Tequila Made With Agave Nectar


What is Tequila?

  • Tequila is one of the most popular drinks preferred by many. Jose Cuervo Especial Gold Tequila should actually be on your liquor shelf. It is a fascinating distilled spirit that usually goes with lime and salt on the side. Tequila mixes well with different liquor due to its unique taste and exotic flair. It gives an appeal that whiskey, rum, gin, vodka, and brandy cannot touch. The tequila making process is as fascinating as the liquor itself.
  • Tequila derives its specific flavor from a sugar called inulin. You can find on each tequila bottle how much inulin they contain. Inulin is present in an agave sap.

What is Agave Nectar?

  • Agave nectar is a low glycaemic sweetener used by those who have diabetes. People who want to have a better and healthy lifestyle prefer this sweetener. Studies show that it is 1.5 times sweeter than sugar and is more viscous than honey. Its aroma likens to molasses. 
  • Different kinds of Agave plants are grown in Mexico. Agave sap is an alternative sweetener preferred by vegans. Blue Agave plant is preferably used to make tequila.

Varieties of Agave Nectar

Agave nectar made by the following steps:

The fluid is first extracted from the Agave plant. The juice is then filtered and then heated to become fructose. Afterward, fructose is then concentrated into a caramel. Agave nectar needs different processing stages before consumption. Processed food can be less nutritious. Its natural health benefits are often lost in food preparation.

Another method of production uses enzymes derived from the Aspergillus fungus. It breaks the bonds that hold together the complex sugar molecules. Both procedures result in a 90% fructose concentration. Sweetened nectar has a lower glycemic index (GI) than most other sweeteners, sugar.

Several varieties of agave nectar come in fresh, black, amber, and green. The amber and dark usually have more flavor than red, and the raw will have the most (and be the darkest) flavor. If you’re using it to pour over pancakes, the light might be perfect. Fermentation in beers will lose most of its flavors so I would opt for the darker versions. You can also learn how to Speed Up Fermentation to get other more distinct beer flavors.

Raw has a much stronger flavor, like the amber. But, it will be a struggle for the flavor to make it through fermentation. The raw agave syrup has a more intense flavor.

How it is Used in Beer: Agave Syrup/Nectar

Agave syrup made of all simple sugars (glucose and fructose), so it is fermentable. You usually will use it in brewing to substitute corn syrup or honey. Since it is so fermentable, it is often processed into alcohol… leaving no agave flavor behind. All it does is dry the beer out and improve the alcohol content.

During the brewing process, you can add agave nectar many times. You can add it during the boiling process, but you’ll almost boil the entire agave flavor off. If adding to the boil, you can add it within the last few minutes in generous amounts. It is to ensure that the flavor’s imparted into the beer. But be careful of the effect on your ABV% when adding large amounts of agave.

You have to throw in the agave nectar (1.5 lbs) in the Iron Brewer recipe after you have transferred the wort to the carboy. It’s probably safe to assume that the syrup was sanitized… as it is pasteurized and stored in a clean container. Put the bottle in a saucepan of water. Heat the saucepan to over 160 degrees for a few minutes for sanitation and pour it into the fermenter. You may also opt to add it to secondary fermentation. Remember that adding sugar into secondary will cause extra fermentation.

Other ways agave could be used would be in place of priming sugar when bottling… or after kegging to back-sweeten the beer.

How much to Add?

In a five-gallon batch, add 23.5 oz (roughly 1.5 lbs) of agave nectar into the fermenter. Why this amount? This actually varies depending on the size of the vessel you will use for fermentation.

Using 1/2 lb or less to your beer won’t do much. Now, it will ferment out almost completely. So to get any agave flavor at all, you need to add in a good bit. If adding into the boil, you don’t want to add less than 2 pounds. For bottling purposes, you may need to consult a carbonation chart. Remember that agave is sweeter than sugar, so you may need less than you think!

Here are a few options you can try upon adding Agave Nectar to make tequila:

Most people use it as a low-glycemic-index sweetener. However, we prefer you to make “agave spirits” from it. But, due to the high fructose content, many types of yeast will have trouble fermenting it. We recommend using distiller 48-hour Turbo Yeast. The containers come filled with 46 oz. of organic raw agave syrup, so you will need 3-5 of them for a 5-6 gallon batch.

To make your agave nectar wash:

Simply mix 3 to 5 of the 46-oz containers of agave syrup with 4 to 5 gallons of water… (with a temperature of approximately 70-80 degrees) dump into your fermenter.  And add your yeast.

How Many Agave Plants Does it Require To Make 1 Liter of Tequila?

  • A plant usually weights between 20 and 30 kilos.
  • It takes around 6-8 kilos to produce 1 liter of tequila, depending on the weather and type of soil used.
  • There are methods which can get more liters out of the plant… Although it reduces the quality of the product. The average plant can make 3 to 4 liters of 100% Agave Tequila. 
  • Or you can experiment using Copper Alembic Pot Still.

The wash is as follows:

  • 46 ounces (2 x 23oz bottles of Madhava Agave Nectar)
  • 32 ounces (Karo corn syrup with real vanilla – on sale at Wal-Mart)
  • 1 cup of granulated white sugar
  • 1 3/4 gallons of tap water
  • 2 tablespoons of yeast (Fleischmens baking yeast) breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice

Heat 1 gallon of tap water in a pot to 155F and combine agave, Karo, sugar, and acid for 30-45 minutes. Pour into a 5-gallon drink cooler (fermenter.) Add 3/4 gallon of cold water to cool the wort down to 85F. Pitch yeast and add breadcrumbs. Expect it to take some age to bring out the tequila taste.

Agave Nectar Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition facts are provided by the USDA for 1 teaspoon (6.9 g) of agave syrup:

Calories: 21
Fat: 0g
Sodium: 0.3g
Carbohydrates: 5.3g
Fiber: 0g
Sugars: 4.7g
Protein: 0g
  • Carbs – An agave nectar teaspoon has around 5 grams of carbohydrate and a total of 20 calories. That is in some other way equal to table sugar, corn syrup, molasses, or rice.
  • Fats – Agave nectar contains only a fraction of sugar. It transforms a lot of the fructose it produces to triglycerides. This makes agave nectar riskier… especially if you have a pre-existing cardiovascular condition, metabolic syndrome, or insulin resistance. Also, added sugars are a source of extra calories. These can cause weight gain… which is an independent risk factor for diabetes and heart disease.
  • Protein – Agave nectar has marginal protein content (under 0.01 grams).
  • Vitamins and Minerals – Agave syrup contains small quantities of vitamins and minerals such as vitamins B and C, potassium, calcium, and selenium. But, the serving size is so small that certain micronutrients provide no value to the nectar.
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