Discover Baijiu with Derek Sandhaus

Okey-dokey I’ve got the thumbs up so Here we go Welcome everyone to WS BT schools Webinar called discovering by Joe now I’m a late substitution hence the Slightly kind of ramshackle appearance Of like shutters and all sorts of things The whe colleague who should have been There so unfortunately had to step out But fear not because it’s my job to deal With spirits I deal with all of the Spirits qualifications at WCT and was The author of the new level three Spirits book so I come here with Hopefully reasonable kind of information With which we’re going to hear to dig Into by G but that’s me now let’s just Introduce here now also Derek so Derek Sound house is I think without question The preeminent authority on by Joe in The english-speaking world he is the Founder of co-owner of Ming River that’s Right isn’t it Derek oh yeah so I’m one Of four cofounders of Ming River by John Yeah which is a delicious by Joe I have To say and your website is drink by Joe Calm and also you’ve recently you’ve got A good a new book out which is a drunk In China which has been nominated for is In the top 10 for the for the tales Category which is up again yes which is Up against our level three books so That’d be a little bit of a bit of a fun They haven’t announced the shortlist yet

That was supposed to be announced on Monday they delayed that I think my Fingers are crossed that we both make it To the short yes it will it would be Good to kind of have that because it Will be two books because I mean our Book goes into it by doing so into quite A bit of detail as well so okay so Welcome one and all Now I’ve been asked to kind of do a Quick bit of housekeeping so this is Being recorded and it will be available On YouTube on the on the WS DJ’s YouTube Channel and it will also be available Through you can click through to it via The wshe london school website and if You’d like to this is going to be quite A complex subject we’ve got a we’re Going to try and get through this as Clearly as we can But we absolutely appreciate their going To be questions here so if you do have Questions please put them in the chats Or share it to everyone and then we’ve Got some colleagues kind of lurking in The background and they’ll curate those Questions and we’ll try and deal with Them all at the end it’s potentially Very likely that you might be kind of Big ugly going through the process and We were going to be describing something And you’ll go oh I better get this and It actually might be might be coming up Later so I think we feel it’s going to

Be hopefully easy to do them do them at The end so that’s that little bit done Now what we’re trying to do today is We’re trying to look at and explain some Of the processes that I know it’s only Some of them some of the processes are Involved in in biology manufacture and How it’s made similarities and Differences with what we’ve got in maybe Some spirits that maybe you’re more Familiar with in the kind of broadly Western European tradition and also we Really interesting to hear Derek on the The styles of the by Joe and they’re Kind of what kind of the tastes that We’re going to get in these things and As we go through what I’m going to do is I’m going to use malt scotch whiskey as A comparative example just so it kind of Helps us see where some of the Similarities and differences are because Actually although there are very obvious Differences that the similarities I Think are as significant so without any Further ado I’m just going to ask Derek Firstly I’m gonna ask you into this First ago how long is distilling being Going on in China so kind of what’s the Hell what’s the kind of the broad History of by Jay well that’s a that’s An interesting question so China has Broadly speaking in making some form of Alcohol intentionally for we know of at Least 9,000 years yeah so it’s the

Oldest known location of alcohol Production anywhere in the world but for Most of that history they were working First with like very basic wines and Beers and meats or combinations of those Things and then starting around 2000 1000 BC they started making Fermented beverages that we’re using What’s called chew which we’ll get into Later but roughly speaking is a natural Culture of microorganisms that drink Became something that we call Hangzhou Or yellow alcohol which was the dominant Drink for most of Chinese history and Then there are some people who look at Archaeological evidence and think that China was distilling alcohol several Thousand years ago I don’t find that Particularly convincing I think the first definitive evidence we Have that spirits were distilled in China comes from about 800 to 1000 years Ago during the song and UN dynasties in China and the reason that we think that That’s when it happened is because During the Song Dynasty They were already distilling alcohol in Parts of the Middle East and Europe and I had trade routes with that part of the World and if not then then the UN Dynasty was the Mongolian conquest of China and the Mongols conquered Central Asia they conquered the Middle East and Eastern Europe and distilled spirits

