Well it's the end of November and that means it's time to make some new batches of mead. I went down to Sacramento Beekeeping Supplies today with plans on purchasing 18 pounds or orange blossom honey for an experiment I've been wanting to try for a long time. When I got there, I saw that they had 10 or so varieties of honey (all at a flat $5.00 per pound... score). Anyway, I got to smelling and tasting some of these and meadowfoam honey stood out big time. The smell was described to me as marshmallow like, which it was but what it reminded me the most of is when I made my bochet mead last year which gave off some nice marshmallow and caramel aromas, only this stuff has a much more floral and aromatic aroma to boot. Perfect for my bochet experiment. Here is my plan.
I got to thinking that a straight bochet mead while good, is pretty one dimensional. For example, you would never use 5 pounds of black patent malt in a beer, it's too much and unbalanced. So I thought, I'm going to attack my next bochet like how I brew my beer with a base malt, specialty grains, etc.
-10 pounds of straight raw meadowfoam honey for the base to keep a good amount of the marshmallow and vanilla like aromatics. Here's my 2 row.
-6 pounds of medium caramelized honey. 4 pounds of orange blossom honey and 2 pounds of meadowfoam honey cooked for 80 minutes on the stove to achieve a toasted red amber color. This is the point where my cooked honey had it's best overall flavor last time I made bochet. Nice and caramelized, not too burnt. Let's call this crystal 60.
-2 pounds of meadowfoam honey saved to continue cooking for a total of 130 minutes until very dark. More of a burnt marshmallow flavor and aroma. This will be my black patent malt.
I'm holding 3.5 additional pounds of meadowfoam back for a 1-2 gallon batch of raw varietal sweet mead to see how this turns out, since I've read the dry meads don't turn out too well with this variety.
The only thing I've yet to decide on right now is what yeast I want to add, though a 12-14% sweet mead is what I'm going for this time. I've tried montrachet with my orange blossom mead and it turned out absolutely fantastic. I'll be making this one again this year as well. I may try D47 with this one but I'm unsure on how well D47 maintains the aromatics of the original honey, and the search feature of this forum does not allow searches for 3 letter workds... :P Anyone that has any input on D47 yeast let me know how yours has turned out. I'll update with pictures in a day or two once I've whipped this up.