Mead with "legs" & high alcohol content.

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Mike-H

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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?
 

digdan

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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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Mike-H

Mike-H

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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.
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.
 

SeamusMac

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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!
 

summersolstice

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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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