Were definitely a part of their empire So that that is the latest possible time That spirits could have entered China Okay great Now um Bojo is I think it’s I haven’t Got the figures I humbly neither check The figures because I was a late Substitution here but I’m pretty certain The by Jo still the largest spirits Category in the world is that is that Still right is that still true Yes scale so right now the the amount of By Joe that’s distilled in China has Contracted a bit in the last several Years for a number of reasons but they Still produce about eight billion liters Of by Jo every single year which is just An extraordinary amount of liquor it’s More than Whiskey vodka and a few other spirits Combined so yeah just tremendously huge In terms of its global importance to the Spirits industry but we don’t really see I mean exports are modest in terms of The total percentage still aren’t they And just as a percent them and how much As a percentage is leaving China when is It can I use equal digits I would say be It’s less than 1% it might be less than 0.1% okay well I’d go that’s produced in China is consumed in China China thirsty People so um that kind of hopefully Gives a little bit of some context to Buy joke so what we’re going to do is

We’re going to jump into looking through These steps of production and the way That I like to frame this all or we like To frame this here at WCG anyway is to Kind of start with the raw material and Then there are so very predictable Things that have got to happen we’ve got To make something ferment we’ve got to Get something fermentable from the raw Material we’ve then got to ferment it We’ve got to make alcohol distill it and Then we can do something without Afterwards and the reason I chose a Comparison of malt whiskey is because by Joe’s mostly mates it’s made from grains It’s a grain it’s a grain thing and all Grains store their their energy as a Starch and starch it’s quite a tricky Thing to get to a fermentable substrate From you’ve got to do stuff to it and to Cut a very complicated story short the Basic things you need are heat to kind Of make it more available and soluble Then you need enzymes to kind of snip it Up and break it apart and then you’re Gonna that makes you gives you sugar and Then you’re gonna need yeast to make the Alcohol now As we go through looking at the more Whiskey and by Joe they’re skinning this Particular problem that was a horrible Mixed metaphor but they’re solving these Challenges is the same challenge they’re Just doing it slightly differently but

Just bear that as context as we go Through this but first of all the raw Material said it I’ve said it’s grains But well what kind of grains are used And what How the flavors do they bring to the Party what kind of do we are we actually Chasing these grains when we taste by J Uh yes certainly you are tasting the Grains in some ways they they have an Impact on the final product but it Should be said right up front at the Beginning of this talk that when we’re Talking about by Joe we’re not talking About just one specific type of liquor We’re talking about a family of spirits So most of those styles of by Joe and There are I think twelve officially Recognized styles most of those styles Are going to be made with sorghum Which is a grain that’s it’s tall stocky Has hard kernels it’s very similar to Corn in terms of what kind of flavor it Brings the table it’s got a lot of Starch and it does very well in dry Environments so sorghum is is the most The primary ingredient for making by Joe But you can make it really with any type Of grain so rice is probably the next Most popular and then after that you Have multi grain by Joe’s that use a Mash that has sorghum wheat corn and Rice usually in that combination mixed Together so but there are by Joe’s that

Are made from barley they’re by Jews That are made from millet and job’s Tears and all sorts of grains that Aren’t particularly common in European Wide angle mm-hmm okay now I’ve I mean I’m still relatively new into this Category and I know that the Availability of obviously by Joe isn’t Massive and you you’ve had a whole lot More when you’re tasting these are you Definitely and this is something I’m Really looking forward to kind of being Able to do but are you tasting when you Go to them UK are that’s clearly got Some barley in it that’s clearly sorghum This is maybe more rice based I mean There could be other stylistic factors That can kind of give you those hints But is it as because I know when when You can say for example having American Whiskeys and you say having a bourbon And you can get are this is you really Feel the right kind of content in this Do you have similar kind of experiences When you’re kind of tasting through bye Joe Well I think when you’re drinking Rice-based by Jose you can definitely Taste the rice you get a very like Similar flavor profile to sake or a like Korean soju but with sorghum one of them I mean one of the issues with it is Sorghum’s not found in a lot of food Products in China or elsewhere so most

