Perry - anyone done this from pears?

A forum for cider makers
Post Reply
lord groan
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 506
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Hampshire

Perry - anyone done this from pears?

Post by lord groan » Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:35 pm

Hi All,
Admittedly not strictly a cider but hopefully close enough to qualify for the cider section.

After using lots of my elderly mums apples to make two cider batches I noticed her neighbour has a pear tree. I've just asked if they have plans for the pears, they don't, so I have permission to pick as many as I want. They look like conference pears but might not be.
I've read up a bit so as far as I can see I pick them, store for a couple of days to let magic happen, then scrat 'em and press the pulp. After that ferment as for cider.

Does anyone have any perry making experience and are you willing to pass on advice? I'd be most grateful for any guidance as I have never done this before. Is this something you have tried dean_wales?
Thanks

User avatar
jmc
Even further under the Table
Posts: 2486
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 11:43 pm
Location: Swaledale, North Yorkshire

Re: Perry - anyone done this from pears?

Post by jmc » Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:24 am

A friend of my sons gives me some pears every year. I think they are conference pears too.

There is only about a 2-3 gal bucket full each time so I mix them with the same weight of apples to do a 50:50 cider/perry mix.
This means I have enough to use my rack & cloth press efficiently and it does help with the pressing too.
Eating pears can be a little bland so adding some apples (inc a few crabs) ups the acidity and tannin to give a more flavoursome drink (IMHO)

Like eating pears from the shop they ripen in a different way to apples. Being rock hard for a while and then for 1 or 2 days being perfect to eat.
I wait until they've reached this sweet, soft stage before pressing.

I store mine in a dark, dry cool place and check every day or so. When they are ready I scrat and press in a very similar way to apples.

I've got a mechanical apple scratter, but I've been using my waste-disposal scratter for most of this year's cider as it produces an apple 'sauce' that is much easier to press and which gives me more apple juice. With pears the sauce produced is very runny and has a tendency to squeeze through the cloths in a way that apples don't. If you have the option I'd use the mechanical scratter to cut the ripe pears into pea-sized bits and then press those. I found mixing with some apples before pressing reduced the problem this caused as it gave more texture to the 'sauce'.

If you don't want to mix apples I believe the old fashioned way to help with pressing was to add hay to the mix. Maybe use some pre-soaked oat husks from The Malt Miller (used to help with sticky beer mashes) if hay is unavailable.

With the 1 large bucket of apples and 1 large bucket mixed apples (eaters, cookers and a few crabs) I got 3 gal of juice last year.
The pears are not overpowered at this mix. It produces a lovely drop, with an after-taste of the pears along with a hint of sweetness from the sorbitol from the pears which doesn't ferment. Lovely stuff.

JamesF
Drunk as a Skunk
Posts: 950
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:09 am
Location: West Somerset

Re: Perry - anyone done this from pears?

Post by JamesF » Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:45 am

I've never attempted to do it myself, but I have read that normal dessert pears don't work very well on their own and can be a pain to press. A mix of pears, crab apples or cider apples seems to be a common recommendation.

I understand that the pears used for "proper" perry are rather different from dessert pears, but I've never been able to get hold of any. I did consider planting a traditional perry pear tree, but got the impression that it's the sort of tree you plant for your children. Or even your grandchildren...

James

User avatar
jmc
Even further under the Table
Posts: 2486
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 11:43 pm
Location: Swaledale, North Yorkshire

Re: Perry - anyone done this from pears?

Post by jmc » Mon Oct 12, 2015 12:08 pm

JamesF wrote:I've never attempted to do it myself, but I have read that normal dessert pears don't work very well on their own and can be a pain to press. A mix of pears, crab apples or cider apples seems to be a common recommendation.

I understand that the pears used for "proper" perry are rather different from dessert pears, but I've never been able to get hold of any. I did consider planting a traditional perry pear tree, but got the impression that it's the sort of tree you plant for your children. Or even your grandchildren...

James
Old English proverb: "Walnuts and pears you plant for your heirs"

lord groan
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 506
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: Perry - anyone done this from pears?

Post by lord groan » Mon Oct 12, 2015 4:26 pm

Thanks all,
I don't have a mechanical scatter just the waste disposal one, so I think I'll mix some windfall apples in with the pears when I press. And possibly a second net curtain layer around the pulp bag
I'll try and remember to take pictures of the day. I picked the pears today and got one of the big blue IKEA carrier bags full. Not sure how much but it must be 30-50kg or so.

JamesF
Drunk as a Skunk
Posts: 950
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:09 am
Location: West Somerset

Re: Perry - anyone done this from pears?

Post by JamesF » Mon Oct 12, 2015 5:58 pm

From that linked page I like: "He that plants trees loves others beside himself" :)

James

lord groan
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 506
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: Perry - anyone done this from pears?

Post by lord groan » Sun Oct 18, 2015 10:46 am

OK progress so far, after sitting for 2days 2 fermenting bins full of whole pears plus about a dozen apples all scratted and pressed giving about 20l dark brown juice. 4crushed campden tablets added and juice left a day. About 200ml Yeast slurry from cider made last week added, into fermentation fridge at 20c.
OG 1058.
After 2 days gravity 1054! Not really fermenting is it? Nasty smell I've not had before, sulphery? Is that the campden tablets or is it off?
Checked again after2.5days gravity now 1042 , did the campden tablets just stun the yeast? Should I add another sachet of yeast.?
Must admit I've not got high hopes for this one at the moment.

lord groan
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 506
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: Perry - anyone done this from pears?

Post by lord groan » Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:31 pm

OK, a bit more hope now, nasty smell seems to have gone, a small krausen has built up and general fizzing from the fermenter, gravity down to around 1035ish.

User avatar
Pinto
Falling off the Barstool
Posts: 3443
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 4:09 pm
Location: Rye, East Sussex

Re: Perry - anyone done this from pears?

Post by Pinto » Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:43 pm

Im hoping that the apples you added to this were Katy ones - that would be a Labeling coup at bottling time :lol: ;)
Primary 1: Nonthing
Primary 2 : Nothing
Primary 3 : None
Secondary 1 : Empty
Secondary 1 : None
DJ(1) : Nowt
DJ(2) : N'otin....
In the Keg : Nada
Conditioning : Nowt
In the bottle : Cinnamonator TC, Apple Boost Cider, Apple & Strawberry Cider
Planning : AG #5 - Galaxy Pale (re-brew) / #6 - Alco-Brau (Special Brew Clone) / #7 Something belgian...
Projects : Mini-brew (12l brew length kit) nearly ready :D

Join the BrewChat - open minds and adults only ;) - Click here

lord groan
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 506
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: Perry - anyone done this from pears?

Post by lord groan » Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:05 pm

Brilliant Pinto! :D
Sadly just windfall russets from my tree
Cheers

JamesF
Drunk as a Skunk
Posts: 950
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:09 am
Location: West Somerset

Re: Perry - anyone done this from pears?

Post by JamesF » Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:29 pm

Pinto wrote:Im hoping that the apples you added to this were Katy ones - that would be a Labeling coup at bottling time :lol: ;)
Oddly enough, I planted a "Katy" tree a couple of years back :) Bit early to expect fruit from it yet though.

James

lord groan
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 506
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: Perry - anyone done this from pears?

Post by lord groan » Wed Nov 11, 2015 6:34 pm

Update:
Fermenting finished at 1002. Still very cloudy. Dropped the ferm. fridge to 5c, after 4 days I racked to secondary. Much clearer, bottled with 1/2 tsp sugar for conditioning. Tasted going into the bottle. Very light pear flavour, probably very easy to drink. Didn't taste like a 7% brew but thats what it is.
After a week in bottle it's now virtually clear, a very pale yellow, looks lovely.

lord groan
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 506
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: Perry - anyone done this from pears?

Post by lord groan » Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:31 pm

I've tasted a few bottles now , unexpectedly mild pear flavour but it develops after a few mouthfuls. Actually very nice, I'll be begging for more fruit next autumn!
Definitely recommended

User avatar
jmc
Even further under the Table
Posts: 2486
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 11:43 pm
Location: Swaledale, North Yorkshire

Re: Perry - anyone done this from pears?

Post by jmc » Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:23 pm

lord groan wrote:I've tasted a few bottles now , unexpectedly mild pear flavour but it develops after a few mouthfuls. Actually very nice, I'll be begging for more fruit next autumn!
Definitely recommended
Sounds good. I find the batches I do with added pears always have a (small) residual sweetness that I don't get in my plain ciders. A lovely pear aftertaste too

Post Reply