Makgeolli (makkoli, magkolli, etc) help... Is my batch contanimated?

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MarkoutMountain

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This is my second attempt at making makgeolli (my first being like 4 or 5 years ago). On my first batch the rice separated nicely into three layers in the jar while fermenting. At the top there was rice, followed by a cloudy layer of water on top of another layer of rice at the bottom. Pieces of rice would flow up and down between layers. I read that this is what I wanted to see. During the final few days the layers broke down and would only cover about 3/4th the jar with the final 1/4 being just consistent rice and water mix. When I looked this up I read that that might mean it is contaminated and parts had stopped fermenting because of it. I drank about a bottle of it and it tasted ok (a little weak, I needed to let it ferment another day or two) and I didn't get sick but I got just enough of a cramp that I didn't want to drink the rest.

Fast forward to now. My makgeolli is on day two of its fermentation and it sounds like it is doing well, really active. It smells like makgeolli. However, I am not getting those layers I saw the first time. I tried to get some pictures but when I moved it into the light to get one it all sort of evened out to what you will see. However, when I open the closet parts of it will have no rice at all on the side in some parts and other parts will have rice all the way up. It appears to be bubbling on all sides and there is some rice at the top. Anytime I move it it evens out nicely for about 45 minutes or so. I included the pictures right after I moved it, but I am not sure how helpful they are. I am wondering if I did something wrong or if I got it contaminated somehow.

I did follow a slightly different recipe the second time around. It didn't call for me to mix the nuruk and yeast with water before introducing to the rice and calls for a substantially longer fermentation time (almost double). I am not sure if I messed up somewhere or if this process is just going to be a little different. Honestly, this is the only thing I have ever tried to brew so I am more or less clueless on this.

Any advice or help would be appreciated.
 

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MarkoutMountain

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Update: Everything evened out, but fermentation really slowed today (day 3), which is way early. When i stir it or even move the jar i hear lots of bubbling, but if it is just sitting for about 30 seconds it decreases significantly. Is there anything I can do to jumpstart it again or has something just gone wrong and its time to abandon ship?
 

Miraculix

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I never heard of it, but it sounds awesome! Can you provide a bit more information about it? What yeast/bacteria/fungi are used? What's the recipe and the proces in general?

Cheers!
 
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MarkoutMountain

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I never heard of it, but it sounds awesome! Can you provide a bit more information about it? What yeast/bacteria/fungi are used? What's the recipe and the proces in general?

Cheers!
Sure... again, I am complete new to this and this is the only thing I have ever tried to make at home so others will know way more about this and there are a few threads about it in this forum. My ability to get specific will be severly limited because I just want to make this because I miss it from when I lived in Korea and it isn't convenient to get where I live. I just couldn't find an answer to my specific question in other forums (though I may have just missed it).

Regardless. I used this recipe this time, but I didn't have a dehydrator so I just let the rice dry for a few hours. https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/makgeolli

The long and short of it is that it is a Korean fermented rice drink (sometimes called a rice wine, though I am not 100% sure that is the most accurate - I have seen differing opinions on the matter.

You cook rice and mix it it with basic dry yeast from the store and nuruk and then let ferment. Nuruk is a fermentation starter that is used in a lot of Korean drinks that is particularly good at converting complex carbs into alcohol. Some recipes call for the rice to just be cooled to room temp others call for it to be dried out a bit. Some call for you to mix the nuruk and yeast with water first (which I now wish I had done) others don't. There are a number of variations on line, but that is the basic outline.

When you get it in stores it is pretty sweet (which I like) and carbonated. It pairs really well with food made with Gouchaen (the red pepper paste that is the base of a number of well known Korean dishes). I have read a lot of home brewers say that homemade is not as sweet unless you add sugar. Makgeolli is also supposed to be fairly good for you.

I am sure others can add to or correct my summary.

As for my perplexing batch...

I turned up the heat a little in the room and its more active. It just isn't nearly as active as I would expect for the third day. Rice is starting to move up and down so maybe it was just too cold. It smells very much of makgeolli (maybe even a little boozy). I tasted just a dab when I stirred it this morning which I know might not be indicative since it is only about 1/2 through the process - at best - but it was very sour.

I am also going to try stirring it an extra time or two today and thought about adding sugar, but I was hoping someone with some knowledge of this would wonder across this and chime in with advice before I started make-shifting solutions to a problem that might not actually exist.
 

Miraculix

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Sure... again, I am complete new to this and this is the only thing I have ever tried to make at home so others will know way more about this and there are a few threads about it in this forum. My ability to get specific will be severly limited because I just want to make this because I miss it from when I lived in Korea and it isn't convenient to get where I live. I just couldn't find an answer to my specific question in other forums (though I may have just missed it).

Regardless. I used this recipe this time, but I didn't have a dehydrator so I just let the rice dry for a few hours. https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/makgeolli

The long and short of it is that it is a Korean fermented rice drink (sometimes called a rice wine, though I am not 100% sure that is the most accurate - I have seen differing opinions on the matter.

You cook rice and mix it it with basic dry yeast from the store and nuruk and then let ferment. Nuruk is a fermentation starter that is used in a lot of Korean drinks that is particularly good at converting complex carbs into alcohol. Some recipes call for the rice to just be cooled to room temp others call for it to be dried out a bit. Some call for you to mix the nuruk and yeast with water first (which I now wish I had done) others don't. There are a number of variations on line, but that is the basic outline.

When you get it in stores it is pretty sweet (which I like) and carbonated. It pairs really well with food made with Gouchaen (the red pepper paste that is the base of a number of well known Korean dishes). I have read a lot of home brewers say that homemade is not as sweet unless you add sugar. Makgeolli is also supposed to be fairly good for you.

I am sure others can add to or correct my summary.

As for my perplexing batch...

I turned up the heat a little in the room and its more active. It just isn't nearly as active as I would expect for the third day. Rice is starting to move up and down so maybe it was just too cold. It smells very much of makgeolli (maybe even a little boozy). I tasted just a dab when I stirred it this morning which I know might not be indicative since it is only about 1/2 through the process - at best - but it was very sour.

I am also going to try stirring it an extra time or two today and thought about adding sugar, but I was hoping someone with some knowledge of this would wonder across this and chime in with advice before I started make-shifting solutions to a problem that might not actually exist.
Awesome, thanks for the repy!

Looks like this drink is really easy to make and fairly quickly done. I will try to get myself some Nuruk, I got all the rest flying around anyway.

One thing I am missing in the linked recipe is the huge warning sign, taking care that nobody gets exploding glas bottles.

By sweetening it, you introduce new fermentable sugars. If you than bottle this into glas bottles, you will have a time bomb. The yeast will continue digesting the sugar till the point where the CO2 created during fermentation is making the bottle explode. So better sweeten it directly before drinking or pasteurise it before sweetening, to kill the yeast.
 
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MarkoutMountain

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Awesome, thanks for the repy!

Looks like this drink is really easy to make and fairly quickly done. I will try to get myself some Nuruk, I got all the rest flying around anyway.

One thing I am missing in the linked recipe is the huge warning sign, taking care that nobody gets exploding glas bottles.

By sweetening it, you introduce new fermentable sugars. If you than bottle this into glas bottles, you will have a time bomb. The yeast will continue digesting the sugar till the point where the CO2 created during fermentation is making the bottle explode. So better sweeten it directly before drinking or pasteurise it before sweetening, to kill the yeast.
Thanks for the heads up. I was actually going to bottle it in old plastic makgeolli bottles that I have saved and not put the caps on tight for the first few days for just this reason. It was something I remembered from an old recipe I used.
 
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