I have tried several times making wine from pears and always end up with a wine that tastes like weak moonshine. It has a smooth taste but not much flavor. I had a friend make some homemade pear wine as well and his turned out the same way. We have come to the conclusion that there is probably sugar locked into the fruit that is being released during the fermentation. My question is do you think our conclusion is correct and if so how can I go about figuring how much sugar to add to the fermentation. I think these pears will make a very fine wine if I can just figure out the recipe.
Jeff L — PA
In general, pears do not have a lot of flavor relative to other fruits. Think of the raspberries used to make a raspberry wine. When you taste a raspberry you know it. They are bursting with flavor.
Pears on the other hand are not bursting with flavor. When you bite into a pear you can tell it’s a pear. You can taste its character, but it’s nothing explosive like a strawberry, blueberry or even peach. Put the pear flavor up against the tongue-numbing effects of alcohol – such as the situation of a homemade pear wine – and you have something that tastes just like you described, weak moonshine.
Here are some tips for making homemade pear wine at home. These are some ideas for getting more pear flavor into the wine when using fresh pears.
Tip #1 For Making Homemade Pear Wine
One trick I have found to work well when making pear wine is to let the pears get as ripe as possible. Let the pears get as soft as you can without letting them turn to rot. If some pears are turning quicker than others, you can put them in a bath of sulfite solution, whole, until the other pears are ready. This will stop the pears from rotting any further.
Allowing the pears to become as ripe as possible will go a long way towards getting you a homemade pear wine with more pear character. When pears are early they taste closer to an apple. As they develop, the flavor that makes a pear, a pear, starts to become more pronounced.
Tip #2 For Making Homemade Pear Wine
Don’t drive the alcohol level of your pear wine up too high. Try to keep it around 10% to 12%. This can be done with the aid of a hydrometer. Use the potential alcohol scale on the hydrometer. As you add more sugar, the wine must will rise on the potential alcohol scale. Having the alcohol too high will give the pear wine a watery impression. This is because the high alcohol level is numbing your tongue to the flavors that are actually there.
Tip #3 For Making Homemade Pear Wine
Going back directly to your question, if you are using chopped fresh pears for making wine, the sugars in the pears should be release during the fermentation. The enzymes produced by the wine yeast will break down the pear pulp, releasing the sugars and the flavors. If you are not using an actual wine yeast, the correct enzymes are not being produced to break the pear pulp down.
Use wine yeast only. For pear wine we recommend Lalvin EC-1118 wine yeast. In addition, also be sure to add pectic enzyme. This will help to break down the fruit fiber, as well. Pectic enzyme is important in helping to get more flavor from the fruit.
Try mashing up the pears a bit. Once they have been cubed, you can use something like a cleaned and sanitized 2 x 4 stud to crush them. You are not looking for apple sauce consistency. You just want the fiber structure of the pulp to be disrupted some. This will allow the enzymes to break down the fruit fiber more quickly. By getting to the fruit fiber more quickly, you are getting both more flavor and more sugar from the pears.
By employing these tips you will be able to make a better homemade pear wine, one that actually tastes like pear. If you are still not sure what to go from here, you may want to take a look our pear wine recipe. This recipe makes 5 gallons of pear wine. It’s an easy recipe, straight-forward recipe that should help you out.
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.
If the pear wine has a weak taste, can you add a raspberry or peach flavor to it?
Do I need to reduce the amount of acid blend in my pear wine as I’m only doing half the amount not the full 25 gallon as your recipe states 3 tablespoons?
I added a bunch of lemon zest to my last batch along with the peeled lemons themselves and it added a nice light aromatic scent. Next time I will add a bunch more citrus fruits and see how it turns out.
my thought is Pear is a wonderful base but it needs a bit of a punch with something more flavourful
I do believe you can. Also adding more sugar may help as well
So much for the Punkin wine recipe. Started it today and can’t wait to Christmas to try it.knowing it will be yummy yummy.thanks
The first wines I made from my pears were awful, as you describe, which changed for the better when I started including black raspberries in the ferment. I pick and freeze them until pear season, and it doesn’t take many to change moonshine wine into a light, fruity blush bursting with raspberry aromas.
Gavin, absolutely you can experiment with different flavorings, whether it be raspberry or peach is up to personal taste. There is also the option of making another fruit wine and blending it with the pear wine. You can blend some, or all of the wine. This will give you better control of the outcome. Here’s some info on this:
Making Blended Fruit Wines
Four Tips For Adding Flavorings To Your Wines
Can you please give me information on making homemade wine. I have never tried to make it before but I have tasted it before and would love to try it! Thanks!
