(5 gallons / 19 L)
OG = 1.055 FG = 1.010
IBU = 0 SRM = varies
(depending on color of nectar)
ABV = 4.25% (average)
Readers should keep in mind that it is difficult to replicate true pulque using only the ingredients in a home brewer’s pharmacopeia. It is common for pulque brewers in Mexico to reproduce their own strains of yeast, using a starter of fermented pulque (known as the “semilla”, or seed) to ferment a fresh batch of agave nectar. These yeast strains, like many tricks of the trade, are closely guarded secrets amongst pulqueros — indeed, some of these strains of yeast may be as old as the Aztec Empire itself.
8.0 lbs. (3.6 kg) agave (maguey)
nectar (Madhava brand agave
nectar is available at Henry’s and
other organic markets in light and
dark versions. Either works.)
Wyeast 1056 (American Ale),
White Labs WLP001 (California Ale) or Safale US-05 yeast (Traditionally, a yeast strain known as Saccharomyces carbajali is commonly used.)
Step by Step
Dissolve the agave nectar into the water, much as when making a mead. Heat for as long as it takes to dissolve nectar, but do not boil. After cooling wort, add the yeast (and bacteria, if using. See below). Ferment at 65 °F (18 °C). Fermentation time may vary. Best if served shortly after fermenting. If bottling, let cure in bottles for a few days, then keep refrigerated.
You can ferment the agave using only yeast; however, to replicate the sour flavor common in true pulque, I recommend adding a bacterial culture. You can use a commercially available lambic blend — such as Wyeast 3278 (Lambic Blend) or White Labs WLP655 (Belgian Sour Mix 1) — or a culture of Brettanomyces lambicus or Lactobacillus delbrueckii will also work.
Mexican Pulque RecipeAuthor: David J. Schmidt Issue: Jan/Feb 2011