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Making Traditional rice Wine. Cheap, Fun, and Different

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Traditional rice wine isn't really "wine" at all but this area is as close as I can figure to post this.

There are only a few threads on HBT talking about making rice wine but nothing that I am aware of that could be considered an easy walkthrough which is a shame because making rice wine is very different, fun to do, and rewarding. Its also pretty darn cheap...

It has been a few years since I have done it, but after a recent trip to the exotic foods grocer, I got a hankerin to do it again and thought a few people on here might enjoy it as well.

*Edit*: Process starts on next post but final product is on page 4 here
*Edit 2*: Arapolis has done a less Rice Wine, more Japanese sake here.
 
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sonofgrok
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Starting off, here is what you will need:
1) A good, glutenous rice. My wife is Thai/Filipino so we always have Thai Jasmine rice laying around which is what I will be using here.
2) A large glass jar with a screw on lid
3) A sterilized cloth. I am using some folded over cheese cloth I sanitized in some starsan.
4) Chinese yeast balls. I pick these up about 50 for $5 in the chinese aisle of my local exotic grocer. Yes you can use other yeast, no it isn't as fun, and no it usually doesn't turn out as well. This yeast has the proper yeasts and enzymes to make good rice wine. (1 to 2 balls is enough for one batch)
5) A way to steam cook the rice. We have a rice cooker that whips out a 2 cup batch in about 15 minutes. Its easy and awesome.
6) Cheesecloth for straining. (I imagine some nylon bag would probably work just as well)

Picture: Glass jar, 2 yeast ball packet, crushed up yeast balls, cheesecloth, and rice spoon that made it in the pic somehow.

RWTools.jpg
 
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First you will want to make some rice. I like to soak mine for an hour, then drain off the water first (this is a debatable step). Then steam the rice (a rice cooker is the easiest way) and allow it to cool.

Rice.jpg
 
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Once the rice has cooled add it to the jar. Add a little bit of rice then a little bit of yeast then a little bit of rice etc...

AddRW.jpg
 
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Put the cloth over the top of the jar and tighten the lid tightly.

Now I know every brewer is saying "But what about CO2 gas and don't I need an airlock!?!??!". The Answer is "NO!". The cloth will make enough of a gap to let gas out and keep bacteria out as well. It is in effect your airlock. Remember we are making traditional rice wine here, not super scientific perfectobrew.

Place in a dark warm corner to ferment. We will check on this every week for a month and update accordingly.

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So no water at all? Just steamed rice and yeast?

Do you let the rice cool to room temps before transferring/blending?
Nope, no water at all. Much of the rice will liquefy in the process. It will be interesting to see how this batch turns out as it was fairly dry and rubbery once cooled.

Room temp is fine but it is better if it is still a little warm. Not so warm that it will hurt the yeast but warm enough to be squishy and malleable.
 
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Just checked on the rice wine to make sure it started. My fears about the rice being too dry are no longer an issue. The red arrow represents the line that the liquid is now coming to after only 2 days. There was no free standing liquid at the start. This is an excellent sign.

RW2days.jpg
 

Arpolis

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A lot of traditional Sake is made with Koji. Koji just being Rice with the Koji mold spores on it. The mold being the theing that produces the Amylase enzyme. Does the Yeast balls have Koji or just Amylase extract for converting starches/carbs to sugars?
 

Johnnyhitch1

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is this like sake? you have some tasting notes on it? i would imigine that you could back sweeten with diff flavored syrups in the glass?
 
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A lot of traditional Sake is made with Koji. Koji just being Rice with the Koji mold spores on it. The mold being the theing that produces the Amylase enzyme. Does the Yeast balls have Koji or just Amylase extract for converting starches/carbs to sugars?
The yeast balls are basically just rice and water (the only two ingredients) that they allow to develop natural yeast and spores and then dry and package. You are correct in that the desirable spores are Koji. I believe it occurs naturally in this type of yeast ball but don't quote me on that.

I must admit that is as far as my understanding of the process behind the yeast balls goes. All I can directly vouch for is that they work. There is quite a bit of Chinese writing on the package which probably gives a lot more detail but alas... I don't speak it.
 
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is this like sake? you have some tasting notes on it? i would imigine that you could back sweeten with diff flavored syrups in the glass?
Rice Wine has many different names but yes, you could call this sake. And you can back sweeten after we cold crash it when we get to that step. I will probably end up flavoring this with some blueberry for my wife. Tasting really depends on when you drink it. It starts off pretty sweet but then as it darkens and ages, it takes on a sherry like flavor. Aged too long or not cold crashed in time, it becomes rice vinegar... which is great for cooking by the way.
 
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2 weeks update time. It is starting to look really good. There are white spores running through the rice (actually a good thing), a lot of liquid and CO2 bubbles, and most important of all the rice is starting to float. That is an important milestone. I could start extracting the rice wine now but I think I am going to let it go another week to see how much more we can milk out of it.

Update in a week I guess.

RW2weeks.jpg
 

Arpolis

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Very cool. What temps is this staying at if you don't mind me asking?
 

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I went to my local Chinese supermarket today, and thought I'd post a few interesting things I found there. In addition to the yeast balls, they also sell several variants of "sweet fermented glutinous rice", and additionally had several varieties of maltose syrup next to their rather extensive collection of honeys flavored with things like ginger and yuzu.

