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Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Makgeolli - traditional Korean rice wine

Makgeolli is an alcoholic beverage made mostly from rice and Nuruk. Makgeolli refers to cloudy rice wine; the word Makgeolli means “rough,” “coarse,” or “tough,” but also “just filtered.” Makgeolli is a fermented beverage that contains a small amount of alcohol.

Makgeolli has distinctive properties, mainly due to the rice fermentation process, such as a white or beige colour, creamy texture, sweet and slightly carbonated flavour, and, in particular, its own characteristic odour note.

In addition to starches, oligosaccharides, organic acids, and peptides derived from raw material and fermentation products, Makgeolli contains unfiltered floating matter, including microorganisms like yeast, lactic acid bacteria, and various kinds of biologically active, beneficial components.

The key ingredient required to produce Makgeolli is Nuruk. The grains enriched in starch, usually rice, barley and wheat are chosen to prepare Nuruk. Since wheat and barley imparts typical taste to Makgeolli, the Nuruk made of wheat and barley is widely used.

The fermentation of makgeolli usually uses starters such as molds (Aspergillus, Rhizopus, and Mucor spp.) and yeasts (Saccharomyces, Pichia, Candida, Torulopsis, and Hansenula spp.).

Lactic acid bacteria (Leuconostoc and Lactobacillus spp.) can be also added to supplement the fermentation starter with the molds and yeasts to prevent contamination by other bacteria. Bacterial flora appear mainly during fermentation, and lactic acid bacteria are known to be associated with Makgeolli production.

Despite of microorganisms and lactic acid bacteria isolation, researchers have detected various benign chemicals, flavonoids, biogenic amines, bioactive and volatile compounds from various Makgeolli samples using different spectroscopic techniques.

Commercial makgeolli is distributed in two forms: heat pasteurized or unpasteurized. Pasteurized makgeolli has a longer shelf-life because the pasteurization process eliminates yeasts, moulds, and other microorganisms that produce gas or other by-products during storage and distribution.

The best Makgeolli is an intriguing blend of sweet, sour, bitter, and astringent tastes. Makgeolli contains various nutrients, including vitamins B and C, essential amino acids, dietary fibre, and other useful physiologically active substances.
Makgeolli - traditional Korean rice wine

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