Making Traditional rice Wine. Cheap, Fun, and Different

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Davedrinksbeer

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I just drank some of the clear stuff on the rocks, squeeze of lime, dash of bitters, just a hint of simple. Dangerously smooth.
I made a huge batch one time for my friends and it came out deliciously smooth and sweet, needless to say we were trying it out while playing poker one night and 2 of them ended up sleeping on my couch. 🤣🤣
 

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wongjau

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I made a huge batch one time for my friends and it came out deliciously smooth and sweet, needless to say we were trying it out while playing poker one night and 2 of them ended up sleeping on my couch. 🤣🤣
The owner of the local homebrew store used to call that type of alcohol “panty melter”.

But that was back in the 90’s when things were less PC. I had just brought him some of my hard cider to try.
 

Time2Retire

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Well, I was going to wait on making some more until the weather cooled down, but let's say there's a sudden, ahem, shortage.

Has anyone tried the "black Japonica rice" that Lundberg sells? I was thinking of going half and half with the glutinous kind.
 

wongjau

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Well, I was going to wait on making some more until the weather cooled down, but let's say there's a sudden, ahem, shortage.

Has anyone tried the "black Japonica rice" that Lundberg sells? I was thinking of going half and half with the glutinous kind.
That’s a mixture of short grain glutinous black rice and medium grain mahogany rice. Medium and long grain rice don’t give a good yield compared to short grain glutinous rice.

You could use the rice and go with the lower yield, or sift out the medium grain and just use the black rice.

Best would be just to get 100% black glutinous rice from an asian market to ferment and don’t even bother mixing with regular glutinous rice.

Here’s a research article on the biochemistry of traditional black glutinous rice wine fermentation.


The article includes a short description of the fermentation procedure used.

Using all black glutinous rice as in the traditional process would be best to take advantage of its particular flavor profile.
 

Time2Retire

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My latest batch begins. One kilo sweet rice, two yeast pills, one tablespoon RYR powdered. I was a little nervous because the rice seemed dry, but Day 3, the liquid is forming and it smells the way it should.

We shall see.

UPDATE: Day 10, the liquid is already over the rice and we have a couple of rice rafts. The RYR is propagating through the white spots, and along with the usual vanilla-spice there is a note of cherry-like aroma.

20210903_123955.jpg
 
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Miraculix

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My last batch turned out well! This stuff is really sweet, a bit sour in a nice way and has a huge punch. I made it with additional red yeast rice, next batch will be without, just to be able to compare. A Chinese friend sent me some Hakka chicken recipes, which is basically ginger, chicken and rice wine boiled till tender. It sounds great, will try it on the weekend.

And as a nice by-product, through all the stuff I learned here, I was able to recreate an authentic Nepalese/Tibetan Chang for the first time. The main problem was the water/grain ratio. I used too much water. Now it's not sour anymore! Just a little bit, in a nice way.
 
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wongjau

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My last batch turned out well! This stuff is really sweet, a bit sour in a nice way and has a huge punch. I made it with additional red yeast rice, next batch will be without, just to be able to compare. A Chinese friend sent me some Hakka chicken recipes, which is basically ginger, chicken and rice wine boiled till tender. It sounds great, will try it on the weekend.
Since you used the red yeast rice, you can make Fuzhou style red chicken.


You strain and save the leftover rice to use for cooking. You can use it to make the red colored Chinese bbq pork too.
 

Miraculix

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Since you used the red yeast rice, you can make Fuzhou style red chicken.


You strain and save the leftover rice to use for cooking. You can use it to make the red colored Chinese bbq pork too.
Nooooooooo I threw the leftovers away! I won't do it again!!!

Now I have to make a new batch asap. Luckily, I bought enough rice two days ago :).

Edit: the chicken recipe sounds delicious. How much red rice is used in an authentic red rice wine? I only used a few teaspoons on one kg of rice. The result is not really red but more of a pinkish colour.
 

wongjau

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Nooooooooo I threw the leftovers away! I won't do it again!!!

Now I have to make a new batch asap. Luckily, I bought enough rice two days ago :).

Edit: the chicken recipe sounds delicious. How much red rice is used in an authentic red rice wine? I only used a few teaspoons on one kg of rice. The result is not really red but more of a pinkish colour.
Recipes for red yeast rice wine vary, but standard is 80g red yeast rice to 1 kg glutinous rice, in addition to the regular yeast balls.

After the wine is done, save the rice in a jar in the fridge and you can use it for various recipes.

