[My god have I learned so much since this tiny adventure.]
Pears are in season and Jason just gave me a large bag of some fruit from the tree in his back yard. The goal is to make some pear eau-de-vie. To start with, we will need a wine. I only had enough pears for a gallon recipe. Which even if it hits 10% alcohol will only give me a couple cups of brandy. Luckily distilling things scales down really well. To make the wine I cut out any bad spots in the pears and put them through a cheese grater to get some pulp. This filled about 75% of the gallon carboy. I then added the rest of a jar of clover honey that was in the pantry to up the sugar content somewhat. This was maybe 3/4 of a cup of honey. I also added a teaspoon of Fermax yeast nutrient to help things along and a couple imprecise spoonfuls of tartaric acid to help protect the wine from bacteria. I added an entire packet of Lalvin k1-v1116 fruit wine yeast to hopefully snuff out all the other yeasts and stuff growing on the pears’ skin. hopefully fermentation will break down the pulp enough that it comes out of the carboy easy enough. I think I’m hoping things ferment as much as possible with out racking anything so I can just toss the wine solids and all in the still. Discarding only the foreshots, saving all heads and tails, then having just enough remaining for a small drink among a couple friends.
Wish me luck!
So things fermented really well, but I did fill the carboy too full and things expanded and frothed. This did create a mess but definitely didn’t spoil the wine. Next time I need to plan better to save more time. The wine did appear to brown and not look too appealing but the distilled alcohol came out quite nice. I tossed the wine into the still (my new boiler is a 10 liter pressure cooker) on top of a steam tray that I suspended a little to keep the wine’s solids from scorching. This seemed to work really well. Going into distillation I had no idea how much alcohol I produced. The first thing I did was bring the still into equilibrium then pull off the foreshots which amounted to about an ounce. I tried to separate the heads but then determined that I liked them. I left in the tails as well. For some pears from an ordinary tree made with incredibly simple technique, the result is gorgeous and the aroma is sensational. Next year I hope to get the best of the whole tree. My total yield is a cup and half that is well over 80 proof. After it rests I may cut it down a little with some water. Over all, the product reminds me of Navip Slivovitz from Serbia bottled at 100 proof.
2 oz. pear brandy from the above recipe
.5 oz. simple syrup
4 dashes angostura
Divine flavor contrast. If you can’t make your own brandy try it with Clear Creek.