First batch of "Miso" - kinda weird?

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Jan 18, 2019
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Hey all,

I just "harvested" my first batch of miso after three months of fermentation. Or, rather, it was two batches, and neither was traditional miso, but one was made from peas and the other from adzuki beans. I discarded some mushy stuff on top, in particular around the edges where I couldn't press down too tightly, but it didn't look too bad (I expected more mold growth, actually).

Following the method described in "The Noma guide to fermentation", both were made from equal parts koji (pearl barley inoculated with Aspergillus Oryzae) and legume, with a salt content of 4%. Today, both smelled sweet, fruity (lots of banana, I'd say), a bit yeasty and a bit alcoholic, with some parmigiano cheese. I found it rather unappetizing; the batch made from peas was even a bit revolting. I still went ahead and tasted both, and they both had more umami in the flavour and a bit of acidity, but still mostly that weird sweet fruity thing. The miso made from peas was rather unpleasant, so I dumped it. I couldn't really come up with ways to use it in the kitchen, so I decided to add more salt to the adzuki batch and try and age it for a few more months: it might not save it, but I might still learn something about the evolution of its taste.

Has anyone experienced something similar? I have read that adzuki beans are actually mostly used for desserts, but the batch made from peas had the same issue, even to a greater extent (which may have been caused by the seemingly greater moisture content, which favours the activity of yeast and lactic acid bacteria afaik). Is the taste the result of too much yeast activity? What can I do to reduce it? I'm planning on making a miso from black beans, because I love their umami flavour and want to really unlock it with koji.

Thanks in advance,