Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Pistachio Diaries

Hey you pistachios! Get in my beer!

Over a month since brew day and the Pistachio Porter is finally taking shape. With somewhere in the region of a 9.5 gallon yield we decided we'd do a little experiment by splitting this batch over two kegs and conditioning each with a different amount of pistachio extract.  One has 27.5ml and the other 23.7ml (the latter calculated proportionally to the original mix and the first as a 'bumping up' experiment). Part of the fun was had via administering the pistachio extract into the bottom of the kegs using an infant medicine syringe.

Whilst we were at the brew house (wink, wink) last weekend having exciting adventures we decided to give these both a try, even though it had been less than a week. Initially we poured off the first few ounces into a jug, assuming a mess of sediment would come out. Happily it was pouring clean right from the get go (this has oft been my experience with darker beers). It was under-carbed but we had been carbonating at serving pressure to get a nice even distribution so it had only been at 7psi for 5 days. But there was potential in the body and already a decent mouthfeel.

Tasting out of the jug was pretty alarming, a lot of bitter and chemically notes came to the fore. That may have been because it was the first runnings, or even the vessel itself. I cannot be sure, but once we put some in a regular glass things got better pretty quick. It was at the very least suddenly recognizable as a serviceable replication of my prior efforts. Being tasted so young, there were some harsh flavors and inappropriate bitterness, and the pistachio flavors seemed a little more pronounced than I'd like. But on the whole I think that any real negative points are things that we feel will ebb nicely with another few days in the keg.

Side-by-side, despite the overwhelming nature of the pistachio at this point, I felt like the stronger mix was preferable. This could have been because it better cut the harsher bitterness of the base style. I was surprised by that as I had recalled a winning combination with the original proportions. But that's why we push the boundaries right? Why not chase that edge, that finer product,  that new horizon? I'm moved to muse that perhaps a more complex malt profile might be beneficial for future renditions of this ale. We'll search for the right mix until we know its just right.