People outside of Africa where it comes From don’t really recognize the taste of Sorghum in their spirit so I would say Like the flavor that it contributes is Definitely a cereal spirit like it’s Detectable as such but it tends to be on The sweeter side of things because it is So rich in starch okay great all right Now then now we’re going to move on to The into the into the areas where we Have our similarities and differences so What i’m just-just as a very rapid Summary if I’m making my my malt whiskey And again I’m using this as a convenient Example and malt whiskey is one type of Many whiskey’s so again as Derrick was Saying there are many many different Types of by Joe so these are just Examples to help us understand so if I’m Making a malt whiskey I’m gonna Multi-ball II I’m then gonna mill the Barley and then we’re going to mash it Now during the molting process we’ve Created enzymes which we need to snip up Starch and in the mashing we’ve kind of Unravel we’ve made the starch available For the sniffing to happen so once That’s one the mashing is completed We’ve got a liquid which is really very Sweet surprisingly so to which they’ll Add yeast and they’ll make alcohol so These things are happening in a one After the other after the other after The other other things which I think

Just the context most risk is fermented In bats some of them are open bauman Tation are kind of measure the days Rather than days and at many days really And just a little bit pretty much want To be used up all the starch so once the Starch is once once we’ve got the starch In there and it’s being fermented all of That starch is going to be used up so That’s A very European perspective so if we Gonna flip over into into into China We need enzymes and we need yeast and They come from a really really different Source and that this source is called Shu so Derek can you give us a little Under saying of what is Chu because this Is this is the thing that makes that Makes all the magic happen isn’t it so In its most simple form what Chu is it’s A grain that’s been processed with water In some way turned into a paste and then That paste is formed into some like Solid mass so with rice which was what They call small tube usually you form That into a little ball and they look Like little tiny white balls and with Wheat based which is what you use for Most sorghum based by Jose what they Call big Chu you’re going to form that Paste into a brick and then you will Take the Chu and you’ll put it in a Controlled environment usually a room That’s kind of temperature controlled in

Some ways they’ll make sure sunlight is Either coming in or not based on what Part of the process you’re looking at And what happens is over the period of a Few weeks usually the grains will start Decomposing and all of the Microorganisms that live in the air will Begin forming within the Chu so Principally what we’re talking about Forming in this shoe is three things Most in greatest abundance you have mold Then you have yeast and then you have Bacteria so what you have there is a the Basic like the beginnings of a Fermentation that’s taking place within That block but then you could dry the qu Out in the Sun and it will stop the Grain further decomposing and all of Those chemical processes will Essentially be frozen within that within That block so if you mix the two Together Usually it’s pulverized into a powder If you mix that together with a with a Steamed grain then the Chu will begin to Exert those chemical processes on the on The grain so essentially what happens is You mix you you first you steam the Grain let’s say we’re working with Sorghum you steam the grain and what the Steam does is it begins to break down The cell walls of that grain to make it Easier for chemical interactions to Happen then the mold that’s within the

Chu it will begin sprouting and forming These enzymes that will convert the Starches into sugar yeast in the Chu at The same time that this sugar is forming Will begin converting that into into Alcohol with within the grain so and Then the bacteria of course will Interact with with the alcohol and will Start forming flavor compounds like Esters and aldehydes and things of that Sort so you’ve got everything you need Both from like a flavor perspective and A fermentation sacrif occation Perspective within that shoe so it’s Really unusual compared to whiskey out Saying in three important ways the first Being that you are performing the Conversions of starches into sugar and Sugar into alcohol at the same time Which are Tuesday suit two separate Steps in the European tradition the Second thing that’s very different is That you’re actually creating a solid Mash rather than a liquid match you’re Creating a solid clump of grains that Has alcohol within it but has very Little liquid within it and then the Final way that it’s different is that Because you’re not you know getting Yeast or any of these enzymes from you Know external sources all of this is Coming from the location of and the air Around the distillery so the flavor of Your bio is going to be entirely

Pendant on the microclimate of wherever You’re performing the fermentation and Distillation and that will the flavor And a lot of it I think I think that’s a Really important that actually these are These are spirits of a place you know in Actually a very very meaningful way Because I I’m kind of expanded or and Have do affirm in exactly the same way Eating like the same recipe do it Somewhere else And they just haven’t been able just buy All their efforts to get the right kind Of microorganisms kind of ambient in Indian in the environment and they just Haven’t be able to recreate the style They want I think is that myth or is That actually true no no that’s actually True there’s actually a very famous Brand in China that I’m sure anyone who Has read anything about by Joe knows Cuejoe Maotai which is it’s delicious Awesome hey Jim and in the 1970s they Wanted to expand the distillery because It’s in a very kind of space limited Environment it’s a it’s literally Located right next to a river and a Mountain so there’s very little room and So they wanted to build an expansion to The distillery just a couple of Kilometers away and they did everything The same they took the same process they Took the blueprints from the old Distillery and rebuilt it they even took

