Real Fermenting: Simple Perry

Friday, 22 June 2012

Simple Perry

This simple perry, or pear cider, couldn't be any easier. It is made from store-bought juices. This is surely a compromise; I'd rather have an orchard and a cider press. The fact is I live in apartment in suburban Bakersfield, CA. While we do our best with gardening on the porch, we couldn't have a fruit tree right now. So I buy organic fruit juice, with no preservatives, not from concentrate. Here's the easy perry recipe, based on Scott Mansfield's Strong Waters.


This recipe can be played with. Experiment! Go to your local health food store and imagine the flavors of all that fanastic array of juices. Try to think about a nice balance of flavors in the juices you use. This recipe uses half pear and half apple juice. If your pear juice is already mixed with apple juice in the store, just use 1 gallon of the mix. If you want to make more than 1 gallon, obviously adjust the quantities to match.

1/2 gallon pear juice (not from concentrate)
1/2 gallon apple juice (not from concentrate)

Pear and apple juice!

If like pear and apple juices, your mix of juices is a bit lacking in astringency, you may consider adding a cup of strongly brewed black tea.

1 cup strong black tea.

If any of your juices are cloudy, you may want to use a pectin enzyme to help clear them. The cloudiness is caused by the suspended protein pectin. The enzyme breaks down the pectin, and it all sinks to the bottom, where you can easily avoid siphoning it out into the bottles.

1/2 tsp Pectic Enzyme

As any juices can be a bit lacking in all the micronutrients yeast needs, it is a good idea to add yeast nutrient. The yeast mostly eats sugar from the juice, but it needs all these other micronutrients to make new cells.

1 tsp Yeast Nutrient

Finally, add your yeast to the mix and whisk it all up. Easy as that!

1 packet Premier Cuvee yeast

Once you have all of these ingredients in your primary fermenter, and the lid firmly on and the airlock filled with cheap vodka, you are good to go. This fermentation took nine days for me in warm, warm Bakersfield (it was 108F here on Sunday!), but your mileage may vary. It should be around 7 to 10 days. This yeast has a great tolerance for a range of temperatures, so don't worry about that.


After 9 days, the airlock had stopped bubbling. When I came to look in the fermenter, I found a floating mat of pectin and yeast. Even with my racking cane, I knew that the mat would get sucked up the tube and right into my bottled perry. No good!
One floating mat of pectin and yeast
I decided to siphon the perry into a second container before I filled the bottles. This would give the detritus a chance to settle out. Sure enough, the mat was sucked into the tube about halfway through the gallon siphon. After about an hour, the crap had fallen to the bottom and I could easily avoid sucking it up with the racking cane. You can see the yeast and pectin in the next photo.

The sunken detritus was not sucked up
The perry is bottled now with 1 tsp regular sugar in each 1L bottle for carbonation and we have to wait at the least 2 weeks (until 3rd July... a little 4th of July tipple, I suppose) to drink it. I'll update y'all on how the perry tastes when I have sampled it. I'm hoping to get some extended family members to taste it and report back.

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