Jennifer, the best thing to do is to start reading the articles on our website. There are articles that discuss how to get started and the equipment and supplies that you will need. There are also articles that will discuss the process in detail. Below is the link to the articles. Also, anytime you have any questions you can contact us for assistance.
Wine Making Articles
Please freeze your fruit. You will get way more juice from pear or any fruit that you are using. All you have to do is wash your fruit and then freeze it, single layer on a cookie sheet. Then put into a bag until you need it. It takes little time to freeze and little time to thaw. I am surprised that this was not mentioned in the initial information.
Almost all of my Fruits are frozen first; a necessity when you don’t have enough at first and need to continue picking for another week/month or another crop comes in while carboys are still in use or you pick more fruit than you can process in 1 batch. Depending on the fruit, I will freeze it whole or after pressing freeze both juice and pulp.
Freezing does seem to soften the the structure allowing allowing more juice to be pressed out and the Pectic Enzyme to work more efficiently. True or not, another vintner suggested that freezing also helps sterilize the fruit.
I found non-ripe pears give you a green apple blossom flavor. It is important to use 100% ripe pear juice and/or 100% apple juice when making either apple or pear wine compared to a 60/40 blend of juice to water for other fruits. Follow this and enjoy!
A neighbor of mine had a glut of Keefer pears last year that I got to share. We made 3 five gallon batches and each was slightly different. First batch we peeled, cored and mashed the barely ripe pears because we had read that the peel could cause bitterness. We added sugar and got a very drinkable white wine. We used Champagne yeast for all 3 batches. Second batch we cored and sliced very thin with the peel on the well ripened pears. We added sugar and got a pink wine with more character. Third batch we cored and sliced very thin with the peel on the very ripe pears. We added sugar and got a pink wine with even more character. We were happy with all 3 wines. Some family and friends preferred one over another bu I liked them all.
Any chance you could share your recipe I have an uncle who gets lots of pears every year so I can get a good supply but have no idea for a recipe to use them.
Hey, Charlie, I use the EC Krause Pear Wine recipe for 5 gallons. One difference is that I use Red Star brand Pasteur Champagne yeast instead of the yeast listed in their recipe. Also, since I have an allergy to cane sugar, I use corn fructose for the added sugar. The only pears that I have used are Keefer pears which (for me) have more flavor than most others. Remember that the riper the pears the more character and flavor the wine will have. Leaving the peal on will also enhance the color and flavor. When the fermentation is complete and the yeast has been killed, I find that adding about 2 cups of fructose to the 5 gallon batch before bottling will take the edge off of the wine. Many might prefer the dryer wine but I like my wine smoother.
I found that by juicing the pears then placing the juice in the fridge to chill and ferment for a month longer seems to do the trick i get a very rich pear wine. I use about 1 to 1-1/2 gallon of juiced pears to make five gallons of rich flavored pear wine. Just keep an eye out for too much sugar. Anyone see a problem doing it this way?
Any chance you could share your recipe I have an uncle who gets lots of pears every year so I can get a good supply but have no idea for a recipe to use them.
I use Kraus Recipes for all my fruit wines and they are GREAT!
Thanks for the article Ed. I made pear wine last year and it turned out excellent from others that drank it. Our pears were really ripe and probably had a good recipe with a little luck. I read all your articles, they are so helpful!
I enjoy all the comments from experienced wine makers. I have made lots of grape, rhubarb, black berry. I always put the fruit in ice cream buckets and in the freezer sometimes until spring. We do have a WINTER here in Wisconsin This year my grapes did not produce like last year and they were ripe the middle of August. Anybody ever have this happen???
I’ve been making wine since 1976 and am excited about finding this website ,thanks,
Tom, welcome and please let us know if you need any assistance.
I add bananas and golden raisins to my pear wine. It adds a golden color and lots of flavor without masking the pear.
Sounds interesting,how much banana and raisins did you add per gal of wine? Thanks for the help.
I add Saltanas to pears to get a tasty dessert type wine…yummy!
We made some good tasting pear wine this year. The pears from our tree sat in our barn refrigerator from September 2015 to January. We cleaned them removed cores and seeds and brown spots. Then we ran the pears through a meat grinder on the coarse setting and kept the pulp in strainer bags removed after three days. We also added two quarts of organic apple juice from Whole Foods to bring us up to 4 gallons. We used Lalvin 71B-1122 yeast, yeast nutrient, peptic enzyme and acid blend as well as sugar. We pulled the pulp out after three days because the hooch was bitter. We bottled in September, it tastes good, is not bitter, is a tiny bit fizzy and a beautiful, clear golden color.
