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Bochet GROUP BREW - Solera Style

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MarshmallowBlue

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(as seen on gotmead)
Hello Everyone! I haven't seen a group brew pop up in a while, so I figured it was time to come up with one. One of the more intriguing styles I've seen (in my opinion) grow in popularity over the past few years is the Bochet (mead with caramelized honey).

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So taking that, and adding a bit of flare to it with the Solera style of aging. Solera aging is as follows: This is normally done in barrels but we can do oaked carboys for the sake of convenience (if you have a bunch of barrels, more power to you, but won't be required to join on in).

To start, you would brew a batch of bochet, and at 6 months, brew another one. At 12 months you would brew a third and so on at 6 month intervals to however many carboys you want.

When you are ready to bottle: You bottle only from your FIRST Carboy. You also don't completely empty the carboy. Instead you leave a portion behind (1/3 - 1/2) and refill the original carboy from the next generation (your second carboy). And your second carboy is refilled form the third, and so on and so on until you reach your last carboy. Your last carboy is then filled with new must and fermented.

If that didn't make any sense, there is a Wikipedia article here that may clear things up. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solera

Why I chose Bochet style for this: The process in making bochet can be a bit unpredictable in that the amount of caramelization you get can change from batch to batch if you are even a minute or two off, or your temps weren't the same as your last batch. This change loans itself well in emulating different characters of different years grape harvests.

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What we'll do is gather some participants, then we'll let everyone start on their own time and we can all watch each others progress and notes. Anyone interested in trading batches down the road I've put together a label we can use (or you can make your own!)



The rules are as follows: (these are completely open to suggestions and changes based on participant feedback).
1. 75% of your honey must be Caramelized for each generation.
2. You must have at least 3 generations (No maximum)
3. You may change your recipe for each generation (new yeast /ingredients); but remember that these will be blended down so crazy outliers may hurt future generations.
4. Generations rotate every 6 months (Stay as close to this as you can, not a hard rule)
5. HAVE FUN, and learn about blending and Solera Aging along the way!
6. Late Joiners will be allowed to join any time!

So, with all that, Who's IN!? Remember that if you have a suggestion for the rules to give your input before we begin.

Generation Schedule would just be ~6 months from when you started (Example if you started in mid-July),
G1. July 15th
G2. January 15th
G3. July 15th
...and so on and so on...

Current Participants
Marshmallow Blue
Arpolis
StefanK
 

Arpolis

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I have been needing to get some brew on and haven't lately. I can do this in 1 gallon batches. I think a nicely Oaked Bochet sounds nice. I have a traditional bochet ready to bottle now so I can bottle it and it will be nice to compare to the Oaked bochet as the time goes.
 
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MarshmallowBlue

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I have been needing to get some brew on and haven't lately. I can do this in 1 gallon batches. I think a nicely Oaked Bochet sounds nice. I have a traditional bochet ready to bottle now so I can bottle it and it will be nice to compare to the Oaked bochet as the time goes.
Great! Yeah I'm also doing 1 gallon batches.
 

Arpolis

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I am still up for this. SWMBO seems to be on board too. Can't wait to get started. If you gave me another year I would have my own local honey from my hive I started this year. I just don't think I will have any harvested honey this year is all unless I feed the bees sugar all winter. Which I don't want to do.

Great label! I would love to do some trades down the line.
 
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MarshmallowBlue

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I am still up for this. SWMBO seems to be on board too. Can't wait to get started. If you gave me another year I would have my own local honey from my hive I started this year.

Great label! I would love to do some trades down the line.
You can always use it to fill your young carboy!:mug:

My yeast is coming in the mail on Friday, so I'll be starting that night. I'm so pumped. Here's the recipe I'll be using for G1.


