For Cinco de Mayo this year we were looking for something a little different to serve alongside our flight of beers. Discovered what we were looking for in an old Mexican drink called Pulque. Pulque seems to be having a bit of a revival right now, not that I’ve ever seen it for purchase anywhere, but it’s recently been featured in both BYO and Zymurgy. Since those interesting sort of beers fascinate us we decided a Pulque to help celebrate Cinco de Mayo made sense.
So the next step was to source the ingredients. Pretty simple, Ale and Lambic yeast from our LHBS, and Agave Nectar off Amazon.com. We gathered all the ingredients and after copious amounts of reading in the magazines and online we decided we knew just enough to pretend like we knew what we were doing. We brewed up a couple of gallons of the stuff and stuck it in an old Mr. Beer brewing barrel to ferment.
Most of what we read said, that like Chicha, Pulque was meant to be consumed young. We let ours ferment for a few days before the party and served it out of the little spigot on the Mr. Beer barrel. Although the fermentation had definitely kicked in it was cloyingly sweet, yeasty, and rather boring.
Instead of just dumping it though I decided to just let it keep fermenting to see what would happen. The Lambic yeast would certainly kick in at some point and give it a bit more character I thought. Now just about a month later I think I’m right.
What we have now is turning into a great after dinner sipping drink with some layered characters and complexity. There is still a sweetness to the Pulque but most of it has fermented out at this point. I think the American Ale yeast has also fallen out and given way to the Lambic which has started to add sour notes to the nose and just a bit to the finish. When you smell it the nose is bit bready with those sour notes and when you taste it you get the remaining sweet right up front followed by that cascade of flavors. Although we read that Pulque is supposed to be a rather viscous drink our is not.
Since the Pulque has changed so much in the one month it’s been fermenting we’ve decided to just leave it there and see what happens (not like we were hankering to use the Mr. Beer barrel). So far it’s been a great experiment and I’m looking forward to seeing how it continues to progress.