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Samedii
07-21-2017, 09:09 AM
This is my second attempt at posting this thread. In my first attempt the forum spam blocker ate my post so I'm going to avoid including any links this time and see if I have better luck.



I'm in the research and development phase of a new bochet and I'm looking to get any feedback, advice, or warnings that anyone has to offer.

Here's what I have so far:

Ingredients:
1gal Spring Water
2lbs 6oz Wildfoam Honey
5gm Lalvin 71B-1122 Yeast
Hungarian Oak Cubes (Med Toast) or American Oak Chips (Heavy Toast)

Process:
I'll be re-hydrating the yeast using GoFerm and I'll be using an SNA strategy. There are a few threads here on the forums that I'm going to dig more deeply into before I decide for sure how exactly I'll implement an SNA program. What I did in my most recent batch (which is also my second batch ever) was to add Fermaid K at 12 and 24 hours. That seemed to answer well enough but if there's a better way then I want to start doing that. I'm especially interested in the differences between how yeast metabolizes both organic and inorganic nutrients.

I'm shooting for an original SG of 1.090 and my goal is a 12% ABV.

I'll also caramelize the honey. I found a reasonably simple (It sounds simple, anyway...) method for doing so online. If necessary I can try to post a link in either an edit or a reply.

My primary is a food grade 2 gal bucket and I'll rack to my secondary which is a 1 gal glass carboy.

I also haven't decided exactly when I'll rack. I've read some interesting stuff here about both lees and stirring. Some of it seems conflicting but I'm going to get into it and see what I can shake loose as far as a solid stirring and racking strategy. It seems to me that stirring and racking are much, much more closely linked together than I first thought.

Once I've racked and stopped fermentation is when I'll oak. I haven't decided for sure which oak I'll use but in either case the amount should be about 1/2 oz. If I go with the dark American then I'll probably only leave it sit for a week before tasting. I'm thinking that I'll have to be fairly vigilant with that one.


Well, that's what I have so far. As I said, any feedback would be very much appreciated and if I can supply any further information, I should be happy to do so. Thanks for reading!

-Sam

Suited Deuce
07-21-2017, 12:55 PM
That caramelize link would be awesome. My next batch will be a bochet, and I've read a bunch, but hate wasting good honey!


-the Deuce

Samedii
07-21-2017, 01:27 PM
Here's that link.

https://www.bee-america.com/content/can-honey-taste-even-better

It looks fairly straightforward and simple but we'll see if it actually is once I try it. I ordered a fairly large, heavy-bottomed pot in which to cook the honey from Amazon as I've read on these forums and elsewhere that when you cook honey like this it expands like crazy.

-Sam

Dadux
07-21-2017, 01:35 PM
So it seems to me you have newbee doubts and bochet doubts. Will focus on the second first.

For bochet just take a steel pan and put the honey in. Make sure to have looots of space. For 1l of honey (1.4kg) use a 5 liter pot. Then up the fire to the max. Once it starts bubbling reduce strength to keep it bubbling but mot too much. Stir constantly. Level of caramelization will be the most important thing kn a bochet. I have done three now, only one high abv, and i love them. You can put a drop of the honey in a plate to see how caramelized it is. Will range from amber to black. Black will give a lot of bitterness, chocolate and coffe flavour. I did that and ended with a FG of 1.029. caramelization will result in some sugars becoming unfermentable thats why you get a higher fg. If you want the recipe (its a complicated one) i can post it, it was quite a hit. You can also aim for lower caramelization (what i'd recommend for a first time), aim for a red, mahogany color. Expect the fg to be around 1.010, but deep flavour, less bitter and more of a sweet caramel.
Oak goes great. I used in all of them medium toast american chips but thats what i have avaliable.

Be careful when toasting the honey, if you dont keep a constant temp and stir all the time it will boil and splash. If it hits you will burn like hell.
When its at the desired point, move away from the fire and add the same volume of water, preferably heated at 50-60 degrees and if possible cover it with a lid (be careful, if the water boils fast after adding it might splash and if you get hit it will hurt as i said) Wait until it stops boiling and stir to make sure all is dissolved. Then transfer to fementing vessel.

Anout SNA follow this http://www.meadmaderight.com/tiosna--inorganic-.html

For a 12% abv you will need a higher SG than 1.090 as i said because the fg will be higher than normal.

About racking, when ferment is over, stir the lees every day or every two days for a month, then wait a week then rack.

About ingredients such as oak: toasted honey, specially if you toast it a lot, will be very strong in taste. So you have to decide what you want your mead to taste like, but will need a lot of oak or other stuff to give actual flavour. Of you want body, 1/2 oz will do for 1 gal, but that might not give the flavour you expect.

Hope this clears doubts and helps

Edit: also close all windows when caramelizing because you will get swarmed with bees. I did it in mid winter and still got a few

bernardsmith
07-21-2017, 02:02 PM
Sam, I am going to suggest that for a bochet you might want to use a less expensive "varietal" honey. Caramelization will destroy many if not all of the flavor notes that the honey possesses because of its floral source/s but will impose very different notes created by the caramelization process. Your call, of course, but if this is a first bochet I would use wildflower honey.

