How to Make Makgeolli 2
Three years ago I made my first video about how to make makgeolli. Since then I’ve learned so much more about korean alcohol, its history, and new brewing techniques that I’ve updated the basic how to video and will be making some more videos in the future. There are so many great home brewers and breweries in Korea that are bringing back recipes and techniques that have been used centuries ago and I hope to make more videos writing them in the future.
This makgeolli recipe is a simple one step fermentation process. The final result is called a takju and will have a slightly higher alcohol level than your typical convenience store makgeolli. If made properly with good nuruk this recipe should have a good balance of sweetness and tartness reminiscent of a good apple cider.
For this recipe you will need rice, nuruk, and water. Typically this recipe calls for chapssal (sticky rice/glutinous rice) but you can experiment and use mepssal instead (non-glutinous rice). I prefer to use chassal though as I find it gives the best results and has a nice balance of flavors. The type of nuruk you use will also inform the flavor so experiment around with using different types until you find one that gives you the result you want. Depending on where you are you might have more or less of a selection of nuruk. I get my nuruk from my sool alma mater Korean Traditional Liquor lab but they don’t normally sell it. You can order Songhak nuruk from GMarket by following this link. Also try looking for 누룩 on GMarket. Unfortunately, nothing comes up if you look for “nuruk” in English.
Because this recipe is a one step process the fermentation temperature is slightly higher than other recipes. This is because we are not breaking down the starches in the rice as thoroughly as in a two step process that would use ground rice. Because of this we need to rely on the fungal enzymes to do most of the hard work of breaking down the starches into sugars that will then be converted to alcohol and give us some sweetness. These enzymes work best at slightly higher temperatures which is why it is recommended to ferment this recipe at 30-35 deg C. But I’ve had success fermenting it at slightly below 30 deg C.
Step 1 Nuruk Prep
Measure out nuruk
Add water to nuruk
Let sit for 4-7 hours
Filter and use in step 4
Step 2 Wash rice
Weigh out rice
Wash 100 times or until the water runs clear
Drain water out
Let drain for 30 min-1 hour
Step 3 Steam rice
Line steamer basket with a damp cheesecloth
Add rice and steam for 40 minutes. Start the timer when you see steam rising from the steamer.
Turn off heat and let rice sit for 10 min
Cool rice to 25 deg C quickly. Using a fan will help and rotate the rice occasionally.
Step 4 Mix
Add the nuruk filtrate from step 1 to the cooled rice.
Mix thoroughly making sure that all the nuruk water is well incorporated into the rice
Step 5 Ferment
Add the mixture to a sterilized brew vessel.
Let ferment for 7-10 days at ~30-35 degrees C
Filter and enjoy