Makgeolli is a raw, unfiltered alcoholic beverage, traditionally made from rice, water, and a fermentation starter called nuruk. The Korean drink consists of two distinct layers that can be seen when the strained alcohol settles. The top, transparent layer, which is known as yakju or cheongju, can either be served separately or distilled into soju. The lower sedimentary layer is called takju.
When making makgeolli at home, try to maintain a room temperature between 65°F and 78°F. (If the room is cooler, the brew may take up to 14 days to ferment; if the room is warmer, it will speed up the process).
An instant-read thermometer is useful when preparing this recipe; the ingredients may be purchased in bulk from Brew Chatter where you can also buy everything you need in a premeasured kit. For the best results, sanitize your equipment before you begin, either in the hottest setting of your dishwasher, or with a homebrewing sanitizer, such as Star San. If you are unsure as to whether or not the makgeolli is fermented, give it a sniff and taste: it should smell of alcohol and have a lightly sweet taste.
- 2 cups (1 lb.) short-grain (chapssal) rice
- ½ cups (2 oz.) nuruk starter