Beer into Cheese, and Cheese into Mead

This is a companion blog post for my most recent YouTube Video. In this video, I brew a beer specifically to incorporate into a cheese, make the cheese, and then from the whey make a type of mead called Blaand. I won’t say more here, as everything is in the video.

Below, you will find the recipes for the beer, cheese, and mead – all of which are great for making on their own, or combining them as I do here.


The Beer

Stats:

  • OG: 1.072
  • FG: 1.010
  • ABV: 8.3%
  • IBU: 61
  • SRM: 40

Ingredients:

IngredientAmount%/IBU
Golden Promise Malt5.75 kg79.3%
Roasted Barley (300 SRM)0.5 kg6.9%
Chocolate Malt (350 SRM)0.4 kg5.5%
Crystal 800.3 kg4.1%
Crystal 400.3 kg4.1%
Bittering hop— g61 IBU
London Ale (Wyeast 1028)

Brewing:

  1. Mash at 66.7C, 60 minutes, then sparge and collect 31L of wort.
  2. Boil for 1 hour, adding hops at the beginning of the boil.
  3. Chill to 18C and pitch yeast. 2 days later, over 2 days, ramp the temperature to 21 C.
  4. Ferment for 2 weeks, then cool to cellar temperature (~16C) and ferment an additional 4 weeks.
  5. Keg and serve

The Cheese

Ingredients:

IngredientPer 1 LPer 10 L
Milk1016 g10.16 kg
Lyopro MB*1/32nd tsp5/16th tsp
CaCl21/16th tsp5/8 tsp
2x Microbrial Rennet1/32 tsp¼ + 1/8 tsp
Salt5.3 g53 g

* if using a non-lyopro culture, double the amount of culture used

Process:

  1. While warming the milk to 32°C, dissolve CaCl2 in dechlorinated water and stir into milk.
  2. Add cultures and let rehydrate for 5 min. Then stir the cultures in and stir in, and 45 min at 32°C.
  3. Dissolve rennet in dechlorinated water, stir into milk (stir no more than 1 min), then hold for 45 min (or until set).
  4. Cut into 1.5 cm cubes, let heal 5 min.
  5. Stir gently for 30 min, increasing temperature to 38°C.
  6. Let curd settle for 10 min, then carefully pour off the whey. Start the cheddaring process by cutting the curd mass into three strips, and stack the strips in the pot.
  7. Put the pot back into the water bath to hold at 38°C for 15 min.
  8. Drain any whey that is expelled from the curd mass, then flip the curd mass such that the part that was on top is now on the bottom. Let sit in the water bath at 38°C for 15 min.
  9. Repeat step 8 one additional time (e.g., curd should cheddar for a total of 45 min), then drain any whey and break into walnut-sized pieces.
  10. Place in a pot in the waterbath and cover with stout. Hold at 38°C for 1 hour, then drain the stout from the pot.
  11. Mix in the salt, then load the curd into a cheesecloth lined cheese mould.
  12. Press at 5 kg for 10 min.
  13. Flip cheese in mould, then press at 10 kg for 1 hour.
  14. Flip cheese in mould, then press at 20 kg for 12 hours to overnight.
  15. Place on a drying rack and airdry, flipping daily, until the surface is touch dry (typically 2-3 days).
  16. Vac-pack or wax for aging.

The Mead

Stats:

  • OG: 1.084
  • FG: 1.006
  • ABV: 10 %

Ingredients:

  • 1.0 kg honey
  • ~3.8 L whey (fresh, from cheddar)
  • Lavalin D47 (preferred) or ale yeast of your choice.

Process:

  1. Measure honey into the fermenter.
  2. Add whey to a final volume of 4 L (1 US gallon), and mix to incorporate the honey.
  3. Allow the must to cool to ~18C, when this temperature is reached rehydrate and pitch the yeast.
  4. Ferment ~4 weeks, then transfer to a clean fermenter.
  5. Age ~4 weeks, then transfer to a clean fermenter.
  6. Cold-crash in the fridge overnight, then bottle.
  7. Age until ready.

2 thoughts on “Beer into Cheese, and Cheese into Mead

  • July 5, 2022 at 10:02 pm
    Permalink

    I just made a cheese last weekend, have been drinking away the whey since then, and the microbiologist and brewer in me has been wondering about a drink that uses whey in an alcoholic fermentation context. I have also pretty much binged through your videos last week, so this post is quite a serendipitous occasion. I will definitely give blaand a go in the near future!
    Since you add cultures to the milk, am I right in assuming that you pasteurised/sterilised your milk beforehand? Most of the cheeses I made were quick, white cheeses, that I acidified with vinegar and then added rennet to. The vinegar is also homemade, so my thinking is that before using the whey/vinegar mixture, I should probably boil it to prevent producing something overly acetic (in the same process also killing any lactic acid fermenters that might be there, though). On the other hand, it might be an interesting mixed fermentation as well.
    Anyway, I’d love to read/hear more about your other batches of blaand, and what you have learned about it so far. There really doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of information about it around.

    Reply
    • July 6, 2022 at 7:46 am
      Permalink

      One thing I wasn’t really clear on in the video, is that the sugar in the whey (lactose) is not fermentable by brewers yeast, and so some will remain in the blannd once fermentation is complete. If you want to truly ferment milk or whey, you need a species such as Kluveromyces marxianus, which is capable of fermenting lactose.

      I do pasturize our milk – I’m a microbiologist, and you won’t find many of us willing to drink unpasturized milk. The cultures added both replace the “wild” bacteria present in raw milk, but also inoculates the milk with organisms which will give the desired flavour, aroma, and texture to the cheese. The idea that cheese traditionally was fermented with whatever was in the milk is somewhat of a misnomer – while cheese makers didn’t pasteurize their milk (as pasteurization hadn’t been invented), they did use backslopping (essentially, repitching) to ensure their cheese had the desired organisms.

      I would not recommend using acid whey (what you get from using an acid to set the curd, like you are doing) for blaand – the flavour of the whey from acid-set cheeses is quite different from that of rennet-set cheeses, and I don’t think acid whey would taste all that good in a blaand. That said, if you want to try, I would recommend pasturizing the vinegar it otherwise the acetobacter in it may turn your blannd into vinegar as well (although a blaand vinegar may be rather nice…I’ll have to give that try one day).

      The other batches of blaand were more-or-less the same as this one, other than being made using D47 yeast instead of an ale yeast. As I say in the video, they are very chardonnay-like in flavour and aroma; a semi-sweet fruit-forward and buttery wine-like mead. Most of my other batches were much clearer than this one, but I think that was a factor of the issues I was having with my late-season milk. We were finding that a lot of protein and fat was being left behind in the whey with this milk, which is what I think is in the bottles. The whey from earlier-season milk is much clearer, so there are fewer solids ending up in the blaand.

      Reply

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