Dust from the ceiling beams at the old Distillery and move them to the new Distillery but after they produced it Aged blended it together they decided That the taste was too different so that Became a different why Joe distillery That’s called junjou today Wow okay yeah Yeah that’s all difference and distance Changed the final product yeah I mean It’s a very it’s a very remarkable fact That that those kind of differences Exist and given the propensity for a lot Of Europeans at us to use cultured yeast Particularly It’s not something we necessarily see But if you wanted a comparison into into And I use this in them in the most General sense more European Western kind Of traditions if you look at some of the Run fermentations that maybe happen in Jamaica or some of the mezcal Fermentations where they are very Reliant on ambien ambien microflora Actually you can’t recreate different Styles in different places because it’s So sorry it is so site-specific now one Thing I wanted to talk to you about There it was about actually wear these Fermentations are taking place because Most people are used to sort of seeing a Fermentation kind of in a fad but not All by any stretch of the imagination But quite a common method of fermenting Is in a pit so kind of what do they come

I mean I suppose RPGs are quite straight It’s a hole in the ground but I mean how Big are they and kind of and also how Long does a fermentation last for in one Of these pits Okay so there’s a couple different Questions in there I’ll start with Fermentation time and the length of Fermentation and this is a key Distinction between different styles of By Joe so generally speaking you have Time periods that range from like the Like rice-based by joe’s are usually the Shortest length of fermentation which Will be like a few days to a week or so How long the fermentation will take Place but you do have more complex by Joe’s like strong and sauce aroma by Joe’s which will ferment have Fermentation periods of anywhere from Like two to three months for strong Aroma by Joe with sauce aroma by Joe you Have increasingly long periods of Fermentation that go all the way up to About six or seven months maybe longer Than that so that’s hugely hugely Different and you notice it in the Flavor you get a lot more complexity and You get like a lot more umami umami Flavor from that on so that’s that’s one Important thing the other question is About the Vessel in which the fermentation is Perform so in traditional Chinese

Ferment fermentation and in the classic Method you use stone or clay jars to Perform the fermentation or you will Basically just put the put the mash in There sometimes you add water it’s been Mixed together with you and then you put A lid on it and leave it in there for However long you plan on fermenting it At the end of the process if you’re just Drinking the fermented beverage you Press the liquid out of the mash and you Drink it Um but what happened with by Jo is Oftentimes you were working with like a Great deal of mash and you would also be Trying to produce more products so there Are by Jo’s that are still fermented in Stone jars on a massive scale But you also start seeing around you Know five six hundred years ago people Just start performing fermentation and Pits which can fit a lot more grain in Some styles of light aroma by Jo that Use a stone or concrete it’s you have I Would say that they can hold about Roughly the amount that goes into Chinese still which would be I I’m not Entirely sure of the why maybe like a Ton of grain or something like that in China but with strong aroma by Jo you’re Actually using a very very large mud pit In the ground and that is about two to Three meters deep and can hold about 20 To 30 tons of grain it is and one other

Thing that’s interesting about a couple Styles of by Jo strong aroma is the most Famous for this that mud pit Fermentation is important because the Clay is a very absorbent substance so as You ferment and you continue to use the Same pits for fermentation The walls of the pit will begin Absorbing microorganisms and bacteria From the fermentation process and after A few years of yeast they use they begin Participating themselves in the Fermentation process so actually Developing these pits over years decades And in some cases centuries is viewed as Essential to the creation of unique Flavors of the product I mean it’s Certainly one of the things that struck Me when I’ve talked to you chair know Who we both know but other people from China and just the generational Perspective they have on these things It’s like well if it doesn’t come into Its kind of quality area until it’s like 30 or 40 years of use and then it’s at Its peak when it’s a hundred years so if You’re preparing this as a new pit well We need to put a new pit in well you’re Not going to see the best of that Because you’re going to be long gone It’s it’s just an incredible way that They’re kind of that they look at things From in such a kind of a long-term Perspective it must make it must make

