Over the last month, The Sool Company has been running a series of brewing projects with some fellow alcohol enthusiasts, and we have been brewing up a storm. One of the projects we have been working on is a lotus leaf brew.
Or I should say, we have been working on a few subtly different varieties of lotus leaf brew.
Lotus leaves are in season here in the summer and are used for a number of purposes in food and alcohol. In Korea, as well as in S.E Asia. Lotus leaves are often used as a wrap for rice or meat, which when steamed or baked imbues the contents with its rich, aromatic tea like flavor – which is absolutely something to experience.
For our purposes, however, we want that very same aroma to be absorbed and infused into our alcohol. When brewing with Lotus as an infusion, we are also going to obtain the fantastic dry tannic quality of the leaves. The lotus flower comes in different colors and the type that we are using produces white flowers. They are the recommended type for consumption. White flower lotus leaves are known as 백련연잎 in Korean.
Their uses for brewers are plentiful, we will often use them to wrap nuruk in while it is fermenting as well as for brewing infusions. Though I am sure I will write more thoroughly on nuruk at a later time (it’s a BIG topic). Our brewers this time round have been adding their lotus leaves to a
Our brewers this time round have been adding their lotus leaves to a two-step fermentation base. We did a primary fermentation using a technique called beombeok (범벅) – a thick paste of rice and water. This is good for producing a high ABV and a balanced texture. We then added steamed rice (고두밥) after a few days and added the lotus alongside it. To experiment with the ingredients we added the lotus to the standard base in different ways. One group wrapped the mash with the leaves, another layered the leaves & the mash and the last group ripped up the leaves and mixed them with the rice water and nuruk.
Our Wrappers, Layerers and Rippers’ brews are all in the fermentation room at 20 degrees and making superb process and we are very excited to see how they come out. I will post a breakdown of the results when we filter in a few weeks.
In the meantime, I bought too many leaves and so started four batches of my own with which to infuse, ferment and compare with the student’s work. One single, a double, a tripple and a quadruple step brew are all in the works in order to see what works best with this ingredient.
I will report back with tasting notes after what I presume will be a very tough session!
As always I am very happy to take comments, answer questions or use ingredients based on your suggestions. Anything you want me to look into or write about? Shoot me a comment or a message!
Dan is a Korean traditional alcohol specialist with a focus on brewing science. He currently manages and instructs the advanced level classes of the Susubori Academy where he completed his study in Brewing Biochemistry. He also studied under Grand Master Park Rok Dam.