Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #1190, 11 June 2005

Mead Lover's Digest #1190 Sat 11 June 2005


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



mead taxonomy (Dick Dunn)
Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1189, 7 June 2005 ("Dennis Key")
Clearing a Cyser (David Bone)
Re: Capsimels ("Dan McFeeley")
mango mead (Linda Short)
Re:Re: Carbonating Mead (Robert Keith Moore)


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Subject: mead taxonomy
From: Dick Dunn <>
Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2005 10:41:22 -0600

In Mead Lover's Digest #1188, 3 June 2005, David Collins-Rivera
<> wrote:

> After some discussions on Gotmead, and a lot of personal thought on the
> subject, I've put together the following list in an attempt to put some
> order into the various kinds of meads out there. I'd really love feedback.

> The natural question at this time might be, "Isn't all this too much?" Well,
> to be honest, I don't think it's even close to enough…

My reaction, and probably that of most others, is that it is way too much.
Remember that standards can only lead a little bit, or they'll be ignored.

> … It might be remembered,
> however, that the bewildering number of wine-specific names and terms that
> have been routinely used in the industry has certainly not hurt wine sales
> in the United States, nor has it home winemaking …

Please explain more. I don't see a lot of wine-specific names other than
those used for (a) grape varieties (cultivars) and (b) place names. And
with those, keep in mind that they've developed slowly, over centuries.

Personally, I wish you'd start by correcting existing terms. Examples:

> HYDROMEL – A lower alcohol mead, often, but not exclusively, produced by
> dilution…
This is wrong, both historically and linguistically. "Hydromel" has only
meant "weak mead" since 1980 and only in the US, as a result of one error
in one book (enthusiastically perpetuated by folks who like to hang
labels on things!). It conflicts with historical usage in English,
definitions in contemporary dictionaries, and cognates in other languages.
Why do we have to perpetuate this bit of ignorance?

> CAPSICUMEL — (a.k.a., Capsumel) Mead made with chile peppers.
The variant term is capsimel, and perhaps rolls off the tongue better.

> CYSER — Honey and apples or apple cider (apple juice in Europe) fermented
> together. Can also be made with peach, cherry or pear cider.
Please, no. "Cyser" refers only to the use of apples. Peach, cherry, and
pear would fall into the "melomel" category unless you want to make up new
names for those. It would be better to avoid "cider" and just say "juice"
to avoid the US-based confusion.

> OMPHACOMEL — Pyment made with verjuice, the juice of unripe grapes.
This is the first time I've seen omphacomel identified with verjuice rather
than just grape juice. What's your source on this?

> RHODAMEL — Specifically, a mead made with attar, a rose …
(spelling should be rhodomel)

> OXYMEL – Mead mixed with vinegar. Traditionally, wine vinegar was used, but
> other kinds are possible too…
Gayre suggests that oxymel is mead, vinegar, salt, perhaps water. But in
context it's not clear whether it was meant for internal consumption or
topical use!

> SACK MEAD — A sweeter straight, show, or varietal mead, with more honey.
> Often indicates a high ABV.
Another term that's fallen on disreputable use. "Sack" was a fortified dry
wine. Although it's now often used to mean "sweet" as well, the word
itself means "dry" (cf French "sec"). It would be more helpful and
consistent if "sack" were used uniformly to mean a strong mead, perhaps
modified by "sweet" or "dry". (Sorry Falstaff.) The conflict in that
simple approach, though, is that "Dry Sack" is a trademarked name.

> BRACKET — Beverage made from malt and honey, fermented separately, and then
> mixed. The mead portion of this drink may be of any other mead type.
Too confusing to separate bracket and braggot, as they're simply variant
spellings of the same word.

> "MEADE" — Generic name for any beverage made from a mix of grape or fruit
> wine and non-fermented honey. NOT a true mead.
Another trademarked term; should NOT be used to describe a category.

Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA

Subject: Re: Mead Lover's Digest #1189, 7 June 2005
From: "Dennis Key" <>
Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2005 10:28:12 -0600

Capsicumels: In reply to Dick Adams, yes the final ABV was in the
vicinity of 20%. That's why I treated it as a dessert mead and that
worked very well. Your additional advice about handling habeneros is
very well taken. One has to remember they seem to be only one step
below pepper spray in strength (probably not, but who can tell when
you're writhing on the ground trying hard to breath!)

Carbonating sweet meads from Douglass Smith: I read of a technique
where the mead is fermented to the sweetness and alcohol level you
desire then bottled (crown caps or wired champaign corks only) while
still fermenting. It was allowed to ferment in the bottle for about a
week to produce the desired carbonation level then pasteurized at 140
degrees for 20 minutes with home canning equipment to kill the yeast. I
know the pasteurization temperature for raw honey is more like 160
degrees, but 140 is sufficient to kill off the yeasty beasties.

I haven't tried this and have no idea if you might produce bottle bombs
along the way. I would make a one-gallon batch and experiment with four
days (for example) a week and 10 days after bottling before
pasteurizing–being careful, of course, for the possibility of exploding
bottles. Wear industrial strength rubber gloves and a full face shield
when handling them.

