The techniques for making rice wines were known to the Chinese before 5000 B.C. The Chinese had pioneered in the Orient for centuries, and the brewing techniques based wheat Qu and Xiao Qu have been considered to be a typical model in biotechnology.
<< PREVIOUS | INDEX | NEXT >>
The origin of cultivation of crops is known through legends and tradition. But latest evidences prove that our ancestors began to plant rice 18,000-22,000 years ago for the remained rice has been excavated from Hunang Province recently.
In Chapter 1, We have reviewed and disccussed veriaties of standpoints on the origin of alcoholic beverages in China, and in this section, we shall review in detail the development history of technology in the field of alcoholic beverages, with the emphasis on rice wine brewing technology.
The means of production the primitive men relied on for existence at the begining were collecting and hunting. Up to the prosperous period of the matriachal society, with primitive agriculture and animal husbandry as the main method, collecting and hunting receded into a secondary stage. Alcoholic drinks made from fruits or milk might be accidently consumed by primitive men, so they might be the primitive alcoholic drinks.
Early rice wine-brewing techniques before Xia Dynasty ( 21th century B.C.- 16th century B.C.) were not well recorded. However, We found the first reference to the existence of this rice wine in the "Jia Gu Wen" ( inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells of Shang Dynasty, c. 16th-11th century B.C.). At least three types of alcoholic drinks made from cereals were mentioned in the Jia Gu Wen. "Jiu" was propably made from cereals which have been saccharified and fermented by Jiu Qu ; "LI" was obvious made from malted cereals and was similar to primitive beer; and "Chang", was a kind of quality rice wine flavoured by adding tulip.
In Zhou Dynasty, The imperial court had set up management organizition to supervise the production and comsumption of alcoholic beverages for the imperial family and for the sacrificial to gods or ancestors. A government administration body ( "Jiu Zheng") was responsible for the raw material supply, and the techniques for making alcoholic beverages. It is worth mentioning here that they had set up a series of regulations for alcoholic beverage production. In the regulations, it was emphasized that the cereals ( raw materials ) should be as good as possible, the Jiu Qu should be delived in time, brewmasters should pay close attention to hygiene during brewing processes, the water should be fresh and clarified, the jars (or vats) should be perfect, the cereals should be cooked properly.
One of the rich references to the rice wines appears in the < < Shi Jing>>, an extraordinary collection of hundreds of poems recorded from as early as the Western Zhou Dynasty and compiled in Spring and Autumn Period (770 B.C. - 476 B.C.). Many names for alcoholic drinks were recorded in << Shi Jing>>: such as Jiu, Li, Chang, Huang Liu ( Yellow fluid), Chun Jiu ( rice wine produced in winter and consumed in Spring), Zhi Jiu ( smooth rice wine), Qing Jiu ( clarified rice wine due to long time aging ), and Ru ( rich and mellow rice wine).
It is generally agreed that the first fortified rice wine ( called "Zhou") was brewed before Hang Dynasty, "Zhou" was brewed by adding aged rice wine into the fermenting mash in three batches. Another evidence describing the preparation procedure for healthy drinks from the pre-Qin books recorded on silk has been excavated from ancient tombs in Changsha, Hunang Province( Ma Wang Dui) . The preparation procedures for the healthy drink are summurized as follows:
Jiu Qu (two kinds) Rice Chinese herbs ↓ ↓ ↓ Steeping Steeping Cut to pieces ↓ ↓ ↓ Filtration Steaming Steeping and cooking ↓ │ ↓ Qu extracts │ Filtration │ ↓ ↓ └─────→ Mixing←─── Extracts ↓ Fermentation ↓ Chinese herbs→ Mixing ↓←───────Aged rice wine Adding aged rice wine (three batchs) ↓ Healthy drink
As stated earlier, the early liqueuos were termed "Chang", they were modified and improved to become medically valuable drinks.
