Tepache Sour Ale

One more trip. This trip began many years ago and it was the embrace of something, vaguely unknown, fermentation.

What at first was just about beer, quickly took on other forms. Mead, Cider, Bread, Pickles, Tepache, Kombucha, and so on.
Unlike beer, which has a lot of information produced and easily available, there wasn’t that much information about other fermented products.

Fortunately for us, it seems that the new trend for cooks is to take on everything that is fermented. With more and more people interested, more information begins to emerge, more fermentations begin to appear in our days of brewing.
Currently, we have a very reduced vision of fermented drinks: grape for wine, honey for mead, apple for cider, cereals for beer. But it was not always so.
In a distant past, when little was known about fermentation, beer was nothing like what we drink today, it was seen as a gift from the gods.

In Patrick McGovern’s Ancient Brews, we travel the world and meet a number of fermented drinks, and unsurprisingly, we have some interesting combinations. The author of the book, together with Dogfish Head, recreated some of these forgotten drinks from other times. We will get there, but for now, we will go to Mexico.

Tepache, a beverage where pineapple peels are fermented with some spices, combined with piloncillo (similar to brown sugar), was served even before the arrival of the Spanish. For years it was a local secret, gaining prominence in the United States in taquerias across the country. Meet Leon, the real Tepache homebrewer.

We took a ride from Leon to the backyard, turned our kettles on and milled our cereal. Let’s go. Oh wait, bad news: today we don’t have an unnecessarily complex process to present you. We do, however, have another chapter in the book “adventures of a homebrewer”.

Remember the Patersbier? This should have been day zero. Unfortunately, it was never much more than that.
We have to roll the dice and hope it’s in our favor and turn difficulties into opportunities. In fact, the problem did not arise until 48 hours later, the production day was quite calm, everything was going as expected. With the tiny detail of the yeast culture that we used, was not viable.

With a wort stalled, with no sign of fermentation and with the risk of losing a batch, it was time to pull a packet of yeast under the sleeve.
Quick stop for a little jump to Budapest to a backdrop our choice to save this batch: on the second day of tasting at the Budapest Beer Week of 2018, among more than 200 beers, one of which stood out the most was a Lichtenhainer, a smoked sour fermented with white wine yeast.

Let us leave this idea as a cliffhanger, in the style of the “Lost” series, because we know it will come back later, even if we don’t know when. All of this to tell you that the only yeast that he had that made sense to solve the problem, was a white wine yeast.

Re-inoculated wort, after a shameful 48 hours later, we finally had some happy saccharomyces. After two weeks of alcoholic fermentation, we tasted it and unsurprisingly, we had a beer with little charisma.

Taking the opportunity to have a simple wort as a base to highlight other ingredients, we pulled a trick from our ever-growing list of ideas. Believe me, stuffing seven kilos of pineapple into a bucket was the least silly idea. Do you think celery and horseradish would work with beer?

So… here is a little bit of beer mixed into a carboy filled with Pineapple

The fruit was sliced, the brettanomyces propagated and a lactobacillus that was waiting for a stage to shine. The game had turned in our favor after all.

Tepache Sour Ale

Batch: 18L
Total Cereal 4.07 Kg.
Original Gravity: 1.039
IBU: 25.5
Boil Time: 90 minutes


89.4% – 3.64 kg. Pale Ale
10.6% – 0.43 kg. Raw Wheat


80 gr. Styrian Golding 2.9% AA @ 60 min.
50 gr. Styrian Golding 2.9% AA @ 00 min.


5 x Pineapples ~7 Kg. chopped, with peel


Young’s All Purpose White
WLP650 Brett Bruxellensis
Lallemand Sour Pitch
Pineapple, peels included together with all the flora that was there…


Ca: 146
Mg: 13
Na: 28
Cl: 73
SO4: 111
Cl to SO4 Ratio: 0.66


Saccharification at 63ºC ramping up till 72ºC for 60 minutes.
Mash-out at 78ºC for 15minutes.

pH@45 min 5.42


First wort, first inoculation attempt

Success, wort inoculated with viable yeast. Drop us a line if you feel like sponsoring a microscope 🙂

Why would someone go to the supermarket and buy 7 kgs of Pineapple?
Beer. When in doubt, the answer is beer.

Tepache Sour Ale carbonated with 3-3.5 volumes of Co2

Carbonation test. So long mimosas, there is a new brunch trend in town.

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