Logistical planning of overnight there It is on the one hand but I mean there Are ways in which you can create similar You know bacterial colonies within your Pit so I’ve been to distilleries that Are much newer private distilleries that Opened in the last 10-15 years and They’re still in the process of getting Those pits where they want them to be so One thing that they will do is you know I think this would be familiar to anyone Who studies you know Jamaican rum things Like that they’re actually like adding External matter though be adding like Banana peels and various things to the Mud Okay just to kind of Levi to create more Bacteria that’s not there naturally yeah Okay no that’s really interesting Because I mean jackfruit is one of the Things they use in Jamaica which has got Certain sort of yeast on its exterior Which particularly attracted to Jackfruit That’s really interesting now that’s Fermentation the parallel process it’s In a solid state it’s damp but it’s Solid it’s very different we don’t Actually get a lot of alcohol Nessa’s that mean it’s not we don’t get Huge alcohol but it again I remember you Saying previously that it’s quite Difficult to measure these because we’re Used to doing it by alcohol by volume

But once you kind of scoop a pit out You’ve just got a lump of soggy grains And so you’re kind of looking at almost By alcohol by weight I think you said Yeah so you know we think when we’re Talking about distillation of a liquid We know what the strength of that liquid Is before it goes in the still and we Know what it is when it comes out of the Still but you are actually you know Transforming the the state of this Alcohol from you’re extracting it from a Solid and getting it into a liquid so They measure alcohol by weight and I Think usually like for example strong Aroma which is the most familiar to me Because it’s what ming river my company Worked that starts maybe like three Percent three and a half percent alcohol By weight and then after it comes out of The still it can be anywhere from like Sixty to seventy percent alcohol by Volume what is interesting though is That you really are as I was saying kind Of like transforming like you’re moving From like the solid mash to the liquid State and unlike the the Western pot Still which which is liquid based with With the Chinese still you’re working With something that’s much closer to a Like a dim sum dumpling steamer or a Vegetable steamer you have an open slot Bottom that you stack the grain on top Of and then you place it over a you know

Boiling cauldron of water and the steam Actually runs through the mash Heating up the alcohol and you know Vaporizing the alcohol but as it travels Through the mash it’s continually going To be convincing as it hits the cooler Grains above it so you are you know Performing something some kind of refer Action with within this solid yeah There’s much higher levels of alcohol Than you would if you were just doing a Single pass with a liquid exactly and I Think so the this stills that they yet The traditional by Jeff Steele’s Actually a remarkably short I mean They’re not very tall at all I think if I mean I’m about six foot me just give Or take so if I was stood next to it Would kind of it would kind of come up To about kind of like kind of like mid Shall make me sort of mid torso high They’re not really that tall at all are They and you’re going from a very low Alcohol to a very very high alcohol so If anyone wanted to kind of have an Understanding of what the most immediate Comparison is you would need to Google a Packed column still so essentially Although they kind of look like pot Stills there are actually really Operating like a packed column and it’s These kind of tiny little areas where You can get condensation and repaper Ization condensation really vaporization

Which allows you to get in one Distillation a liquid which is seventy Sort of in the 70s car they typically Around that kind of strange give me Anywhere from like fifty to seventy Percent depending on how they’re doing Yeah okay okay now there is one other Thing and this is this is a stroke of Genius I think so when you start off When you’re going to make it do a Fermentation by Joe you need to still Need to so you just steam the grains That’s one of them that’s the first Thing you need to do and obviously and You’re going to steam distill the the Mash once it’s come out of the Fermentation pit you could have two Vessels for that but they don’t do that Do they No so the steaming of the grains at the Beginning of the process is the same You’re using the still and the Difference between just seeming grains In a Chinese still and distilling Fermented grains and a Chinese still is Whether or not you’ve put it a lid on Top of the pot still so yeah when a Distillery is just steaming grands Usually they’ll just leave the grains in And let the steam boil off into the air But what this allows you to do and is Something that is very exciting about Strong aroma by Joe is that it allows You to sometimes perform both steaming

