I have 1.5lbs of prickly pears and want to make a 2gal all grain batch from them.

My question is how should I add the prickly pears?

Should I smash them and only add the juice?

or maybe

Cut off the skin and add them in secondary?

  • I ended up putting them in at the end of boil, and all I did to them was cut off the skin. The beer ended up being VERY tart. So much so that is must be drank extremely slowly as if I was drinking a liquor on the rocks. Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 20:52

3 Answers 3


Not having done this, I can only offer my thoughts and opinions on the subject. I would probably juice and add the juice to the boil (probably as late as possible to pasteurize/sterilize without driving off all volatiles. You'll want to figure the volume and sugar content of juice to add and what your gravity needs to be pre-boil to hit your final post boil volume.

I expect that you'll have a large than normal volume of trub at the bottom of the fermenter after primary so you may want to shoot for a slightly higher initial volume to combat losses in the trub.

  • Good advice. I did not even think about the extras after fermenting. Commented Dec 13, 2011 at 17:16

I wouldn't boil them if you like the aroma.

If your adding them to beer:

You should mash them up and add them (with juice) at flame out, whirlpool/sit for a few minutes to pasteurize. I would put the solids in a muslin bag for easy extraction. You can experiment from there, maybe even "dry pear" the finished beer:D I would keep the hops light until you know how this tastes.

If your just making a wine: I would mash them up with a potato masher and fill with water to desired quantity. Then hit it with campden. You should add sugar/honey/etc to hit the appropriate OG. I would put the solids in a bag and remove after fermentation is complete. Make sure to use a yeast nutrient if your not adding malt.

Let us know how this works out!

  • Yeah I put them in right at the end of the boil, only had .3 oz of hops for a 2.5 gallon batch and mashed the pears up a bit before adding but I left the entire pears in the fermenter. It fermented well for about 3-4 days and now is just waiting to be bottled in another week. Commented Dec 20, 2011 at 14:33

I am currently doing my own experiment with prickly pear. I tossed the whole fruits in a blender, strained through a sieve, then strained through a clean t-shirt. This provided me with about a quart of drinkable juice (you are right about it being tart, though) which I froze in ice cube trays. I did this because I wasn't sure if i was going to be able to do some homebrewing or if I should just preserve the juice for drinking/baking. But then I found some preservative free cider and I am gonna go for it. Since i froze the juice, i don't have to worry about sanitizing with heat. I am planning on doing primary fermentation of the cider only (with yeast nutrient and energizer) and then I plan to add the thawed juice as part of secondary fermentation. That way, I hope to maximize the taste and aroma from the prickly pears while minimizing the mess (and the possibility of setting the pectin).

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