Homebrew #09 – Seoktanju 2

Seoktanju 2

This is my second (or is it third?) stab at making Seoktanju, and if you remember from my post Homebrew #06, you know that I haven’t had a good track record with this recipe. A pichia yeast infestation forced me to pitch four liters of sool last go around. It was an unquantifiable melange of wasted money, lost time, and sleepless nights that is the bitter draught every brewer is familiar with.

But I was determined to turn my bad streak around and I was rewarded—kind of.

DISINFECTING THE HANGARI

One concern about brewing with a hangari (항아리), or earthenware jar, is how best to sanitize it. As the ceramic is porous, you don’t want to, say, brew sool in your kimchi hangari. Similarly, you don’t want to use soap as this can get trapped in the pores. I had tried using hot water and Star San, a disinfectant used by beer brewers, but I became less confident this was doing the trick. Ultimately, I sought out some advice from Dan at The Sool Company and he suggested I upend my hangari over a pot of boiling water and let it steam clean for 30 minutes.

Seoktanju 2

Here I’ve got it over some wood planks but Dan assured me that a hangari will not shatter if it’s set into the pot.

 

NEW NURUK

I was also in the market for new nuruk and Mrs. TJ found some I couldn’t pass up. Hwawangsansanseong (화왕산산성) is made in Southern Gyeongsang Province by a Buddhist monk! If you’re interested, you can have a 1.3 kg bag of monk nuruk delivered to you for ₩12,000.

Seoktanju 2

I drank the holy-sock-infused-nuruk booze of this monk’s feet!

My nuruk came in a plastic bag lovingly tied up with a rubber band along with some recipes for making vinegar drinks. Presentation aside, the nuruk has done a bang up job, not only in this recipe but also in my most recent batch of Hwanggeumju.

Seoktanju 2

 

ALTERED STATES

Finally, I rejiggered the ingredient proportions:

100g non-glutinous rice (primary) 55.6g ground nuruk (primary)
528mL water (primary) 500g glutinous rice (secondary)

Primary Fermentation, or Mitsul (밑술):

  1. Wash the non-glutinous rice, or mepssal (멥쌀), and soak for 3-4 hours.
  2. Drain for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  3. Grind and sift the mepssal into a pot.
  4. Add a partial amount of water to the pot. (Make sure when you are adding water to add it in small quantities so that you can avoid clumping.)
  5. Bring to a gentle boil and stir constantly until you have a thick porridge, or jook (죽).
  6. Cool the porridge.
  7. Add the porridge to water and nuruk.
Seoktanju 2

Two days into the mitsul

Secondary Fermentation, or Deotsul (덧술):

*Start approximately 3 days after mitsul is underway.

  1. Wash the glutinous rice, or chapssal (찹쌀), and soak for 6-8 hours.
  2. Drain for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  3. Make steamed rice, or godubap (고두밥).
  4. Cool it and add it to the mitsul.

 

FERMENTATION RUMINATIONS

Right after you strain, your booze tastes sorta… raw; the sool is warm and it hasn’t had any time to mature. That first sip always worry me a bit for this reason. I decided to crack a tall boy, put my brew in my fridge, and play the long game.

The short of it is that the Seoktanju turned out fine. I didn’t have to battle any pichia yeast this go around and maybe I can chalk that up to a “cleaner” hangari or better nuruk. I think I got especially lucky considering I was able to strain this brew before outside temps hit 26°C/79°F. (The chances of a brew turning greatly increase in conditions hotter than this.)

As for the flavor, the boozy, dry rawness has not faded. It’s not a dealbreaker; I know some people prefer a drier brew.  But, if I give this another go, I might reduce the amount of water in order to make it slightly sweeter.

So, yeah. Personally, I’m not in love with this batch but it’s finally nice to know I have not been doomed by the Sool Gods to never create a decent Seoktanju.

Chin! Chin!

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2 thoughts on “Homebrew #09 – Seoktanju 2

  1. Pingback: Sool #73 – Duru Seoktanju | takjoo journals

  2. Pingback: Takjoo Journals’ Third Anniversary | takjoo journals

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