Sool Tasting

Tasting Geumjeongsanseong (금정산성 생 막걸리) Makgeolli

This is a video series about tasting sool and recognize good Makgeolli in and out of Korea. This time around, we taste Geumjeongsanseong makgeolli (금정산성 생 막걸리), which is the name of a well-known mountain in the Busan area, from the brewery Geumjeongsanseong (금정산성).

Julia: Hi everyone. This is Julia and …
Daniel: Daniel.
Julia: From the Sool Company, and this is the next installment of another one of our tasting videos.
Daniel: Yeah.
Julia: So, Dan, what do we have to taste today?
Daniel: Alright, what we’re drinking is this jolly, yellow looking brew that’s called Geumjeongsanseong.
Julia: Geumjeongsanseong. I’ve heard that before.
Daniel: Have you indeed?
Julia: I think I have.
Daniel: Well it’s not only the name of this brew, but I believe it’s the name of a mountain in the Busan region in the south of South Korea.
Julia: You could work for the BBC.
Daniel: I should. I think I should.
Julia: You are very right. This is very popular in Busan, and it’s one of the only brews that you can get from very far away here in Seoul as well. A lot of brews that are made locally only stay in the local markets, but this gets here.
Daniel: Absolutely.
Julia: It has a pretty special ingredient. Dan, if you want to give us a bit of a …
Daniel: Yes, well I mean it basically is made with three ingredients that all brews are made of, rice, nuruk and water. However, this one uses a very special type of nuruk, and basically it’s because in Busan, the temperature and the humidity are much higher than up here in the North. Basically these nuruks are not made as a small cake, but they’re actually large kind of papadum like large thin disks. And that’s so that they don’t rot when they’re made in the very high humidity of the South. But that adds a lot of unique flavor, and you get a lot of very lactic kind of acidity in the brews that come from this nuruk, which is actually one of my favorite types of flavor in our brews.
Julia: I gotta say this is one of the first brews that I started tasting that was a bit different from the stuff I can get just generally. And I really liked it, because it was kind of sour. It was a bit tangy, a bit citric. So let’s see if that’s what it tastes like today.
Daniel: Absolutely. This brew actually is really quite delicious. And it might be one of the only brews that we’ll show you here that contain aspartame. Because although the aspartame adds a lot of sweetness to this brew, the character of the brew underneath that sweetener is actually still very interesting and very strong. And it’s still very enjoyable, despite the artificial sweetener.
Julia: Yes. This is one of the brews that I just like to drink a lot of.
Daniel: For breakfast.
Julia: In moderation. Oh geeze.
Daniel: Oh. Yep, you’ve done it now.
Julia: The Makgeolli shower. We’ve mentioned it in videos before. Be very careful when you open your Makgeolli, especially if you’ve been moving it around. We did get takeout today, so this has had some agitation.
Daniel: Yeah, actually, I likes to move it, move it
Julia: Oh, that was terrible. Let me get you a drink.
Daniel: Thank you very much.
Julia: Move it, move it, really? All right.
Daniel: There you are.
Julia: So without further ado, let’s have a taste.
Daniel: Cheers.
Julia: Cheers.
Daniel: It’s really carbonated, even before you drink it, you can hear the fizz.
Julia: I was going to say, I can hear it.
Daniel: She’s talking to me.
Julia: The brew whisperer.
Daniel: “Drink me.”
Julia: What’s interesting about this brew actually is that it’s tangy and it’s sour, but it’s got a very thick consistency.
Daniel: Yeah.
Julia: It’s still very heavy, even though the carbonation is whispering to us quite, quite substantially.
Daniel: The body is definitely quite thick. It’s almost like … kind of like those like fromage frais yogurt kind of things? If you like whisked it a little bit, and it was fizzy. It’s kind of that character.
Julia: It’s got kind of a heavy mouth feel to it. So this is actually substantial. I could probably just drink that instead of eating, I would think. It would be quite feeling, I would say.
Daniel: I believe so, definitely. I really like it. I think it’s well-rounded in terms of its acidity and the aroma. There’s this kind of like deep brown like earthiness, which I think comes from nuruk as well. But it’s not so bad as what they call like nuruk chi in Korean, which is like the nuruk stink.
Julia: That’s so strong.
Daniel: It’s pretty, yeah, and sometimes they can be that strong.
Julia: It can be, yeah.
Daniel: But this is, it’s nicely balanced with everything.
Julia: Extra bonus points, it’s also eight percent alcohol.
Daniel: Oh yeah.
Julia: So generally other Makgeollis are a six or or seven, so eight’s actually on the higher end of the spectrum. So it’s a pretty good brew. And actually very easy to find in Seoul. This is not something you’ll have to find or seek out quite a lot. You can get it at most Makgeolli bars that have a selection.
Daniel: Yeah. Sure.
Julia: You can get it at some Lotte department stores. They do carry it.
Daniel: And a good thing about this particular bottle is if you’re looking for it, it’s not hard to find on the shelf, because it’s the only one I know that is like luminescent yellow.
Julia: Yellow.
Daniel: Yeah.
Julia: In fact, when we were first learning, or I was first learning, I didn’t remember the names. I remembered colors. So yes, I’d be like, “Ah, the yellow Busan brew.” So if you can’t remember Geumjeongsanseong Seng Makgeolli, then you can go for a yellow Busan brew.
Daniel: Better and I think this has a shelf life of what? Nine, 10 days.
Julia: Short, yeah. Nine or 10 days. Again, as we’ve mentioned in previous videos, if you buy this and take it home, you can keep it in your fridge a little bit longer than nine or 10 days. It’ s not going to kill you. But certainly, if it was in a bar, then that would be within that shelf life.
Daniel: Yep. Well, I think that’s that.
Julia: That’s that.
Daniel: I think we should finish the bottle now.,
Julia: Just the whole thing.
Daniel: Just, just …
Julia: One shot.
Daniel: Let’s do it.
Julia: Okay.
Daniel: Cheers.
Julia: Cheers.


