Capsicumel foam

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AODWITT

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20180508_112146.jpg Hello,
I'm pretty new to mead making. I am trying a capsicumel. Recipe is; 10 jalapenos frozen then cut into discs, 4lbs local honey, water to bring the total volume to 1 gal, and I'm using EC1118 yeast.
My problem is this foam, I have never had this on a mead before. I have used the EC 1118 before with out this problem, I have also used this brand of honey before with out this problem. Which leaves the jalapenos. I got them from my local grocery store, washed them before I froze them, and again before I cut them up to add them to the must. I also am pretty sure its not the jug, I don't use soap to clean them, I use one step.
Every day I have to pull my airlock and wash it out and fill it up again because the foam gets into it and contaminates the water.
The fermentation is going well, it's bubbling well(not super vigorous)I don't use energizers or any additives. The smell is a very pleasant jalapeno pepper smell. All in all I think its gonna be a good mead, I'm just concerned about this foam.
 

bernardsmith

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Hi AODWITT, and welcome. Can't think why this might be a real worry. Honey isn't a manufactured commodity. At different times of the year and from different pollen sources honey can have more or less proteins that can cause more or less foam. The easiest solution (IMO) is to ferment in a food grade bucket loosely covered with a lid or towel rather than a carboy sealed with a bung and airlock. You can use the carboy as your secondary vessel after active fermentation has ceased. Bottom line you want to have a few inches of headroom (at least) in your primary and none in your secondary.

That said, 4 lbs of honey in a gallon vessel is a lot of sugar. That starting gravity is probably around 1.140 and the nominal potential ABV would be greater than 18%. I doubt that any yeast - including champagne yeasts such as EC 1118 can hit that note. But if you like a hot (alcohol) hot (pepper) mead that is sweet then it looks like you may be on target, though it may take longer than you think for this mead to be pleasantly quaffable.
 
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AODWITT

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Ok, so proteins in the honey providing surface tension making foam.
I figured 10 jalapenos would provide a fair amount of heat, i wanted it to be very sweet when it was finished fermenting to kind of cover up the heat. That way it would be less "my mouth is on fire" and more "warmth the whole way down". As for how long it takes to get there, I don't mind waiting. 1 gal usually makes me 4 wine bottle and one half bottle left over. I cork the 4 full ones and leave them in the basement to age. The half I put into a swing top and put it in the fridge and drink it in the next few days. Then the wife and I drink and talk about what we like, what we don't, what to do different, what to do next time, etc.
 
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AODWITT

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I just wanted to come back and let people know that this mead came out as one of my best. If I did it again I would do it in a bucket
The recipe is:
10 jalapenos washed then frozen 24 hours. Washed again and cut into 0.5cm wide discs. I left the seeds because I like heat, if you don't then this would be a good time to remove the seeds. Then add 4lbs of honey to your vessel, add the jalapeno slices, and fill to one gal with water. I used EC 1118 because I wanted it to be hot alcohol in addition to hot spicy. The High starting gravity leads to unfermented sugars, the sweetness balances the heat. What you get is the initial smell of peppers, the first tastes are the lightness of the honey on the tip of your tongue then a "full" mouth feel quickly followed by the heat on the back of your tongue and roof of you mouth.
 

Deafmeadmaker

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My Serrano Mead got stronger during aging. The alcohol taste mellowed out and you definitely feel the burn. It makes a hell of a Bloody Mary.
 
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AODWITT

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Funny you should say that. "I bet this would make a really good Bloody Mary" -my wife. I only make 1 gallon, my fear is that this wont last long enough to age.
 
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