Perry and Cider--- Should it taste this way?

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Perry and Cider--- Should it taste this way?

Dear Friends,

I brewed my own Perry and Apple Cider this year.

For Perry I used fresh pear juice
campden tabs
pectic enzyme
yeast energizer
champagne yeast

At bottling I added 1/4 cup dissolved cane sugar per gallon.
I have beautiful clear perry with delicate bubbles. There is virtually no sweetness and a bit of a musty flavor at the finish. It also smells a little musty. I actually don't know if it is musty or not since this is my first batch and I wouldn't know musty from mousy from any other descriptor but that is what I think the taste/smell is.

As for the apple I used unpasteurized cider from a local farm
and the same ingredients as the Perry plus added 1/3 lb cane sugar to each gallon in the primary fermentation. Like the Perry I added 1/4 cup dissolved cane sugar per gallon at bottling time. This cider is even dryer than the perry and it is slightly bitter in addition to the musty taste/smell.

Both drinks are beautiful, clear and bubbly but I cannot taste the original fruit in either. What advice to folks have to get cider/perry that actually tastes like apple or pear and any ideas on the hint of must?
Thanks for your ideas.

good start

A couple of thoughts:

1. Good cider takes some bottle conditioning before it tastes fabulous. Six months may be a peak and we've even had fantastic ciders that were years old.

2. Raw juice will have most aroma, with more risk of contamination. Cider nerds seek out particular apple varieties for their tannin content (bitterness) and aroma.

3. Champagne yeast is voracious. It is a very good attenuator, which means it likes to eat all the sugar in sight. Even with other dry white wine yeasts that aren't quite so aggressive, natural craft cider is a pretty dry drink. It is not naturally very sweet. This is because the apple juice sugars are very simple and fermentable and the yeasts are highly attenuative.

It sounds like you're doing the right things, but if you'd like a little more residual sweetness, try changing the yeast. We really like the Wyeast Sweet Mead yeast for cider. We usually carry it and have a batch in our basement now that needs to be bottled. We should swap samples.


More info on wyeast yeast strains. We have some good dry yeasts (I like D-47 for cider) which are only a dollar, but more variety is available in liquid format ($6.50 or so). Wyeast has a great site with details. %attenuation is how much sugar they typically eat before quitting.

Wyeast style guide: common cider.

We usually have Sweet Mead, but can order any Wyeast strain. Just call the store (number at top of site) or send us a message online with what you need, and your name, and we can usually get it in a week or two.

You want to know what mouse

You want to know what mouse is like? Go buy a bottle of Samuel Smith Cider. Take drink. It will be normal to you. Then, mix up a solution of baking soda and water. It doesn't matter how much. Swish it around in your mouth and spit out. Then drink the Samuel Smith Cider again. This time, search for a popcorn or buttery taste. Samuel Smith Cider always has a touch of mouse going on, and the baking soda solution helps you find it when you aren't trained.

As to the perry being sweeter, pears do contain a little bit of unfermentable sugars, unlike apples.

And finally, wine does not taste like grapes, so please do not expect cider and perry to taste like apples and pears.

There is now a cider bar in Portland called Bushwhacker Cider. You might go down there and sample some stuff.

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