John's 2011 "Wild" Perry experiment

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truckjohn

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Hey all,

Just wanted to post a little message on my 2011 perry experiment.

Batch details:
Pear juice + 44 oz honey
OG = 1.094
Batch size = 5 gallons.
Yeast = Nottingham
Nutrient - a few tsp of Fermax.
Campden tablets used

Started with 4 gallons of juice @ 1.074 12/13/10. Added another gallon of juice @ 1.094 + 44 oz honey 1/7/11. Still fermenting away in my basement as-of yesterday.

Pear type - "Wild" feral flowering rootstock pears - small brown, hard, grainy pears about the size of a golf ball.

Picked before they freeze - they are quite flavorful and sweet, but amazingly bitter..... Picked after they freeze and turn from yellow/orange to brown, they are *Really* flavorful, sweet and very tangy!

If you live in an area where ornamental flowering pears are common - don't overlook using the small fruits as a bittering/acid addition to perry made from dessert pears (Which can be quite bland) as you would use Crabs in apple cider. Picked before hard freeze, the small pea size pears are quite bitter... Picked after they freeze and turn brown, those small pears take on a totally different character.

Especially keep an eye out for pears that have golfball size brown fruit that is still hanging long into the winter - Apparently, quite a few of these are old rootstock pears that were grown out from perry mill seed.... They become intensely sweet and tangy as they sit on the tree into the winter.....

Thanks
 
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truckjohn

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Still cloudy.... Airlock is still active - so I kinda expect that at this point....

I am really curious where this stuff will stop SG wise - as pear juices allegedly aren't 100% fermentable like apple juice...

Thanks

John
 
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truckjohn

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Checked the SG last night and tasted a bit too.... Still quite cloudy - lots of yeast still up and about...

Looks like fermentation is mostly stopped... Getting an occasional bubble, but I think it is degassing....

SG is 1.02. Fermentation temp has been pretty steady at 60F.

Taste is decidedly "Beerish" right now.... Likely it will clean up a bunch as it bullk ages. Next year's batch will be made with a proper fruity white wine yeast rather than ale yeast....

Thanks
 

CidahMastah

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My perry /cider mixed test batch has been very cloudy too, longer than most of my ciders. I am thinking, that perhaps it has something to do with the pears. I know when I tasted mine, it tasted very fusel like, but it also was starting to round out the tartness. I suspect it is going through a malolactic fermentation (this can cause temporary haziness for months). I experienced this hazy effect with one of my big wine ciders. It has just cleared up, though still malolactically fermenting, and I started this on in mid October.
 
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truckjohn

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That's probably it - malo-lactic fermentation... It's sitting at 1.02 right now pretty stable, but still bubbling....

We're going to just let this stuff sit and do it's thing for however long it takes....

Thanks
 

CidahMastah

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That's probably it - malo-lactic fermentation... It's sitting at 1.02 right now pretty stable, but still bubbling....

We're going to just let this stuff sit and do it's thing for however long it takes....

Thanks
That is the best method with cider, let it sit :) If a year goes by, just drink it ha
 
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truckjohn

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Yep - definately malo-lactic..... Degassed it tonight.... I can tell by the smell and taste..... That smell is hard to mistake...

Thanks
 
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truckjohn

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Well... It has mostly stopped bubbling. Racked it off the lees last night, then topped it up with a pint of sweet hard apple cider from this year's batch.

SG was 1.020 before I racked - so that puts me somewhere around 10% alcohol.

It's still pretty cloudy, and very sour.... I have a feeling that I will need to make a batch of fairly bland but aromatic perry to mix with this stuff... Unfortunately, it's not pear season... so it will just have to age out and clear till the fall.

Thanks
 
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truckjohn

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Ok... Mental note... Next time - use Wine yeast instead of Beer yeast... That stuff falls out *Really* slow compared to proper wine yeast..... I have racked it once... and it's still cloudy and throwing lees.... and those Beer yeast lees seem to be quite fluffy... not at all the "Compact, Stay put" sort of Lees one would like to have....

I will probably rack it again this weekend if all goes well...

Thanks
 
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truckjohn

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So... It's 2012 and an update....
The Perry finally cleared - more or less... Haven't tasted it or fooled with it in a while... I will probably rack it off and sulphite it again... then let it sit some more....

The "Cloudy and sour" part dissipated quite nicely as it settled and cleared.... Seems like stirring it helped out with that... Probably just needed de-gassing and to get that yeast back out of suspension.

Makes me think that I really ought to give it a taste to see how it's doing!

Thanks
 
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truckjohn

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SG is rock solid at 1.02. Flavor is intense, tart pear with a beer nose and a nice, light sweetness... Just enough sweetness that the tartness isn't unpleasant... I don't particularly like the Beer nose... Unfortunately, it's probably an artifact of using Beer yeast...

Even though the SG is 1.02 - It is not as sweet as my Joe's Ancient Orange Mead at 1.01... I suppose that's the Pear's natural Sorbitol...

It's still kinda cloudy - if all goes well, I will try to rack it off this week....

I have said it several times now - don't ever use Beer yeast with Perry ever again! Next time will be some sort of cooperative Wine yeast like 71B...

Thanks
 

liquidavalon

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pear juices allegedly aren't 100% fermentable like apple juice...
Interesting. I would have thought that pears would be a higher fermentable fruit due to apples have high acidity that sometimes slows the process down. Not sure...looking forward to more info on the happenings.
 
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truckjohn

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Apples in my experience run 100% dry - like below SG 1.00...

These pears were far more tart than "Normal" eating/juice apples that I have fooled with.... I think they would probably be the pear equivalent of "Bitter sharp" Cider apples...

But.. Even sweet, buttery eating pears seem to finish up somewhere above 1.00 if you start with actual Pear Juice - not the store bought "nectar" stuff... which is pear puree, sugar, and lemon juice....

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phaem

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You seem to be leaning toward wine yeast, John, in part because it may form a more firm cake and in part because the ale yeasts yield a 'beer' character. I have been under the impression that the ale yeasts flocculate more easily and settle out better in a cold crash situation, but I have no personal experience to support that impression. Where a person is looking to stop fermentation with significant residual sugar (SG ~ 1.02) with cold and then filter-sterilize, do you think that a wine yeast may be suitable and potentially yield a better cider?

I haven't noticed a 'beer' character to my ciders (outside of a batch of graf that doesn't wow me in a good way), but perhaps in comparison to a wine yeast product such a 'defect' might be more obvious?
 
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truckjohn

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I have had real good luck with Ale yeasts in apple Cider... I will continue to use them for that. I haven't really had any trouble with my apple ciders clearing properly with Ale yeast, or weird, off flavors in them either - which is why I started out with an ale yeast in my Perry batch.... They have also cold crashed reliably.... although I pasteurize my sweet hard cider rather than filter sterilizing... I have no doubt that filter sterilization would work just fine after cold crashing and carefully racking off the lees, though....

Perhaps Pear is just different from Apple.. It probably needs to be treated more like a fruit wine than like Cider.. Thinking about it - I wouldn't use Ale yeast in Raspberry or Plum wine..... This stuff started with the raw juice with an SG=1.094 and a whole lot of acid. Pear is also notorious for clearing extremely slowly... and it is living up to that reputation...

I didn't get anything off the pear tree last year... so there won't be a 2011 batch. :( Apparently, it doesn't bear every year.... Maybe 2012 will bring a good harvest of pears....

Thanks
 
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