Prior to Emperor Han Wu Di in power, agriculture had developed rapidly, crops gained bumper harvests for years running, and people had plenty of food and clothing. Overproduction of crops resulted in vigorous springing up of alcoholic beverage production and bissiness. During the period of Emperor Han Wu Di in power, the goverment met with financial deficits due to warfare year after year, a minister in charge of finance felt that most of the profit in the rice wine brewing industry had been taken away by the rich and powerful people who engaged in the rice wine industry, and the great profit was a good supply for military expenditure. This situation obviously should be changed. So, Emperor Han Wu Di issued an imperial edict in 98 B. C. From this time on, the government made a monopoly of alcoholic drinks. Privately produced rice wines were forbidden. Before that, the salt and iron had already been the monopolied goods. The establishment of the Bureau for the regulation of production, trade, and taxation of alcoholic drinks, that is, monopoly of alcoholic beverages might be the most important event in the history of brewing industry and trade.
Rice wine-making with Qu as saccharifying and fermenting agents must have been the dominant method for manufacture of alcoholic beverages in Han Dynasty. Low alcohol drinks (called "LI") made from malt might sometimes be brewed.
The first monopoly of alcoholic drinks was abolished in 81 B.C. due to objection mainly from the rich and powerful people who had engaged in the rice wine industry previously. But records of about 10 B. C. show that it had been resumed, and the goverment ( Wang Mang was in power)established a organization system in charge of alcoholic drink production and bussiness. Each rice wine brewery manufactured rice wine in accordance with the stipulated recipes issued by the goverment. The recipe stated: Using two "Hu" of croase grain and one "Hu" of wheat Qu as raw materials, 6.6 "Hu" of rice wine could be obtained. ( "Hu" was a measuring unit at that time, and one "Hu" was equal to 19.81 litres ).
The fed-batch fermentation process might be invented in Eastern Hang Dynasty. Cao Cao (155-220 A.D.,the Prime Minister of East Han Dynasty) recommended this technique to the Emperor, Han Xian Di. In his memorial to the throne, Cao Cao described a particular method for brewing rice wine in which the steamed rice was intermittently added to the fermenting mash in 9 batches at an interval of 3 days. The rice wine manufactured in this method was mellow and rich.
A number of written records and stone relic in East Han Dynasty show situations of brewing industry. The whole brewing processes were vividly showed in a stone relic extravated from Shan Dong Province.
Rice wines mentioned in < < Qi MIng Yao Shu> > were greatly diversified, yet all the 40 or more varieties were generally brewed using Jiu Qu as saccharifying and fermenting agents.
The most high quality rice wine might be "Zhou" made from millet. The millet flour was steamed, then cooled, and mixed with Qu powder. Fermentation is conducted in solid state at a low temperature for almost 1 year.
Rice wine brewing usually started from cold months ( from 10th month-12th month according to the Chinese lunar calendar ) . There existed also quickly-fermented rice wines, the fermentation time being only one night.
In << Qi Min Yao shu>>, Jia Shixie put forward a new concept which could explain why the raw materials (cereals) could be converted into the rice wine. He thoght: there were complicated relationships among the product ( the ethanol sternth of rice wine), raw materials ( rice or millet ) and the mysterious fermenting power from Jiu Qu exsiting in the fermenting mash ( which may be explained as fermenting ability of the Jiu Qu). At the begining, the power of Jiu Qu is the most strong, so the fermentation was quickly undergoing; When the power of the Jiu Qu exsiting in fermenting mash was strong enough, the steamed rice or millet could be added into the fermenting mash continuosly, and the fermentation will continue. The power of the Jiu Qu would decrease with the fermentation process going on. As in this case, steamed rice should not be added into the fermenting mash. According to Jia Shixie' saying, it was easy to know how strong the power of the Jiu Qu it was: Just carefully to observe the bubbles evolved from the fermenting mash. Jia Shixie might be the first person to realize the fermentation kinetic relationship among the products, the substrate (raw materials) and the fermenting ability.
