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Pear cider sitting at 1.020?

My first attempt at this.
I have had my pear cider fermenting for a little over 3 weeks now.
Started at 1.065 roughly. It dropped to 1.020 or just a hare lower(1 notch on the hydro) over a week ago. No more air lock bubbles but it was in primary buckets which I know are not air tight so I racked into 2 carboys. Still no more bubbling.
So maybe I’m misunderstanding the term “done fermenting”.
I thought by definition that meant when the cider hit 1.00.
Just read something else online though about pear cider, specifically, having natural amounts of sorbitol so it may not go below 1.020.
So is it done fermenting or not?

I don’t know, am confused and need some guidance for next steps hoping not to ruin a good thing.
Right now it is clear, sweet and puckers ( not necessarily the taste I was going for yet) and with just a touch of tingle on the tongue, (a little natural carbonation taking place? But not enough to make the airlock bubble nor any surface bubbles?)

Another question while I’m at it.

1 my 5 gal carboys have head space down to right above where it starts to taper up.
I think that may be a concern, especially if it is no longer fermenting, that it may be too much possible air exposure.
I was thinking of adding another gallon of fresh pressed cider I have to bring them up but will that cause other issues, like referencing or contamination or is it a good idea to top it up to the neck with the juice?
Is it really a concern if it starts refermenting in the secondary?

Thanks for any thoughts and advice.

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I have never made a perry (pear cider) before, but generally speaking, when fermentation is done, it’s done. Leave it alone for another week and if gravity doesn’t decrease any more, you can bottle it.

And as such, don’t worry about the head space. A week or even a month with a lot of head space probably won’t hurt anything if you have an airlock on there and your sanitation practices are good. If you were going to leave it sit for six months, then I might worry.

Thanks Dave
You mentioned good sanitation practices. I’m pretty sure I have sanitized well, but at this stage how would I know yet if a batch is bad or may go bad?
That said, one odd thing to me. I had enough juice for 2separate almost 5 gal batches from my pears.
2 separate pressings. (I pressed my own pears, al from the same trees.)
But one batch turned out much darker than the other.
I tried to ncluded a couple of pics.
They settled out in the buckets pretty clear, just different colors for some reason. Only other difference if you can look close at the darker batch, is there is a little something more on top of the dark batch floating. Not sure if it is just floaters from the must or could it be the start of something funky?

Note the air space too. As I prev mentioned.

Ok, guess I can’t figure out how to add photos.
I did the attachment upload and it goes through but no photo shows up.

Hard to say why one batch would be darker than the other. Might be if they were at a different level of ripeness at pressing. Did you press a week apart or something like that? I’m not sure why this would happen.

If your perry gets contaminated, it would either grow mold or have a skin on top, or begin to taste like vinegar. If it doesn’t have a skin and tastes fine then it most likely is fine.

Not seeing any mold or skin yet. Wish I could figure out how to post a pic.
All pears were picked and pressed same time from same trees. Just filled 2 buckets.
Since I’ve not done this before I did not know if the big color difference could mean something may be going wrong in one. Te darker one had a little stuff floating in places but not a whole layer of scum.
Also not knowing what to expect it to taste like, being my first ever go at this, I can’t say if it tastes “bad” or not. I could drink it but does not taste quite like store bought stuff. But then again it probably shouldn’t.
It was a bit sweet but quite puckery at the same time.

I’m still thinking I should top it off as I may let it age a while. Other info on this site says it will only get “better” after sitting in secondary for several months.

I have about a 1/2 gallon of fresh pressed pear cider from the last of the pears and could also add some water to that.

Will pouring that right in cause contamination though or refermentation? Maybe referm is ok since it is sitting at 1.020 anyway. I just don’t want the air to ruin it nor do I want to ruin it with the top off.

Topping up is a good idea if you’re concerned about contamination, it should help to prevent problems more than it causes them.

