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Old 11-02-2013, 07:36 PM   #1
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Default My first attempt at pumpkin pie mead

Got a 2-liter starter of lalvin 1118 sitting on the kitchen counter. My 6.5-gallon carboy is sanitized and waiting. There's almost fifteen pounds of honey given to us by friends with their own hives. Three carving pumpkins and two pie pumpkins are standing by.

The plan for tomorrow is to chunk, grill, and puree the pumpkins. Yes, grill. None of that sissy roasting for these lovely orange orbs. A portion of the puree will go into the carboy and a portion will be frozen to be added to the secondary when the time comes.

Nothing but the honey and puree will be added to the primary. The pumpkin may add a bit of flavor in the primary. But experience tells me very little will carry through. So the puree will be mostly for color and yeast food.

Since the pie pumpkins supposedly have more flavor I'll be saving the puree from them for the secondary. The secondary will also get the requisite spices.

Here's an exciting shot of the rehydrating yeast and the starter flask. That's a bit of honey and yeast nutrients in the flask. One of the quarts of honey is just to the left of the flask.



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Old 11-02-2013, 07:54 PM   #2
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Carving and pie pumpkins ? There's a difference ?

I just don't get pumpkins and squashes...... the few times I've tasted them, they've always seemed bland as hell. I've been left with the presumption that they need a sh1tload of salt/sugar/spices or whatever to make them taste of anything (I'd happily be proved wrong - most likely that when I've tasted these, that they've just been badly prepared/cooked).

I'm wondering if its worth picking one up and seeing if I can find a decent recipe to try while they're in season..........



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Old 11-03-2013, 08:07 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by fatbloke View Post
Carving and pie pumpkins ? There's a difference ?

I just don't get pumpkins and squashes...... the few times I've tasted them, they've always seemed bland as hell. I've been left with the presumption that they need a sh1tload of salt/sugar/spices or whatever to make them taste of anything (I'd happily be proved wrong - most likely that when I've tasted these, that they've just been badly prepared/cooked).

I'm wondering if its worth picking one up and seeing if I can find a decent recipe to try while they're in season..........
In my experience, "pumpkin" flavor is actually the spices that commonly accompany pumpkin, and the actual pumpkin itself is just a delivery vessel for them. That being said, those are some tasty spices...
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Old 11-03-2013, 11:15 AM   #4
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In my experience, "pumpkin" flavor is actually the spices that commonly accompany pumpkin, and the actual pumpkin itself is just a delivery vessel for them. That being said, those are some tasty spices...
I was wondering if that might be the case........

I'll have to have a search for something pumpkin (other than shelled and roasted seeds.....those are great) and follow the recipe meticulously. To try and understand the flavour or whether its all about the additional flavour enhancing. .......
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Old 11-03-2013, 09:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbloke View Post
Carving and pie pumpkins ? There's a difference ?

I just don't get pumpkins and squashes...... the few times I've tasted them, they've always seemed bland as hell. I've been left with the presumption that they need a sh1tload of salt/sugar/spices or whatever to make them taste of anything (I'd happily be proved wrong - most likely that when I've tasted these, that they've just been badly prepared/cooked).

I'm wondering if its worth picking one up and seeing if I can find a decent recipe to try while they're in season..........
Pie pumpkins are much smaller, maybe twice the size of a grapefruit. I haven't found out firsthand yet, but they are supposed to be more flavorful than the "fullsize" pumpkins. Sweeter too.

Pumpkins are quite bland. The flavor is very subtle. Until you grill it. That definitely brings out the flavor. I am amazed at the difference. There are several recipes online for grilled pumpkin. I didn't add anything because I just wanted the pumpkin to come through. But I would suggest using some sort of mildly-flavored oil or even butter to keep the pumpkin from sticking to the grill.

Some of the pumpkin got a bit more done than the rest.

charred pumpkin by SouthernGorilla, on Flickr

You can tell what kind of difference grilling makes. I didn't turn the pumpkin at all, the change on the back is just from the ambient heat of the grill.

raw vs grilled by SouthernGorilla, on Flickr

I grilled all three carving pumpkins. But I decided to only use two. Between the puree and the juice from the pressure cooker two pumpkins added quite a bit of volume to the carboy. I don't want to add too much stuff to primary and end up with only half a jug of mead after filtering the solids out.

I ran the pumpkin through the pressure cooker to help soften it and break it down. That also made it peel like an egg. So getting rid of the outer skin was pretty easy. Then I ran it through the blender to puree it. Finally, I funneled it into the carboy.

I added a fair amount of pectic enzyme to the carboy. So I'm going to leave it alone til I get home from work tomorrow. Then I'll add the honey. The starter is bubbling away nicely. So I'll have some happy, healthy yeast to add. I'm rather confident in this recipe.

This is also the first time I've done anything other than a 1-gallon batch. And I already wish I had stepped up sooner. It isn't much more difficult to do 5-6 gallons than one gallon. But the payoff is much better. This time I know I'll have enough to let it actually age for a change instead of drinking it all within a month.

I'll post more pictures after I pitch the yeast tomorrow.
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Old 11-05-2013, 12:29 AM   #6
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It's all up to the yeast now.

up and running by SouthernGorilla, on Flickr

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Old 11-05-2013, 10:23 AM   #7
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I'm a bit concerned that there doesn't seem to be any activity twelve hours after pitching. No bubbles through the blowoff and no movement in the carboy. The starter had stopped before pitching. Does that mean the yeast have gone dormant and need time to wake back up? Are they all dead? I've never had trouble like this before. The lack of bubbles could just be a poorly sealed cap letting the pressure out rather than sending it through the hose. But I should see some krausen, surface bubbles, or swirling in the carboy by now.

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Old 01-12-2014, 07:56 PM   #8
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Just finished racking to tertiary (there's a word you don't use every day). Secondary involved racking into a bottling bucket, cleaning out the carboy, then racking back into the carboy with five extra pounds of honey. That kicked off and started bubbling gain. So I let it run til it quit and cleared up a bit.

Anyhow, today seemed like a good day to go through the process again. So I racked into the bottling bucket, cleaned the carboy, and racked back into the carboy with another three pounds of honey. I'm curious to see if it takes off and starts bubbling again.

That puts me at about 23 pounds of honey in this 6-gallon batch. So far, it's neither sweet nor terribly potent. There's also no noticeable honey taste. Or pumpkin. But it does have a slight smokiness to it.



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