Burnt honey tastes bitter and many of the recipes and protocols people offer for making bochet - are - in my very limited experience - crap. When you cook honey you do really need to be very careful that you are caramelizing the honey and not turning it into liquid soot. My suggestion is to use a slow cooker. Honey is comprised of at least four different sugars:
Fructose which caramelizes at 230 F
Glucose and Sucrose which both caramelize at 320 F and
Maltose which caramelizes at 356 F (Maltose is about 7% of the total sugar content while sucrose is about 1.3%)
Bottom line: there is no need to heat the honey above 360F. But that said, and I have yet to test this myself, John Skinner of the University of Tennessee has written that you can caramelize honey by heating it to 122F for about 48 hours. In other words, the issue is not the temperature but the amount of heat applied.

Honey at around 360F is very hazardous. It's not just hot , it's sticky and if you get this on your skin you can be very seriously burned. Your link suggests that you "simply" transfer this hot honey to another container. What most people do is cool the honey by adding boiling water (water boils at 212F). If you add cold water the water will immediately vaporize and you can be scalded. Add boiling water and add it behind and beneath the lid of the pot or dutch oven. This, to prevent any escaping steam from scalding you.

Dadux
07-21-2017, 02:12 PM
Burnt honey tastes bitter and many of the recipes and protocols people offer for making bochet - are - in my very limited experience - crap.



This is what happened to me. I read that you should burn it until black. The truth is, i wasnt aiming for that bitterness and at the start regretted burning it that much but in the end i got amazing mead by deviating from what i wanted and using other ingredients to complement the honey taste. You can make great bochets with deep dark toasted honey. In fact that mead i made is at the moment the most liked by my family and friends. But its not your average mead.

Squatchy
07-21-2017, 02:51 PM
I would like to say that for the most part any flaws that I've ever tasted in boucher's was always because people over cooked the honey. It gets very bitter and is not a good flavor in a mead profile. I would suggest also only cooking about half of the honey that you expect to use in your batch. And then use the rest as natural honey. And as Bernard said I would also use just a cheap Wildflower. Now once the everything is done and said I would say to cook a little bit of honey and use it to back sweeten and that way you get the really nice caramel notes. I would also add you don't need to add boiling water to the honey when it's just fresh off the stove let the honey sit for an hour or two until it cools off quite a lot, then add boiling water and you won't get an eruption of spit flying all over the kitchen.

Samedii
07-21-2017, 03:28 PM
Thank you all for the notes. Looks like I've got some thinking to do.

-Sam

bernardsmith
07-21-2017, 04:12 PM
I would also add you don't need to add boiling water to the honey when it's just fresh off the stove let the honey sit for an hour or two until it cools off quite a lot, then add boiling water and you won't get an eruption of spit flying all over the kitchen.

Thanks Squatchy. Allowing the honey to cool by itself seems so much safer...I have never tried that because I am always concerned that the honey will harden like candy as it cools? That doesn't happen?

Squatchy
07-21-2017, 06:08 PM
Thanks Squatchy. Allowing the honey to cool by itself seems so much safer...I have never tried that because I am always concerned that the honey will harden like candy as it cools? That doesn't happen?

I suppose eventually it would. I have never waited that long to know. Eventually it cools enough that you can add boiling water without the eruption.

Samedii
07-22-2017, 07:51 AM
From what I've gleaned through my admittedly limited internet research is that water added before heating helps to prevent scorching/burning and the lemon juice helps to prevent crystallization. I have no personal experience with this, it's just what I have read. I'll still be taking all of these precautions that you guys have suggested.

Thank you also, Dadux, for the link to the SNA article. I did have a question about it, though. I read elsewhere on the forums that it might be a good idea to use DAP initially but to discontinue DAP after the first addition in favor of Fermaid K. This was due, as I recall, to the way in which yeast uses Nitrogen at different stages of the fermentation cycle. Should I consider doing this or would I be best served by sticking to the information in the article?

As a side note, the honey that I have on hand is Wild Foam honey as opposed to the more expensive Meadowfoam honey. According to The Bee Folks website where I got the honey, Wild Foam honey is gathered in an off year when a much smaller parcel of the 'major crop' is planted thus making it far more likely that the bees will visit other, nearby crops.

Thanks again for all of this feedback. I'm keenly looking forward to this batch.

-Sam

Dadux
07-22-2017, 08:17 AM
From what I've gleaned through my admittedly limited internet research is that water added before heating helps to prevent scorching/burning and the lemon juice helps to prevent crystallization. I have no personal experience with this, it's just what I have read. I'll still be taking all of these precautions that you guys have suggested.

