ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Hallowme’ad – my special Halloween mead

Updated on January 23, 2018
James Slaven profile image

James has written for various magazines, including Celtic Guide, Mythology Magazine, and Pagan Forest.

My Hallome'ad, poured a year after making.
My Hallome'ad, poured a year after making. | Source

I love Halloween. I love making mead. What better thing to do then make a mead on Halloween night so that it is holiday-specific? Nothing! So a few years ago, once the family Halloween festivities ended and my own Samhain fun began, I brewed a sack mead with special ingredients, with the final touches being done at midnight.

So after the costume wearing, the trick-or-treating, the Great Pumpkin watching, and the candy testing was over, I pulled out my honey, yeast, bottled water, and “spices.” In most of my meads, I tend to use a lot of honey, as it makes a really high ABV and very sweet mead, termed a sack mead. I also use a sweet mead yeast, to definitely make sure it is sweet, although I have used dry mead yeast before with good results. And why do I use bottled water? Because I live in the country and have well water. Sometimes well water works well (ha!), and sometimes it does not. Rather than risk it, I just buy a few gallons of spring water from the grocery store.

Woohoo!  Halloween!  One of my study's decorations.
Woohoo! Halloween! One of my study's decorations. | Source

My holiday spices for this one were easy: pumpkin pie spice and actual pumpkin. Yeah, pumpkin isn’t a spice, but it was neat to add it in. It gave it some nice depth, if not a lot of flavor. All the holiday flavors came from the pumpkin pie spice. Of course, at midnight, I had to offer a little bit up to all the ghosties and boggles and Shining One that were out and about, pouring a snifter full and leaving it outside. I also gave a toast to the mead gods using my last Reaper Ales’ Deathly Pale Ale (speaking of which, if anyone is reading this in California, feel free to send me a few bottles!).

And of course I had to give a nod to Urien, the Celtic god of heavy metal and Halloween. More accurately, the god of dark bards and Samhain. Same thing, right?

Channeling Urien (2015)
Channeling Urien (2015) | Source

Now, on to the recipe! (Makes around three gallons – I filled up around fifteen 22 oz. bottles)

Ingredients:

  • 10 pounds honey (I get mine from a local apiary, but have occasionally use store bought)
  • 3 ½ gallons water
  • ½ can pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice (for the North American brutes – all spice for the non-American brutes)
  • ½ tsp yeast nutrient (optional)
  • 1 tsp yeast energizer (optional)
  • 1 package/tube sweet mead yeast (or dry mead if you prefer – cider yeast also works fairly well)

Directions:

Heat one gallon of water to a near boil, then flash heat* the honey (pour the honey in to the hot water, stir it to dissolve, then remove from heat – all done quickly). Allow the honey-water mixture to cool, now that you’ve removed from heat, to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. During this cooling phase, add the pumpkin spice first, stirring until dissolved. Then add the pumpkin puree, stirring until dissolved. Once the mixture as cooled, add the yeast nutrient and energizer, again, stirring until dissolved. All that is left is to rack the mixture into your fermentation carboy, and then to add the yeast, swishing it around to aerate.

*Regarding the flash heat: I have a friend who has made terrific meads without heating up the water first, and just stirring the honey into cold water. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this! Honey in general is “creeping thing” free. I tend to flash heat because that’s what I’ve always done and it does kill off any bacteria that may have been canned with the honey, but I do recognize that the odds of this are low.

More channeling (2014)
More channeling (2014) | Source

After a few weeks, rack/move the must (the fermenting mead mixture) over to a secondary carboy. This isn’t necessary, but it helps clarify the final product, as it leaves sediment behind each time you rack it over. After a few more weeks, it’s time to bottle. I made mine a sparkling mead by boiling 6 ounces of honey in water and adding it to the must before bottling. If you prefer a non-sparkling (that is, a non-carbonated) mead, just skip this step. (Psssttt... I actually used 8 ounces to make it really bubbly, to simulate a witch’s cauldron when pouring out, but I also then left more room than usual at the top of the bottle to make sure it didn’t explode! Six ounces is what I would’ve used for a normal carbonation. Make it extra carbonated at your own risk.)

DON’T FORGET!!! SANITIZE EVERYTHING AT EVERY STEP!

I ended up with a final gravity of very close to 1. Making less than five gallons and adding the energizer and nutrients really helps the yeast gobble as much of the sugars as possible. So what was left was a very nice, pumpkin-spiced, 13% mead.

I let it sit for a year, so I could have the first bottle on the next Halloween night. It was worth the wait. It is one of my favorite meads I have made so far, although whether from it being a good recipe or just being imbued with the spirits that were roaming the previous Halloween night, I don’t know. Nor do I care.

Slainte and wassail!

The original jack-o-lantern (turnip)
The original jack-o-lantern (turnip) | Source

© 2016 James Slaven

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)