker's chocolate with sediment in the bottom. I racked above the chunks down until just below the level of the floating chocolate. All the chocolate means you have a lot of losses due to the particulate matter when you rack. When you make a chocolate batch, plan on this and make it larger to allow you leave more behind.

It is a nice reddish/orange color, and has chocolate, and alcohol on the nose, with a bit of orange in the background. Were I making this again (or tweaking it further) I'd add some orange zest to bring the orange aroma up.

It is somewhat sweet on the attack, and in the mid palate there is prominent alcohol, and the taste of chocolate which is not fully balanced by the sweetness. It tastes somewhat like a semi-sweet, dark chocolate. There is some alcohol and some orange in the finish. I think I would prefer this if it were a bit sweeter. The large amount of chocolate leaves some bitterness and the residual sugar at 1.024 may not be enough. I think if it were 10 points higher I might like it better, so to start this recipe, I think you need a bit more than 3.75 pounds of honey.

I decided to go ahead and bottle it as is. It is drinkable, but I'm hoping that more age will smooth out the alcohol, and round out the rough edges here.

The Baker's chocolate squares did work to give it more chocolate flavor, but they are a real pain to get out of the jug. I don't think I'll use them in the future. I think using cocoa powder or nibs would be easier - though with the powder, you might need to cut back as the increased surface area would give more flavor impact.

Medsen Fey
04-17-2011, 01:17 PM
22 Months
Sent in to the Mazer Cup International competition in the open category.

It received scores of 30 and 33 out of 50.

Comments included:
Bouquet - Full chocolate/light citrus or Sweet orange with hint of chocolate depending on which judge. "cocoa powdery"
Color - Tawny, dull/hazy, orange-amber
Flavor - Chocolate and orange, sweet, with cocoa powder aftertaste that is a tannic/bitter. Some solvent notes. Alcohol is hot. Some sherry character. Honey is masked.

I haven't tasted this lately to compare with the judge's findings, but I think that as I described before, I would like this better if it were a little sweeter. I think that might cure bitterness,cocoa powder character, hot alcohol and other shortcomings here. The sherry notes and question about my aging practices raised by the judges (in some other batches as well) certainly highlight the effect of the crappy storage conditions here at the Fusel Shack!

For a dry batch, using less cocoa would be in order, though apparently the chocolate threshold varies. What one person pick up as strong, someone else finds mild. Since I seem to be one that requires of lot of chocolate for it to make a significant impact, my group-brew project is probably going to be a chocolate bomb.

One particularly helpful comment here was the haze/sediment issue. For my chocolate group brew batch, I think this means that fining will be required to have it clear. I wasn't sure if I would fine it or not, but seeing this convinces me that fining will be needed.

djslort
04-17-2011, 02:19 PM
22 Months
my group-brew project is probably going to be a chocolate bomb.
.

If you do a group brew please count me in, especially if it is chocolate.

Medsen Fey
04-17-2011, 04:04 PM
If you do a group brew...

The chocolate group brew (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16315&highlight=group+chocolate) if already rolling. If you have a batch that will be ready sometime within the next year, I expect folks won't mind you joining in.

AToE
04-17-2011, 05:29 PM
I'm trying to remember, I might have actually been at the table for this one. I'm not sure, I don't remember it being orange on top of chocolate though, just the judges making comments about the haze possibly being due to using cocoa powder.

Just looking at my own cocoa batch, I don't have high hopes for it clearing on it's own in anything resembling a reasonable period of time (years) so some fining may be in order.

akueck
04-17-2011, 10:46 PM
I fined my chocolate batch, and it is nice and clear now. I don't think I lost any flavor either.

AToE
04-18-2011, 01:43 AM
I'll let mine go a good year before I fine mine to see what it does on it's own, but I'm not taking it off the table.