Thank you also, Dadux, for the link to the SNA article. I did have a question about it, though. I read elsewhere on the forums that it might be a good idea to use DAP initially but to discontinue DAP after the first addition in favor of Fermaid K. This was due, as I recall, to the way in which yeast uses Nitrogen at different stages of the fermentation cycle. Should I consider doing this or would I be best served by sticking to the information in the article?

As a side note, the honey that I have on hand is Wild Foam honey as opposed to the more expensive Meadowfoam honey. According to The Bee Folks website where I got the honey, Wild Foam honey is gathered in an off year when a much smaller parcel of the 'major crop' is planted thus making it far more likely that the bees will visit other, nearby crops.

Thanks again for all of this feedback. I'm keenly looking forward to this batch.

-Sam

As far as i know (and i might be wrong, but i read the same articles you did) the juice and water wont do much. You will need a lot of juice and you dont want to lower the acidity of the mead too much. The water will boil and evaporate anyway so i dont see the point either. I never added juice or water anyway. Someone else might have a different opinion though

If you have DAP and are determined to use it that is probably the best way but better just to stick to TiOSNA. Fermaid K actually has DAP in it so...

Squatchy
07-22-2017, 10:13 AM
You will want to stir in order to keep the yeast in suspension. Lots of bad info on the web. People rack way to soon because they are concerned about off flavors. If you keep the yeast roused instead of piled up on the bottom of your vessel for months you won't get any off flavors. Leave them in for a month or so after the fermentation is finished and they will absorb leftover junk from the ferment and will help it to clear faster as well when you do finally stop stirring and want it to drop out so you can rack.

bernardsmith
07-22-2017, 10:04 PM
As far as i know (and i might be wrong, but i read the same articles you did) the juice and water wont do much. You will need a lot of juice and you dont want to lower the acidity of the mead too much. The water will boil and evaporate anyway so i dont see the point either. I never added juice or water anyway. Someone else might have a different opinion though



My experience and thinking is the same as yours. Have never added lemon juice to honey and have not found that it crystalizes, and if the idea is to ADD water then heating to a temp above 212 F will boil off any added water so I cannot understand the benefit of adding water....

Shelley
07-25-2017, 08:06 AM
I believe that the absolute safest way to caramelize honey is the pressure cooker method (for a quart, 5 pounds pressure for 45 minutes). The flavor profile might not be quite the same, but it's easy on your kitchen!

caduseus
07-25-2017, 05:02 PM
I don't know about pressure cooker but I have used a crockpot on medium setting many times. With mine it takes 4-6 hours but makes it easy to keep from overburning it.

Crispy
07-25-2017, 08:48 PM
I just started a bochet.
Cooked my honey in three batches in 2.5 gallon pot using about 6 lb of honey each time. This produced in total ~ 6 liters of caramelized honey.
Every batch was cooked on low heat for 1.5 hours from start to finish. Honey was not burned at all and has very pleasant caramel flavor.

1772
1773

tibek
07-31-2017, 05:07 AM
But that said, and I have yet to test this myself, John Skinner of the University of Tennessee has written that you can caramelize honey by heating it to 122F for about 48 hours. In other words, the issue is not the temperature but the amount of heat applied.
This would suggest it's not the matter of caramelization for which high temperature is needed, but rather maillard reactions which occur in much lower temperatures (and bring a lot of flavor too). Could it be the case?

My second doubt (I'm just starting to think about bochet) is that since boiling would drive most honey aromas off and will also kill all the healthy stuff in honey, then why not simply use table sugar instead of honey? Maybe with some adjuncts? Or maybe boil sugar syrup and then add some fresh honey for the ferment? Anybody have any thoughts on that?

Dadux
07-31-2017, 05:19 AM
This would suggest it's not the matter of caramelization for which high temperature is needed, but rather maillard reactions which occur in much lower temperatures (and bring a lot of flavor too). Could it be the case?

My second doubt (I'm just starting to think about bochet) is that since boiling would drive most honey aromas off and will also kill all the healthy stuff in honey, then why not simply use table sugar instead of honey? Maybe with some adjuncts? Or maybe boil sugar syrup and then add some fresh honey for the ferment? Anybody have any thoughts on that?No its not about maillard reactions. Its caramelization. Maillard reaction is protein related, this is sugar related.

You are not exactly boiling the honey. Not everything dissapears. There is a lot of differences between sugar and honey. It would not be the same. That being said, maybe it would be good. There are a lot of liquors and stuff made with caramelized sugar. But it would not taste the same and if at least 50% of the sugars dont come from honey is not mead (not the most inportant thing really but worth mentioning). In bochet its usually recomended to use normal wildflower honey. Try to get good but dont go for expensive varietals because the nuances will dissapear.

Sent from my Aquaris M5 using Tapatalk

bernardsmith
07-31-2017, 09:06 AM
Don't have my notes with me but I recently made a low ABV (about 7%) chocolate bochet (using nibs not powdered cocoa) and backsweetened it with a few ounces of caramelized sugar. We just cracked open a bottle this weekend and my wife loved it - as did I.