View Full Version : Thick substance in cactus pear mead

01-18-2008, 02:02 PM
Last weekend I attempted to make cactus pear mead. I found a recipie in a book and tried to follow it as close as possible. I used about 15lbs of honey and approx 18 cactus pears. I boiled the chopped up cactus pears with spring water for about 2 hours and skimmed any foam off the surface. I then placed cold spring water and boiled must in a 6 gallon carboy with enough space left to prevent foam over. I let it cool for a couple of hours before pitching the yeast. When I went to pitch the yeast i noticed that the top six inches of the carboy had a thick substance in it. Then a day later it is fermenting like crazy and theses small chunks are floating all around in the mead. My question is should I dump this batch out and forget about or is this batch still ok? What is the substance? Any feed back would be helpfull. Thanks!

01-18-2008, 03:02 PM
My guess is pectin.

Did you add pectic enzyme? If not what you have is jelly/jam in the carboy.

I think you made cactus pear jam and dumped that in. Not to worry, add some pectic enzyme soon and you should be fine.


01-19-2008, 03:01 AM
Boiling was definitely not your friend. You loose so many aromatics and flavors by heating it up. AND you add the activation of the pectin by heating. Heat will definitely aggravate the problem.Although it's still early, I'll go with liff's answer about pectins.

Chunks are normal in an early fermentation. Don't worry about them, they are a lot of fun to watch.

I'd be more worried about your clearing later though. Unless you add some pectic enzyme your mead will (I bet) be hazy and never really clear.

Did you follow Papazian's recipe? I guarantee haze. Boiling and heat are not your friend. And you definitely don't need to add gypsum. Forget everything you know about beer and read the FAQ's and forums here for REAL results: not 20-30 year old conversions of mead from beer.

01-19-2008, 05:07 AM
lol i think im going to try to expand a little on wildahos last thought there.....

most people that used to make mead didnt really make mead, they made whatever they were used to making, but they used honey instead of their normal sugar source. in beer you always boil, sometimes add gypsum, sometimes use irish moss, so beer brewers who made mead boiled, sometimes added irish moss, sometimes added gypsum etc... its not that those guys were idiots, its just that there have been alot of advances in meadmaking that arent reflected in most brewing books becasue most of them were written before people started getting together and comparing results about mead in order to come up with some information about specifically making mead in order to improve their mead making skills. after having done so for a while, people have come to a few general agreements ( i say general becasue there are some people who still disagree on some of it). dont boil, dont add acid uprfont, dont use gypsum or irish moss, etc..... youll have to pick the rest up as you read through recipes on here.

if you see a recipe somewhere or if you have an idea then run it past the people that are on here, they have been a great source of info and help to me and ive only been at for about 18 months. generally they will respond with their personal experiences and you can decide for yourself from there.

im not gonna comment on your recipe cuz i dont have anything to add.

01-19-2008, 09:34 AM
Hey Guy!

Prickley Pear (opunta) is very muscilaginous. I suspect that it is the gelatinous plant fluids. I'd leave it as it will have alot of flavor. Well, about as much flavor as PP cactus can cough up, anyways.
Good luck and keep us posted.


01-19-2008, 05:05 PM
I've actually read that boiling a prickly pear helps break down the sticky sap-stuff in the fruit. You might set pectin in the process, but that's easier to clear up than the goop from a raw fruit.

I added a prickly pear (which I boiled before adding) to a cyser and it cleared with some pectic enzyme.