Sunday, 3 February 2013

Rice Wine Recipe

Yeast Balls
I found this recipe on a brewing forum.

Ingredients from your local asian grocer.

  • 1kg glutinous rice (sticky rice) 
  • 1 to 2 balls Chinese yeast balls 
  • Some water 


  • Wash the rice until the rinse water is a little less milky
  • Soak the rice overnight in cold water
  • Drain rice thoroughly in a colander, let it drain for a good 30 minutes 
  • Steam the rice for an hour 
  • Allow the rice to cool to room temperature 
  • Put the rice into a food grade container in layers about an inch thick - grind up 1 or 2 yeast balls in a mortar and pestle and sprinkle a light covering on each layer, leaving more than enough for the top. 
  • Push a hole down the centre of the container and sprinkle the yeast over the top and make sure you have enough to sprinkle some down the hole
  • Cover the container and leave at room temperature. 

Note - no liquid has been added. The yeast contains starch converting enzymes & bacteria as well as yeast. They work with the moisture in the steamed rice and will start to pull moisture out of the rice and will eventually liquify and reduce the "dry" mixture to a mush, which will then start to ferment. After a day or two you will notice liquid in the hole, you don't really have to, but when it looks like there is a fair bit of liquid, I like to stir it all up and then stir it every day or two to stop a wine fermentation style cap of dry material being forced to the top by the fermentation gasses. The mush should start to look like porridge, then eventually like soup.

At any time after the liquid starts to come out, you can scoop out a little bowl of the stuff and have it as dessert. It is like a syrupy sweet and slightly boozy rice pudding. Delicious. The longer you leave it the boozier it becomes.

After a few weeks it will stop bubbling and settle down, and its pretty much ready to go. You can drink it with the chunks in, or you can put it in a calico bag and strain it through. It doesn't go through easily and you will have to squeeze it through and wring out the juice. If you have a fruit or wine press, you could put the bag in that. What comes through will be a milky liquid which is lovely to drink as is, or you can let it stand and rack clear wine off the top of the lees. 

This should give you something like 1 - 1.5L of very sweet, around 20% alcohol wine, less if you only want to drink the clear stuff. 

Add yeast & cover
You can get more wine by adding water to the start of the process. Up to a point, this wont even reduce the abv% - it will just make the wine less sweet. The fermentation has an excess of sugar and stops only because the yeast stop working at about 20% abv. Thin the sugars out with added water and they still take the whole thing up to 20% - just there is more sugar converted and less left over for sweetness. A litre of extra at the start will still give potent booze and less cloying sweetness - two litres will give you maybe a 16(ish)% drink that is still fairly sweet and with a slight hint of bitterness. I like it either with no water or with around a litre. Keep the final product in the fridge or it will start to go sour on you.

PS: the recipe above yielded 1.7 litres.

the finished product