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LittleJohn
03-09-2016, 10:56 PM
This may have been answered somewhere else, but I couldn't find what I was looking for. I'm thinking about using cocoa nibs and vanilla beans for a future batch and was curious about preparation and timing. Is there any protocol for "sanitizing" additions like these? Is it more beneficial to add them to the primary or should you wait until secondary? I want to figure this out before I formulate a batch and get all of my bases covered. I am also open to suggestions on your favorite honeys to use when working with cocoa flavors.

Thanks so much!

LittleJohn

Mazer828
03-10-2016, 10:32 AM
I've added cacao nibs before, using about a cup of nibs in a quart mason jar of 80 proof vodka. After about 24 hours of steeping I strained this through a coffee filter and put it back into the fridge until I needed it. I ended up adding it to a bochet during secondary at the same time I was oaking it. It came out wonderfully. And no need to sanitize it.

If you choose to add your flavors directly to your mead, I recommend adding to secondary so you have a decent ABV built up, and minimal or no worry about contamination. Adding in secondary also takes away the potential for "blowing off" volatile aromatics during ferment.

EbonHawk
03-12-2016, 02:11 AM
Yep, secondary, agreed. Because of the loss of flavors from early-fermentations. Just add later and you have more control over how much flavor you get, too, as you can stop when it's like you want it.

Squatchy
03-12-2016, 08:20 AM
Yeast will eat vanillian during primary. So because of that add it at secondary. You'll be better off trying to monitor it once you rack off some of the yeast as well. Vanilla will soften over time during aging as well.