Amount of pear juice needed

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dan6

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I have read from several sources that pear juice added to cider would lead to a bit of residual sweetness in the finished cider. This being due to the fact that pear juice contains a relatively high amount of sorbitol, an unfermentable sugar. What I have not been able to find however is the percentage of pear juice necessary to have a noticeable effect. Does anyone have any experience with this?
 

madscientist451

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I've done it with my own Kieffer pears and also fruit I bought locally. Not all pears are suitable for use in alcoholic beverages, some just don't taste all that great when they are fermented. Getting real perry pears in my area just isn't happening, but maybe you can find some. I've got some perry pear trees growing, but it takes a long tome to get any pears. I've had decent results with Asian and Bosc pears. The best method that works for me is to make the perry separately and then blend to taste with your fermented cider. Another issue is getting the juice out of the pears; if you grind them like apples when ripe, I found it difficult to get juice out of them. So I freeze them thaw and then put in the press whole.
 

Chalkyt

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A couple of years ago I did a trial cider with 20% Beurre Bosc pears in with the apples (Pink Lady and Cox's Orange Pippin) to see if the extra sorbitol enhanced sweetness. The OG was quite high at 1.070. The taste was really good at 1.015 but I never really found out what the true effect of the pears was because I also decided to add 10% cherries towards the end of secondary fermentation. The cherries had a SG of 1.020 and they were left in secondary until I racked off at 1.003 then added AJ to 1.005 and bottled. Yep, too many variables to really assess what I started out to do.

The upside however, was that the Apple/Pear/Cherry cider was excellent!... the old roughly 60/30/10 rule strikes again.

As the yeast was SO4, I was expecting it to finish at around 1.002 or so, and that is probably what I got. Slightly carbonated and a bit of residual sweetness. It scored 48/50 at the local regional show (the ruby red colour was spectacular!).

The advantage of the Beurre Bosc is that they are a quite firm pear when they are first ready to pick and so do grind down O.K. unlike softer pears like Williams which tend to go to mush. The Beurre Bosc drop off the tree when they are ready and need a couple of weeks storage to fully ripen (but they also soften a bit during this time).

I guess to answer your question, my experience is that at least 20% pears would be needed to see any effect from the sorbitol, and it wouldn't do any harm to go higher than this. I did try a Perry once but thought the taste was underwhelming, so any apple/pear blend would need quite dominant apple flavours.

FYI pears have about five times as much sorbitol as apples (Apples 0.5g per 100G, Pears 2.2g per 100g).
 
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Chalkyt

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After sending the above post, there was something rattling around the back of my mind about doing two similar batches to compare yeasts. So, checking through my old notes I found it back in 2019.

This was to compare WLP775 with WLP002 which had a reputation for leaving some sweetness. The blend was 20% Beurre bosc pears, 50% Pomme de Neige apples, 10% Crimson Knight Crabs and the balance of about 20% Red Delicious to make up the numbers. Given the mix of apples, it looks as thought I was using up all the windfalls and leftovers.

Start of fermentation to bottling took about six weeks. At bottling and before adding any priming sugar my notes say... WLP002 slightly dry/sweet, WLP 775 Complex, touch of bitter, O.K. sweetness. Six months later, I note that I thought that the WLP002 was slightly sweet and "inoffensive". That might be because I had "made up the numbers" by using red delicious which I have found not to be much good for cider.

So once again it looks as though 20% pears is a good starting point. In recent times I have been using heat pasteurising to stop fermentation at the right level of sweetness and carbonation (bottle about 4 or 5 SG points above the pasteurisation SG. If you have the right setup, I understand that kegging is a good way to produce sweet carbonated cider, but I have found that mucking around with bottling and pasteurising at the right point can be a bit of fun as it involves a fair bit of tasting, yum, yum, (i.e. you are never sure of the result until you open a bottle!)
 
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dan6

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Thanks. Just the type of input I was looking for. Much appreciated
 
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