This is a cider with some natural residual sweetness. Actually, it’s a semi-sweet perry with some apple notes. That is because its 2/3 pear and 1/3 apple. For reference, I made made 3 gallons of this golden elixir of flavor, and I’m happy I opted for a larger batch. For the recipe, I scaled it to my usual one-gallon volume but, you’ve been warned that its worth scaling up. If you want a cider with some sweetness, this is a great option. The best way I have found to make a naturally sweet cider is to include pears. That is because pears generally have higher levels of sorbitol, which is usually not processed during fermentation. One if my favorite pears is the Red Bartlett. There aren’t perry pears in my area and Red Bartlett tend to have characteristics like an apple in both how they process and their acidity. For this batch, I actually used the peel of the pears to add more phenolics. In general, besides having more sorbitol, pears also include more phenolic compounds.
I used White Lab’s Torulaspora Delbrueckii (WLP603) yeast. I’m a big fan of non-Saccharomyces yeast strains. I think they offer great aroma characteristics and potential for higher residual sweetness. Besides arguing for non-Saccharomyces yeast, I also recommend trying different wood and toast levels. I added a new wood variety for aging. For this batch, I used white ash, which is known to impart flavors like marshmallow, bread, and sweetness. The flavor profiles are almost endless when you start exploring different yeast and wood options.
With regards to food pairings, it’s hard to find a cider that doesn’t pair well with spicy foods. That is especially true if the cider has a little sweetness like this one. But, the food I have most enjoyed with this cider has been pizza (search pizza on the site for all my pizza recipes). The sourdough crust with savory, spicy, or even a little sweetness works really well with the cider. Checkout the recipe for Red Pair-Sweet Apple Cider on my hard cider recipe page. Here are some direct links.