Chapter 2.2 Historic Development of Jiuqu-making Techniques

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2.2.1 In Han Dynasty ( 206 B.C.-220 A.D.)

The origins of Jiuqu are not clear, although most scholars agree that Jiuqu process for making rice wines is one of the oldest process.
The earlist mention of Jiuqu in Chinese literature is found in < < Shu Jing>> published in Zhou Dynasty ( 770 B.C. -221 B.C.). The King saied: "If you want to make rice wine, you should use Jiuqu (`Qu'), and if you want to make `Li' (primitive beer), you should use malt( `Nie') ." In the period of "Warring States", the Jiuqu was used as a midicine for indigestion, because the Jiuqu was a very good source of amylase, protease and lipase.
The earliest varieties of Jiuqu were probably cereals which was remained after consuming, or the cereals unproperly presevered. A number of mycelial microorganisms such as Aspergillus flavour, A. oryzae, yeast and bacteria attached to the surface of the cereals. When temperature and humidity is appropriate for their growth, these microorganisms would multiply and excrete a number of hydrolytic enzymes such as amylase, protease and lipase.
We find the first reference to the Jiuqu preparation process in < > ( a traditional Chinese almanac published in Eastern Han Dynasty ). Although the preparation steps were described simply, we can find the basic techniques for Jiuqu- making is similar to that described in <>. The wheat kernels were ground to crude powder, mixed with water, spread the all ingredients onto floor. Three days later, the ingredients were shaped to pancaks or balls. In the incubation room, the pancakes or balls were placeed in round shallow baskets which were stacked in racks.
In Eastern Han Dynasty, most of the Jiuqu was shaped in disc, like a millet pancake, as recorded in << Shuowen Jiezhi > > written by Xu Sheng in Eastern Han Dynasty.

2.2.2 In Northern and Southern Dynasties

<< Qimin Yaoshu>> (535-550 A.D.), the world's oldest encyclopedia of agriculture, was written by Jia Shixie in the Northern and Southern Dynasties (6th century). In this classic work, techniques about agronomy and processing of agricultural products, including the techniques for making a variety of Jiuqu and rice wins were discribed in detail. The Jiuqu were more widely used as saccharifying and fermenting agents for rice wine brewing, soysause and vinegar production. this showed a major step in the development of present-day Jiuqu
<> described more than 9 varieties of Jiuqu used for rice wine brewing, Of these, wheat Jiuqu was by far the most diversified, yet all its 9 varieties were generally grouped into three types:
"Shen Qu"( meaning a Jiuqu having magical effect)
"Ben Qu" ( meaning a Jiuqu that is heavy or cumbersom )
"Bailao Qu"( meaning a Jiuqu used for rice wine manufactured in Spring, and the fermentation lasts only a few days).

2.2.3 From Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) to Song Dynasty ( 960 - 1279 AD)

In the later period Tang Dynasty, a book entiled < < Si shi Zhuangyao>> ( a traditional Chinese almanac ) described a innovational method for stacking the Jiuqu. As described by < > , the Jiuqu in North Dynasty was shaped like round pancakes or square blocks. and the Jiuqu were spreaded onto the floor. When it was necessary to adjust the temperature of the Jiuqu higher, the usual method was to arrange the Jiuqu compactly. But in << Sishi Zhuangyao>>, a method of more compact arrangment of the Jiuqu was stated that the retangular parallelepiped Jiuqu is piled up one by one. Obviously, more Jiuqu could be incubated in a limited space, and the utilization efficiency of incubation room was increased. It is more important that the temperature in the incubation room increases with the increasing of the amount of the Jiuqu, and temperature has singnificant effects on the growth of microorganisms and the varieties of the species.
One of the most colorful chapters in the history of rice wine brewing and Jiuqu making concerns the great rice wine master Zhu Hong. He wrote a classic on rice wine brewing technology entitled < < Beishang Jiujing>> ( a classic on rice wines). The books' detailed description of Jiuqu preparation indicates that the traditional techniques for preparing Jiuqu had been in perfection. The processes for making rice wines and Jiuqu which depends upon a rather sophisticated technology and intuitive understanding of microbiology, was a remarkable achievement in the history of China and the world.
The Jiuqu making techniques in Song Dynasty are charactered by using a lot of herbs as ingredients. Zhu Hong thought that the herbs added to the Jiuqu would provide rice wines with favorate fragrances and flavours. In the formula of Jiuqu preparation mentioned in < Qimin Yaoshu>>, herbs were rarely used, except for few cases. More herbs were added as ingredients for Jiuqu making. They included Acnthopanax bark, Cardamon seed, Wujaipi, angelica roat, Dangshen, Apricot seed, Muxiang, etc.
The preparation procedures for XIAO Qu) were detailed in < >. Techniques of inoculating with high quality old Xiao Qu as inoculum instead of naturally inoculating indigenous microbial flora were recorded in this book.
Records of about 1200 A.D. showed that the red Jiuqu was invented before Song Dynasty. Chinese people used red rice for making rice wine, or used in food as a colorant.

2.2.4 From Ming Dynasty to Qing Dymasty

As Chinese spirits became popular drinks for common people from Yuan Dynasty to Qing Dynasty, the production of Da Qu was florishing especially in Huai-an distric located in the North of Jiangsu Province, as recorded in <>. Large scale production of Da qu became a well organised profession in Qing Dynasty ( or may be in Ming Dynasty), and a boss may have over 100 assistants and apprentices. They were employed by distilleries.
During Ming Dynasty and Qin Dynasty, lots of formulas for rice Jiuqu included varieties of herbs. A scientific book entiled <>written by Song Yinxing in Ming Dynasty described: People used as many as up to 100 or at least several varieties of herbs as ingredients in Jiuqu making in line with local conditions, and the formulas were made on the basis of medicinal prescriptions.
A number of books published in Ming Dynasty had described in detail the production methods for red rice.

Fig. 2.2.4-2 Da-Qu Preparation Process
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