I've become a big fan of the Still It channel on YouTube. About a month ago, Jesse posted a video about how he made rice wine using nothing more than water, rice, and a purported "magic" yeast from China called Yellow Label Angel Yeast.
Perhaps even more amazing was the fact that he was able to make the rice wine without gelatinizing or mashing the rice. He shows three batches in the video. One was made by cooking the rice before adding the yeast mixture. Another was made by adding uncooked rice to boiling water. The last was made by adding uncooked rice to room temperature water. All three fermented out to roughly the same amount of alcohol in about two weeks. He was amazed by this, as was I. I resolved to buy some of this magical yeast from Aliexpress.com and try it out.
In the Still It video, the rice is ground up in the grain mill into smaller chunks to make it easier for the enzymes in the yellow label yeast to convert and ferment. I'm changing this up slightly, switching a blender for the grain mill. I think that will break the rice down better and hopefully will yield a better overall result. Apart from that, I'm following the Still It recipe as shown on-screen in the video.The yeast arrived early in January. Last week, on one of my rare trips out of the house (thanks to COVID-19), I picked up two 10-pound bags of rice to play with.
3 kg. Medium-Grain Rice (uncooked)
8 liters near-boiling water
Enough cold water to reach 18 liters in fermenter
9 grams of Yellow Label Angel Yeast (rehydrated in 95F water)
"Mash" process (we're not really mashing):
- Bring 8 liters of water to a boil, then remove from heat
- Stir in the 3 kg. of rice
- Cover and let sit for at least 1 hour
- (This is my addition to the process, not strictly necessary.) Scoop rice and water into a blender and blend until the rice is in pretty fine chunks but not necessarily a "rice milkshake". I figure this will get the rice finer than if I used my mill, which may result in better conversion and yield. I figure this will be easier to do after the rice has had an hour to soak in boiling water.
- Transfer this mixture to a sanitized 5-gallon fermenter
- Add cold water until you hit 18 liters in the fermenter
- Add the rehydrated Angel Yeast
20g of Angel Yeast being rehydrated
- Stir well to make sure the yeast gets into suspension and that there is decent aeration
- Hold at 90F, the reported "ideal" temperature for the yeast
- For the first 3-4 days, stir the fermenter contents twice per day (per Angel Yeast instructions provided by a seller online, presumably translated from the Chinese on the package)
- Allow it to ferment from here on without any stirring or intervention until activity has stopped.
- Wait 3 more days and rack the liquid off the sediment
- Cold crash and (optionally) add finings if needed to clarify