I once visited the Olympia brewery in Washington and they used a similar
technique. After the beer was bottled it was run through a giant
pasteurizing bath at 140 degrees.

If you try this, please post your results. This is an ongoing
question–how to get naturally-carbonated sweet mead. Of course, force
carbonating it at bottling will produce the same result. CO2 is CO2
whether you produce it naturally or use a force carbonation rig.

One of our emergency room attendings told me that during medical school
he would buy the cheapest white wine he could find and put it in a
corney keg connected to a CO2 cylinder and tap all of which he kept in
his fridge. He called it champaign on tap and was a real hit at
parties. I don't see why the same technique wouldn't work with a sweet
mead. The blanket of CO2 would keep oxidation down. You can make a
nifty mead cooler with a small fridge to contain the keg and CO2
cylinder. Drill a hole in the side to mount the spigot and you're in
business! All the hardware is available at most brewstores. If you can
find an old but serviceable biermeister (popular in the 60s and 70s for
cold beer on tap at home) you'd really be in luck.

Dennis (the Greywolfe)

Subject: Clearing a Cyser
From: David Bone <>
Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2005 12:38:32 -0400 (EDT)

Hello all,

I'm a newby to this site and just a novice meadmaker. I made my third

batch of cyser and, unlike the first two batches, it hasn't cleared
upon standing. It was made with 5 gal of cidermill cider and 16# of
honey, using sweet mead yeast. The first two batches I made both
became crystal clear upon standing and were racked and bottled clear.
This third batch hasn't cleared. It has been racked twice and after
the 2nd rack, a pint of apple juice concentrate was added to see if it
would clear up. The stuff tastes great but it is still cloudy in
appearance. What suggestions would you make to help me clear up the
cyser? Thanks


Subject: Re: Capsimels
From: "Dan McFeeley" <>
Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2005 12:44:07 -0500

On Thu, 2 Jun 2005, in MLD 1188, Denis Key wrote:

>Re: Capsicumels: I tried a green chile mead several years ago
>using roasted, medium to hot Hatch, New Mexico green chiles.
>I used a quart freezer baggie full, peeled, seeded and rinsed for
>six gallons–two of which were honey and a champaign yeast.
>I put them in the primary then racked off at one month. Close
>to the end of fermentation, I added some lemon juice and a
>dash of citric acid. I still have some bottles that are about
>12 years old and I'm afraid they still aren't very good.
>There is a heavy roasted green chile taste that is pleasant
>on a tortilla but not very good in a mead.

How dry is the mead? If it fermented out to dryness that might
be what is causing the problem. You can either backsweeten
with more honey or blend with a sweeter mead. The extra
sweetness might balance out the heavy roasted green chile

>So, the next thing I tried was an habanero capsicumel . . . .

This recipe sounds really good . . . gotta try that one soon!
Thanks for posting it.

Oh yeah, couldn't tell if Dick Adam's advice to wear painter's
gloves underneath dishwashing gloves, painter's mask, and
protective eyeware was tongue in cheek or not. That's some
pretty heavy duty environmental protection. I wear a single
pair of hospital gloves when cutting chiles, no mask or
eyeware, and if I'm simply eating a raw habanero, I just
pick it up, munch on it, with no protective gear whatsoever.
Same thing with hot salsas — no protective gear.

But no, you don't want to rub your eyes, wipe your nose,
or perform the act of micturition after handling chiles.


Dan McFeeley

Subject: mango mead
From: Linda Short <>
Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2005 17:28:11 -0700 (PDT)

I just bought two cases of mangos yesterday.

One case was overripe and I dressed and froze them immediately. The second
was not quite ripe and I am letting them ripen for a bit.

I want to make mango mead. I am planning on using the first case to make
mead and then adding the second case after first or second racking.

Does anyone have a mango recipe similar to my Plan A?


  • -Linda-


Subject: Re:Re: Carbonating Mead
From: Robert Keith Moore <>
Date: Wed, 08 Jun 2005 18:07:21 -0700

I love sparkling meads, on the average I find that 1/2 cup corn sugar
will prime 5 gallons of mead. I never add yeast at that stage. If the
primed mead is dry there should be enough residual yeast still
suspension to give a nice fizz in 6 to 12 weeks. Sometime you need
longer, but what's the rush. A sweet meat will only carbonate in the
bottle if the yeast is not at its limit. If you use a yeast rated at 14%
and you are at 10% and the mead is sweet, it will probably carbonate if
you bottle it. If the mead is at 18% and sweet it probably will not
carbonate because the yeast has gone beyond its limit. I make champagne
like pyments with chardonnay and muscat grapes every season and they sit
about a year before we drink them. They are carbonated in eight weeks
but taste better after some aging. You can prime with honey but there is
no reliable way to judge how much because honey is different all the
time. Force carb is good if you have a party and a keg. I do it every
4th of July with a ginger mead so we can have ginger ale. I believe you
need a special bottling device to bottle under pressure.

Hope this helps you.

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1190