Prickly Pear Beer
Picture this.. I had just spent the weekend foraging for prickly pears in the local Southern California chaparral. It was a dangerous and tedious business carefully brushing away the thorns and prickly hairs. I managed to snag 3 of them before giving up the hunt. It really didn’t seem worth the effort to even attempt to make beer with 3 lousy pears. The following day I was walking through the produce section of Jons Market on Vermont in Hollywood and noticed a crowd of women hovered around a giant mountain of prickly pear on sale at 5 for 99 cents. (Is this a mind control experiment?) I was in heaven and purchased 10 prickly pears for this 1 gallon beer recipe.
I sliced the prickly pears and made molasses with the fruit inside. They’re a beautiful color.
1 gallon water
2.5 grams Simcoe hops
2.75 grams Cascade hops
1 lb. Briess Pilsen light dry malt extract
2 cups homemade prickly pear molasses
Pinch of Licorice root
Pinch of Irish Moss
Bring water to boil and add DME
Boil extract, licorice root and Simcoe hops for about 20 minutes
Add Cascade hops and boil 5 minutes
Add Irish Moss and Prickly Pear at flameout
Cool to 70 degrees
Aerate and add yeast.
Ferment for 10 days and bottle.
Taste 2 weeks later
Moment of truth tasting
I don’t think I’ve made a prettier looking beer. The pinkish orange color makes this beer feel like it should have either a sweet or tart flavor but it really doesn’t. The hops have tempered any sweetness that might’ve been added by the prickly pear and this is a straight ahead everyday ale. It’s very drinkable. Aside from the color it doesn’t have a very distinctive flavor. I might punch it a bit with some sweet orange peel or brown sugar next time. Not bad for a 30 minute brew though.