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bernardsmith
12-01-2015, 09:57 AM
Making my first bochet and a thought struck me: brewers tend to assert that caramelized sugars are not as fermentable as simple sugars. Is this true? How much loss of the fermentables (if any) can I expect upon heating my honey to 350 F for about 90 minutes? Thanks

Mazer828
12-01-2015, 10:10 AM
I can only give you anecdotal evidence. My last two completed bochets turned out as follows:

A medium-light toast, started at 1.092 and fermented down to 1.005 with Red Star Cote des Blancs yeast.

A medium-dark toast, started at 1.100 and fermented down to 1.006 with Lalvin EC-1118.

Doesn't seem to be much of a loss of fermentable sugars, but if you consider that both of these yeasts pretty reliably have taken mead of this gravity range down to 1.000 or lower, you may be on to something.

Marshmallow Blue
12-01-2015, 10:14 AM
It really ranges. Sometimes I'll get none, and other times I'll get 0.005 to 0.010 in residual gravity. You'd really have to do some very serious damage to get into the 0.015 and up ranges. The longer you cook your honey, the longer you shoudl expect to age it before those harsher burnt sugar/ honey flavors mellow out.

This is just a guess - In beer brewing Maltose (the bulk of fermentable sugar in wort), is a disaccharide, And is more complex than the single chain sugars in honey. So it may be easier to ferment even when partially caramelized, where as maltose may become unfermentable when caramelized. But I am not a scientist.

Squatchy
12-01-2015, 10:55 AM
I just made a batch (Bochet) and it ran dry as well

bernardsmith
12-01-2015, 01:03 PM
Thank you all for your very fast responses. I deliberately did not work to burn the honey . I don't think the taste of carbon or soot is all that delicious and IMO even a few particles can make their presence felt - but I did darken the honey and it has been fermenting at around 60 F since about the 11th of November... Have not checked the gravity but I see fairly frequent action in the airlock.. I guess I was concerned that caramelizing the honey would reduce the amount of fermentables by 50 % or thereabouts but your experiences suggest that it may be more like 1 or 2 percent or so if anything at all...

Mazer828
12-01-2015, 08:17 PM
Thank you all for your very fast responses. I deliberately did not work to burn the honey . I don't think the taste of carbon or soot is all that delicious and IMO even a few particles can make their presence felt - but I did darken the honey and it has been fermenting at around 60 F since about the 11th of November... Have not checked the gravity but I see fairly frequent action in the airlock.. I guess I was concerned that caramelizing the honey would reduce the amount of fermentables by 50 % or thereabouts but your experiences suggest that it may be more like 1 or 2 percent or so if anything at all...
I think if you assumed a 5% loss of fermentable sugars, you'd be in the ballpark most of the time.

WVMJack
12-01-2015, 08:32 PM
You would have to do two side by side batches, from one container of honey, burn half of it and dont cook the other half and make everything else the same and see what happens, would be interesting. A lot of people load up their Bochets at the start so it finishes sweeter, kind of like if you think about caramel, its always sweet right, but a dry Bochet can also taste like a good bottle of bourbon to. WVMJ

Achtlaut
12-04-2015, 03:15 PM
Is back sweetening difficult with caramelized honey?

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Marshmallow Blue
12-04-2015, 04:00 PM
Is back sweetening difficult with caramelized honey?

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Do you mean back-sweetening a bochet, or back-sweetening a regular mead with boiled honey?

Either way, nope, easy peasy. If the latter, you may need to dissolve any hardened honey bits in warm water to backsweeten with is the only potential issue I see. You will still need to stabilize the mead as burnt honey sugars are still mostly fermentable.

bernardsmith
12-04-2015, 04:18 PM
I don't use recipes, Achtlaut. I try to use principles - and that means that I can play with ingredients if I think I understand what they add or take from the mead. This is my first bochet and I used about 3 lbs of clover honey to make 1 gallon of mead and I heated the honey to 350F in a crock pot that I placed in my oven for about 90 minutes. This meant I did not need to stand over the pot and it meant that I could easily control the temperature. I checked the color every 15 or 20 minutes to ensure that I was not going to transform my honey into charcoal.

I boiled some water as the 90 minutes were approaching and so added about a pint of hot rather than cold water to the cooked honey, using the lid of the crockpot as a kind of shield should the boiling water be projected from the hot honey. I then mixed the cooler water with the honey in my blender (to ensure that despite the cooking there would be sufficient air in the must for the yeast). When the must was around room temperature I pitched my yeast (my go-to yeast is 71B) and when that was showing signs of activity I added some Ferm K. My fermenting room is at about 60 F and after 3 weeks the bochet is still bubbling.
My plan for this first batch is to rack onto some spices - star anise with some cinnamon within the next few days, allow it to sit on those spices a couple of weeks and then rack a second time; age three months and prime to carbonate and bottle

Achtlaut
12-04-2015, 04:18 PM
Do you mean back-sweetening a bochet, or back-sweetening a regular mead with boiled honey?

Either way, nope, easy peasy. If the latter, you may need to dissolve any hardened honey bits in warm water to backsweeten with is the only potential issue I see. You will still need to stabilize the mead as burnt honey sugars are still mostly fermentable.
Does the type of honey matter like clover or orange blossom or will any do?
Thank you for the help

Mazer828
12-04-2015, 05:46 PM
My experience: they're all the same after you carmelize. Boiling honey takes almost all the individuality out of it.

Squatchy
12-07-2015, 11:26 AM
You may have already used star anise. But FYI, it is very strong. I left it in too long on a 3 gallon batch. It comes fast and hard, so stay up on your test tastings :)

Marshmallow Blue
12-07-2015, 01:21 PM
Does the type of honey matter like clover or orange blossom or will any do?
Thank you for the help

Anything really. You won't be getting out of the original honey profile, as Mazer828 says. But, more work has to be done on different flavor profiles in bochets based on the starting honey. I've used, Snowberry, Wildflower, and Mesquite honey, all of which have had similar profiles after cooking.

bernardsmith
12-07-2015, 02:14 PM
You may have already used star anise. But FYI, it is very strong. I left it in too long on a 3 gallon batch. It comes fast and hard, so stay up on your test tastings :)

Making a gallon and my plan was to add 2 stars and a piece of cinnamon about 2 inches long and then rack off the spices after 10 - 14 days...

Squatchy
12-07-2015, 02:43 PM
I used to stars in a 3 gallon batch of pomegranate Mead and the two stars overtook the flavor in just a matter of a couple days so just check it often

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bernardsmith
12-07-2015, 05:06 PM
Wow! Thanks for that heads-up, Squatchy. So from what you say, a matter of hours rather than days or weeks may be critical... As they say, you can always add flavor ... but it is pretty hard to remove it once you have laid it down

Squatchy
12-08-2015, 01:22 AM
I accidently left one behind when I took them out. Just one week or so later I went back to taste and I had basically forced myself to change the direction I had planned on that batch. It ended up being everyone's favorite at thanksgiving, but, it wasn't what I had originally what I had planned.

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Squatchy
12-08-2015, 01:23 AM
And yes. Keep a close watch depending on how many toy use

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