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Old 10-20-2013, 06:31 PM   #1
MikeFallopian
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Default Making perry/cider without a press? What pears do I have?!

Hi all,

I've been making beer for a few years now, but I'm just about to make my first foray into the world of cider.

My parents have apple and pear trees in their garden, and have given me two big bags full of the stuff - about 10% apples and 90% pears.

The apples are definitely brambleys but I have no idea what variety the pears are - from looking at pictures of different varieties they look like they may be Bosc/Kaiser, Beurré Clairgreen or maybe Wardens. My dad says they taste horrible raw (so I'm guessing they're astringent) and that they're ok after cooking.

Anyway, I'm going to make perry/pear cider out of this lot but don't have a press... Would it be ok to chop and pulp the pears and apples in batches then pass through a muslin?

I'm completely new to the cider world, so any links to information or recipes would be MUCH appreciated.

Many thanks in advance!

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Old 10-20-2013, 06:51 PM   #2
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I JUST got a press two weeks ago- and I"ve been making apple cider and wine for years.

My "low tech" version of a press was to first wash and freeze the fruit. The freeze/thaw helps break it up easier.

Then, when ready to use the fruit, I"d put it (still frozen) in big sanitized mesh bags and put it in a sanitized fermenter. I"d add some boiling water (in which I dissolved the campden tablets and sugar), and then mash up the fruit well as it thawed. A sanitized paddle/spoon works great, but so does sanitized hands. It also helps to use pectic enzyme in the must, to really get more juice out of the fruit and to break it up more.

That was my "crush".

Then, after fermenting 5-7 days, it's time to "press". My pressing involved sanitized hands and squeezing the bags of fruit to get every drop of juice out, then discarding.

It's labor intensive- but cheap, easy, and effective!

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Old 10-20-2013, 07:03 PM   #3
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Thanks Yooper!

Do I need to use a campden tablet or should I risk whatever yeast is on the pears and apples?

Do you think my juicing with a handblender idea would work?

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Old 10-20-2013, 08:21 PM   #4
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Thanks Yooper!

Do I need to use a campden tablet or should I risk whatever yeast is on the pears and apples?

Do you think my juicing with a handblender idea would work?
I wouldn't use wild yeast here- I haven't had luck with good wild yeast. Even when I make vinegar (on purpose!), I end up with some wild yeast contamination that smells like feet. But if you have an area where you have "good" wild yeast strains, then it would be fine. I always campden my fruits, to avoid wild yeast and bacteria contamination.

A handblender would crush the fruit- but it would also crush the seeds unless you core the apples first.
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Old 10-21-2013, 09:56 AM   #5
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Another cheap idea for a press that I've seen is putting the crushed fruit in a bucket with several holes drilled in the sides, then slipping another bucket of the same size into the fruit filled bucket to press the fruit down. You can even fill the top bucket with water to get more pressure, or rig up a hydraulic jack to do the pressing if you wanna get some serious pressure.

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Old 10-21-2013, 06:34 PM   #6
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I wouldn't use wild yeast here- I haven't had luck with good wild yeast. Even when I make vinegar (on purpose!), I end up with some wild yeast contamination that smells like feet. But if you have an area where you have "good" wild yeast strains, then it would be fine. I always campden my fruits, to avoid wild yeast and bacteria contamination.

A handblender would crush the fruit- but it would also crush the seeds unless you core the apples first.
I have no idea what the local strains are like down in west Wales. I'm torn between adding a campden tablet or not... I'm definitely using a champagne yeast either way though - would the yeast 'cancel out' the wild ones, to an extent?

Also, how long a primary fermentation do you recommend? Do I need a secondary or should I bottle straight from primary?

I think I may have identified the pears as Blakeney Reds.
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Old 10-21-2013, 09:46 PM   #7
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Don't have a press? Make one. This cost me about $5

press.jpg  
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Old 10-22-2013, 09:41 AM   #8
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Don't have a press? Make one. This cost me about $5
This is EXACTLY the set up I was envisioning.
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:39 AM   #9
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I have no idea what the local strains are like down in west Wales. I'm torn between adding a campden tablet or not... I'm definitely using a champagne yeast either way though - would the yeast 'cancel out' the wild ones, to an extent?

Also, how long a primary fermentation do you recommend? Do I need a secondary or should I bottle straight from primary?

I think I may have identified the pears as Blakeney Reds.
If you're using champagne yeast, then I"d sulfite the cider to kill wild yeast and bacteria.

My cider took about 5-6 days to get to 1.010, and then I moved it to the carboy and it cleared well in just a few more days. It's at 1.004 now. I'll let it sit for a while, even though it's already quite clear, so that I'll have less sediment in the bottle. It's pretty good already, so I started another batch just a couple of days ago!

I'm using S04 ale yeast for these batches. With champagne yeast, you should get to .990 or so- bone dry.
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Old 10-31-2013, 02:39 PM   #10
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Well, I got 4 gallons of juice from my apples and pears!

I added some sugar to bring it up to 1.050, and some campden tablets, followed by champagne yeast a day later. It seems to be fermenting away nicely now!

I generally prefer still cider and perry, but has anyone ever primed theirs before bottling?

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