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Palm sugar beer and other alcoholic beverages from the Sugar Palm(By Willie Smits)
We already knew that the palm juice that drips from the cut of flower stems of the sugar palm starts fermenting almost immediately. This is the problem when one wants to make palm sugar, necessitating large amounts of fuel wood to immediately boil the sugary juice to stop the fermentation. When left by itself after just a few hours the alcohol concentration already reaches 5-6% and within 24 hours the concentration can get close to 10%! Obviously there are some very beneficial substances in the palm juice that support the activity of the yeast. People that drink a glass of palm wine everyday tend to be very healthy and reach ripe old ages.
|People in North Sulawesi, where our Masarang palm sugar factory is located, all have their personal favourite tapper. Each tapper uses his specially selected favourite yeast that then results in the production of wines of different alcohol percentages. These different alcohol percentages and the specific yeast inducted taste, that cause the fresh palm wine to taste very different from tapper to tapper, is what makes it interesting. It can be sweet and tintling but also heavy with fruity sweetness or it can be rather acidic and very strong tasting. Sometimes people will add bark of certain tree species to make the wine even stronger. And for those who really like it strong the people distil a palm genever called "Cap Tikus", meaning 'rat brand', which can be up to 60% alcohol. Here you can see a local tapper in the process of making "moonshine" which is officially not permitted but still extremely common in the province of North Sulawesi. At the factory we have now distilled our own fermented juice and let it ripen in oak barrels, resulting in a great tasting rum with a beautiful golden colour and a woody aroma with a long lasting sweet aftertaste.|
|Now we have an addition to the collection of drinks, a real palm sugar beer! My brother in law Henri decided to try to brew a beer using our palm sugar. And wow, did it turn out nice! Here you can see the freshly poured beer in the glass with a nice layer of creamy foam. And the taste is great, almost like one of the monastery beers, such as triple trappist. When Henri and friends were brewing the beer they noticed that the fermentation did not stop at 5 or 6 percent but went straight on to 9.3 percent!! And when this beer is kept to ripen further it may reach 10 percent. Obviously the power of the palm juice that yields such quickly fermenting palm wine is in the sugar that contains many useful and healthy substances. It is the Masarang palm sugar that was used to brew this very special beer.|
|Henri, who you can see in action here at the right, has brewed a few hundred bottles of palm sugar beer but this beer looks like a success formula and should be made in larger quantities. Best of all, all ingredients are organic from the wheat and hop used, up to our own palm sugar from Masarang. A very healthy beer, traditionally brewed from ingredients from Europe mixed with our tropical palm sugar, just great! For more information on the beer you can take up contact with Amigos International, firstname.lastname@example.org, +31(0)317 479 794. |
|We have now also produced a few hundred liters of our palm rum and are now in the process with local pottery makers to come up with a special clay bottle for this rum. Here on the left you can see Hashim Djojohadikusumo tasting the Masarang Palm Rum which has an alcohol percentage of 50%, so not for the weak hearted. Pak Hashim is a connoisseur and he evaluated our rum as a most interesting and promising drink. |
|Beneath is a picture of our set up with fermentors with water locks and the oak barrels we got from Europe. |
|And to make the story complete there is also a picture of glass of the whitish palm wine freshly harvested from a small 8 year old tree in my garden that at the moment produces some 50 liters of great palm wine each day! |
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