~2 Pounds - Caramelized snowberry honey (dark) (to a SG of 1.070)
1/2 tsp - pumpkin pie spice
1/4 oz - Med Toast French Oak
Brettanomyces Claussenii
 

Arpolis

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Here is the recipe I am planning. But my plans always end up pretty loose and change last minute for one reason or another:

Local Wild flower honey to gravity 1.080 caramelized for 2 hours
SNA of appropriate nutrients
3/4 tsp potassium bicarbonate
1/4 oz of med French toasted oak
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Yeast London ESB 1968

That yeast is spot on reliable at 9.5% ABV. Every mead I have made with that has finished right at 9.5% every time. So I should finish in the 1.008 - 1.012 range.
 
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MarshmallowBlue

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Brewed mine last night as the Brett came in the mail.

SG 1.075
PH 5.5 (crazy how much tap water buffers that number)

 

Arpolis

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Very nice! I plan on doing mine tonight having a bit of car trouble so if I straiten that out I can get to the HBS and get my stuff.
 

Arpolis

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Ok so one thing after another and I finally have mine started!!!

image.jpg

OG a little lower than expected at 1.080. That is because i used 4oz of my caramelizing honey to back sweeten a light Orange blossom Bochet I bottled tonight. followed my above recipe all except that the vanilla was imitation so I used 1/2 TBS rather than tsp. this smells amazing and I took a little bit from the gravity reading and it tastes soooo good now. I am super excited here.

Edit: lol I just re-read my above post and I was shooting for 1.080 lol. I had it stuck in my head I needed 1.085ish. So I was actually spot one! Score!

Edit #2: Awwwwww damn! I really need to read my plans before jumping into this. Ok so last thing I changed. I used 1/2 oz of French oak not 1/4oz. Again crazy numbers getting stuck in my head. We will see where this goes.
 
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MarshmallowBlue

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Awesome! Mines been rolling for 4 Days, checked the gravity today and no action. I forgot that brett can have a long lag time. But it did for a pellicle already.
 

Arpolis

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I looked at mine this morning, only 7 1/2 hours from yeast pitch and it is rolling hard. I even used my electric degasser on it and pulled a lot of dissolved CO2 out. Looking great!

But now what is that pic of !?! Lol?
 

Arpolis

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My bochet has been fermenting like crazy. Less than 48 hours have passed and fermentation is dying down. I added the 2nd dose of nutrients last night and my last dose of nutrients this evening. I checked the gravity and it is down to 1.040. So just over half way done to get towards my ABV goal.
 
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MarshmallowBlue

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Lol my brett hasn't even hit full exponential growth (Around 8 days according to Chad Yakobson of Crooked stave on the Brewing Network session). It is however producing a lot more CO2 as of last night, so it must mean some good things.

The pic is of a pellicle, which is something that brettanomyces and other bacteria form as an oxygen barrier as the prefer anaerobic environments. It's a really nice piece of evolution as far as fermenting and aging is concerned. It will even form in bottles to help stop oxygen form getting into solution from the headspace.

Now that I have CO2 filling the headspace, the pellicle is gone.
 

Arpolis

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Yea I was not familiar with your yeast choice and after a little reading I am intrigued with your brew. Hope the souring works well with the sweetness of the bochet.
 
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MarshmallowBlue

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It shouldn't be too sour. Brettanomyces doesn't produce sourness like lactobacillus or pediococcus, it may however have some tropical fruit pineapple notes that fade over extended aging into light mustiness. Haven't figured out how I'm going to incorporate the other two generations, whether or not to add more brett C or pick a different strain. At least I have 6 months to think about it!

Edit: I may do something with special B malt and C120 to get those bold plum notes you find in Belgian dubbels.
 

Arpolis

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I am thinking with my yeast I can get a lot of fruity character and this yeast is easy to produce diacetyl giving those butterscotch undertones which should work well with a bochet. I do not know if I want to change up the recipe, just change yeasts or just leave it alone for future batches.
 

