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Old 07-24-2007, 02:51 AM   #1
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Default Prickly Pear Mead

Its a good season this year for prickly pear fruit. I've never made it before but figured I'd post my progress on it here. I'm going to make the Papazian recipe (actually Dave Spaulding's from Tucson). I just picked the fruit from my front yard. Here's some pics:

10# prickly pears


Burning the prickers off with the 3-tier


Pear cut open


Inners scooped out


More to come another day (I'm making beer right now!)

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Old 07-24-2007, 03:03 AM   #2
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A little off topic, but we used to make Prickly Pear margaritas at the restaurant, and man were they good. Good luck to you, hope it turns out well.

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Old 07-26-2007, 04:32 AM   #3
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Got to peeling the 10lbs of tunas. 2 hrs to complete. 10# = 5# peeled. Figuratively and literally a painful process. I'd rather bottle beer.

5lb_prickly_pear_peeled.jpg

Sealed and going into the freezer until maybe this weekend if I got the time to get this going.
web_5lb_prickly_pear_sealed.jpg

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Old 07-26-2007, 04:52 PM   #4
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Hey meaders out there, I have some noob questions. I have a question on what yeast to use for this recipe. 1st off I have decided to do the Papazian recipe pretty much verbatim (20# of mesquite honey). My LHBS has this kit that I was going to start out with and buy 5# more honey and use the prickly pear fruit.

My question with only tasting one bottle of mead ever, I want this to not be overly sweet nor too dry. Medium range. As I understand it, the more honey the sweeter it will be but also how far down the yeast will ferment it out is key. This kit comes with two packets of Montrachet yeast. They self describe it as sweet mead and with me adding 5# additional this may not be the right yeast to use. Also this link talks that montrachet gives it an ugly medicinal taste and is not recommened.

I don't have Charlies book in front of me but I think he was rather nonchalant on what yeast to use; or he offered up 3 different styles to use. Any insight? At 20# maybe a champagne yeast?

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Old 07-26-2007, 05:24 PM   #5
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No matter how much honey you have the champagne yeast will attempt to ferment all the sugar up to the high end of its attenuation range.

I've had FGs down to .996. This results in a dry mead.

You can use a sweet mead yeast and take a gravity reading.

If it is too high then you can add some champagne yeast to lower the gravity and add potassium sorbate (PS) to stop further fermentation when it tastes where you want it.

Or you can ferment it out all the way, use PS, then backsweeten.

So many choices...

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Old 07-26-2007, 07:03 PM   #6
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Oye, thanks Bill. You just gave me more multiple choice answers to choose from and a little better understanding of the ferment process of mead. I'll have to pop that charlie book open again to see what yeast he mentioned when I get home. I know one was sherry yeast which I'd assume to leave it sweeter, champagne and one other that I don't recall to use... I was hoping to recreate that award winning mead; but how can they be so non-descript on the friggen yeast?

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Old 07-27-2007, 07:01 AM   #7
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Any AZ meaders out there enter into the Mead Cup for tomorrow?

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Old 07-27-2007, 11:41 AM   #8
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I don't use Montrachet for Meads. I like to use Lalvin-D47 but with that much honey it would be super sweet. Look at the Lalvin 1118 and Lalvin K1-V1116. The 1116 yeast is fast and can hit 18% and maybe even up to the 20% if you do the additions of nutrients and honey in steps. You can count on 12 lbs of honey being a dry mead, 15 lbs being around the medium range and above that it starts getting sweet. If you are adding fruit, it will also have some sugar that will boost the SG.

I would suggest you not use 20 lbs of honey unless you want super sweet! Start it with about 12 lbs and when you move to the secondary add 1 lbs during that racking and an additional 1 lb for the next 2 rackings if needed. Just check the hydrometer before each racking and see where it is at. You can always add more to backsweeten for taste.

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Old 07-27-2007, 01:25 PM   #9
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The amount of sugar in fruit is small, typically 5-10%, so that won't change things much. Fermenting dry & making adds is your best bet.

Never thought about burning the needles off (UA MBA 1981). The few times I messed with them (jelly), I crushed everything and pressed out the juice. Then filtered it to get the rest of the needles out.

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Old 07-27-2007, 01:41 PM   #10
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You have a lot going on with that big mead. If it were me, I'd stick to the initial honey that comes with the kit, and try one of these yeasts.
Lavlin D-47:
Low foaming quick fermenter that settles well. Ferments between 50-86 deg. F. Increases mouth feel of wine and is great in Chardonnay and rose wines. A great choice for mead. Encourages Malo-lactic fermentation. One pack is good for 5 gallons of must.

or Lavlin71-B:
Is a fast starting yeast that ferments well between 59-86 deg. F. It produces a rounder smoother more aromatic wine that tends to mature more quickly. Used by professionals very often for blush wines and residually sweet wines. It produces a significant amount of fruity esters which makes it great for concentrate wines. One pack is good for 5 gallons of must.

If your fermentation sticks, or the residual sweetness after a month or so is too much, you can add K1-V1116 or EC-1118 (champagne)to kick it in the pants.

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