Cider (or perry) made at home tend to taste more tart and more dry than the usual stuff you can buy like Crispins, Woodchuck, Angry Orchard, etc. I enjoy the real stuff made at home much better than these commercial examples. However it is different and you need to grow accustomed to the difference. Primarily the difference is that at home there are no preservatives (unless you add them) and it’s not made from concentrate, so you are tasting everything as nature intended it. Commercial stuff… you don’t always know what you’re getting, but often times it is from concentrate, filtered, contains a lot of sulfites, etc, all of which have huge impacts on flavor. I most hate the ones that contain artificial apple flavorings, for example Redd’s Apple Ale. Disgusting. Cider (or perry) isn’t supposed to taste anything like that at all. But anyway…

Go ahead and top up, if you’ve got the juice. Yes, it might re-ferment, and that’s okay.

You’re correct thinking that Perry will finish higher than Apple Cider, but I think that 1.020 is still a bit high - I would expect in the range 1.005 - 1.010. What temperature are you fermenting at?

Maybe try gently stiring up the yeast, and getting it a couple of degrees warmer (if possible)

Actually it was initial fermented at around 70-75 deg in my basement.
Now I read that temperature is considered high, yet it still has had a long slow fermentation even down to 1.020 or a touch lower. But it had sat there for several days, which I have read if it does not lower after three days consecutive readings it has essentially completed fermentation?

1.020 sounds too high. Did you use a hydrometer or a refractometer to measure that? If the later, you need to add a correction factor to compensate for the presence of alcohol after fermentation has started.

What strain of yeast did you use, and how much of it? Did you add any nutrients? Without nutrients, cider can take longer to ferment, but they aren’t strictly necessary because apples have pretty much everything yeast need. With pears, I’m not sure; some fruits and some yeast strains do need nutrient supplements to finish strong.

When it comes to taste, perry doesn’t taste like pears just as cider doesn’t taste exactly like apples - the yeast will change the flavors some. However, if there is contamination, you will know it. It will taste bad. Vinegar is the most likely thing you’ll encounter that way. Too tart is generally means the acid level is high, which could mean the fruit wasn’t ripe enough or that the variety is just naturally very tart. It could mean vinegar producing bacteria are just starting to convert, but you will almost always see a white film on the surface before you taste the effect from that.

I used a hydrometer I just bought. I used what the store called a smack pack wine/ cider yeast. I do not recall the exact kind. I used the same in each bucket.

I’m not expecting it to taste like pears I am familiar with apple cider, but only those from bars or the store with carbonation.

The pears I used were very ripe, almost too soft and very sweet. They were Kieffer pears.

Both batches taste different for some reason which is why I am a bit concerned as mentioned they are same pears pressed same day. Wish I could post a pic.
Without past experience I am just not sure if the taste is one of a batch beginning to go bad or not.
Maybe I’m worried about nothing, but I don’t want to lose all that work by not doing something right.




Think I figured out the pic upload thing.

Thoughts on color difference, concerns about that much head space, the bits of stuff floating in the dark bucket?

The lighter batch is actually the one, if I knew what I were talking about I’d have to say tastes a little off. The darker batch tastes sweeter than the lighter batch. They both have a little tingle to the young and also cause a bit of pucker.

To me, it looks like the lighter one has a lot of suspended yeast still in it, while the darker one has cleared. That could explain why the lighter one tastes a bit off. Ciders tend to ferment pretty quickly, and as said earlier they typically are pretty easy for yeast to manage, but it could be that one is just going a lot faster than the other. I wouldn’t worry about the floaties, that’s just bits of fruit that made it in with the juice.

Did you use any pectinase? The dark one looks clear enough that I would suspect yes. A little of that will clear up haze very well. There is no visual sign of infection. You could just leave it another week to see what happens. That’s what I would do.

I did use a pectin enzyme powder I think it was called initially. Maybe I put more in one than the other.
So no concern about the head space?
I was considering topping it off with more cider / water to et it up to the neck as I think I may need to let it sit for a while.
I keep reading about how bad air can be for it and as it is not bubbling it is any guess if that is air or co2 in there.

I had an interesting idea. I have a co2 inflator I could use to shoot some in the top to be sure any air is pushed out just to be safe if topping with juice and water may not be the best idea.

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