Mead Lover's Digest #1390 Mon 15 September 2008


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



YEast Starter Input (brian white)
Re: Re: cayenne peppers (David Houseman)
My experience w/ hot pepper meads (Arthur Torrey)
2 day primary? (
RE: chili mead ("Vicky Rowe")
Rapid and Slow Mead Oxidation (


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Subject: YEast Starter Input
From: brian white <>
Date: Thu, 11 Sep 2008 09:50:37 -0600


Interesting that you utilize cane sugar for your starter. It makes sense
what you said that the honey is a lot more complex than the cane sugar.
What i was hoping to achieve by using the same honey as i used in my must
was to give the yeast a little taste in order to get acclimated before i
pitched into my carboys. The input I am looking for is just any different
methods etc. using yeast starters for mead. The next batch I am thinking
of trying to use some of my must instead of just honey and see what results
I can achieve. I actually put my last starter in a 1000ml flask and used a
stir plate until i pitched. I have never been as excited as i was watching
the almost immediate fermentation versus waiting days or even a week or
more to notice an active ferment.

Brian White

Subject: Re: Re: cayenne peppers
From: David Houseman <>
Date: Thu, 11 Sep 2008 11:36:31 -0500 (CDT)

In my opinion, it's not the heat from the pepper, whether Jalapeno, Cayenne
or Habanero that is sought after, although some is desireable. Rather it's
the flavor and aroma. That's why I use more of a milder hot pepper, so that
at the same heat level there are more other flavor characteristics present.
Also peppers like Chipolte (smoked Jalapeno) provide more character than
simply a Jalapeno pepper. Take out the veins and seeds so that you are left
with just the meat of the pepper and you'll get more flavor and less heat.

Dave Houseman

Subject: My experience w/ hot pepper meads
From: Arthur Torrey <>
Date: Thu, 11 Sep 2008 12:42:17 -0400

I've made a couple batches of capsicumels, one was great and is gone, the
other is still in secondary, but may get bottled soon.

The first batch, I put about 6 dried habeneros from the grocery store in, by
whizzing them with about a cup of honey in the food processor and adding to
the secondary, along with several slices of candied ginger. This blend
turned out great – I'd have to talk people into trying it, then pry the
bottle out of their hand…

The second batch I made by whizzing up a bunch of habs from my garden, which
were potent but not up to the usual store bought fire levels. Again I
whizzed them with honey, which ended up getting stored in the fridge for a
while before I used it. Not all the habs were ripe, and I think this was a
problem as the resulting brew has a "grassy" after taste to it, which is
slowly going away in secondary bulk aging.

I find the combination of hot peppers and ginger to be an effective combo, as
each brings a different sort of heat to the brew.

Minor lessons –

1. This is not a "big glass" drink – it is more on the order of an "after
dinner cordial glass" drink – a little goes a long way… Therefore bottle
it in "swing top" (Grolsch style) bottles for ease of resealing.

2. Make it sweet, I think my finish SG was on the order of 1.015 – not like
cough syrup, but sweeter than you'd want in a "big glass." This way you get
a "time delay" effect of about 10-20 seconds – the first taste is sweet w/
maybe a touch of spice from the ginger, and then the habenero fire kicks in
and gives that good burn all the way down…

3. Be sure your peppers are fully ripe.


Arthur Torrey
LPMA Operations Facilitator
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Subject: 2 day primary?
Date: Thu, 11 Sep 2008 10:34:07 -0700 (PDT)

I've been playing with my stirrer, and had an interesting result. I made a
half-batch of Ken Schramm's "Hefty Braggot" (from The Compleat Meadmaker),
using a bit extra dried malt extract. I pitched the yeast Monday night into a
1.100 SG must, with the stirrer running slowly. Tuesday morning, the airlock
was bubling away. Tuesday night, there was an almost continuous stream of
bubles. Wednesday morning, it was slightly slowed (I thought it was due to
the cooler nights – I need to look into temperature control). By Wednesday
night, the airlock was almost done (an occasional bubble), and I turned the
stirrer off. It's not Thursday morning, and the airlock is done. I checked
the SG, and got 1.035. I'm moving the braggot into a secondary today.

That's a 65 point drop in SG in just over two days. How does that compare to
a normal fermentation of this (or a similar) braggot?


Peter Ashford

Subject: RE: chili mead
From: "Vicky Rowe" <>
Date: Thu, 11 Sep 2008 13:35:26 -0400

>That is also my experience of chilli beer (Cave Creek chilli beer, I
>think). If I remember correctly it comes with a Jalapeno pepper in
>each bottle. It was quite undrinkable, I think only reasonable as a
>'joke' product.

>I think a hot chilli mead would only be good for spicing up a pot of
>mexican mole, chilli beef, etc. And that might work quite nicely, but
>worth trying with a pint bottle before you ruined a whole couple of
>gallons of good mead!

>Small amounts of chilli I added to a light ale (about 1 green chilli
>pepper/5 gallons) along with some chopped ginger root did impart a
>pleasant tingle, so if you go easy it could work.

I've had a couple of excellent chili meads, one is from Makana Meadery
in South Africa (this stocks out every time they brought it to the IMF),
and last Year at the Home Meadmakers Competition at the IMF, a chili mead
took the competition.
It had smoked chilis in it, and was really excellent. It had heat, but
not so much that It overwhelmed. I was in the final judging panel, and
thought it was excellent, and I'm Not really a chili fan….


Vicky Rowe
Owner & Webmistress,

Subject: Rapid and Slow Mead Oxidation
Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2008 09:58:56 -0400

There was a question about the chemical reactions in the oxidation of
mead.? I had looked into this a while back and compiled some reference
documents on wine oxidation that I forwared to the author.? In my reading
of the limited information on mead and personal experience, my conclusions
or rules of thumb about the differences are as follows:

RAPID oxidation of wines (bad):
A half of a bottle of red wine can readily be stored in the fridge for about
a day or two (a bit more with vacuum).
A half of a bottle of white wine can be stored in the fridge for 2-5 days
without?significant changes.
A half of a bottle of honey wine (mead) can be stored in the fridge for 1-3
months without significant changes.

SLOW Oxidiation of wines (good – e.g. changing some acids to aldehydes,
softening the wines):
White wine reaches its peak in 1-3 years
Red wine reaches its peak in 3-15 years, depending on how full bodied.
Honey wine (mead) reaches its peak in about 30 years.???? (only one reference)

If anyone has different or better numbers, I would be glad to hear about them.

Carl McMillin, PhD
Brecksville, OH

End of Mead Lover's Digest #1390