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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Mead with "legs" & high alcohol content.
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Old 03-30-2009, 06:53 PM   #1
Mike-H
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Default Mead with "legs" & high alcohol content.

Ok, so I have been brewing beer for a while and I am pretty good at that process. I once traded someone some brew for some "prickly pear cactust mead" and it was the BEST stuff i've ever had, I LOVED it. This stuff, while still needed a bit of aging, was great. It had a high alcohol content (brewer claims 18%) and well defined "legs" that ran down the glass after a swirl or a sip. Now on to my dilema!

I live near about 200+ wineries. Some of them make mead. I have tried about 15 different varieties of commercial mead and NONE of them come close to what I had above. NONE of them have the sort of "legs" (most have NO legs at all) I describe or the alcohol content i'm looking for (above 15%). I am trying to make mead and I have no interest in making a mead that looks and tastes like a wine. I want that thickness and punch to it that the mead I tasted previously had. Over the weekend I purchased 15 lb's of honey, yeast nutriant, irish moss and 2 packets of champagne yeast.

Since I liked the prickly pear mead but cant get prickly pears and dont want to order them, I am going for a "pear" flavored mead. I REALLY WANT high alchohol and thick LEGS on this batch. Can someone describe a recipe that would produce what it is i'm looking for?

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Old 03-30-2009, 08:04 PM   #2
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Was there any residue at the bottom of the bottle you traded? Did the legs feel like carbonation?

If the mead was thick, then it was definably a heavy dry mead. I would suggest 20lbs of light honey, and your two packets of champagne yeast is perfect. Also don't forget your pectic enzymes and yeast energizer.

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Old 03-30-2009, 08:39 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by digdan View Post
Was there any residue at the bottom of the bottle you traded? Did the legs feel like carbonation?

If the mead was thick, then it was definably a heavy dry mead. I would suggest 20lbs of light honey, and your two packets of champagne yeast is perfect. Also don't forget your pectic enzymes and yeast energizer.
I dont recall any residue... The legs did not feel like carbonation even though the meet was very very mildly carbinated (this was intentional). It was definitly a bit syrupy which is what was causing the "legs".

The mead was the recipe for Papazian's "Prickly pear cactus mead". I have that damn book & recipe somewhere but cant find it.
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Old 03-30-2009, 09:43 PM   #4
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I'm surprised that you can't find any prickly/cactus pears locally, I'm able to get them all year round here in Eastern Canada.

Sounds like an excellent project regardless, best of luck!

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Old 03-30-2009, 09:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike-H View Post
The mead was the recipe for Papazian's "Prickly pear cactus mead". I have that damn book & recipe somewhere but cant find it.
A quick web search brought up 8-10 hits on this. I don't think the sherry wine yeast is still available, but I know Red Star used to make it. Also, with an ending gravity of 1.050, this is some pretty sweet **** and it's no wonder you can't find a commercial equivalent. I doubt I've ever tasted a commercial mead this sweet! Also, there's no wonder there was "legs" on the glass you tried. Residual sweetness is a main contributor to legs and I doubt the sherry yeast could produce 18% mead, as evidenced by Papazian's FG, though I could be wrong.

This is Dave Spaulding's version that won the grand prize at the 1986 Arizona State Fair.
Ingredients:

* 20 pounds, Mesquite honey
* 75-100, ripe prickly pear cactus fruits
* 2 packs, sherry wine yeast

Procedure:
See Papazian's book. This recipe was based on it.
Specifics:

* O.G.: 1.158
* F.G.: 1.050
* Secondary Ferment: 5 months
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