Pear wine – for beginners…

Drinks, Wine No Comments »

So – you’ve got loads of pears or someone wants to dump a load on you (or other fruit for that matter)…

You can only make so much jam and cakes. Freezing, dehydration and canning isn’t an option. Ice cream is great but…

What to do? Maybe…

Make some wine.

But thats like complicated and needs loads of equipment and lots of other things and if you even look at it wrong – it will turn to vinegar and and and…

…loads of excuses follow. Well – just maybe bugger that and give it a go.

There are lots of great resources on the net for making wine and many wonderful sites exactly for the beginner. Here’s one I found which does a way better job than I can on making things easy and straight forwards:

https://www.selfsufficientish.com/main/2009/12/taking-the-fear-out-of-wine-making-part-one-by-mkg/

Anyways – here’s my take on pear wine (for those that can’t wait for the end – sorry – you just gonna have to – making wine requires patience and a willingness to take a little time).

What do you need to make 1 gallon of wine?

  • 2.25 kg or pears
  • 1 kg sugar
  • 1 tsp citric acid (from chemist)
  • yeast and a bit of yeast nutrient (probably need to get these from home brew supplier.

Equipment:

  • Large Pan
  • Large food grade bucket (get a fermenting bin)
  • Fermenting vessel (1 gallon demijohn)
  • airlock for fermenting vessel
  • Big spoon (plastic?)
  • Straining cloth (and holder/frame – maybe from jamming)
  • Optional – hydrometer (measures specific gravity – lets you know how much alcohol your wine will be)
  • sterilizing chemicals (again from home brew supplier)

No need for anything specialist and the few things that are – well – you can always buy a “begin wine making” kit from t’internet.

What do you do then?

Well – you need to extract the juice from the fruit. This can be done many different ways – but in our case – we start by getting the pears, chopping them and then squeezing. I did take out the seeds. I don’t know if you need to or not – but. No need to peel the fruit. As the pears are kinda soft when ripe – you can use your hand to squish them. If you don’t like that – then use a potato stamper – works just as well.

pears
pears
pears in pan
pears in pan

So – the pears are put in the pan and squished. I made the volume up to 9l with just tap water and then boiled the stuff whilst stirring. Here we are both sterilizing the “must” (the fruit we are going to ferment) and extracting the juice (and sugar). For pears – it’s a good idea to not boil hard or longer than 20 minutes. If you do – it won’t affect the taste but it may make the wine difficult to clear (in wine making there are a lot of words like “may” and “could” – it’s a natural process;).

Once you’ve got the stuff boiling and stirred and waited (in my case) 15 minutes simmering – then you need to strain the liquor over the sugar. I put the sugar in a fermenting bin (you can use a bucket but make sure it’s “food grade” – this is important as there are some chemicals in none-food grade that you really don’t want messing with your wine. I also have a strainer that is used for making jam. You could also use a simple sieve or cheese cloth etc – I just find this thing a lot easier to use.

straining pear liquor
straining pear liquor

This all looks pretty gross – but – it smells not too bad.

When all the juice is strained – use the big spoon to make sure all the sugar is dissolved in the liquid. This part is important – you need that sugar – it’s whats going to feed your yeast.Add the Citric acid and nutrient to the liquor and stir again. Add tap water to bring it up to the 9l mark. There is a reason for this (you don’t want to fill the fermenting vessels too much) but that is only apparent AFTER you’ve done this once and made a real mess;) Make sure it’s all dissolved and then leave to cool (with the cover on).

When cool (around 25 deg C) – take the SG of the fluid (if you have a hydrometer) and put the liquid into the demijohn.

SG 1105
SG 1105

Add the yeast (pitch) to the must and fix the airlock to the demijohn. Then leave for a few days until the vigorous initial fermentation has stopped. Once it’s stopped – then you can either fill up to the bottom of the neck with water OR make up a sugar solution of around 200g sugar to 1l water. Why the choice? You can have either a really dry wine or a less dry one.

ready to pitch
ready to pitch

And thats about it really…

There are a few things to remember – and that’s really about hygiene.

Use the sterilizer to make sure anything that comes into contact with the liquid AFTER it’s boiled is sterile. This doesn’t mean operating room sterile and don’t get absolutely paranoid with it – but – it’s important.

Yeast eats sugar. When it does this – it poops carbon dioxide and alcohol. Other bacteria also eat sugar and poop other things. It’s these other bacteria that can spoil your fermentation. Same as for making jam or pickles – things need to be clean. It’s difficult to boil out a demijohn which is why we use chemical cleaners. This is why it’s a good idea to start with a wine making kit. This will give you some exposure to the basics in a guided manner.

But – if you want to go on your own – by all means – do so. Just remember hygiene 😉

So – thats about it – the yeast is pitched and is doing it’s best to eat all that sugar and poop magic.

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