I have 10 to 12 lbs of pears to make wine do I just half everything in the recipe for 22 lbs of pears like acid blend and yeast energizer
PFC, you can half all ingredients except the yeast. If this is a 5-gallon recipe, it will make 2.5 gallons of wine.
With Pear wine as per your recipe is multiple rackings not necessary? I’m making a raspberry wine that I’m going to rack 2-3 times over 6 month and age for a year but this does not appear to be required. Any advice you can give would be really helpful.
Also how long do you recommend it be aged for?
Many thanks in advance
John, with any type of wine that you make you will want to rack it at least 3 different times. The article posted below will discuss this in more detail.
We have found that with white wines 6 months will get the majority of the aging done. The typical white you find on the store shelf has been aged for about 18 months.
Racking Your Wine
excellent information: I made raspberry wine that has a brilliant red color but the wine is watery
fermentation was 2 weeks 2.5 down to .998 what can I do to salvage the 5 gal batch.
Donald, Without more information, I am not sure if this is what is occurring with your wine but when wine is high in alcohol it can have a watery taste. Higher alcohol levels numb the taste buds more so than normal when these wines are consumed, making a normally flavored wine taste watery through no fault of its own. When making these types of wines use more of the fruit when possible. We have included the link to an article that will discus this further. If high alcohol is what is causing the watery impression, you can try adding water, juice or a lower alcohol wine. Please remember if you add anything containing sugar to add potassium sorbate to prevent re-fermentation.
How Much Alcohol Do You really Want?
I have made many batches of 18% wine. Best are those made with more fruit than recipe calls for. Some batches have required the addition of concentrated juice. And those that still have HOT taste are better after some of the ice in my glass has melted.
I’ve been heating my juice to 160 and holding it at that temp. for 10 min.. Is this a good or not good practice?
M Shaw, what you are doing is similar to pasteurizing the juice so it is fine to use.
I used the heating method for pumpkin in the past after reading people’s reviews over tasteless wine using raw pumpkin. By heating & softening the pumpkin it released the pumpkin flavor and tasted great when it was finished.
One way to increase the pear flavor is to juice the pears and then freeze the juice then allow the frozen juice to gently thaw as you collect the liquid. The first 1/3 of the juice will contain just about all the sugars and flavors and will just about double the potential ABV without any added sugars. The down side is that if you start with 3 gallons of juice you will make about 1 gallon of wine but that wine will have far more flavor than fermenting the juice as it comes expressed from the pears.
What can I do to salvage wine that has fermented to high alcohol content, high acid and low flavor? Wine has completed fermentation. Is it possible to add more flavor with fruit concentrates, spices and sugar at this point. Please help. Thanks.
Helen, to lower the alcohol content of a finished wine, you can add water, juice or a lower alcohol wine of similar quality. If you add juice that contains sugar, you also need to add potassium sorbate to prevent re-fermentation. To lower the acid, you can dilute the wine with water or if it is really high with acid reducing crystals. The article posted below will provide more information about reducing acid. When a wine ferments to dryness it will sometimes lose the fruity flavor. Back sweetening the wine can help bring the fruit flavor back. Just remember if you add anything containing sugar to add potassium sorbate to prevent re-fermentation.
Reducing Acid In Wine
I have had good success by back-flavouring with concentrated pear juice once the wine is ready to bottle. You need to add potassium sorbate because of the sugar in the juice and will also likely need to add pectin enzyme so the wine doesn’t haze.
Do I peel the pears?
Sue, No, you do not need to peel the pairs. Just make sure to wash, cut in half and core them.
Great posts on Pear wine. My son & I have made several batches over the past few years. We’ve got about 100# of last year’s pears in the freezer waiting for a good weekend to put them through the press. We quarter them before pressing – the usual yield is about 8-9 gallons of pretty thick juice. The must is made with 50% juice to water. I’ve tried a cranberry blend as well as honey and one that came out really well was done with raw sugar. Keep up the great information flow – it’s much appreciated.
I have very bitter pears that are the size of a crabapples. First time making pear wine. Can I make pear wine the same as making crab apple wine by cutting the stems and ends off only and smashing them and placing them in a nylon bag. Can I juice these size pears? Please help.
Mary, I would recommend cutting the pears not smashing them and putting them in a bag. Below is the link to our pear wine recipe.
Pear Wine Recipe
This year I freeze concentrated some of my pear juice, then added that to regular pear juice for fermentation. It both ups the pear taste and the ABV at the same time. I added about 1 pt of concentrate to a gal of juice. Also it adds a residual sweetness due to unfermentable sugars in the pear.
The actual process of freeze concentration is quite simple. Below is an instructable: