Making pear cider is not as hard as it may sound. If you are comfortable brewing beer, you should have no problem making a good cider. As will all things fermented, remember that sanitation is key. I’ve compiled an easy step by step set of instructions for making cider from organic pear fruit juice. Here is a list of what you will need for a 5 gallon batch:
1 – 6.5 gallon carboy/food grade bucket w/ airlock or blowoff hose
1 – Small sanitized funnel
5 – Gallons of organic pear juice. (I’ve used R. W. Knudsen’s Organic Pear Juice)
1 – Package of yeast (I’ve used Wyeast Labs 4184 Sweet Mead Yeast)
1/2 – tsp of Yeast Nutrient
2 1/2 – tsp of Pectic Enzyme (Settles out free floating pectin in pasteurized juice, and will help you clarify improve your cider yield)
1/4 – tsp Potassium Metabisulphite (to kill of any wild yeast if using unpasteurized/ juice)
1/2 tsp of Potassium Sorbate
Step 1: Make sure that your carboy/bucket is sanitized. I usually do a wash and scrub with unscented Oxyclean or PBW, a double water rinse, and then sanitize it with a no rinse acid based sanitizer like Star San. This step is very important because we will not be boiling the juice like we would wort in brewing beer. I activate my yeast packet in the morning and let it sit while I clean my equipment. Take your time! Give your yeast at least a few hours to reproduce before pitching it into your juice.
Step 2: Once your yeast is ready to go, portion out your ingredients and get them ready to go. Make sure that your measuring spoons are clean and sanitized as well. Start pouring your juice into the fermenter. I usually pour off half of the juice, and then add the yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme, potassium metabisulphite, and any additional sugar to the remaining juice in it’s container so I can shake them together. This allows the ingredients to dissolve into the juice before adding it to the fermenter. If you are using pasteurized juice (which most of you will likely be using for this recipe), it will be cloudy. The pectic enzyme will help break down the free floating pectin in your juice, which will remove the haze from your finished product. Another thing to note is that the Original Specific Gravity of your juice should be at around 1.050. If it is not, you can add 2.25 oz of brown sugar or 3 oz honey per gallon to raise the OSG by increments of .005. A solid 1.060 OSG will yield between 7 to 9% abv with cider/mead yeast.
Step 3: Once all of your juice has been added to the fermenter, immediately pitch your yeast and aerate your batch. Providing the yeast with plenty of oxygen will help promote healthy yeast cell walls, which in turn will allow your yeast to propagate through your juice quickly. This will reduce fermentation lag time, and decrease your chance of bacterial infection. As you can see from the picture, I inject oxygen using an oxygen regulator and difuser stone.
Step 4: Allow your cider to ferment for 7-10 days. Once fermentation has ceased you can cold crash your batch or move it to a secondary for clarification. I would suggest letting your cider at sit least a week to allow yeast and unfermentables to settle out. Store bought juice is pasteurized, which naturally creates a large amount of pectin in the juice. The pectic enzyme added in Step 2 is critical if you want clear, non-cloudy cider.
Step 5: Dissolve 1/4 tsp of Potassium Metabisulphite and a 1/2 tsp of Potassium Sorbate into your batch. This “shuts off” your yeast activity and allows you to back sweeten your cider (which will be dry and tart) with more juice, brown sugar, or honey to taste. From here you should keg.
We at BIMP have made some outstanding cider using this method. It works great with any organic juice you can buy at the store. Please post any comments or recipe suggestions below. Enjoy!
9 Replies to “Pear Cider in 5 Easy Steps!”
Sounds great! I know where to get the yeast but where do l get yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme, potasium metabisulphate and potasium spendingate? Also how do I get the pear juice? Stores I’ve checked out don’t have it? Sorry for all the questions but I tried abottle of pear cider (Perry) and I loved it. I make beer in 5gal batches and have all the equipment.
Thanks in advance
Hi Kevin. A good place to buy the yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme, potasium metabisulphite, and potasium sorbate would be your local brewshop. If you are from Indianapolis I would suggest any of the shops listed on my page. You can also find these items in larger online brewshops like Northern Brewer, but I would suggest supporting your local homebrew shops. As for your juice, a quick and easy solution is to go to Trader Joe’s and pick up some Knudson’s Organic Pear juice. They sometimes have this on sale at a significant discount. Store bought juices are pasteurized, which means they applied heat to the juice to kill off bacteria and other microbes. This is normally a good thing, but this also causes the pectin in the juice to become somewhat jelly-like in the juice. The pectic enzyme you add will help this pectin to settle out of suspension in your fermented cider, which will make your finished product lighter in body and more clarified. I’m glad you are interested in trying this out for the first time. I have found that the longer you age this cider, the more it improves in flavor. Have fun!
Will it carbonate like beer with just the brown sugar and honey or do I still need to use a priming sugar at bottling?
You can carbonate with either brown sugar, honey, or priming sugar. There is a great priming sugar calculator on Northern Brewer’s site. Here’s a link: http://www.northernbrewer.com/learn/resources/priming-sugar-calculator/.
Hello, I came across this recipe too late. Fermentation is almost completed and I’ve noticed some suspended “stuff” floating around in the juice. Can I add the pectin enzyme when racking to clarify and lighten? Thanks.
I would add some pectic enzyme with some amylase. That should help clarify your cider 🙂 Let me know what you decide. I’ve used the combination together when making an espresso mead, and it worked beautifully.
Hello how much brown sugar do u add ? Do you have any pictures of the finished product ?
I like to use SG as a starting and ending point but I wonder if all the pectin and stuff floating around affects the specific gravity and therefore is not a true reflection of sugar content? I am making this extact cider now and did not add any extra sugar or honey because the starting specific gravity was high. The fermentation was not very robust and it doesn’t taste like alcohol.
I know it’s been a while since you made this cider, but I wanted to reach out and see how it turned out for you. What was your original gravity? What type of pear juice did you use? How long did you let your cider ferment?