Tasting Holangi Makgeolli (호랑이)

This is a video series about tasting sool and recognize good Makgeolli in and out of Korea. This time around, we taste Holangi makgeolli (호랑이) from the brewery Baehyejeongdoga (배혜정도가).

Julia: Hi everyone, it’s Julia and…
Daniel: Dan.
Julia: from the Sool Company and this is another one of our tasting videos.
Daniel: Maybe one of my favorite kinds of videos.
Julia: I think this is probably my favorite kind of video, too. So, today we have the-
Daniel: Holangi Makjeolli from the BaehyejeongBrewery.
Julia: Baehyejeong Brewery, yes. Holangi means tiger in Korean. This is another one of those makgeollis that you can find fairly regularly.
Daniel: It’s in a lot of supermarkets and also it pops up in a lot of bars as well.
Julia: It does. The reason why we often order this or recommend it to people is because again, it does not contain-
Daniel: Aspartame.
Julia: It does not contain aspartame, which are our favorite kind of brews. Also this one is very, very sweet.
Daniel: It does contain a sweetener.
Julia: It does contain a sweetener.
Daniel: It’s erythritol.
Julia: It is erythritol.
Daniel: Yeah.
Julia: If you’re familiar with erythritol, it’s similar to-
Daniel: Xylitol that you get at the gum and stuff.
Julia: So it’s bit minty. It’s got a bit of a minty flavor to it. I find this is probably one of the more sweet brews on the market.
Daniel: This is definitely a brew I think it worth sharing. I think trying to drink a whole bottle of this to yourself … It is very, very sweet.
Julia: If you’re not really into sweet things, then yeah, you might be a taste and share kind of brew. But it’s something that again, you can find in some supermarkets and in some corner stores.
Daniel: And it’s very cheap.
Julia: And it’s very cheap. It’s one of the what we call Ilban Makgeolli. Without further ado, we’re going to give it a taste.
Daniel: Okay. What I’ve been waiting for.
Julia: What we’ve been waiting for. You might notice this beautiful location that we’re in is the-
Daniel: Skyfarm?
Julia: Skyfarm. We’ve learned that Dan is not a huge fan of heights.
Daniel: Yeah.
Julia: But we are here on a 50 floor building.
Daniel: 51.
Julia: 51.
Daniel: This is the rooftop.
Julia: I think someone’s counting.
Daniel: The top.
Julia: All the way?
Daniel: Maybe half.
Julia: Okay. If you watched our other video on Neulinmaeul, one little thing to note is that this brewery is actually the sister of the Baesangmyeon Brewery.
Daniel: If you’re into Korean dramas, this family is basically one of those Korean dynasties of brewing. So you’ve got the sister, who brews this. Then the brother who produces the Neulinmaeul and then one of the biggest producers of Makgeolli is actually owned by the other eldest brother?
Julia: I think eldest brother, yeah. We’re waiting for the script to be made.
Daniel: Yeah, it’s like Dallas or something like that. Cheers.
Julia: Cheers.
Daniel: It’s sweet but there’s a little bit of acidity to it too.
Julia: There is a little bit of acidity. What I like is there is that carbonation effect. Not all Makgeollis have a nice carbonation to them so it’s not bad.
Daniel: I get the feeling of caramel and peach.
Julia: Oh, caramel. Let’s see. One thing to note too, the Neulinmaeul that we did the shelf life it 10 days. This one happens to be 30 days.
Daniel: Yay.
Julia: More life.
Daniel: Forever.
Julia: Forever. So you can pick this up, again, as we said, usually in your corner stores but I do know that Homeplus is now carrying this particular brew. If you’re looking for something sweeter and without any artificial chemical sweeteners, this is your jam.
Daniel: Alright. I think if you leave us to it, we’ll sit here and finish the bottle.
Julia: Very comfortably. And not afraid of heights.
Daniel: Not afraid of heights. Not at all.
Julia: Cheers, Dan.
Daniel: Cheers.
Julia: Yeah.


