Pistachio Pale Ale

So what's better than beer and pistachios? Smashing them together (of course) and making a citrusy pale ale using palisade hops with a smoky pistachio kick. Brewing with nuts takes a little extra time and ingenuity, but well worth it for those home brewers looking to push the brewing envelope on traditional styles.

Classic American pale ales came about in the 1980s, as American brewers tried to satisfy their thirst for hops. The flavor is of fresh hops with a crisp finish. The brew is usually malty and fruity, but with American (Cascade) hops in the foreground. The normal gravity range for an American Pale Ale is 1.044 -1.050+ with an ABV range of 4.5-5.5%. Bitterness is medium to high on this beer around 35 and can range anywhere from 28-40 IBUs with color 6-14L and attenuation medium. The carbonation level (CO2 saturation in volumes) for the style is 2.2 - 2.7.

We use Palisade hops in this recipe which are an American hop similar to cascade and ahtanum that gives the brew a nice crisp bitter finish. To add an additional layer of interest we combined natural pistachio flavors to the beer during secondary fermentation using our tea method.

During our experiment with this recipe we torched pistachios with a blow torch until lightly browned, partially cracked the pistachios and placed them in a grain bag. Next, we boiled 3 cups of water and steeped the pistachios for 15 mins. Finally, we froze the mixture and scraped off the fats that rose to the top and then added the remaining pistachio tea during secondary fermentation. You can use this method for a number of nuts and seeds with high fat contents.

The Nottingham Ale Yeast used is highly flocculant and has relatively full attenuation. The pistachio really comes through nice with the low fruity ester production of this yeast.

Online sources for organic shelled pistachios: OrganicPistachios.com or Braga Organic Farms

Hopstachio - Pistachio Pale Ale (All Grain)

Batch size 5 gallons
Boil size 6.1 gallons
Boil time 60 minutes
Grain weight 10.25 pounds
Efficiency 70%
Original gravity 1.052
Final gravity 1.011
Alcohol (by volume) 5.3%
Bitterness (IBU) 46
Color (SRM) 5.8 °L
10 dry grams
Nottingham Ale

10.25 pounds
2 Row Base
37ppg, 1.5 °L
4.5 pounds
Pale Ale
38ppg, 3 °L
4 pounds
Oats (Flaked)
32ppg, 2 °L
1 pound
Crystal 10L
35ppg, 10 °L
0.5 pounds
Crystal 40L
34ppg, 40 °L
0.25 pounds

2 ounces
Palisades hops
10%, Pellet
2 ounces

16.16 ounces
Roasted Pistachio
16 ounces
Irish moss
0.16 ounces

60 minutes, 7.9 gallons
Target 153 °F
3.8 gallons
164 °F
60 minutes (+0)
Target 168 °F
4.1 gallons
175 °F

60 minutes, 6.1 gallons
Palisades hops
10%, Pellet
1 ounce
60 minutes (+0)
Palisades hops
10%, Pellet
0.5 ounces
15 minutes (+45)
Irish moss
0.16 ounces
15 minutes (+45)
Palisades hops
10%, Pellet
0.5 ounces
5 minutes (+55)

24 days @ 57-70 °F
Rack to secondary 14 days (+10)
Roasted Pistachio
16 ounces
14 days (+10)


Pistachio notes:
• Roast, toast or torch the pistachios until lightly browned
• Partial crack the pistachios and place them in a grain bag
• Boil 3 cups of water and steep the pistachios for 15 min
• Freeze mixture and scrape off any fats that rise to the top
• Add mixture to secondary