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Old 11-27-2012, 09:49 PM   #1
Sharkman20
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Default Meadowfoam Mead Partial Bochet Experiment

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.

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Old 11-28-2012, 01:59 AM   #2
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I used d47 on a spiced chia once. The trick with it is a cool fermentation and you let the mead sit on the lees a couple months befor racking to secondary. Sitting on the lees imparts a fruity/citrusy flavor profile. Not sure on aroma preservation because I used a cheap honey. A good traditional mead yeast that holds aroma is Lalvin 1116 but it will ferment to around 18%. You would need to have reduced honey and then stabilize/backsweeten when fermentation finishes to get your 12%-14% ABV and still be sweet.

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Old 12-02-2012, 03:33 AM   #3
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Well I decided to go with the Montrachet yeast for this batch since I've had really good results so far with this strain. Planning to do a 1 gallon batch with the D47 to see if it's worth scaling up in the future. Overall though, it came out exactly as I had hoped. The 6 pounds of honey I cooked until it was a nice red amber color, and it still retained some of the aromatics of the original honey. The 2 pounds I toasted until small puffs of smoke popped out from the bubbles as it boiled and it retained zero amount of what the original honey used to smell or taste like. Total burnt marshmallow flavor and smell. Once I mixed these with the 10 pounds of raw honey, it turned a nice copper color with a toasted caramel flavor and all of the aromatics of the original honey. I have high hopes for this batch and I think the meadowfoam honey will make the final product outstanding. Here's the specs:

Date 11-28-12
18 pounds of honey (10 pounds raw meadowfoam, 6 pounds cooked to red/amber color, 2 pounds cooked to black)
25g Montrachet yeast
2 tsp Fermaid K
Aerated for 30 minutes
OG 1.112

Estimated Alc % will be 12%-14%.

2 pounds of honey on the left, 6 pounds on the right.



Drip test for each. Glad I did this, as I overlooked the fact the honey would caramelize at a much faster rate than when I did a whole 18 pounds last year.



Hydro sample at 75 degrees. Yeast pitched at 70 degrees.



Comparison next to the blackberry honey bochet from last December that I'm currently oaking.




Now I'm off to make another batch of orange blossom mead for next year while I pop a bottle of last year's batch.

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Old 12-03-2012, 08:39 AM   #4
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For some reason, the orange blossom batch I made last night is throwing off some serious sulfur gas. Yet, the bochet is not... Same yeast, same nutrients, same OG. Oh well. I read that excess sulfur can be the result of not enough nutrients, and a day into fermentation that would probably be the case. So I shook the carboy and offgassed as much of the sulfur and co2 as I could and added another tsp of fermaid k. We'll see tomorrow how that works out.

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