Tasting Neulinmaeul Makgeolli (느린마을)

This is a video series about tasting sool and recognize good Makgeolli in and out of Korea. This time around, we taste Neulimaeul makgeolli  (느린마을), also known as “Slow City” from the brewery Baesangmyeongjuga (배상면주가).

Tasting Neulinmaeul (느린마을) Makgeolli – Transcript

Julia: Hi, everyone. It’s Julia and …
Daniel: Dan.
Julia: … from the Sool Company and we have got the first of our tasting videos.
Daniel: Exciting.
Julia: Dan, tell us about where we are today.
Daniel: We are in Yeouido in Seoul on the 50th floor. I don’t know what this building is called.
Julia: I think it’s called the Sky Park.
Daniel: The Sky Park?
Julia: Sky Park. Sky Farm.
Daniel: Sky Farm? Yeah, I don’t like heights so I’m not having the best time right now.
Julia: It’s been an interesting learning experience about our friend, Dan. Yeah, but we have makgeolli to help you out. We thought we’d start doing some videos to help you guys decide what you can select when you’re drinking your makgeolli and the first one we have today is a stock standard favorite of ours.
Daniel: We drink this everywhere we go, right?
Julia: Pretty much everywhere we go. What is this makgeolli again?
Daniel: This is from a brewery called Baesangmyeonjuga and it’s called Neulinmaeul and actually, you sometimes see in English called Slow City. It was available in the USA for a little while.
Julia: It was. Sadly, it is no longer.
Daniel: It is no more.
Julia: It is no more.
Daniel: This is an example of an Ilban (일반) makgeolli or like a regular table makgeolli that are generally kind of lower alcohol and lower cost but this is a pretty good example of a makgeolli in this price range that’s also of quality.
Julia: It is of quality and one notable thing is it does not contain any aspartame, something we always try to recommend. Also, something to notice about this brew is that many other makgeollis use artificial sweetners because it gives a flavor consistency but this particular brewery believes in embracing the flavor changes, so during the shelf-life, because the flavor does change, they actually cut that shelf right into seasons. Dan, spring?
Daniel: Okay, so spring is like when the brew is really young, so the first three days after it’s bottled, it’s supposed to be very sweet, very fragrant. The alcohol percentage is a little lower and it’s generally quite fruity and aromatic.
Julia: Quite fruity. I’d say quite banana-ry.
Daniel: Yeah, definitely.
Julia: You get a lot of banana notes in that brew and then that lasts for like three days.
Daniel: Sure and then comes the summer.
Julia: Then, summer. Summer, it’s a little bit different. It’s fomenting a little bit more in the bottle so it’s still quite fruity, quite banana-ry but sweet but it’s starting to taste a little bit more mature.
Daniel: Then, there’s obviously fall or autumn where I come from where it tastes have the change. It becomes a little bit more carbonated and as the sugar is being consumed by the live yeast, it gets a little bit stronger as well and usually goes up by about 0.5% alcohol over that period. That’s another three days.
Julia: That’s a bonus.
Daniel: Yeah. Then, after 10 days. It’s in winter.
