hist-brewing: Re: pumpkin mead

-Tevildo. tevildo at hotmail.com
Mon Nov 29 08:27:04 PST 1999

I recently made a wine of sorts in a pumpkin, although by now I suppose you 
could call it pumpkin rum. Basically I cut off the top, scooped out the 
seeds, and started throwing stuff in. Nutmeg, cloves, bark cinnamon, 
ginger... I kinda went nuts on the spices, since I'm so used to making 
pumpkin pie (if anyone wants a terrific recipe, email me) then I filled it 
up with as much brown cinnamon as would fit, and doused the whole mess with 
strong tea. When I pitched the yeast it took off like a rocket. A bit of 
mold started on the outside after a couple days, but I cleaned the skin once 
and it never happened again. The whole thing had saturated with alcohol by 
that point, so I had no further infection problems. There were two 
difficulties I encountered: the pumpkin overflowed (okay because I had it in 
an enameled pot covered with plastic wrap), and the top got too mooshy and 
wouldn't stay on. I pictured the whole gourd eventually imploding and making 
a big mess, so three weeks after starting it I sliced up the pumpkin and 
dumped it all in a fermenter with some more brown sugar. It's now going 
crazy again, stronger than anything I've ever seen. I plan to strain it all 
tonight, and keep adding sugar until the yeast dies. Plain baking yeast, by 
the way. Red Star, I think. It's already very potent, but it will need to 
age for a long while. As far as mead goes, the spices are up to you, but 
don't expect a really explosive fermentation like I had (as the honey really 
slows it down--there's some chemical in it that interferes with the yeast). 
Don't expect your pumpkin to hold together for two months either. You will 
definitely want it to be a sweet mead, so add more honey than you think 
you'll need and be ready to add more later. Also, use tea. I don't know the 
exact mechanics of it, but the tea really helps out. Have fun and good luck. 

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