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Prickly Pear Beer

Posted on Oct 28, 2015 by in Beer, DME, Fruit, Safale US 05 | 0 comments

Prickly Pears

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.

Sliced Prickly Pears

Sliced Prickly Pears

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
Yeast: US05


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

Prickly Pear Beer Bottles

Prickly Pear Beer Bottles

Moment of truth tasting

Tasting prickly pear beerI 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.

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