Mead Lover's Digest #971 Fri 22 November 2002


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



How sweet is sweet? ("Randy Goldberg MD")
Persimmons ("Ron PaulinelliJr.")
Tasteless Mead (Kevin Hahn)
RE: Mead Lover's Digest #970, 17 November 2002 ("Bill & Ramona Kuhn")
Splitting a primary ("Randy Goldberg MD")
Full Circle Brewing Co. Ltd / Los Californios Winery (Chris Johnson)
Capsimels! ("Dan McFeeley")
Stuck Fermentation? ("Rick Horne")


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Subject: How sweet is sweet?
From: "Randy Goldberg MD" <>
Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 21:22:52 -0500

I found some lovely tables at The Bee's Lees on converting starting and
ending SGs to ABV. From that, I can backtrack and calculate what OG I need
to get a specific FG with a specific ABV (or approximately, anyway). The
question, then, is: how do FG's translate into sweetness? Obviously, there
will be individual variations, but is there a rule of thumb?

Also, how does changing SG translate into CO2 production? If I know, based
on OG and yeast characteristics, that my mead should end at, for instance,
1.000, can I safely bottle it at 1.001 and get a sparkler? What about 1.005,
or any other number? I'm afraid that if I've calculated that the FG should
be 1.000, if I wait for it to get there before bottling, even if I prime the
bottles the yeast will have all died because the ABV has reached tolerance,
and I won't get the sparkle.

Any thoughts?



RandomTag: All we are saying is give peace a chance! (John & Yoko)

Subject: Persimmons 
From: "Ron PaulinelliJr." <>
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2002 09:03:52 -0500

I have a chance this week to get several pounds of fresh persimmons
from a friends property . Does any one know of a good recipe for a
persimmon mead? What type of honey would best compliment the flavor?
Should I put the fruit in the fermentation vessel or heat on the stove
like the honey ?
Any help or hints would be great . I have been making meads for 12 years
now. I want to make this one a great batch .

Ron Paulinelli , Marietta Ga


Subject: Tasteless Mead
From: Kevin Hahn <>
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2002 08:29:02 -0600

Hello all,

My first try at mead should be nearing completion. I have been
sampling it at each racking only to find out that it is tasteless. My wife
also agrees. It feels like a dry mead but it has absolutely no taste, ok
maybe just a little taste. I used 10 lbs. of clover honey and 7 lbs. of
peaches for 5 gallons. There is no sediment since the last racking and it is
perfectly clear, so I planned on bottling it soon. Is there something I can
do to give it some sort of flavor? I know this may sound bad to
traditionalists, but I was thinking about adding a flavor extract at
bottling. I planned on using the same fruit flavor extracts I sometimes use
in my beers. Any other suggestions?


Rice Lake, WI

Subject: RE: Mead Lover's Digest #970, 17 November 2002
From: "Bill & Ramona Kuhn" <>
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2002 21:53:50 -0700

I am told that mushroom mead will retain whatever characteristics the
particular mushrooms you use had to start with. Something to think

> 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?

Subject: Splitting a primary
From: "Randy Goldberg MD" <>
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 18:59:24 -0500

I had an idea of starting a mead in primary, then splitting it into several
smaller containers with different flavorings for secondary. Has anyone tried
this? Any advice on how best to go about it? Can I just take 5 gallon
recipes and cut them down to 1 gallon, and add the appropriate amounts of
flavoring agents to the separate secondaries?



RandomTag: No one who is facing the audience should be surprised at court. –
Daniel de Lincolia (modified), "Silverwing's Laws"

Subject: Full Circle Brewing Co. Ltd / Los Californios Winery
From: Chris Johnson <>
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 17:22:01 -0800 (PST)

Los Californias winery

This weekend my wife and I went up to Fresno to check
out Don Anderson's meadery. Don was so friendly to
spend 4 hours of his time to give us a tour and a
mead tasting.
We tried his Pulque (agave wine), Pomegranate,
Straight mead, and some of his Orange mead. All of his
meads were very tasty. I highly recommend, if you're
ever in the Fresno area, to look Don up and try some
of his awesome meads. We drove 200mi to Fresno, it was
worth it every mile.