Jia Shixie summerized the most important factors affecting the quality of rice wines during rice wine fermentation. He thought the following aspects shuold be paid much attention to.
The quality of raw materials: usually glutinous millet or glutinous rice were considered as best raw materials for rice wines .The cereals should be washed again and agian, until the effluent washing water became clear.
The quality of Jiu Qu: the Qu used should at least stored for a few months, otherwise, the fermentation was too vigrous and quickly under usual conditions.
Use of proper fermentation container: the key piece of equipment in rice wine brewing was the vat. The ideal medium-scale vat was made of glazed or non-porous clayware and has a wide mouth. The vat should be washed with clean water several times,and before being used, the vat should be fumigated with fire, and finally was coated with fats or oil to prevent it from leaking.
Maintenance of a clean environment during preparation of Qu and rice wines: women were not allowed to participate in the practice during the fermentation period. the water should be very clean, the equipments should be washed throughly before using. Control of fermentation conditions, especially temperature before and during fermentation.
Fermentation time: for best results, rice wines should be made during the cold months when the air was relatively free of contaminating microorganisms. Late November or early March were the best times for preparing rice wines since the weather was cold but not too cold.
22.214.171.124 Rice Wine-making Technology from Tang Dynasty ( 618- 907) to Southern Song Dynasty (1127- 1279)
A lots of books dealing with brewing technology were written in Tang Dynasty, but few had been handed down. Nevetherless, numerous poems written then gave us plenty of hints and information about alcoholic drink-making techniques. Tang Dynasty poet Yong Tao wrote: " Since I arrived in Chengdu, the `SHAO Jiu' has matured, and no longer do I wish to reture to the capital Chang'an". Whether the "SHAO Jiu' mentioned above was a distilled spirit is still a matter in dispute. "JIANNAN SHAO CHUN", a tribute to the Imperial Palace, made in Sichuang Province, recorded in a historic book, also left an unsolved question about the origin of distilled spirit, for the word "SHAO" is a polysemant in Chines, meaning "steaming", "cooking", "distillation" and bruning.
In Song Dynasty, because of the transferring of political,cultural and economic center from North China to South China,rice wine- making industry had flourishing in South China,especially in the region of Southeast China, around Hang Zhou,which used to be the capital of Southern Song Dynasty. This area is the most suitable for growing rice. For raising more military expenditure to resist the invasion by Jin Dynasty ( 1115-1234 A.D.), the geverment put into effect the policy of monopoly of production and sale of alcoholic drinks, and encouraged people to consume rice wines. Of course, the government benefited considerably from the brewing industry. A more comprehensive book entiled <
This three-volumn classic books contains following aspects: (1) a brief history of alcoholic drinks in Chinese culture; ( 2) the fundemental brewing technology and easy- to- follow instructions for making rice wines at home and on a community scale, including the techniques in Jiu Qu- making, fermentation and post- fermentation processes; (3) the particular operating procedures for production of high-quality rice wines.
The techniques used for making rice wines described in this book will be disccussed in following chapters.
We have studied and summerized the achievements in rice wine brewing technology shown in the classic work <
126.96.36.199 Rice Wine-making Technology from Yuan Dynasty ( 1115 - 1368) to Qing Dynasty ( 1644- 1911)
The output of rice wines in Southeast China might exceeded that in North China in this historic period. Gradually, rice wine production was centered in Zhejiang Province, Jiangsu Province, Jiangxi Province, Fujian Province. Especially, rice wines produced in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province had become the most famous and began to export to foreign countries since Ming Dynasty. "Shaoxing Rice Wines" even became the synonym for "rice wines", and their prices were higher than those of spirits. "Shaoxing rice wine" had its best time since Qing Dynasty when there were numerous wineshops in towns. Most rice wines were transpoted over a great distance to the markets all over China. It was estimated that there were once as many as 2000 wineshops, and that the highest annual output reached up to about 70,000 tons in the late Qing Dynasty. This situations reappeared during 1930's of the 20th century.