Arpolis

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Ok just over a week of fermenting has happened. I de-gassed with my little hand de-gasser and checked the gravity. It is already remarkably clear and a super pact set of lees at the bottom. But that is London ESB for ya.

I was super surprised! The gravity was down to 1.002! So this is already 10.5% ABV now. I have a small taste and it is typical young mead alcohol tastes right now. Pretty hard to catch any flavors in the background. It should be much better to taste in 3 - 7 weeks so will try again later.
 
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MarshmallowBlue

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HaHa, Mine hasn't even started yet! The Brett is still growing up. I see some CO2 leaving in little bubbles and slow airlock activity, but the gravity hasn't dropped more than a couple points. Brettanomyces takes a bit longer to get going, especially under gravities this high. It'll get rolling soon here though.
 

StefanK

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I plan on joining this!. Wanted to start it yesterday, but Arpolis gave me the heads up on the Bochet mead thread today and I think that by July 15 (even before!) I'll have my picture here :cross:

If I understood right; of every batch, 75% of the honey needs to be caramelized, right?
 

Arpolis

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That is just a minimum . So estimate what gravity you want and try and carmelize enough to get that but if needed to adjust the OG you can add additional honey up to 25% of te total sugar volume. I did that with mine a little.
 
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MarshmallowBlue

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Yup, 75%, You can also play with the amount of caramelization there is by not cooking it all the way to black.
 

StefanK

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Yup, 75%, You can also play with the amount of caramelization there is by not cooking it all the way to black.
The original recipe calls for "burnt" mead. However, I was planning to experiment on some kind of "mix of caramelized honeys". Roasting this one, that one, taste and smell what comes out of it. Then mix, and taste again.

Cant wait for the weeked to come :D
 
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MarshmallowBlue

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Yeah, there are a lot of possibilities. Glad to have you joined on!

Update on Mine. Gravity is still slowing a sluggish ferment with just the brett. Going to have to lower the gravity way down next All Brett Mead. Because of this, I added some Red Star Montrachet Wine yeast to get it off the ground.
 

Arpolis

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Very interesting. In past experiments I always notice a show mead with no nutrients have less of a lag time vs a bochet type show mead with no nutrients. So I think everything was just stacking up against the Bret in this case.

Update on mine: all the sediment has dropped out completely. Holding the jug up to a window there is a beautiful ruby red glow but is still black as night without light shining through. I will rack off the lees at about the 30 day mark and have decided to save all the lees and oak and keep it in the fridge and I will pitch that for the next batch in another 5ish months.
 

d-usa

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I was planning on starting a batch today, that was until my shopping bag broke and I ended up with 4 lbs of honey on the kitchen floor. That's how you get ants people!!!

So I will try to make it tomorrow after buying new honey.

I was reading through the rules and I'm a bit confused about the "3 generations" thing. It's my first time making mead, so I'm not sure what I'm missing there.

Edit: Never mind, I think I got it.
 

Arpolis

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Ok 1 month has passed. I have racked off the lees and stabilized. The gravity was at 1.000. So 10.75% ABV at the moment. That is a bit higher than I wanted but still ok. I added 1/4 oz of fresh oak and another tbs of vanilla. I also stabilized with sorbate and Camden. I will top up the jug with some of my original unfermented must and some honey to bring the gravity up a bit.

I had a couple tastes off the gravity sample. The alcohol hot has died down to a slight tingle. I can really taste the fruity melon/pear like flavors the yeast likes to throw. There was also the caramel flavor from the honey and a tannic bitter after taste that was just complimenting. The disappointing thing was that there was zero vanilla flavor. All that must have been blown out of the airlock. So I am hoping the additional added in secondary will help that out.

Finally I took the lees and oak that had settled at the bottom of the first jug and added it to a sterilized tupperware and placed in the back of my fridge at the coldest part. I will use that on my next batch in 6 months. I think I will do the same as this batch but use rootbeer extract rather than vanilla.
 

