11 May 2020

Brewing with rice

In ex-pat land, rice has one great advantage over malted barley- it is available where malt is not. Rice is not directly fermentable as it comprises mainly starch, but there are ways around this. I'm going to tell you how to extract a fermentable 'liquor' from rice. You can then use this rice liquor as the base for a rice beer or, with additional ingredients, a rice wine. But first, we need to make the rice liquor, like this:

You will need 500 grams long grain white rice, a large lemon and a large ripe banana.
A large pan, stainless steel or glass, not aluminium or copper, with a good lid.
A nylon sieve.
  1. Pour the rice into the pan. 
  2. Rinse the rice with cold tap water pouring off the water until it runs clear.
  3. Add enough water to more than cover the rice with approx 2 centimetres clear water above the rice.
  4. Bring this to the boil, stirring occasionally, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat, put the lid on the pan and leave it for 20 minutes.
  6. We want the rice to absorb most but not all of the water. If all the water has gone, add more from a kettle. We want it hot, wet and sloppy but not mushy!
  7. Wash the banana and chop it up small without peeling it.
  8. Add the chopped banana and the lemon juice (only the juice, no peel) to the rice pan.
  9. Stir it all together quickly and cover the pan. Let it sit for 60 minutes.
  10. When the hour is up, fill the pan almost to the top with water.
  11. Bring this to the boil, stirring occasionally, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  12. Turn off the heat, put the lid on the pan and leave it overnight. 
  13. Next day, strain the rice liquor into a fermenting jar.

What have we made, and how does it work?

The first boiling of the rice starts the process of breaking down the starches into sugars while also softening the grains for easier access. The ripe banana contains the enzyme amylase which greatly speeds up the process. The 20 minute cooling period before we add the banana is important. Amylase is effective over a wide temperature range but would be destroyed by boiling. The lemon juice provides acidity to further optimise the conditions for amylase activity. The second boiling after the amylase extraction has finished is to dissolve the newly formed sugars into the bulk of the liquid. 

When you strain the cool rice liquor off on the second day, be prepared to process it immediately into either a beer wort or a wine must. To do this, measure its gravity with a hydrometer and work out the required sugar addition. For wine, it should be blended 50:50 with grape juice. For a rice beer, it can be fermented directly. In the absence of hops, a judicious addition of grapefruit juice works wonders. But, in either case, be ready with an active yeast starter to get the fermentation going, because the rice liquor will not keep for long. It is sterile from its second boiling, but it is a very viable medium for colonisation, so make sure your yeast gets first refusal!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Most viewed: