Saturday, April 24, 2021

Cheongju: Korean traditional rice beer

Cheongju refers to clear rice wine, which is produced by filtering the fermented mash with the aim of improving taste and fragrance. Cheongju is a Korean traditional rice beer brewed by a simultaneous two step fermentation process using fermenting agents.

2000 years ago there was Yangban (the ruling class) and Sangmin (the lower class of servants and commoners). When rice was brewed to make alcoholic drinks or named Sul very much like the recipe below, different parts of the sul was consumed by different classes.

The top golden clear liquor is called Cheongju and Cheongju was usually enjoyed by Yangban class. The thicker, hazier sediments that were filtered (called Jjigaemi) out to make Cheongju were left to be thrown away but the servants or farmers took them, added water, and strained it – which was called Makgeolli.

Cheungju is a sake-like beverage unto itself, and it’s also sometimes distilled to make soju. This brewing system was driven ancestor worship. Members of Korea’s ruling class would offer their best crops, foods and homebrewed alcohol to their deceased forebears, and alcohol, particularly chungju, was the most prized offering.

More than a thousand varieties of Cheongju were produced during the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1897), the heyday of traditional Korean liquor culture.

Cheongju comes in a variety of flavors and fragrances that depend on the proportion and preparation method of rice, the main starch used for its creation.
Cheongju: Korean traditional rice beer

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