I actually used some to make red fermented bean curd which is a kind of special ingredient in some recipes. Fermented bean curd is another whole level of crazy, but interesting if you are into making cheese and the like.
 

Miraculix

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Recipes for red yeast rice wine vary, but standard is 80g red yeast rice to 1 kg glutinous rice, in addition to the regular yeast balls.

After the wine is done, save the rice in a jar in the fridge and you can use it for various recipes.

I actually used some to make red fermented bean curd which is a kind of special ingredient in some recipes. Fermented bean curd is another whole level of crazy, but interesting if you are into making cheese and the like.
uhhhhh
Tell me more! Where can I get information and recipes of the red bean curd?
 

wongjau

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You can follow this one to get an idea.


She also does a red rice wine, but I like less water than she uses.

If you really get into it, there are Chinese documentaries on Youtube about historic methods for fermented bean curd. Also, the food science and engineering text I referenced earlier has a section on it.

It’s uncommon to do at home. It’s almost like a lost skill. Like making soy sauce. Pretty much everybody buys it at the store.

I like the white fermented chili bean curd better, but some recipes use red.

Here’s a pic of both types I made.

53BE4E9B-B383-4EA4-93A4-885F9CADEA20.jpeg


If you buy the chili type, I like this brand the best.


Buy at the Asian market. Amazon price is ridiculous.
 

Miraculix

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You can follow this one to get an idea.


She also does a red rice wine, but I like less water than she uses.

If you really get into it, there are Chinese documentaries on Youtube about historic methods for fermented bean curd. Also, the food science and engineering text I referenced earlier has a section on it.

It’s uncommon to do at home. It’s almost like a lost skill. Like making soy sauce. Pretty much everybody buys it at the store.

I like the white fermented chili bean curd better, but some recipes use red.

Here’s a pic of both types I made.

View attachment 742615

If you buy the chili type, I like this brand the best.


Buy at the Asian market. Amazon price is ridiculous.
Brilliant, thanks!
 

Time2Retire

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Well I think I may have had my first bad batch.

All sweet rice with a tablespoon of RYR, two yeast pills. At 23 days there is very little liquid and the mixture is VERY sweet. Since it's a total loss at this point, I threw in half a cup of water, and proofed half a package of Lalvin 212 I found in my refrigerator. At least I get to see if it's possible to kickstart this stuff.

UPDATE: A day after adding the wine yeast and moving to a smaller container, I'm pleased to report I'm seeing activity, and the rice is starting to float again. I'm wondering if the RYR is somehow competing with the yeast in the balls.
 
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Time2Retire

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I'm unhappy with that batch. After rescue, I got exactly 1.1 liters, and it's very sweet. I pasteurized the liter and now it's cold crashing, but I'm not expecting much.

I have three batches going now.

A kilo each of glutinous rice and jasmine rice, no RYR.

A kilo of calrose, with RYR.

A kilo without.

I'll start seeing results toward the end of my vacation, three weeks hence.
 

Miraculix

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I'm unhappy with that batch. After rescue, I got exactly 1.1 liters, and it's very sweet. I pasteurized the liter and now it's cold crashing, but I'm not expecting much.

I have three batches going now.

A kilo each of glutinous rice and jasmine rice, no RYR.

A kilo of calrose, with RYR.

A kilo without.

I'll start seeing results toward the end of my vacation, three weeks hence.
The "red yeast rice" is actually not red yeast but red mold. The naming is just wrong, so there's no competition between the red and the yeasts from the balls (sounds very wrong to me :D).
 

Time2Retire

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The "red yeast rice" is actually not red yeast but red mold. The naming is just wrong, so there's no competition between the red and the yeasts from the balls (sounds very wrong to me :D).
All I know is, I seem to get a higher yield without the RYR. My 50/50 jasmine/glutinous is having a yeast party.
 

Time2Retire

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Update:

I extracted my 50/50 batch yesterday, and I've got almost three liters. Not too sweet this time and lots of yummy alkeyhaulz. I've got it in cheesecloth-covered mason jars, back into the cabinet. I'm going to give it another couple weeks on the fine lees before pasteurizing, to see if that will dry it down some more.

By the way, I made red lees chicken with some of the lees from my first RYR batch, and found it kinda bland.
 

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Might need more ginger, soy sauce, and wine. A little fish sauce is good too. The red yeast is mainly for color and health benefits.
I added sliced red jalapeños and Chinese chives. I'm thinking next time, maybe Lan Chi brand garlic chili paste, there's no other like it.
 

