I'm planning on making a Perry (as it is known over here in the UK) - or probably Pear Cider over in the States.
I found this link which gives a bit of history, and some useful pointers
One thing to point out from this link is that it says that pears can often carry a decent amount of non-fermentable sugars (Sorbitol), which should result in a retained sweetness, but still allow for carbonation without running too much risk of bottle bombs.
I have also got a homebrew book, which says the same thing.
The only issue is that as far as I have read, it is not possible to tell how much non-fermentable sugar exists?
Guess the only way to tell will be to let the brewing commence and take note of OG and see what the FG comes out at?
The other thing to bear in mind is that apparently the Sorbitol content of pears can vary from year to year, so it is always going to be a slightly moveable feast.
So here's my plan:
I've got myself some pasteurised juice - 90% pear and 10% apple with Ascorbic Acid - so should be good to ferment with. Also worth noting that it is cloudy.
1) Take SG Reading
2) Working on the basis of 4.5 litres, I'm going to pitch some 71B, which should be good to take it to 14% - although I'm sure that there will not be enough sugar to take it that far.
3) I'm also going to add a little yeast nutrient at the start as well to ensure that it gets going well.
4) Also plan on degassing for the first few days to ensure that fermentation doesn't stick
5) Take FG once the gravity is consistent for about a week (obviously will be keeping an eye on temperatures as well). I'm anticipating to leave this probably for about a month to ensure it's all done.
6) Rack to secondary off any lees. Take Gravity reading again. Check Gravity 1 week later to ensure we've reached the FG.
7) Once we are there, then obviously I'll be doing some number crunching to figure out the amount of non-fermentable sugars (and the fermentable) in the juice.
8) Once I'm at this stage, then I will obviously know how much kick my Perry is going to have, and will be able to add more juice is needed to hit my target ABV (which would be around 5%-7%)
9) Once 7 & 8 is done, I plan to prime the bottles with an appropriate amount of the pear (10% apple) juice to allow carbonation - what do we think? 0.010 worth on the gravity for this?
Anyway, wanted to run a few ideas past you all for a bit of input.
From what I've read, apple juice typically has an OG of about 1.050, but I've also read that Pear juice can be as high as 1.090 - which could lead to something quite strong.
Anyway, appreciate any thoughts/input/experience from you all to figure out the best way to take this forward, but I am very excited about this.
Once I've got this down, I am contemplating introducing some honey to the mix as well - but need to get the basic lined up first.