Multi Honey Bochet, suggestions?

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Indie

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I'm planning a bochet, and think using three or four different honeys could really add some depth.

I'm thinking a semi sweet 6 gal batch (in a 6.5 gal carboy), approx 15% with 3lbs/gal, for 18 lbs total. I'll probably use lalvin 1116 since that's what's on hand.

On top of using different honeys I want to burn them to different levels. Has anyone tried this before? I imagine there's a big difference between burning each one differently (ie, Honey A 1hr, Honey B 1.5 hrs, Honey C 2 hrs, and Honey D 2.5 hrs) and burning 1/4 of each honey for each time.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Thanks!
 

truckjohn

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I think it sounds like a fine experiment.. I would certainly be interested in how it comes out... I would say do a run of each and tell us the results!

The only thing I can think of is that the burning process may blow out some of the subtle essences that make each honey taste different... but I could be wrong.... Done to just the right amount - it might actually help to accent it rather than blow it out...

The different amounts of burning might be the ticket, though... as you could layer the essences and nuances from the different honeys as you combine them... with using more raw honey to add "Honey essence" where the burnt honey adds more Carmel notes...

Anyway, tell us how it comes out!

Thanks
 

turtlescales

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I just made my first bochet about a week ago, the honey changed dramatically over the course of cooking. I cooked it for just over 2 hours on medium heat on my stove (3.5 pounds of clover honey) and the end result tasted nothing like the beginning. My SO said he prefered the stuff after about an hour cook time to the end result. I guess if I were to do something like what you are doing, I'd go for 2 cook times, one for 2 hours and 1 for an hour so there is significant differences and blend the two. I don't think I'd ever even consider doing this with an expensive honey, except maybe with buckwheat because it has such an intense flavor to begin with and maybe then not even a full 2 hours. I used a decent quality clover honey, and was pleased with the taste of the must at least.
 
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Indie

Indie

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I picked up the honey for this last night. After opening a line of credit at Whole Foods, I walked away with 6 lbs Amber Wildflower, 6 lbs Clover Honey, 3 lbs Buckwheat and 3 lbs Orange Blossom.

As I understand it, scorching really does remove a lot of the subtleties of the honey, so my plan for honey vs time is as follows:

2.5 hrs........6 lbs Wildflower
2 hrs...........2 lbs Clover, 1 lb Buck, 1 lb Orange
1.5 hrs........2 lbs Clover, 1 lb Buck, 1 lb Orange
1 hr............2 lbs Clover, 1 lb Buck, 1 lb Orange

Since a lot of aromatics will burn away, I figure the more generic wild flower is best for the long burn.

As I'll be adding in steps, I figure this will take two pots. One with the bulk of the honey, and one to scorch the next addition. Then, I'll add the contents of the smaller pot to the main pot for the remainder of the time, etc etc. My thought here is that just adding the cold (room temp) honey to the main boil will bring down the temp enough to affect scorching times.

Since my last couple mead yeasts petered out early, I made a starter this time to give them a bit more of a fighting chance.

This will be getting French Oak in secondary.
 
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Indie

Indie

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Thanks, I hope so! Now that I have everything in place I'll probably brew this tomorrow night or Thursday after work. I'll update with pictures soon there after.
 

truckjohn

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Something else you could try - burn your a small sample of your honey and then dilute it in some water to taste the flavors.... Before you brew...

I would hate to find out that some weird vegetable-grassy flavor was somehow magnified by burning it... and it made your brew taste like burnt grass clippings....

Only reason I mention it is that I got a small batch of local honey that tasted like grass clippings.... It was kinda weird...

Thanks
 

Mrbrownfolks

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The carmelization may overtake many of the subtle flavors. I made my first bochet about a month ago. I used a generic clover honey and it had a nice roasted taste going at first rack.
 
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Indie

Indie

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I finally got this brewed yesterday morning and it looks/smells amazing. Per my previous post, honeys used were: Amber Wildflower (AWF), Clover, Buckwheat (BW) and Orange Blossom (OB).

My original thought was to use two pots to bring my stepped additions up to temp before adding them to the main pot (5 gal stainless). I realized I was over thinking the process and just added the honey to the main pot at each addition. Since there are cooking differences between gas and electric, it might be worth noting this is all on gas.

I used 18 lbs honey for about 6 gal of bochet in a 6.5 gal carboy.

In the final product, my time:honey:heat was as follows -

2 hrs......3lbs Amber Wildflower....................High Heat/Rolling Boil
1.5 hrs...2lbs Clover, 1lb ea AWF, BW, OB.......Reduced heat to Medium/Simmer
1hr........2lbs Clover, 1lb ea AWF, BW, OB.......Medium/Simmer
.5hr.......2lbs Clover, 1lb ea AWF, BW, OB.......Medium/Simmer

I made a big starter of KV 1116 about a week ago, 1.5L, decanted off the top half and pitched the rest. I noticed signs of fermenting about 8 hrs in, and I pitched my first round of Superfood PLUS.

My OG was: weird. I'll comment on that below.*

Notes and observations:

Turtlescales and Mrbrownfolks' posts got me thinking, and while I'm interested in the carmel/toffee notes this could produce, I didn't want them overpowering. I reduced my long burn from my original 6lbs for 2.5hrs to 3lbs for 2hrs.

I started on high heat, but within 15 minutes it was well on its way to burning (like, way burning) and an acrid white smoke was on its way to filling the house (SWMBO was not amused). By the end of the half hour the honey had turned black as night. The smell and taste were, like has been previously noted in other posts, very much like burned marshmallows. Not wanting it to get too much burndeder (that's totally a word, just trust me) I opted for a lower heat and cooked the rest on medium with what I think were sufficient results.

Protein break? Much like with beer, a foam developed on my boil. It looks exactly like a protein break. I left it alone and added everything to the carboy. This morning there's still a foam cap in the carboy. I imagine it will eventually fall back in to the solution.

The volume increase was amazing. Again, this has been noted previously but I'd like to reiterate for those who might try this. You NEED a big pot. If I weren't using my 5 gal stock pot this could have turned into a disastrous mess very quickly. As it was, had I added any more honey this would have definitely boiled over. I can't speak to a lower heat for longer, but it's possible the volume increase might not be so great then.

Boiling honey is lava. Despite my best efforts at safety, after my last honey addition the volume increased almost to the top of the stock pot. When one bubble burst it sent a glop of honey flying a good 3-4 ft and it landed right on my hand. I have a spectacular blister as a result. Be careful.

The bees. Holy crap, the bees. If you do this outside, best of luck. If you do this inside, make sure the screens are secured tight. We had about 10 just hovering outside the kitchen window while this was on the stove. A few more popped by throughout the process to say hi.

When you add water to the honey, add it slowly. The honey is hot enough to boil the water on contact, and for the first quart I added in it would boil up immediately. Be careful here not to add too much as it could cause a mess and possibly hurt you.

My honey candied. Hard crystals formed and separated to the bottom of the carboy. My best guess is this is a result from high burn. I'm not sure exactly what % this happened to, but it looks like a lot separated out. I'll be interested to see how well the crystals dissolve as fermentation progresses.

*As a result of the candying, I couldn't get a true OG reading. My estimated OG was 1.108, however just before I pitched the yeast (and after some separation had occurred) my OG was 1.056. After shaking the crap out of it and getting the crystals back up in to the solution, I couldn't get a reading above 1.070. I'm not fretting too much about it, though I'll have to just guess about my nutrient schedule since I won't know when my true sugar breaks are.

I have a strict "no honey left behind" policy so I turned the containers upside down to drain out as much honey clinging to the sides as I could. I got about 3/4 of a cup, then used warm water to dissolve the rest of what was in the containers. I figure I got about a cup total. I added this at the very end, so it wasn't burned at all. While I think this is a negligible addition, for the posterity of the process I figure it's worth noting.

If everything goes smoothly this should ferment out totally dry and I'll back sweeten accordingly.

Again, this'll get french oak in secondary.

All photos courtesy of sous chef SWMBO.

3lbs AWF starting to boil


3lbs AWF after 30 min high heat. You can see how much it expanded up the sides.


Color of the AWF after 30 min high boil.


About 1hr in. 8 lbs honey in the pot.


1hr 45 min in. 18 lbs of honey expands to fill almost the entire pot.


The final product. It's a little hard to tell the color, but it's a nice dark brown (almost black) with an almost burgundy hue.


