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Old 12-05-2010, 04:02 PM   #1
mfayj
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Default prickly pear wine

The best homemade wine I have EVER tasted was from prickly pears. Since I am in West Texas, I was able to collect enough of the fruit in one day to get about a gallon of pretty concentrated juice. Now I can't seem to find any instruction on how much I should/shouldn't dilute it before making wine from it. Any advice?
By the way, I normally brew beer. This will be my first attempt at wine.

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Old 12-05-2010, 08:49 PM   #2
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The best mead I have ever made was a prickly pear mead. I used the following recipe which is by by Charlie Papazian how did you juice your fruit? I just boiled it and used pectic enzyme.



* 20 lbs. (9.1 kg) light honey (mesquite is preferred, but clover, alfalfa or other light honeys will produce superb results)
* 5-6 lbs. (2.3-2.7 kg) red, ripe prickly pear cactus fruit
* 1/4 tsp (0.6 gm) powdered yeast extract (nutrient)
* 1 T (8.1 gm) pectin enzyme (optional)
* 1 oz. (28.4 gm) dried and rehydrated wine or Champagne yeast. Sherry yeast can also be used as an addition. Champagne yeast works very well in combination with sherry yeast.

Target Original Gravity (Original Plato/Balling): 1.130-1.150 (30-35 degrees Plato)

Final Gravity (Plato/Balling).: 1.025-1.050 (6-12.5 degrees Plato

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Old 12-10-2010, 05:30 PM   #3
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I skinned them and boiled them in a little water for a few minutes. I torched the pricklies off them first, then poured boiling water over them and let it sit for a few minutes to loosen the skins. So much juice came out just getting the skins off I didn't have to add much water to the fruit to get all that juice, which is probaby why it's so concentrated.
I have been wanting to make mead but haven't yet. Papazian's book is a little vague on how long it takes... how long does it take to clarify usually? Some friends are getting married and I want to give them mead for a present but I don't know if there's enough time if I start it now. Also, what is your source for the honey?
The prickly pear mead sounds excellent. I will have to try that too. Thanks!

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Old 12-11-2010, 05:19 AM   #4
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Prickly pear mead was the first melomel I ever attempted, and it's still probably the best I've made. I cooked my fruit for about 20 minutes--never actually bringing it to a full boil. I mashed then strained and the results were wonderful. Curiously, the rich burgundy color it starts with doesn't last. By the time my last bottle was drunk, it had faded to a pale pink, like watered-down white zin. I've been collecting prickly pear fruit this fall for a new batch. As soon as the plum wine in my primary is finished cooking, I'm going to start another prickly pear melomel. The prickly pear flavor is surprisingly delicate, so it works well with mead if you use enough.

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Old 12-12-2010, 09:03 PM   #5
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the longest part may be waiting for the mead to clear before bottling charlie says 3 months to a year, until clarity but since you didn't boil the fruit for two hour like he does it may go faster. The fermentation can be done in a month especially if you stabilize the mead to prevent fermentation in the bottle. But you would want to wait a year to drink it. Depending on when the wedding is you could probably give them a bottle but then they would have to age it. I buy my honey from some one local and in bulk. But I have heard of others having success with the cheapest walmart honey too I would suggest something light so the flavor of the prickly pears shines through. When you juiced did you use an electric juicer or did you press the fruit and sieve? what was the yield like?

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Old 12-12-2010, 09:19 PM   #6
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By the time I got the skins off, the fruit were so soft and juicy I just added a little water, boiled for like ten minutes, then pressed the juice through a strainer. I had about two plastic grocery bags packed with ripe fruit, and ended up with just over a gallon of juice. But I think the yield could be improved by diluting it just a little, because it really is super concentrated.
I'm excited about the mead. There's a local source with desert flower honey - which I think would make a great complement to the prickly pear if it weren't so expensive. The floral tones are kind of spicy but still subtle enough to not compete with the pears. Maybe I can work out a deal with the beekeepers. Otherwise I'll probably buy in bulk from the homebrew supply Web site I usually use.
This conversation is making me thirsty.

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Old 04-08-2011, 06:57 PM   #7
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How did this come out so far?

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Old 04-11-2011, 05:41 PM   #8
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It's looking great. I decided to do wine, and used - I think it was a champagne yeast that was also recommended for non-grape fruits. Been tasting it as I rack, and it seems to be coming along just like I want it to. The final rack and bottling is still a couple months away because I dragged my feet getting started, but I'm getting pretty excited about it! The stuff I've had in the past was absolutely delicious.

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Old 04-12-2011, 01:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfayj
It's looking great. I decided to do wine, and used - I think it was a champagne yeast that was also recommended for non-grape fruits. Been tasting it as I rack, and it seems to be coming along just like I want it to. The final rack and bottling is still a couple months away because I dragged my feet getting started, but I'm getting pretty excited about it! The stuff I've had in the past was absolutely delicious.
Maybe instead of a wedding gift it can be an anniversary gift? By the way, I am getting jealous of all of you and your wild fruit availability. I had a pear tree in my yard at my old house, but didn't make wine back then.
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Old 08-18-2011, 09:42 PM   #10
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Quick question, how many of the pears make up about 5-6 lbs?

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