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2021 Batch 3 - Rice Wine 3.0

Decided to do a few more batches of rice wine with the Angel Yeast to see how well it continues to work.

This will be the strongest batch yet (or at least the one with the biggest grain bill).

Ingredients

15 pounds Happy Belly (Amazon) Calrose Rice (uncooked, fresh from the package)
3 gallons of water at 177F
1.25 tsp. Alpha Amylase powder (not needed, really)
1/2 tsp. Gypsum
0.50 tsp. Fermaid O yeast nutrient (also probably not needed)
1 gallon cold water
40 grams yellow-label Angel Yeast

"Brewing" Process:

  • Heat 3 gallons of water to 177F using The Grainfather (or your preferred method)
  • Place 15 pounds of rice, alpha amylase, gypsum, and yeast nutrient in sanitized fermenter
  • Put 177F water into fermenter, which should mellow out to about 155F depending on ambient temperature and rice temperature
  • Stir rice and water well to ensure all rice gets in contact with water
  • Let sit for 1 hour to hydrate the rice a bit
  • Add cold water to the 5.5 gallon mark
  • Wait for temp inside fermenter to drop to 90F
  • Once at 90F rehydrate the Angel Yeast in 90F water and add to fermenter
  • Stir one more time and seal fermenter
Fermentation Process:
  • Hold the fermenter at 87F-92F (90F is ideal) for 14 days
  • On days 1, 2, and 3, stir the contents of the fermenter very well, basically until you no longer see a significant number of bubbles coming up from within the liquid (you're essentially helping remove the CO2 and keeping everything in suspension)
  • Note that for days 1-7 the contents of the fermenter may spell fairly unpleasant. This is normal and should be ignored.  It will gradually dissipate and become a "funky" background note by day 10 or so.
  • For days 4-14, maintain temperature at 90-92F to allow fermentation to finish out.
What you do with the rice wine at this point depends on you.  You could apply finings and clear it up, then bottle it.  You could also take the clear wine and pasteurize it, then back-sweeten and flavor with fruit flavor (like Korean Soju).  Or you could process it any number of other ways. 

Post-Brew Observations and Notes

02/28/2021:  Since this is my third batch of this, I wanted to share some general thoughts and observations that may help someone doing this for the first time:
  • The stirring during the first 3 days is important.  This yeast generates a LOT of CO2 and could suffocate itself if you don't degas it on a regular basis. 
  • You can cook the rice before fermenting, but in my experience this makes for a bigger mess and makes it harder to separate the grain from the liquid at the end of the process.  The uncooked rice ferments just fine with Angel Yeast.
  • Super Kleer finings will help clarify the rice wine, but in my experience was not enough.  You may need to try some other finings until you get something that works.  I've not succeeded in getting crystal clear rice wine yet.
  • ABV is hard to estimate because of the way Angel Yeast works, but I think this will come out to around 12% ABV... but that's a best guess and is not a true measurement.
  • I add the alpha amylase and yeast nutrient, though I have done batches without them and they have turned out no different, so they are optional for sure.  I find that adding the alpha amylase does convert some of the starches before the Angel Yeast is introduced, which I think allows it to get to work a lot sooner and finish a little sooner. Your results may vary.
  • The finished rice wine, using a Goya Medium Grain rice, had an aroma that was a little citrusy, a little rice-like, and having a hint of a Saison-like funk.  The flavor was lighter than the aroma, being a tiny bit funky, a little tart, and mostly kind of neutral with some hints of rice.  The mouthfeel was decidedly thin, nearly watery in fact.  You could certainly drink and enjoy it just as it is, but I think if you filtered (or used finings) until it was clear and maybe carbonated and/or flavored it, you might have something pretty nice.  I can see it being a good summertime beverage if it was sweetened slightly and flavored with lemon or orange.
This is really a very simple brew.  Heat water, add to rice, stir.  Rehydrate yeast, add to fermenter, and stir again.  Stir fir the first three days every 12 hours (roughly), and let it go until it's finished.  Given the cost of rice (I picked up 20 pounds at a grocery in town for under $13), it's an inexpensive brew to experiment with, which is one reason I've kept doing it this year.

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