Oh, and for those concerned about the process ruining a brew pot, mine cleaned up just fine. There might be a bit of discoloring on the bottom, but nothing to be worried about. Everything actually cleaned up significantly easier than I'd imagined.
 

fatbloke

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Not to "pi55 on your bonfire", while this sounds like a marvelous experiment, I rather suspect that pretty much any differences gained from the different cook times will be undone by an overriding toasted marshmallow flavour brought about by the caramelisation of the sugars.

Of course, well managed processing will probably give an acceptable product, I doubt you'll be able to tell any difference

Now if you made 3 or 4 different batches with different levels of cook/caramelisation, but did some very careful blending, now then you may indeed get the complexity you're aiming for........
 
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Indie

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You might be right, though on first tasting just before pitching the yeast the balance was better than expected. The caramel notes were there but not at all over powering. It was a layered perception of heavy from the caramel, but smoother from the other honey.

At the heat I used I didn't notice as much change in texture and color between the last two additions, so I presume that bulk of honey (10 lbs) will have the greatest contribution to flavor profile, while the 3 lbs of heavy burn will find themselves more the undertone though decidedly present. The 5 lbs caught in the middle will I'm sure blend the two together, but over all I'm happy with where this looks to be headed.

If any back sweetening seems necessary I'll be doing it with un cooked honey, so at that point I can always bring back in a bit of the lighter honey flavor.
 

lsmith47

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Has anyone tried only burning a portion of their honey for a bochet to try and keep some of the original flavors and aromatics from the honey?
 

wrkrB

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lsmith47 said:
Has anyone tried only burning a portion of their honey for a bochet to try and keep some of the original flavors and aromatics from the honey?
I have one in primary now. 6# scorched to a deep red plus 3# unscorched in a 3gal. carboy.
 

lsmith47

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wrkrB, I'd love to see your recipe/results when you get around to tasting it.
 

wrkrB

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Racked into secondary last night. Def. a little lighter character than a full bochet. Still pretty sweet, but absolutely wonderful. Had some friends over who tried it, and the wife's comments were "You can't even tell there's alcohol in it", ( I'm guessing it's around 10% right now) and "I could drink the whole bottle", pointing to the 3 gallon carboy. Her husband just smiled since I had told him that it was called Creme Brew, and the "lay" is implied once the ladies get a taste.
 

wrkrB

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Some photos from bottling. My process and recipes are pretty simplistic.

6# Costco clover honey, scorched to deep red
3# Costco clover, raw
Handful of raisins, boiled for 5 min. or so.
Water to 3 gal.
Lalvin 1116 yeast (1 packet)

Racked at 2 months, bottled at 3 1/2 months. The ladies love it, so I call it Creme Brew. It's pretty sweet and it will sneak up on you.

image-2818564315.jpg


image-4099231917.jpg
 

Machalel

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Nice!
I'm planning on doing a Bochet just like this eventually. I was originally thinking a ratio of 1:2:3:4 of raw:light:medium:dark caramelisation, but I have concerns that the dark stuff will overpower everything else. Any thoughts? Maybe 1:1:1:2?

I also want to do a Bochet stout braggot, but that's for another thread ;)
 
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Indie

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I did my second racking of this tonight. I got about 5 3/4 gallons out of it; would have been 6 but we had a dinner party a few weeks ago and I pulled out one bottle's worth for a tasting. ;)

Est. OG - 1.108
Act. OG - 1.070
10/17 SG: 1.010

Per my earlier post, I think my OG reading was skewed due to how the honey reacted to the heat - it seemed to candy/caramelize and precipitate to the bottom. I'm hoping in reality it's somewhere between 10%-12%... that underlying kick it has certainly feels like it is.

I racked onto 3 different flavor profiles, 1 gal ea:

-1# Blackberrys (fresh > frozen > thawed > stabilized), 1 oz Med Toast French Oak Cubes

-8oz Cocoa Nibs, 1 vanilla bean, 1oz Med Toast French Oak Cubes

-1oz Med Toast French Oak Cubes

I got about 2 3/4 gal of the original. The straight bochet I racked into individual 1 gal glass jugs. The flavored ones I racked into 2 gal food grade buckets (because I don't think they make a 1.5 gal size), so I could make sure I got 1 full gal of liquid plus the additions.

It looks and smells amazing. From afar the color looks black, but when poured is a deep red/amber, almost but not totally brown. When we sampled it it was great, at tonight's racking it's even better. It's unlike anything I've ever tasted, and it's amazing. Definitely doing this recipe again.



 
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