Homemade pear cider is light, sparkling, and sweet. Allowing the cider to continue fermenting will turn it into a golden sweet dessert wine. Here’s everything you need to know to make pear cider and wine at home.
This pear wine and cider recipe uses whole fruit. It’s perfect if you have a pear tree in your backyard or order fruit by the case. Here is a different recipe if you want to make pear cider from juice.
Pear Cider or Wine?
Homemade cider and wine both start with the same basic ingredients: fruit, sugar, and yeast. They follow the same fermentation process.
- Cider is bottled early before the yeast has consumed all of the sugar so that it remains sparkling and sweet.
- Wine is allowed to ferment until most of the sugars are consumed, and it is bottled after fermentation has stopped.
- Grapes are ideal for making wine. They contain all the nutrients needed to feed the yeast, and will naturally keep fermenting until all the sugar is consumed or the alcohol content kills the yeast (around 18 ABV). Sulfites are usually added to commercial cider and wine to stop the fermentation early.
- Pear doesn’t contain all the nutrients required to feed wine yeast. Yeast nutrients and energizer are needed to make wine. So it’s easy to use yeast nutrients to control the fermentation of pear cider and wine for a sulfite-free option.
- Why not make both cider and wine from the same batch of pears? Just cap a few bottles early, then let the rest ferment through to wine!
Tips For Beginners
Here is some detailed information for anyone who is new to making wine and cider. If you have experience then feel free to skip right to the recipe.
- To learn about racking, sanitation, and everything else you will need to know check out how to make cider and wine along with all of the subtopics.
- When bottling cider, use plastic pop bottles or swing-top beer bottles. Both types of bottles are able to handle the build-up of carbonation.
- Pears are lower in pectin than other fruits, so they are unlikely to produce methanol. However, it is always a risk when fermenting fruit into cider or wine. The best way to prevent methanol production is to make sure that your ferment is not contaminated with pectin-loving bacteria, so keep everything clean.
- Here is how to use a hydrometer to calculate the alcohol levels of your cider and wine.
Pear Cider and Wine
Here’s how to turn whole pears into cider and/or wine. This recipe uses yeast nutrients rather than sulfites to control the length of fermentation. The resulting pear cider is deliciously sweet and light tasting. Pear wine is a rich dessert wine.
- Yield: 5 Liters 1x
- Category: Alcohol
- Method: Fermented
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 5 lbs of ripe pears
- 18 cups of filtered water (chlorine-free)
- 3 lbs of sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp acid blend (or 2 lemons juiced)
- 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice (in addition to the acid blend)
- 1 tsp yeast nutrient
- 1/4 tsp tannin (optional, to add body)
- 1 packet wine yeast (LALVIN 71B-1122)
- 1 tsp yeast energizer (for wine, see notes)
- Follow the basic wine-making steps, including sanitation of ANYTHING that is going to touch the pears. (See the section above if you are new to cider and winemaking).
- Wash the pears. Cut them in half and remove the core and any bad spots. Leave the skin on. Place the pears in a brew pot or a large stockpot.
- Boil 4 cups of water. Pour the boiling water over the pears, then use a masher to mash the pears and extract the juice.
- Bring the remaining 14 cups of water to a boil, then pour the boiling water over the mashed pears.
- Put a lid on the pot and stash it in a quiet corner of your house.
- After 24 hours, add the sugar, acid blend, yeast nutrient, tannin, and lemon juice. Stir well to mix the ingredients. Follow the instructions on your yeast package (some will require re-hydrating before use). Add the yeast to the brew pot and stir it again. Give everything another good stir after one hour to make sure it is well mixed. If you want to calculate the alcohol levels, remove some of the liquid at this point to measure the specific gravity.
- Put the lid back on the pot and leave it somewhere warm to ferment for 3-5 days. Give the mixture a good stir once or twice a day.
- After the initial ferment, strain out the solids by pouring the liquid through a mesh bag or a cheesecloth-lined strainer (sanitized). Move the liquid into carboys, top them with an airlock, and leave them to ferment in a dark location, cool for 2 weeks.
- After 2 weeks the fermenting should have slowed significantly. However, you should see some bubbling in the airlock. This is when it’s ready to bottle for cider. The exact timing will depend on temperature. The ideal temperature is 68 F / 20 C. Cooler temperatures will slow down the fermentation time. Warmer temperatures will speed it up.
- Allow the bottles to sit out at room temperature for 1 week to carbonate. Test carbonation by squeezing plastic bottles or popping the lid on glass bottles.
- Once the pear cider is carbonated store it in the fridge.
- If you’re making wine, rack the liquid to clean carboys after two weeks and add the yeast energizer. It doesn’t need to be exact. Just divide the amount between the clean carboys. The goal is to boost fermentation.
- Rack again after 3 to 4 weeks to remove any remaining dead yeast. Let the wine age for 3 to 4 months in the carboy before bottling.
- Allow bottled wine to continue aging for a few more months. The wine will taste best if it is drunk the year after the primary fermentation. (So one whole year, start to finish). I’m often tempted to sample early, but it’s always a disappointment.
- Pears are low in the nutrients and tannins needed to make a good, flavorful cider and wine. Adding tannin early in the process improves the texture and flavor, and will help preserve the wine.
- Yeast energizer helps to kick-start a sluggish ferment. Without it, the pears will only ferment into cider or a very sweet and low alcohol wine.
Keywords: cider, wine, homebrew, diy, whole fruit, no juice, summer, fall