Miraculix

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I was at the local Asian grocery here in Bremen and I found traditional rice balls. They are kind of home made, they sell them in four per pack and they smell very moldy. You can still see some rice hulls underneath them and they are formed uneven.

I was so happy!

The Thai woman at the counter kindly asked me if I actually know what they are for, I had to laugh and we talked a bit about it, they often use it to make a sweet desert, not so much for wine actually. I am making a small test batch with it now, it liquified the rise much quicker then the industrial balls I had before. It's going strong now, I hope that it will be a different flavour. I'm also making some chang with it right now which hopefully will taste like the one my friends in Nepal are making. Nothing beats hot Chang.
 

wongjau

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I added sliced red jalapeños and Chinese chives. I'm thinking next time, maybe Lan Chi brand garlic chili paste, there's no other like it.
Chives are a bit mild. I like those with eggs, shrimp, and/or rice noodles.

Green onions would be good, especially with garlic chili paste.
 

Time2Retire

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I was at the local Asian grocery here in Bremen and I found traditional rice balls. They are kind of home made, they sell them in four per pack and they smell very moldy. You can still see some rice hulls underneath them and they are formed uneven.

I was so happy!

The Thai woman at the counter kindly asked me if I actually know what they are for, I had to laugh and we talked a bit about it, they often use it to make a sweet desert, not so much for wine actually. I am making a small test batch with it now, it liquified the rise much quicker then the industrial balls I had before. It's going strong now, I hope that it will be a different flavour. I'm also making some chang with it right now which hopefully will taste like the one my friends in Nepal are making. Nothing beats hot Chang.
Here in the extreme northern suburbs of San Diego, we have one good Asian market, and they don't carry anything like the yeast balls. I buy them a dozen at a time on Amazon.
 

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I'm glad I found this thread, I've been wanting to try to make rice wine for a while. Here's my setup to ensure the temp, an electric blanket set to medium to keep them warm.

cozy.jpg
 

Time2Retire

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DING-DING-DING! Jackpot!

I didn't see these at my local Asian market last time. Turns out I was just looking in the wrong places. Four bucks for five two-packs. It's a different brand than what I buy online, so I'll have to throw another batch, for Science.

(For anyone local to North San Diego County, this was at 88 Market in Oceanside).

20211221_131937.jpg
 

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Random thought:

I'm guessing that during prohibition, Chinese-Americans weren't hurting for teh Alkeyhaulz. All they needed was rice, and I bet the little yeast pills flew under Uncle Sam's radar. How many Americans even knew what they'd be used for?
 

MilesBFree

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Looking for a bit of help on making rice wine. I followed the recipe in the link below but am not getting any liquid output even after ~2 weeks. I looked at a number of rice wine recipes including various ones in this thread and they were all fairly similar to this one which I followed:

How to Make Sake [Fermented Rice Wine] - My Fermented Foods

I used 1 cup of sticky rice (Hakubai Japanese Sweet Rice), steamed it, cooled it, mixed in one powdered yeast ball (Hang Tail Marine Shanghai Yeast Balls), and placed in my oven with the light on (seems nice and warm, i would guess around the 80 - 85 degrees recommended).

I pull the bucket out every couple of days to check progress and it smells great - yeasty and fruity. I pressed a finger against the cheese cloth and tasted and it is yummy - tastes like people describe the finished rice wine. I am not getting ANY liquid though.

The only think I did differently from that recipe is I placed the cheese cloth bag of rice and yeast ball powder on the bottom of the bucket, not suspended in the air in the bucket.

My thoughts/questions:
1. I did not add any additional water to my primary fermenter. The recipes seem split on this; some say to pour water into the fermenter then add the rice but others say you do not need it. My rice seems moist still even after a couple of weeks in the fermenter. Should I add a couple of cups of water?

2. I started with 1 cup of rice and then steamed it. The recipe calls for "3-4 cups of cooked rice" and 3 yeast balls, so a 1:1 ratio. Given that the rice expands when cooked, did the author mean 3 - 4 cups AFTER cooking? If so, then the ratio might be more like 2 yeast balls to 1 cup of uncooked rice (before steaming).

3. Is 1 cup of rice just not enough, i.e., there is a critical mass needed and it is more than 1 cup?

Any advice would be appreciated!
 

wongjau

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Looking for a bit of help on making rice wine. I followed the recipe in the link below but am not getting any liquid output even after ~2 weeks. I looked at a number of rice wine recipes including various ones in this thread and they were all fairly similar to this one which I followed:

How to Make Sake [Fermented Rice Wine] - My Fermented Foods

I used 1 cup of sticky rice (Hakubai Japanese Sweet Rice), steamed it, cooled it, mixed in one powdered yeast ball (Hang Tail Marine Shanghai Yeast Balls), and placed in my oven with the light on (seems nice and warm, i would guess around the 80 - 85 degrees recommended).

