Showing posts from January, 2016

Wine from the Yeast Cakes

Now that the yeast cakes are ready, and nice and dry (they firmed up quite nicely after drying), I'm ready to start making wine from them.

Qimin Yaoshu is structured around the yeast cakes, and to help keep them straight, I'm numbering them and the wines that are attached to each cake recipe.  These yeast cakes are the first "exceptional" yeast cakes, so I'm calling them YE1, and below are the translated directions to make two different wines using them, a millet wine (YE1W1) and a rice wine (YE1W2).
I'm starting the process of making these now, and I'll report back once I have some more photos to show.  For sizing, the recipe clearly tells us that one volume of yeast cakes is enough for 21 or 18 volumes of grain, which means something like 60 volumes of alcohol, if you figure that you get about as much liquid out as cooked grain, which is about three times the volume of the dry grain.
Since I'm making this to hopefully panel at Birka in two weeks, and…

Making Exceptional Yeast Cakes, Weeks 4 and 5

Week 4 至三七日,出之,盛著甕中,塗頭。 After another seven days, bring them out, pack them into a weng, and seal the head [with clay]. Still not having a weng, I settled for some air-tight glass jars.  I think that, because I was simulating the hut with a plate and some boxes, this stage was pretty much a no-op compared to stacking the cakes on the plate like we did last week.

The cakes smell about the same as they did the week before: sweet and caramely, with some odd alcoholic notes.  They leave behind a pretty large amount of a dark brown liquid.  I didn't taste it.
Week 5。至四七日,穿孔,繩貫,日中曝,欲得使乾,然後內之。 After another seven days, bore a small hole in each cake, thread a rope through them, air the whole string in the sun, really make sure it’s dry, and then place the cakes inside. The cakes are still really damp, about the same as last week, and have the same smell.  I think that they came out of the "hut" way too damp, but I'll have to roll with it.  Next time, maybe I'll use a car…