Julia: My favorite season. I love to drink it in winter because I like something a bit more dry, a bit more sour. This is generally a sweet makgeolli so the longer it’s fermenting, it will start to get a bit more sour. There’s a bit of bitterness in it and more of that alcohol percentage and even the shelf life does say 10 days, you can actually keep this in your fridge a bit longer.
Daniel: We’ve had it after like one month, two months, something like that.
Julia: I think we’ve had it after three months.
Daniel: Three months.
Julia: I wouldn’t recommend that perhaps but certainly, a month was pretty good.
Daniel: If you like your booze drier and stronger, I certainly recommend keeping it a bit longer.
Julia: For sure. We have a bar drinking game that we tend to do sometimes and it’s called guess the season, so Dan, I’m going to test you today.
Daniel: Really?
Julia: You’re going to guess the season.
Daniel: Okay.
Julia: The way we do this game, the date, which Dan cannot see, always is written on the back and so it’s got the date that it’s bottled, so we can calculate which season it’s in based on the days on the back of the bottle. Now, one trick you can do is you can force the carbonation out of the bottle of the lid to reduce your chances of getting a makgeolli shower. We’ve all been there. It’s not pretty.
Daniel: Why, thank you.
Julia: You’re very welcome. All right, cheers.
Daniel: I wasn’t looking.
Julia: Cheers.
Daniel: I was showing the people the bottle.
Julia: Cheers.
Daniel: Cheers. It’s kind of dry. There is a lot carbonation.
Julia: There is carbonation.
Daniel: I’m going to say this is not young. I think it’s kind of older. I’m going to say late fall.
Julia: Late fall.
Daniel: Yeah, like maybe nine days in.
Julia: We got a number. Nine days in. The date on this bottle is the 5th of June.
Daniel: Okay and today’s date is?
Julia: I don’t know. The 12th.
Daniel: The 12th.
Julia: I don’t know where I got that from but it’s the 12th.
Daniel: Okay, so that’s still-
Julia: Five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12. Not bad.
Daniel: Seven days. It’s a lot younger than I expected it to be.
Julia: Now, there’s one thing to know about this game, is that you actually don’t know where this bottle has been. Maybe the place that I bought it, maybe it was left out the fridge for a while. There’s a lot of variables that happen in this game but still, it’s fun to do in a bar.
Daniel: Cool. Can we just finish this now?
Julia: Yes, we can.
Daniel: Thank you.
Julia: Well done.
Daniel: Cheers.
Julia: Cheers. That is Neulinmaeul. You can get it in any of your E-Marts or Homepluses or sometimes your local supermarket.
Daniel: Sure.
Julia: You can also find it in bars.
Daniel: There’s a lot of bars in Seoul actually. Yeah.
Julia: It’s fairly common and you can even go to their brew pubs. There are three beer pubs in Seoul in Gangnam …
Daniel: Yangjae.
Julia: … and Jongno and there you can get freshly brewed on site and you can get freshly brewed on site and you can get pitchers of your favorite season.
Daniel: Exciting.
Julia: It’s exciting. Unfortunately, this brew is not available overseas because it doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners and it is a live produced product.
Daniel: It will spoil if it gets transported for a long period of time, which is tragic thing about makgeolli.
Julia: It’s very tragic but all the more reason to come to Korea, so check it out and then comment and tell us if you like it.


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