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 how to make pear cider and wine using whole pears.
Cider or Wine?
Homemade cider and wine both start with the same basic ingredients: fruit, sugar and yeast.
- 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. Sulfites are usually added to commercial wine to stop the fermentation early.
- Pear doesn’t contain all the nutrients required to feed the yeast. Yeast nutrients and energizer are added to feed the yeast. So it’s easy to control the fermentation of pear cider and wine without sulfites with yeast nutrients.
It’s fun to make both pear cider and wine from the same batch of pears!
Cider and Wine Making 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 at the bottom of the post.
- To learn about racking, sterilization and everything else you will need to know read Cider and Wine Overview along with all of the subtopics.
- When bottling cider, use plastic pop bottles or swing-top beer bottles (affiliate link.) Both will be 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 outside bacteria, yeasts and fungi, 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
Pear cider and wine are deliciously sweet and light tasting. This recipe uses whole pears and controls the fermentation through the use of yeast nutrients rather than sulfites.
- Yield: 5 Liters 1x
- Category: Alcohol
- Method: Fermented
- 4 lbs of ripe pears
- 20 cups of filtered water (cholrine free)
- 4 lbs of sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp acid blend (or 2 lemons juiced)
- 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice (in addition to the acid blend)
- 1 tsp yeast nutrient
- 1/4 tsp tannin (optional)
- 1 packet wine yeast (LALVIN 71B-1122)
- 1 tsp yeast energizer (for wine, see notes)
- Follow the basic wine making steps, including sterilization of ANYTHING that is going to touch the pears. (See the section above if you are new to cider and wine making.)
- Wash the pears. Cut them in half and remove the core and any bad spots. (You can leave the skin on.)
- Boil 4 cups of water. Pour over the pears, then use a masher to mash the pears and extract the juice.
- Bring 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 (mine involves re-hydrating before use) and stir it in as well. 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 to measure the specific gravity (see above.)
- 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 (sterilized!) Move the liquid into carboys, top with an airlock and leave them to ferment for 3 weeks.
- After 3 weeks, rack the into a clean jug for another round of fermentation.
- If you’re making cider, bottle 2-3 weeks after racking. Allow the bottles to age and carbonate for a minimum of two weeks, however, the cider will taste best if it ages for at least 2 months.
- If you’re making wine, then add the yeast energizer during the second racking. Then let the wine ferment for 3 to 4 months 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, flavourful cider and wine. Adding tannin early in the process improves the texture and flavour, 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 sweet, low alcohol wine.
- Here’s a recipe from Practical Self-Reliance for turning pear juice into hard cider.
Keywords: cider, wine, homebrew, diy, whole fruit, no juice, summer, fall