The pear cider we started brewing in late September has been finished! We took our time throughout the brewing process. The initial fermentation was planned to be only two weeks, but ended up being more like a month due to vacation schedules. We racked the cider and let it ferment a second time, which also ended up being about a month instead of just a couple weeks.
Majority of the juice for the cider came from Asian pears we gathered at the Urban Farm. We used honey instead of sugar to sweeten the mixture and added some champagne yeast to really get things going. Nothing exploded, but I did have to clean out the air locks a few times early on as they got backed up.
The local brew shop in Eugene sells fancy flip-top bottles, which half the brew was bottled into. The other half were capped into sterilized 22′s that were in the recycling pile at my local pub. They were very excited to see their recycling go into someone’s homebrew operation.
About four of us crammed in my tiny kitchen for the bottling process. It only took about an hour with that much help on hand. We added about four cups of organic apple juice to the ten gallons of pear cider prior to bottling. This gave the yeast something to chew on for a third fermentation in the bottle. The carbon released during that process creates a natural carbonation as well.
A week after bottling I tried a glass and enjoyed what I tasted: a dry, mellow cider with just a little carbonation. Perhaps we should have added a bit more juice during the bottling stage to carbonate things more, but I find it less distracting from the flavor to have light carbonation. The color is fairly pale and a little cloudy. This picture below shows the full ten gallons bottled in a mixture of 16 oz. flip-tops and reused bottles.
After enjoying with friends, something tells me this is a sneaky cider. It makes for some very easy drinking and I am pretty sure there is more alcohol in there than in your average pint. The hard cider doesn’t have a bite to it, which contributes to the easy-drinking factor. We are looking forward to a long cold winter with this batch of goodness.