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Count this guy in, Saw the medieval burnt mead post just before this one and had to get on board. I like experimenting with the classic JAOM so alongside my Bochet i'm doing a JAOBochet haha. So a traditional JAOM but caramelized honey. Local wildflower honey for both, caramelized together, added the water Very Slowly while stirring. Yeah didn't like the subtle explosions or the funny look from the roomy, I was wearing a face shield while cooking... thought it'd be a grand idea. Honey came to a dark amber, almost a dark chocolate color, as I saw and detected crispy smokes bubbling through. Roasted marshmallows is a great description of the aroma. Mine was more a perfect golden roasted mallow until you turn it over to find that black flaming mess haha, delicious. Second pic is the honey color next to the Bochet mix in a mason jar simply for color comparison. Looks black but more a deep maroon sherry color in the sun light.

OG: 1.124
Brewed last night, let cool, pitched this afternoon

IMG_20140815_162836_985.jpg


IMG_20140815_180701_227.jpg
 
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MarshmallowBlue

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Marshmallow Blue
Arpolis
StefanK
Kyzaboy
DanielLukes

I need to check my gravity. I've been on vacation for a week and letting it ride.
 

Arpolis

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I went ahead and did a racking for my batch. The new honey and original must topping up had created some sediment at the bottom. It did not restart any fermentation it seems so the Camden and sorbate worked well here. After racking I also rinsed off the oak and added that back to the must and topped up with the very last of my original must I saved in the fridge.

Gravity is reading at 1.012 ish so right at about where I wanted it. I took another taste off the gravity sample to compare to the dry taste test. OMG. The flavor is soooo much better. The yeast did exactly what I wanted and I taste honey dew Mellon type fruity flavors in the forefront. The vanilla is now well present and very complimenting. An overall sweet taste with silky good body. The tannic bitter I had noticed from the oak is not really there anymore. The sweet must have mingled with it well because it is no longer a separate flavor. And through the whole experience you can tell the carmel flavor is poking through all the flavors. The alcohol hot is almost non existent at this point.

4 days shy of 6 weeks in and I think it is awesome! I can't wait for 6 months down the line to bottle the first half of this batch. And then to compare with the blended batches 1 & 2 years down the line. This batch was such a good idea.
 

DanielLukes

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I conveniently started a batch of vanilla bochet (without even knowing about this group brew) in mid July!
Woohoo, so I guess that means I'm in!

It's already tasting incredible, can't wait to taste it at bottling.


All you need is mead
 
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MarshmallowBlue

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1.5 Months on the Brett Bochet. I took a gravity reading and got 1.031. An acceptable FG for bochets in my opinion is 1.025 or lower. The brett should be able to finish this up. This large drop is attributed to an addition of regular wine yeast. I'll need to keep the gravity lower (around 1.060) for my next all brett mead.

I'm getting a lot of vanilla both from the oak and the amount of caramelization on the honey (didn't cook it black). Then on the back is a hint of brett dryness (but not really funk of anything yet).
 

Arpolis

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Fun picture just for grins and giggles on my bochet!

image.jpg
 

Arpolis

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Getting reading for batch number two in the Solera process. 10/14 makes month 3 on my first batch so next Monday or Tuesday I will start my next batch.

I think I want to try adding rootbeer extract rather than vanilla.
 

WVMJ

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Rootbeer extract? Cheat! You have to dig up your own sasafras roots and add them to your Bochet, extracts belong in the soda forum. WVMJ
 

Arpolis

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Lol I actually went around to 4 different stores in my area looking up the roots for rootbeer. Sadly I find nothing! So extract is what I got. I guess I could order stuff online... May need to look into that because I do prefer fresh ingredients.

I was actually thinking I could do more of a half and half recipe. Using some extract and the following in the bochet:

1/3 oz licorice root
1/4 oz anise seed
3 gram star anise
3 gram dried wintergreen

Anyone think that looks good?
 

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