And I thought I dragged my feet last year brewing hard cider! This year we should practically call it an “aged” Asian pear cider. We started the process in early September, let it ferment the first round for a month, then had it do a secondary fermentation for another month. Probably the each round could have been shortened to a couple weeks at a time, but life got busy.
We finally bottled this delicious brew a couple weeks ago and I had a panic when we popped the lid off the second fermented. The air inside smelled a little egg-y… which is usually a sign of vinegar… which is usually a sign that something went wrong…
I called my sister-in-law (hey Tara!) and talked it over with her. We couldn’t figure out what went wrong and the cider tasted fine. Her and my brother (hey Brian!) actually stopped over the next morning to sip it themselves. We concurred it was good enough for bottling. We added two cups of Asian pear juice that we froze from the press in September. I was hoping that would be enough sugar for the cider to undergo a third fermentation in the bottle, producing some natural carbonation.
After tasting the cider, I am happy to report that the egg-y smell is not there. It tastes like a smooth, delicious hard cider. If I did it over again, maybe I could double the amount of pear juice I added at the end because there is very, very little carbonation. I don’t mind a lack of carbonation, so it doesn’t really bother me any.
I’m thinking next year we could ferment a batch of cider with Asian pears, then follow up with another round using European pears. I think they fruit about a month apart, which means our primary fermenter will be available to start a new batch.
How much cider did we end up with? We filled nine 16 oz. flip-top bottles, thirteen 1-liter flip-top bottles, and twelve 22 oz bottles. That is about 837 ounces of delicious homebrew for us to enjoy this winter. We’re itching to move onto beer though, so expect some new projects over the next couple months!