Thursday, September 4, 2014

A (hopefully) Malliard Botchet

Botchets are, of course, a type a mead made with caramelized honey...and I have never made a straight one before (previous ones were hybrids with a braggot, and a metheglin).  I decided, somewhat on the spur of the moment to make one and step up the flavours a going through the same process as is believe to produce the Belgian Candi syrup.  I got curious about what would happen if one did so, and being as I cannot find any evidence of someone else doing so, I decided to experiment by myself.

This isn't the first time I've tried to make the syrup--I've done so once before, for a Dubble based graff, and it turned out fairly successful that time.  As near as I can tell, three things are required to do so:

Sugars (different sugars react differently), and water.
a Source or sources of Amino Acids.
and a source of Nitrogen

I am not going to go through all the theory, since there are several pages which do so in scientific detail (see bibliography).  Basically, Amino acids react with reducing sugars (present in honey in the form of glucose) to create flavourful molecules.  The type of amino acid helps determine what flavour come out. 

Happily, most yeast nutrients have both of the ingredients, Amino acids, in the form of yeast hulls; and a source of nitrogen...Diammonium phosphate.  For maximum flavour, other sources of amino acids should be added (I've even heard of adding a touch of yoghurt).

Following is my process and ingredients--they may seem slightly random, but there was some logic.

3.5 teaspoons of Fermax and Crosby & Baker Yeast nutrients, dissolved into:
1 tablespoon of lees from a just finished bottle conditioned beer (my rhubarbe saisoff)
1 tablespoon vanilla black tea (I figured it couldn't hurt
2 tablespoons hot water

This was mixed into 2 pounds of warm honey, and had low heat applied.  Normally, recipes for the process tell you to mix 2 pounds of sugar with 1 cup of water--which is 80% sugar, 20% water...the same as honey.  The liquids I added were mainly to dissolve the nutrient powders.

I simmered the honey gently for a total of 48 minutes, tasting every five minutes.  I did not take full notes of the flavour development, as I was aiming for a rather dark result--where you get fruit flavours from the process--and do not have the best sense of taste anyways.  I also did not take the temperatures, since I feel following the flavour is much more important.

Top to bottom, left to right.  First daub is unheated honey.

The results?  Flavours of deep caramel, cherries/figs, and possibly old fashioned root beer, without any acrid notes of burnt sugar.  I would personally call the experiment a success--maybe not a perfect one, but I'll live.

After adding the water, I brought the OG up to--and past--my desired point, with another 2 pounds of honey.  I pitched Lalvin 1116 yeast, since it was the only thing I had capable of handling the OG of 1.15...hopefully (the original plan was Lalvin Bourgovin yeast).  I do plan to use Staggered Nutrient Additions.

Gallon of Must

Articles  on Candi Syrup: (read the comments)

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