Perry and Pear Cider

September 7, 2010

Perry is a type of cider that is made exclusively out of pears. Like apples, only certain kinds of pears make for the best perry. However, these perry pears are very hard to find, and I think it might be due to perry being difficult to make and the perry pears difficult to handle. Pears have a tendency to ripen from the inside out, so it is harder to tell when they are ready for processing and if they have started to rot, and perry pears turn quickly. Pears also have a smaller yield than apples, producing about 1 gallon of juice per bushel compared to 2-3 gallons per bushel. It is easier to make apple cider and add unfermented pear juice when finished, which is actually pear cider. Check the label to verify the ingredients.

The best perry pears are higher in tannin and acid than normal eating pears, which making them inedible. Ben Watson describes an incident where squirrels and chewed on perry pears, ate the seeds, but spit out the flesh. He ends the story, “That, to me, is the definition of inedible – when event the squirrels won’t eat it.” Also, perry pears are easier to press than eating pears. If one attemps to make perry from eating pears, the pears will grind into an apple sauce type consistency very easily, but this will squish though the press cloth, making it difficult or impossible to separate the juice from the solids and clogging up the grinder and press cloth. Perry pear juice is also less sensitive to oxidization than regular eating pear juice.

My cider making class talked a little bit about making perry. One thing I found out in the class is that the sugars in pears are not 100% fermentable as they contain Sorbitol, so it is impossible to have a completely dry perry as there is some natural residual sugar left. However, they are also difficult to create a clear perry out of due to the complex tannins they have, require more yeast nutrients to make up for their lower nitrogen levels. Also, pears have citric acid in them instead of malic acid like apples do. At high amounts, the acid can turn to ethyl acetate by lactic acid bacteria, requiring higher amounts of sulfites to be used as prevention.

Watson spends a decent amount of time talking about pears and perry in his book Cider: Hard and Sweet. In it he suggests that with the rise of cider will come the rise of perry, and lists various nurseries and cideries working on doing that.

Perries I’ve found, which are usually packaged in wine bottles:

Pear ciders I’ve found, usually packaged in 22 oz or 12 oz beer bottles by a “six pack cider” company.

8 Responses to “Perry and Pear Cider”

  1. […] of the book. It does say that it takes 20 pounds of whole, unpeeled pears to yield a gallon of perry making juice, and it takes 28 pounds of Bartlett pears to make one bottle of pear […]

  2. […] I had also great timing, as a person cutting at the pear table grew and brought in a lot of the perry pears, and I found out he was also a Peter Mitchell student, though many years […]

  3. […] I had also great timing, as a person cutting at the pear table grew and brought in a lot of the perry pears, and I found out he was also a Peter Mitchell student, though many years […]

  4. […] other fruits such as citrus and pears contain citric acid. This is also a sour taste, and is sometimes used as a preservative. For […]

  5. […] related bacteria during yoghurt-making and which provide its texture).” When it comes to making perry, MLF is usually avoided because the citric acid in the pears can be converted by the lactic acid […]

  6. […] an apple cider and then adding cherry juice for flavoring right before bottling, much like making a pear cider. In this case, Bushwhacker uses Blue Mountain Cherry Cider, which I think has the appropriate level […]

  7. […] a French style, which then made me sad as I realized that all of the domestic ciders there were flavored ciders and all of them sweet, and it just seemed gimmicky and not a true representation of the domestic […]

  8. […] was a little disappointed there were no dabinetts or yarlington mill apples. I also tried a lot of perry pears, and a few people who didn’t know me well enough suffered when they tried a perry pear with me […]

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