Special Equipment Needed:
2 (1-gallon) carboys (glass bottles)
Juice approximately 18–20 pounds of pears to fi ll a 1-gallon carboy; we used an electric home juicer. Be sure to sterilize all the tools and the carboy. We used a product called Star San, which is available online and in local home-brew shops. Th e juice can either be pasteurized (by slowly heating it to 170° and then cooling it back to room temperature) or sterilized by adding a Campden tablet to it and letting it sit for 24 hours; both methods kill any bacteria that might be present.
Funnel the treated juice into a 1-gallon carboy and add a teaspoon of yeast (known as pitching). We used Cuvee Active Dry Wine Yeast, but you could substitute Champagne yeast or other recommendations from a local homebrew shop. Some brewers choose to add the active dry yeast directly to the carboy like we did, but most will recommend you rehydrate the yeast according to the instructions on the packet.
After pitching the yeast, cap the carboy with a “bung” (stopper) and an “airlock”; the airlock lets the gases escape without outside air entering the carboy. As the juice ferments, tiny bubbles will rise to the top; once you stop seeing bubbles, fermentation is complete(approximately 2 weeks).
At this point, it’s time to carefully siphon the fermented juice into another 1-gallon carboy—try not to siphon any of the sediment at the bottom. Add ½ cup of simple syrup, which is used to create a secondary fermentation in the bottle.
Siphon this mixture into individual bottles. We have used both bottles with caps and bottles with swing-top rubber stoppers. (We prefer the swing-top rubber stoppers because the seal seems more secure.) One gallon of cider will fi ll approximately 10 (12-ounce) bottles or 4 (32-ounce) bottles. Put the sealed bottles in the refrigerator immediately. After about a week (or up to 6 months) your sparkling pear cider is ready to enjoy!
You can also view a short video piece we made documenting our experience by visiting EdibleIndy.com. You’ll need a few basic pieces of home-brewing equipment but they aren’t very expensive—and as I said, it’s fun!