Mead Lover's Digest #970 Sun 17 November 2002


Forum for Discussion of Mead Making and Consuming
Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor



capsicomel ("Micah Millspaw")
European meadmakers ("Sergi Santacana")
Pyment Question? ("Briggs WebDesign")
Really weird mead: mushroom mead ("Kemp, Alson")
Capsicomel ("Kurt Shryack")
chiles peppers in mead ("Chuck NLN")
capsimel (Dick Dunn)
Light and Sparkling Mead (Susan Smith)
Avocado Mead (Bill Taylor)


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Subject: capsicomel
From: "Micah Millspaw" <>
Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2002 12:12:51 -0600

>Subject: Zymurgy - Capsicomel
>From: Nathan Kanous <>
>Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2002 15:59:23 -0600

>Hi All,
>Ken Schramm spoke of Dan McFeely and Chuck Wettergren's chipotle / jalapeno
>meads. I also read the article in Zymurgy about using chile's in beer or
>mead. However, I have a question.

>I look at the "recipe" in Zymurgy and see a pound of chile's in a 5 gallon
>batch of mead. Fine with me. However, do I leave all of the seeds in all
>of those chile's? Do I "gut" the chile's and roast the peppers
>without? (yup, two questions…glad you were counting)

I have been playing with pepper beers and meads for a while
and have some ideas of how not to make the 'over the top'
habanero mead the Nathan was subjected to. (even though it
was my handiwork)
Do gut the chiles, take out the seeds and the placenta.
Don't put the chiles in until after fermentation is complete.
Limit the exposure time to the chiles (this will vary with the
type and amount that you are using)
Rack off of the chiles as soon as you are at a desired heat (this
will require a lot of sampling, oh well)
As a word of caution if you use smoked chiles, the they are
more potent and go into solution better than fresh chiles.

have fun –

Micah Millspaw – brewer at large

BTW I have a pear wood smoked red savina mead
in the works

Subject: European meadmakers
From: "Sergi Santacana" <>
Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2002 20:03:01 +0100

Hi all,

Some weeks ago, when I asked around about european/spanish meaderies,
meadmakers or contests I didn't get any answer. So, today, and at the
sight of the very lasts messages asking for more mead support, market,
etc. I've decided that we need to associate and do our own work here, in
europe. Here, there is very much work to do about "mead world".
For that reason, i encourage any european meadmaker to build our own
assotiation and contests, meetings and anything about mead. If anyone
thinks so, please contact me. We have to start NOW.

Subject: Pyment Question?
From: "Briggs WebDesign" <>
Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2002 19:08:09 -0600

I have started a Concorde Pyment, following somewhat the recipe of Barat.
I started this mead on Oct.20,2002, using 120oz 100% Grape juice, 3 gallons
water, 10 grams EC 1118 yeast and 12 lbs unfiltered honey. It started with
a rapid, heavy fermentation for about 10 days. It is now very clear and
slowly fermenting at about 1 bubble every 45 sec. Now the question is this:
should I rack to secondary? I have never had a mead settle so quickly so I
am in somewhat of a quandry. I made this batch in short order, and in the
process forgot to take the SG…ack…

Any thoughts? I haven't opened it up yet to taste…



Subject: Really weird mead: mushroom mead
From: "Kemp, Alson" <>
Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2002 17:13:55 -0800

No, I haven't made it. I heard an NPR story on a 2.2lb
truffle and started thinking… Any idea what honey/fruit/spice
could be paired with a slight mushroom (earthy?) smell?

How's that for weird?,

Subject: Capsicomel
From: "Kurt Shryack" <>
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 2002 00:58:12 -0600

Nathan Kanous wrote:

Hi All,
Ken Schramm spoke of Dan McFeely and Chuck Wettergren's chipotle / jalapeno
meads. I also read the article in Zymurgy about using chile's in beer or
mead. However, I have a question.

I look at the "recipe" in Zymurgy and see a pound of chile's in a 5 gallon
batch of mead. Fine with me. However, do I leave all of the seeds in all
of those chile's? Do I "gut" the chile's and roast the peppers without?
(yup, two questions…glad you were counting)

I shared a garden in Tucson with an hispanic neighbor once, long ago. I
marveled at her ability to make palatable dishes from 'family heirloom'
peppers we grew together, when I couldn't even Handle these things safely.
They were the hottest peppers I have ever seen: dice one up, wash your hands
meticulously, and they would Still Burn if you touched your lips with your
hands, hours later. Her secret was how she cleaned them. The 'heat' in
peppers (I learned later) derives largely from capsicum. Typically most of
the capsicum content of a pepper is concentrated in the ribs and seeds. I
love peppers and have been cooking with them regularly for 25 years: I
believe the ribs, more than the seeds, are packing heat. A long way of
suggesting that you may be able to manipulate the hotness of your brew
considerably by dressing the peppers to your liking. Let me know how it
works out!

3 Pixies Mead

Subject: chiles peppers in mead
From: "Chuck NLN" <>
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 2002 07:42:23 -0600

In MLD #969, Nathan Kanous <>
Asked about hot pepper meads.

>Hi All,
>Ken Schramm spoke of Dan McFeely and Chuck Wettergren's chipotle / jalapeno
>meads. I also read the article in Zymurgy about using chile's in beer or
>mead. However, I have a question.
>I look at the "recipe" in Zymurgy and see a pound of chile's in a 5 gallon
>batch of mead. Fine with me. However, do I leave all of the seeds in all
>of those chile's? Do I "gut" the chile's and roast the peppers
>without? (yup, two questions…glad you were counting)

Roast the peppers? Why are you roasting the peppers?
If you want to add a smokey element as Dan and I do,
then you can use Liquid Smoke (Dan), Lapsang Sochong
smoked chinese tea (Chuck) or smoked dried jalapenos
(chipotles, available from Penzeys or your local
hispanic grocery).