I pull the bucket out every couple of days to check progress and it smells great - yeasty and fruity. I pressed a finger against the cheese cloth and tasted and it is yummy - tastes like people describe the finished rice wine. I am not getting ANY liquid though.

The only think I did differently from that recipe is I placed the cheese cloth bag of rice and yeast ball powder on the bottom of the bucket, not suspended in the air in the bucket.

My thoughts/questions:
1. I did not add any additional water to my primary fermenter. The recipes seem split on this; some say to pour water into the fermenter then add the rice but others say you do not need it. My rice seems moist still even after a couple of weeks in the fermenter. Should I add a couple of cups of water?

2. I started with 1 cup of rice and then steamed it. The recipe calls for "3-4 cups of cooked rice" and 3 yeast balls, so a 1:1 ratio. Given that the rice expands when cooked, did the author mean 3 - 4 cups AFTER cooking? If so, then the ratio might be more like 2 yeast balls to 1 cup of uncooked rice (before steaming).

3. Is 1 cup of rice just not enough, i.e., there is a critical mass needed and it is more than 1 cup?

Any advice would be appreciated!
If it smells yeasty and fruity, just give it more time. If everything is good, you can start seeing liquid after about 3 days. It can take longer if not optimal.

The mixture might need a bit more oxygen exposure if it’s packed tightly into your container and leveled off on top.

Best would be too loosely pack in the fermenter, leaving a vertical hole in the center of the mix. Use a permeable cover on the container. Cheesecloth, towel, or paper napkin is fine.

How many days has it been?
 

MilesBFree

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Thanks wongjau.

About 2 weeks.

I put the rice/yeast in a cheese cloth bag, placed that in the bucket, and then placed another single layer of cheese cloth over the bucket.

I think you are on to something - I sprinkled the powdered yeast ball over the rice when it was spread out to cool, and then mixed it up with a spatula which may have packed it down too much since it is very sticky. I will break it up now and see if that helps.
 

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Update: the rice was pretty much a solid disc in the bottom of the bucket so only the rice on top was probably getting any oxygen. I broke it up into smaller hunks but given how sticky it is it likely didn't help much.

I tasted it and it is actually pretty good and I get a bit of alcohol tingle on my tongue. The bottom of the mass is quite a bit damper than the top so I think it is definitely doing something.

I plan to cook a couple more cups of rice and add it (plus more powdered yeast balls) to what I currently have since it seems like the existing stuff has started.
 

wongjau

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Update: the rice was pretty much a solid disc in the bottom of the bucket so only the rice on top was probably getting any oxygen. I broke it up into smaller hunks but given how sticky it is it likely didn't help much.

I tasted it and it is actually pretty good and I get a bit of alcohol tingle on my tongue. The bottom of the mass is quite a bit damper than the top so I think it is definitely doing something.

I plan to cook a couple more cups of rice and add it (plus more powdered yeast balls) to what I currently have since it seems like the existing stuff has started.
Sounds good!

The yeast needs oxygen in order to multiply. They probably got off to a slow start due to needing more oxygen.

In the old days, the winemakers would stir the rice periodically during the first days to oygenate, release CO2, and adjust temperature.
 

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update: i added another 3 cups of rice (measured before cooking) mixed with 3 powdered yeast balls and stirred the old and new together for a total of 4 cups (pre-cooking) of rice. Within 2 days it started to put out liquid. It is very sweet and definitely alcohol in it. As of this morning I think it has put out maybe 1/4 cup. But it is SO syrupy and sweet so I think it needs to ferment by the yeast. I stirred the rice again today and will let it do its thing for a few weeks.
Thanks again for the advice wongjau!
 

wongjau

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update: i added another 3 cups of rice (measured before cooking) mixed with 3 powdered yeast balls and stirred the old and new together for a total of 4 cups (pre-cooking) of rice. Within 2 days it started to put out liquid. It is very sweet and definitely alcohol in it. As of this morning I think it has put out maybe 1/4 cup. But it is SO syrupy and sweet so I think it needs to ferment by the yeast. I stirred the rice again today and will let it do its thing for a few weeks.
Thanks again for the advice wongjau!
Congrats, this sounds really good!

Yes, the sugar is from the amylase activity of the Rhizopus.

The yeast will convert that to alcohol over time.
 
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