It’s pumpkin season – or, more accurately, it’s pumpkin mead season! Pumpkin mead can range in sweetness from dry to pie, depending on the amount of honey and spices.
Some mead makers claim this is the best mead they’ve ever tasted. One brewer on Homebrewtalk.com even made his pumpkin mead inside of the pumpkin he hollowed out.
We found a recipe that’s easy and universally adjusted to suit any squash – just make sure you taste and adjust the sweetness for the lack of sugar in the squash you’re using.
Squash Mead Recipe
This Squashed Pumpkin Mead recipe is adapted from Jereme Zimmerman’s Make Mead Like a Viking, out next month.
- 5-6 medium size pumpkins or squashes of any variety
- 1 gallon of water
- 1 package (10mL, 2 tsp) baker’s or brewer’s yeast (substitute 1 cup barm)
- 1 1/2 lbs cane or brown sugar
- 1-2 whole nutmegs, coursely ground or cracked
- 10-12 whole allspice, coursely ground or cracked
- .05 oz cinnamon (optional – our addition)
- The juice of 2 limes or 1 lemon
- 1-2 lbs honey
- Quarter and de-seed the squash and bake at 350F/177C for 20 to 30 minutes, checking regularly for the skin to start browning and the flesh to become soft.
- Allow the squash to cool before peeling off the skin and any remaining seeds.
- Put the cooked squash in a large stockpot and add water. Add all the rest of the ingredients except the honey. Stir until it becomes thick and soupy. Bring to a light boil and let cook for an hour.
- Remove the pot from the heat, put on its lid, and let it cool to room temperature.
- Add the honey and ferment in your preferred fashion.
Fermenting inside a pumpkin shell
When his coworker jokingly suggested he ferment his pumpkin mead in a real pumpkin, home mead maker Aaron took it as a challenge. He shares what he learned on Homebrewtalk.com.
To ferment in a pumpkin shell, hollow out the pumpkin and don’t cook it. Bring these ingredients to a boil in a pot:
- 1 package of yeast (Aaron used D-47)
- 3 lbs honey
- 0.5 oz cinnamon
- 1 oz fresh ground nutmeg
- 1 oz allspice
Boil the ingredients for ten minutes. Once they’re cool, pour into the pumpkin. Add water until the pumpkin is almost full. Ferment in the pumpkin until you see obvious signs of the pumpkin turning bad, such as mold growing around the cut top of the pumpkin, which typically takes around 10 days. Rack into secondary glass fermentation container.
He did not add any yeast nutrient, because he figured the yeast would have all the nutrient it needed from the pumpkin.
IMPORTANT: Before bottling several months after racking, Aaron cleared the mead with TurboKleer, a two-part flocculant.