Korean Rice Wine (Farmer's Wine) Makgeolli 막걸리

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Korean Rice Wine (Farmer's Wine) Makgeolli 막걸리

Postby UndeadFred » Fri Jan 22, 2016 2:45 pm

I did say I'd post the recipe and some details here after giving samples of my first attempt at 막걸리 last night at the meeting--

This is based on Maangchi's (Emily Kim's) recipe. As a baseline I used her recipe and instructions but I did use ~1/3 of a package of Red Star Pasteur Blanc for a neutral but strong and alcohol tolerant yeast instead of bread yeast. The original recipe and more graphic instructions are at: http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/makgeolli

Ingredients (Make 4 quarts):

5 cups short grain rice, washed and soaked in cold water for at least 2 hours
1½ cups nuruk (starter culture)
1 package of dry yeast
5 quarts of water (20 cups)
¼ cup sugar (optional)

This is Nuruk as obtained at Wang's market in Iowa City.

Nuruk.jpg (50.62 KiB) Viewed 713 times

1½ cups is exactly one half the bag for a gallon of Makkegolli 막걸리. I intend to cut that in half the next time I do it, and make up the difference in LHBS (LD Carlson) amylase enzyme (once I guesstimate or calculate it out). It appears to actually be from the same sort of bacteria in the nuruk from LD Carlson's site, but the earthy wheat flavor isn't there.. it's pretty flavorless so I think that could tone down the earthiness just a little.


Drain the rice and put it into a heavy pot. Add 4 cups of water. Cover and cook over medium high heat for 15 minutes. Stir and turn the rice over with a wooden spoon. Cover and simmer it for another 15 minutes over low heat.

Remove from the heat. Transfer the rice to a basket of your electric dehydrator. Spread the rice evenly, and fill as many baskets as you need. Cover, set the temperature to 160° F, and dry for 3 hours, until the outside of each grain is hard, but the inside is still moist. If you don’t have an electric dehydrator, you can dry your rice for several hours in a shallow basket set in breezy, sunny place.

Put the rice into the earthenware crock. *** NOTE 1.

Add nuruk, yeast, and 8 cups of water and mix well with a wooden spoon.

Place a cotton cloth under the lid when you close it, to let some air circulate in and out.

Let sit for several hours, then uncover and mix well with a wooden spoon. At this point, the rice will have absorbed a lot of the water to create a thick paste. Cover and let sit overnight.

Open the crock and you’ll see a lot of bubbles popping to the surface, and the mixture will be a lot thinner than yesterday. Stir it well with a wooden spoon and cover again. Stir it a few times a day for the next few days.

On day 4 or 5, it will be bubbling a lot less and will have separated to a clear liquid on top and a milky mixture on the bottom. Mix well, and keep mixing a few times a day for a few more days.

On day 8 or 9, there will hardly be any bubbles at all. The liquid on the top will be clearer and more amber. It’s now perfectly fermented and ready to drink. *** NOTE 2.

Strain the makgeolli into a large bowl, pressing on the solids with the back of a wooden spoon to squeeze as much liquid as possible out of it. Discard the solids. Add 8 cups of water to dilute. Add the optional sugar and mix well.


I cooked the rice in a rice cooker but stopped before it was done. Next time I think I'll boil as in the instructions. I dried the rice in the oven but have since bought a dehydrator so I'll will follow those instructions next time as well. Maangchi didn't specify grinding the nuruk so I didn't. Next time I am going to either food process it or mortar and pestle it first.. this also might tame the flavor a bit.

Note 1: I used 2 plastic lid commercial kimchi jars, you can use any glass jar you have-- don't use a metal lid.. cover with cheese cloth if you don't have a plastic lid... You SHOULD stir with a wooden or plastic spoon too but a stainless one is okay because it's not soaking in the stuff...

Note 2:
My other advice is to temp control it. I didn't put it in my chamber because I had two brews in it and didn't have room. I put it in a very cold spot that was 65F-ish though and it took about 4-5 days longer than she states in the video and on her site. That I think improved the flavor. So I do advise fermenting on the cold ale side of things even though you are using a wine yeast. When you do this.. the time frame stretches out to over 14 days. You will know because you want the vigorous bubbling to slow down and it will be obvious when it does. You don't want it to entirely stop. If you do the Lacto in the nuruk likely will make it too sour. It is to be served fresh and alive.

This is why swing tops are really great for this-- and you don't want to do 5 gallons at a time. I pop mine about once a day to depressurize the bottles..

This is a good reference thread as well and I suspect I'll make better makgeolli next time by following some of the suggestions.. but I did need a baseline, so the Maangchi recipe is the baseline.

IF you have kids and want a fun non-alcoholic drink to go with this, look at shik-hye 식혜. The Koreans use what appears to be mostly unconverted DME for this drink (yeotkiereum 엿기름), but I've made it with brewers DME as and experiment and it turns out fine. Regardless if you pick up nuruk, the Korean extract is close by and is labelled "Malt Powder". It is REALLY easy to make if you have a rice cooker. Cook the rice, then put it on warm, add the other ingredients and then let it go overnight. Boil and then backsweeten with honey (instead of the sugar recommended in the recipe)for the best flavor... I usually don't bother with the pine nuts. --> http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/sikhye
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Re: Korean Rice Wine (Farmer's Wine) Makgeolli 막걸리

Postby tony b » Sat Jan 23, 2016 9:29 am

Thanks for posting this. Not sure if I'm ever going to be this adventurous, but who knows, someday?
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Re: Korean Rice Wine (Farmer's Wine) Makgeolli 막걸리

Postby Steven P » Tue Jan 26, 2016 12:00 pm

That was better than expected. Thanks for doing something out of the box.
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