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chocolate maraschino mead...

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Sirthomas42

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I started a 5 gallon batch of a chocolate-maraschino cherry mead from Jack Keller this week. (http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/request.asp) The only thing I did differently was add less honey per gallon -- the recipe looked extremely heavy on the honey, so I added honey to bring the SG to 1.100 - should still gimme 13%ish. And holy shtick, in 72 hours the gravity has dropped almost 100 pts, using a vigorous starter of 71B-1122. I thought maybe the honey wasn't sufficiently suspended, so I stirred it up really good and took another gravity reading, still barely 1.000. Wow, I was expecting a slow primary, given that it's mead...

Now the long, slow, painful wait for secondary and aging... might try it around Christmas. :sn
 

Sirthomas42

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There's not much to see, really. It's a dark brown cloudy color -- all that cocoa powder -- with the maraschino cherries floating in it, that you can barely see. :)

Interestingly, the only jars of maraschino cherries we could find had sorbate and sodium benzoate in them -- big no no's for the yeast. So in making the recipe, I withheld the cherries at the beginning, targeted an alcohol of 11%, and made the mead sans cherries. Then the other day, we racked over the cherries and syrup (with 1 gallon set aside for later topping up - I can't believe I did the initial math that perfectly). It had fermented dry before the cherries, and after it was up to 1.020 -- it's a sweet dessert kinda mead, so if it didn't ferment the syrup b/c of the sorbate/benzoate, that's fine. Well, I look at it today, and it's fermenting like crazy -- bubbles flying everywhere, the airlock going nuts, and foam on top of the must. There must not be *enough* of the sorbate/benzoate to inhibit the wine yeast.

If it manages to ferment dry, we're looking around 13.5% now :b
 

Sirthomas42

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9 months later now, just racked it the other day. It finished fermenting at 1.012, just where I'd like it. I gave it a small taste, and while delicious, I can really taste the bitter chocolate. So I guess they weren't kidding when they said it needs to age 2 years to lose the bitter taste. :-( Maybe I'll taste it again at Christmas.

It's still totally cloudy - like cocoa in water. I might have to fine it at the next racking.
 
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Mine is taking forever to ferment. I even have a heating pad underneath and always whip it up daily. Patience is a virtue and hopefully a payoff.
 

saramc

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Sirthomas...when it starts to cool down if you move the carboy to cool climate you should see it start to clear. I have yet to use a fining agent with the various chocolate creations and they all clear quite well, naturally.
 

Drmax

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I am trying to find this recipe but cannot access it. could you kindly share it?
 

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