Fortunatly, an original manuscript entiled << Tiao Ding Ji> > was rediscovered from Beijing Library and republished in 1986, in which Shaoxing rice wine brewing technology was recorded in detail. From this book, we can find numerous information about Shaoxing rice wines, including production techniques, varieties of alcoholic beverages, market and tax revenue, and other industry related with rice wine production.
<< Tiao Ding Ji>> gave us a comprehensive summing-up on Shaoxing rice wines. The main contents included: selection of suitable water supply; selection of raw materials such as rice , wheat; Qu- making techniques; seed mash preparation, pretreatment of raw materials; ingredients of the fermentation mash; control of fermentation; squeezing; distillation of spent grains; pasteurization; comprehensive ulilization of by-products; preventing the rice wines from being deteriorated; aging; the brewing and distillation equipment; how to repare the ceramic vats, etc. As already stated, traditional brewing techniques and basic processes in Qing Dynasty remained nearly at the same level as in Song Dynasty, however, the equipment was being perfected and the brewmasters constantly improved their skills. The Chinese brewmasters have established independently an intergrated brewing industrial system in a traditional way. Detailed disccusion are given in following Chapters.
188.8.131.52 Rice Wine-making Technology Since 1911
Key technological transformation in rice wine brewing industry after the founding of the People's Republic of China are disccussed below:
(1) Using of alternative raw materials for rice wines
Traditionally, glutinous rice had been considered as a best raw material for rice wines. Because its yield per unit area is lower than that of other cereals, alternative raw materials have the advantages of reducing production cost. The polished long- grained nonglutinous rice and round-shaped nonglutinous rice, corn and millet are used successfully as raw materials for rice wines.
( 2) Microbiological research and Qu- making technological innovation
Chinese brewmasters had used Qu for thousands years, but did not realize its innate characters that are based on microorganisms and enzymes. Isolation and screening of useful microorganisms from Qu around China had conducted 1930's by scientists. From numerous strains a number of Rhizopus spp. Mucor spp. Aspergillus spp. Monascus spp. etc. yeasts with superior hydrolyzing or fermenting power have been isolated from spent grains, Qu, or fermenting mash. Utilization of these strains has increased the yield and reduced the production costs.
(3) Mechanization of brewing industry:
Traditional brewing industry had been based on manual labour. After the founding of the People's Republic Of China, rice wine production has gradually realized mechanization. The main equipment is listed below.
|Transportation of materials
|Polishing of rice grain
|Steeping of rice
|Steaming of rice
|Horizotal cooker Vertical cooker
|Cooling of steamed rice
|Jiu Qu making
|Qu block-shaping machine thick layer cultivation compartments with umidity- and temperature-controlled
|Freezer and air -conditioning
|Squeezing of fermented mash
|Plate and frame squeezer
|Filtration of rice wine
|coil cooler plate heat exchanger
|Chemical analysis and instrumental analysis by various apparatus
Production of Rice Wine in Mechnically Equipmented Brewries Rice Water ↓ │ Polishing Machine │ ↓ │ Steeping Tank ←───────┤ ↓ │ Conveyer │ ↓ │ Rice-Storing Tank │ ↓ │ Screen for Removing Water │ ↓ │ α-amylase── → Steamer ←───┬───┘ ↓ ↓ Cooling ──→ Seed Mash Wheat Qu Fermenter and Glucoamylase ↓ │ │ Main Fermentation │ │ Tank ←───┘ │ │ ←────────────┘ ↓ Secondary Fermentation Tank ↓ Mash-Storing Tank ← Compressed air ↓ Squeezer ↓ Gravity Settler ↓ Pump Storing Tank in High Position ↓ Pasteurizer ↓ Flow Meter ↓ Bottling