Monday, January 19, 2015

Pumpkin Mead Winter 2015

The winter solstice has past and the days are starting to get noticeably longer, but still it's cold out there.  This time of year I do not need to worry about any fermenting to go bad because of too much heat.  My cellar is below 60 and I keep it between 65 and 68 upstairs.  Its a good time to brew in the kitchen here.

I came across this recipe for a pumpkin mead a while ago and it has been sitting in my bookmarks for a while:

Now I'm finally giving it a try.  I started by getting a (sanatized) quart mason jar, putting in four 1/4 cups of water, 1 1/4 cup of Honey, and about a teaspoon of yeast nutrient.  then I pitched in my yeast and let things get to work in there for about  3 days.  I put cheesecloth over the top just to keep anything from getting in there.  Until I invest in a flask and a stir plate this will have to do.

I stirred my starter up as frequently as I could and once the time was up I covered it with my hand, gave it a good shake and pitched it into my must.  I am enjoying the smells of the fermenting process with this one.  It has been going for just over one week so far.  I am aiming at 4 weeks in the primary as the recipe suggested.

Preparing this must fills the house with the smell of roasting pumpkin and the roasted pumpkin is also much easier to remove from the skin than raw, fresh pumpkin.  At the end of the growing season I purchased these three sugar pumpkins at Harper's Farm in Lancaster, MA.  I kept them on my porch all this time hoping the cold would preserve them.  For the most part it did, but one of them was a little soft in the skin from too much sun.  Dark and cold is better.  the pumpkin meat inside smelled great so I used it anyhow and I ended up with about 12 lbs of pumpkin.  I'm going to need a lot of bottles and a good place to store them all.  I am planning on one month in the primary, one month in the secondary, and then one final month in a third fermenter before racking.  This should leave me at 6 months in the bottle by Halloween.  

Judging by the smell of the brew so far It will be great by then, although I wonder if a full year in the bottle might be better.  Let me know if you have experience with meads and how long to age them for their best flavor.