Here is his address:
Don Anderson
620 F Street, Fresno, CA

Thanks again, Don!
Chris Johnson

Subject: Capsimels!
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 2002 12:01:28 -0600

Nathan Kanous queried:

>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)

The problem with capsimels is working at a balance of flavors while
aiming for a heat level that lends a pleasant background. This is a very
subjective experience. *My* idea of "pleasant" has my wife gasping in
imagined pain at the very aroma of the mead. Chuck Wettergreen has a
taste for hot foods that would make strong men wither and die. Some
time ago I tried a salsa that he said was only moderate, but found the
heat level was something I could barely tolerate.

For my chipotle mead, I just chopped the jalapeno peppers up, seeds
and all. And, for good measure, I added a dab or two of vodka that
had been infused with habenero peppers. For me, and I consider
myself a moderate chile-head, the final result was a nice level of
background heat. Some liked it just fine, others thought it was too


I've also found that these meads can be difficult to judge in
competition, with sometimes widely varying results. Kudos
to Micah Millspaw for placing in the Mazer Cup with a
smoked chile pepper mead!

Capsimels (I'm adding my vote to the earlier, and simpler spelling) are
a little explored territory in meadmaking, IMHO. Chile-heads tend to
be regarded as the Evil Knievels of the cuisine world, odd folk who
do insane things to themselves in the name of pursuing chile pepper
heat. Maybe it's the endorphin rush. Normal people just don't eat
things like that!

It may depend on the culture. When you look at other cuisine styles,
there are a few that go for high heat levels. Ethiopian is one, and they
have a unique mead culture that goes well with this. Other cultures
come to mind . . . Thai, Mexican, African, others. True chile-heads
know the flavors of various chile peppers and vary their recipes
accordingly. For example, few people can handle habanero chile
peppers, but chile-heads know that salsas with citrus ingredients
help enhance the flavor of the habanero.

On flavor pairings — T'ej is the name for Ethiopian mead, something
with so many variations that it amounts to a category, rather than a
specific type of mead. An important ingredient is Gesho, a species
of buckthorn but still unique in its own right. It has been described as
a sort of "woody hops," but nonetheless the flavor is quite different
from hops. (To my knowledge, there are two U.S. meaderies that
produce a Ethiopian style T'ej — Saba Tej in Rutherford New Jersey
and Berrywine Plantation in Maryland.) Genuine Ethiopian cuisine
is quite hot, far hotter than what can be tolerated by the average U.S.
conditioned palate. T'ej, however, seems to be an ideal pairing for
Ethiopian cuisine. Chuck's Smoke 'N Chiles mead has a flavor
profile outlined by chinese smoked tea, ginger, and jalapeno peppers,
and is drier than mine. The ingredients may look unusual but take
my word for it, if you can toleate the heat, it's a wonderful
combination. IMHO, it goes well with chinese cuisine, but I'm
sure there are others. My chipotle mead, also a smoked chile
pepper mead, tastes more like a sweet chipotle pepper and needs
added honey sweetness to balance it off. It seems to pair with things
like goat cheese, maybe Mexican cuisine although I haven't tried
that one.

Different meads, different capsimels, and different flavor profiles,
and, for those with the necessary heat tolerance, a treat for the
palate. Oddly, and maybe this is only a personal experience,
Chuck's Smoke 'N Chiles mead wouldn't taste the same without
the heat. The heat gives a background to the flavor but for me,
it seems to become part of the flavor itself. I'm not sure I can
explain that one . . .


Dan McFeeley

Subject: Stuck Fermentation?
From: "Rick Horne" <>
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2003 19:53:24 -0800

I think my fermentation might be stuck and am not sure what to do about
it. This is my first batch of mead. I used 12 lbs honey, White Labs
Sweet Mead Yeast (2 vials), a little tartaric acid, superfood and yeast
nutrient for a five gallon batch. The initial Specific gravity was 1.086
and after the first racking (4 weeks) was 1.054. There has been no sign
of fermentation in the last 2 weeks and the specific gravity has not
changed. Any suggestions?


End of Mead Lover's Digest #971