This mead is an updated version of Charlie Papazian’s Prickly Pear mead. In his book “The Complete Joy of Homebrewing”, Charlie speaks very highly of prickly pear mead enjoyed on a mountain top.
I’ve updated many parts of this recipe to speed up both the processing of the prickly pears and modernizing of the mead making practices. Processing now takes 2 hour instead of 5 hours. This mead is drinkable in a month instead of 6 months to years!
One note: Wear gloves! They are called prickly pears for a reason. Glochids (invisible hair-like prickles) can still exist even on a cleaned pear.
Prickly Pear BOMM - 4 gallons
1. Add 35 prickly pears cut in half to a pot. (~5.5 lbs of prickly pears). Wear gloves!
2. Add around gallon of water to cover.
3. Bring to a boil while mashing with a potato masher, then kill heat.
4. Allow to cool to <100 F.
5. Add 14 lbs of Golden Nectar honey (Mixture of Tulip Poplar, Black Locust, fruit blooms and Clover Blossoms) to a carboy.
6. Once the prickly pear mixture has cooled, strain through a strainer into carboy. This will take a while. I help it by stirring with a spoon.
7. Add 2 gallons of water to carboy.
8. Add 1.6 tsp Fermaid K, 3 tsp Pectinase, 1 tsp K2CO3, and 3.2 tsp Fermaid O. Add Fermaid O again at 1.110.
9. Mix thoroughly. If some honey remains at bottom, it will be fine; however, your gravity reading will be erroneously low.
10. Place fermenter and Wyeast 1388 starter in fermenter to equilibrate temperature.
11. After 2 hours, pitch yeast.
12. Allow to ferment until stabile gravity is reached.
13. Add fresh Meyer’s lemon juice to taste. Add just enough to make the prickly pear pop, but not enough to tell lemon is there. For me, the juice of 1-2 lemons works. Depends on the lemon. Add the zest too if you want more.
14. Add 20 ml of Liquid Oak Fruit Enhancer Plus. Mix and allow to stand for 2 weeks.
15. Bottle and store. While drinkable quickly, it definitely improves with age.
Note: If you have temperature control, I like to start this one at 65 F. Ramp up to 70 F overnight, then 75 F the next day.