Not sure about how Dan does it, I just pull the stems
off my jalapeno peppers (or whatever kind of peppers
you want) and run them through a food processor on
the 1mm blade. Yup, maximum exposure to the heat-
causing elements.

>I've got an itch to make a capsicomel for little other reason than I have
>the honey and I'm intrigued by a jalapeno salsa my wife's aunt makes. Hot
>and spicy but sweet enough to balance the hot and spicy. I could eat this
>stuff by the gallon.

>Contrast that with the jabanero mead that Micah entered into the Big and
>Huge. This baby should be registered with the ATF as a weapon!!!

Hmmmm. Sounds good!

>What say ye? To leave the seeds or not? I expect to leave "some" of the
>seeds but really don't want to end up with rocket fuel. I like to drink my
>mead, not cook with it. How many peppers to use? We don't necessarily
>need exact recipes but some discussion of persons experiences might be

Well, it sounds like you're not quite up to chilehead
status yet, Nathan. I used 5 pounds of chiles and a
couple of pounds of ginger in my last 5 gallon batch.
And yes, it's pretty darn hot and spicy. But, you know,
once you burn out your taste buds with the first sip,
and your endorphins start flowing, you don't seem to
mind it much after that. Now the batch that Ken tasted
was a 2001 batch that only used 3 pounds (I think) of
jalapenos in a 5 gallon batch. It was still pretty
warm, but had died down quite a bit from initial

Why don't you try a smaller batch with just a few peppers
to see if you really want to do this… :?>)

Geneva, IL

PS. Planet Buzz was a wonderous experience. BRAVO Ray Daniels, BRAVO!

Subject: capsimel
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 2002 23:26:27 -0700 (MST)

First off, a minor point: What are we calling a mead with chiles added?
I've seen capsicumel and (just this past MLD or so) capsicomel. Some
years back we were saying capsimel, which I kinda like better. It's
shorter, and the longer form is actually picking up the suffix for the
latin genus name into the middle of the word. (Plus if we dump that one
we don't risk tripping the email censors.) And the stuff that makes it
hot is capsaicin, so I suppose somebody could make a case for capsamel!

As to how to deal with the heat or adjust it, the first point is that
alcohol is better than water at extracting capsaicin, so watch out. 'course
if you heat the chiles by dumping a hot must over them, that'll break them
down enough to release the heat.

I think those of us of a southwestern persuasion tend to forget that not
everybody knows how chiles work. The capsaicin is concentrated in the
pale inner material (scientifically, the "placenta") to which the seeds
are attached. The seeds can be pretty hot too. So if you want to bring
up the heat, use the whole chile, and break it up. If you're more inter-
ested in the flavor, carefully cut out the inside, split the chile, and
pull off the membrane-like material that goes out to the external flesh.
Don't freeze your chiles before processing; if you do, you'll break down
the cells that contain the capsaicin and mix it all in.

I once used a pound of chiles per gallon. The chiles were pretty hot, but
I carefully seeded and removed insides. I was intending to get a hot mead,
which I did…the batch name was "Devil Hates a Coward". The result was
definitely a "sipping" mead, but not weapons-grade for folks accustomed
to southwestern food.

If the chiles are at all hot or you're at all sensitive, use gloves to
handle them. The lightweight disposable gloves work just fine as long as
they don't get torn up and leak. And, it can't be repeated too many times:
after handling chiles: Don't rub your eyes. Don't pick your nose. And
guys, think carefully before answering nature's call!!

Finally, a couple of references…I think these are particularly good, and
they will help you understand what's going on, plus work around some of the
identification mistakes you're likely to encounter. For example, "pasilla"
is misused so often it probably can't be trusted, and "ancho" and "poblano"
are constantly confused in various ways. (An ancho is just a dried ripe

_Peppers_:_The_Domesticated_Capsicums_, Jean Andrews, University of Texas
Press, Austin, TX, 1984. ISBN 0-292-76486-3 standard scholarly reference
on capsicum peppers.

_The_Great_Chile_Book_, Mark Miller, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA, 1991.
ISBN 0-89815-428-6 Mark Miller is the chef and preceptor of Coyote Cafe
in Santa Fe, NM.


Subject: Light and Sparkling Mead
From: Susan P Smith <>
Date: Sat, 16 Nov 2002 14:42:46 -0500

I'm pretty new at this mead making. I made a great perry from the sand
pears that grow here in Florida. I was looking for something light,
sparkling and not too alcoholic and an original gravity of 1.06 turned
out just right. I was wondering if that translates to mead. I wish to
make a light sparkling raspberry mead from Tupelo honey and frozen
raspberries I bought in bulk. All the recipes I see for mead seem to call
for huge original gravities and most meads I taste are too sweet (even
the "dry" ones). Does anyone have experience making meads with og around
1.06? Is four pounds of raspberries enough to lightly flavor 5 gallons of


Sue Smith

Subject: Avocado Mead
From: Bill Taylor <jazz@QNET.COM>
Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 15:12:00 -0800

Hi meadmakers!

I'm getting the mood for making another batch, and I'm thinking about doing
an Avocado Mead. Anyone ever done one? Got any tips?

I've made lots of mead in the past, both good and bad, but the Avocado Mead
has me a little intimidated due to its strong flavor. The sample I had
definitely had strong molasses notes to it. I had been thinking about 18
pounds in a 5 gallon batch, but that strong flavor has made me rethink
that. I want the character of the honey and a medium sweet finish,
usually, but is that appropriate here?



End of Mead Lover's Digest #970