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RachmaelBenApplebaum
09-30-2011, 05:36 PM
Hi all, just bottled a light bochet, 1 gal batch. Tastes wonderful, thought I'd post my process/ see if anyone else out there has any experience with this seemingly taboo fringe-beverage (lotta folks cringe at the idea of caramelizing honey for a lot of stuttering "but...it..." reasons. This is brewing, man, it's science! and innovation...sorta)

Makes 1 Gal.

-3 1/2lbs Flagstaff wildflower honey (a light local varietal, very sweet, by Mountain Top Honey)
-2 tbsp bee pollen
-1/2 tsp yeast energizer
-1/2tsp DAP
-2 g. Lalvin D-47
O.G 1.120-F.G 1.180

Process: all honey added to 25qt. pot, caramelized very vigorously for roughly 90 minutes until a dark mahogany color. added approx 1 oz. water to honey every 30 minutes as it caramelized to soften the process a little, kinda like caramelizing onions. Beware! Boiling-hot honey is violent to water. Once 90 minute mark was hit, added 1/2 gallon cold water SLOWLY and stirred, re-heating on low. Once the honey mixed nicely with the water I added 2 tbsp bee pollen (as a nutrient source) and allowed it to dissolve, then added the mix to a 1 gal. jug with the energizer and DAP and topped to the neck to cool. Made some more headspace when I drew a hydrometer reading, capped and aerated, made a 1/2 cup starter with the D-47, waited, pitched at approx 85F, etc.

Notes: Fermentation started VIGOROUSLY at about the 2hr mark. Very dark reddish-brown color, the fermentation had lots of stringy-looking yellow chunks of what I presumed to be obliterated proteins (i.e. the foam you'd skim turned into a gummy precipitate) It spent 2 weeks in first fermentation when I noticed all the gummy crap had settled out and it was actually looking reasonably clear already but still fermenting. Racked off about 1 1/2inch of lees/mystery gunk into a clean gallon jug with approx 1/4 ounce dark roast hungarian oak. let sit on the oak in secondary for 2 weeks till fermentation slowed to a crawl and I could read my mail through the bottom of it, then bottled. Taste of my *ahem* sample was young, but had some resemblance of the original honey, with strong toffee/caramel flavors and an underlying vanilla taste. The nose kinda reminds me of a red ale though? not sour, but malty? Tastes dry in spite of FG, possibly some residual sugar left to give it a hint of effervescence, but it's clear so I'm thinking bottle conditioned chances are low if non-existent? Looking forward to getting a sip of this 6months/year from now, I'll finish my lil' sample for now.;)

TheAlchemist
09-30-2011, 05:49 PM
Thanks for all your details here...some of us will be starting a Rapture Bochet in less than a month...for drinking on Winter Solstice 2012...

Soyala_Amaya
09-30-2011, 06:04 PM
Question, did you reverse your OG and FG? Because as it stands, youre sugar content went up .06 points.

Beyond that, I am also going to make a bochet here soon, did you get any smokey flavors?

RachmaelBenApplebaum
09-30-2011, 06:38 PM
Sorry, F.G should be 1.018! shouldn't have dipped into the sample before posting. Keen eye! As for smokey flavors, not particularly. Burnt, yes, but not smokey. I didn't feel daring enough to push the honey into the black-tar-dripping-off the spoon phase. I did do this on the electric range-top of my apartment kitchen unlike some of the lucky folks here with space to start a woodfire and burn it in a cauldron. I would suggest throwing caution to the wind and give bochet a try, nothing can really be lost in a 1-gallon batch, it's a pretty tolerable experimental size if you're worried about something going awry.