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Very cool. What temps is this staying at if you don't mind me asking?
I am not too picky on the temps. Rice wine is supposed to brew a little on the warmer side. I would say that the closet this is fermenting in is probably about 74 degrees F ambient.
 

mikeslag

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How much wine are you making? It looks like it's just a glass of wine, or am I just getting the scale wrong?
 
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How much wine are you making? It looks like it's just a glass of wine, or am I just getting the scale wrong?
Scale is hard to tell from the pictures. Here are the jars with a wine glass and a 500mL beer bottle for scale. The jar on the left (The one documented in this thread) will probably yield about 400mL and the jar on the right (One I started a week ago with more rice that I did a better job cooking) will yield easily over 500mL. Probably more like 750mL. I will be happy to post the actual amounts that we end up with when we extract the liquid.

Remember that "wine" is somewhat of a misnomer as this will be around 20% alcohol and is usually consumed in shot-sized quantities.

RW Scale.jpg
 

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Sonofgrok.....how much rice are you cooking per x-amount of yeast balls. My package of yeast balls arrived today. Also noticed that the site I shared carries a black glutinous rice which may be interesting to use if you are aiming for black rice wine.

Cannot wait to get some going.

Sara
 
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Sonofgrok.....how much rice are you cooking per x-amount of yeast balls. My package of yeast balls arrived today. Also noticed that the site I shared carries a black glutinous rice which may be intetesting to use if you are aiming for black rice wine.

Cannot wait to get some going.

Sara
I usually use 2 yeast balls per 2-3 cups (dry uncooked measurement) rice... which I should add is probably way more yeast than you need.
 

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This is awesome, I will most definitely be making some Sake one of these days. Thanks for the thread OP, I'll be awaiting the final product, all though not as much as you!
 

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So, thanks to this thread, I have had a batch of this sitting on my counter for going on a couple of weeks now. I have a couple of inches of liquid at the bottom of my jar. What are the next steps for this?
 
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So, thanks to this thread, I have had a batch of this sitting on my counter for going on a couple of weeks now. I have a couple of inches of liquid at the bottom of my jar. What are the next steps for this?
I will be updating this thread tomorrow when I extract the liquid :)
 
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OK. I guess everyone has waited long enough. It has been almost 4 weeks now. Sometimes the rice starts dropping after 3 weeks letting you know you are done done but this never did. No big deal... we will extract anyway.

4 Weeks.jpg
 
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Pic 1: Start by taking a collection vessel (I used a large glass mixing bowl) and line with your straining cloth (I used cheese cloth).

Pic 2: Dump your rice wine into the bowl. Liquid AND rice. At this point in time, you will probably realize that it smells very alcoholic but also smells very good.

Prepare to extract.jpg


Ready 2 go.jpg
 
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Squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Many people eat the left over rice mash or use it as animal feed. Mine goes in the garbage.

I put the mash on my hop strainer for a while just to let it drip out some more.

Strain.jpg


Strain Again.jpg
 
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At this point, you should have a lightly yellowish liquid that looks like this. This is your rice wine. You can keep it as is or flavor it. I had some left over pomegranate seeds in the fridge so I juiced them out and added it.

Transfer to a storage container... anything should work. I used a funnel to pour it into a 500mL cobalt bottle... cause they are sexy. Store in the refrigerator at all times to prevent continued fermentation and oxidation into rice wine vinegar.

Rice Wine.jpg


Ready to bottle.jpg
 

saramc

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I have my yeast on hand, from the Asian365 site I referenced earlier...there must be a dozen packets of double yeast balls in what they sell. Actually ended up ordering some of their red yeast rice also. Anyway, I wanted to share a link to a sweet fermented rice recipe, since it was mentioned that some people eat fermented rice. I have had this treat a few times and am thrilled that I finally found the yeast and can make it at home.

I will be cooking rice for wine tomorrow, and probably some sweet rice too.

http://sunflower-recipes.blogspot.com/2011/02/homemade-sweet-fermented-rice.html?m=1


...Sara

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saramc

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Alright assembled this tonight. Soaked four cups glutinous rice for a minimum of one hour in cold water and rinsed well. To rice cooker with eight cups water for thirty minutes, no longer per an Asian food vendor at Ft Knox. Threw three yeast balls and 1/2 cup red yeast rice in blender, processed until fine powder. Transferred just cooked rice to large tray, one layer and allow to cool just until you can handle without getting burned. Using two gallon glass jar with lid, I took a golfball size of rice with damp hands, and formed into ball, rolled in yeast powder, and created one layer of balls on bottom of jar. Continue using remainder of yeast and rice OR if the ball assembly annoys you he said to just pour remaining yeast over remaini.g rice and chuck it by the handful into the jar. Apply lid and since rice is still hot it will form condensation and that is all you need. He says kerp in warm place, wrap in blanket, stir once a week and strain, no squeezing or pressing of rice, between day 21 and 28. Go no more than 30. Can add fruit juice when done. He adds k-meta for preservative and leaves on counter, says his daughters like to keep in refrig and get goofy. My father-in-law translated, and I cannot recall the dialect because he speaks many.

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Interesting twist with the red rice yeast. I have never ever ever had to use any k-meta or anything else when making this. Almost all of your liquid will be alcohol. Rice wine is quite possibly the HIGHEST abv drink you can make without distilling and will be around 20% right out the gate. Chances of having something in there you don't want range from slim to... well zero :D

I am glad someone found some use in this thread!
 

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I plan on trying this was looking for yeast balls locally but no luck will order online thanks
 
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