The following beer recipe is featured in the May/June 2019 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Access this issue along with the archives with Zymurgy Online!
Recipe courtesy of Amahl Turczyn.
Makgeolli is an ancient, traditional, working-class Korean fermented beverage made from rice. It also goes by the name of nong-ju, or “farmer’s liquor.” Like Japanese sake, it is produced with a special blend of yeast and enzymes that break down rice starches to supply sugar for yeast to ferment.
All these fermentation aids are supplied by something called nuruk, which is to makgeolli as koji is to sake. You can’t make makgeolli without it. If you live near an Asian supermarket such as H Mart, there’s a good chance it carries nuruk. Several manufacturers produce it commercially, and it’s usually labeled simply as “enzyme powder,” even though there’s much more to it than that. If you don’t live near a market like this, or near a Korean community, you can order nuruk online, but it will be more expensive.
Nuruk is typically sold in 1-pound (454-gram) bags, which is enough to produce about 5 liters of magkeolli. Haioreum, Haio, and Choripdong brands can be found at H Mart; Wang Korea and Assi brands can be found at online retailers like Amazon.