And distillation at the same time you Can create a genius I think a just Circular process so what we like what we Do at our distillery and is common for All strong aroma by Joe’s is you Actually it’s a circular process as Opposed to a linear process where yeah You will distill the group you will Ferment the grains and then you will Distill some of the grains and throw Them away and you essentially replace The grains that you’ve thrown away with Fresh grain mix that together with the Mash and then steam a fresh source of Starch for the next round of Fermentation while you distill the Fermented grains from the previous batch So with a strong aroma batch about like 80% of the mash is recycled over and Over again from one cycle to the next And you will be using some form of the Same mash essentially forever for as Long as you want to keep that mash on That pit going together yeah so Lydia if You can hear me this probably be a Really good time to bring up that second Slide if you could because then we can Sort of show everyone this is a if you Kind of actually pretty easy because I Don’t yeah that’s it super so this is a A representation of a very simplified Representation of the stronger stronger Aroma cycle and which is described I Think sometimes as the eternal cycle

Because it’s just almost kind of like Ongoing so if we start down at this kind Of pit you can see on the on the slide Which is on the on the left-hand side What happens is it’s kind of emptied out Into layers now for the sake of Simplicity we’ve done this four layers The top two layers go forward to distal Own and then the next two layers we’re Introducing fresh So we’re just putting steamed grains We’re putting it putting those in with The fermented mash and then fair then Ready for distillation and each of these Layers now this again is a Simplification each of these layers is Then distilled separately and you’ve Probably taken so you get the first Spirit come off then the second spirit Third and fourth now I’m sure you’ve Probably had some of these kind of Spirits from different layers and how Dramatically I mean I’ve never different Are they totally so basically what’s Going on here is if you’re looking at The like at the bottom of your screen What you’re seeing is like the interior Of a pit and these different layers of Mash within the pit so at the top of the Pit you’re going to have the driest Layer of the mash so that’s not going to Have a ton of alcohol in it it’s not Going to be particularly flavorful Either but it will contribute will

Contribute some like more like cereal Emami flavors so then down in the bottom Layers at the very lowest layer you’ve Got the most amount of alcohol and That’s going to have like the richest Flavor and that’s so like very very Simply put you’re taking the the topmost Part distilling it and then you throw it Away you feed it to pigs whatever and Then the rest of the pit you can do this The way you have here but I think There’s a lot of variation in its and How they’re prepared so for example we Like at our distillery we probably you Know just add like an amount equivalent Like that 20 percent at the top that you Distilled and thrown away gets mixed in With the lower levels and they get mixed Together and are distilled together They’re not necessarily going to be put Back in the pit in the order that they Came yeah some distilleries do it this Way some pit some distilleries will even Reverse the process and put the grains That were on the top on the bottom so There there’s a million different Variations but the point is that you’re Always injecting a small amount of grain Into the cycle every single time so that You can develop those flavors over a Very long period of time and it’s it’s Kind of like conceptually like the Process of like making a sourdough Starter where you’re trying to you know

Continue to use that same bit of mash to You know influence the next batch until You get where you want to be over you Know many months years or centuries yeah And as you as you as you come yes you Say there’s many different variant Variations here and I think this is a um This is a really good way of just it’s Kind of very simple way of showing that A lot of the grains that have gone into The steel have actually gone through the Distillation process and back into the Fermentation pit and we’re adding fresh Grains in all the time and so we’re Always replenishing the starch level so There’s always there’s always new Fermentable material coming in and it’s It’s just such a an onion it’s this is This is very very particular the straw For strong aroma to have this kind of Circularity this kind of ongoing kind of Cycle and it’s so contrasted from the Very linear approach that we’re very Used to in sort of like we start with The raw material we’ve go through a Batch something comes out at the end It’s just such I think it’s such a I Think it’s a very beautiful way of doing Things but let’s not get too kind of Like emotional so so thank you Lydia if We can take that down I just want to Very quickly touch on hostess thank you Very much Just very quickly touch on post

Distillation stuff so back to our Whiskey example obviously is going to be An oak various kinds of things and that Adds a lot of flavor it kind of helps to Kind of resolve some of the textures say Particular American whiskey what happens To it what happens to the bye Joe post Distillation typically I mean one of the What are they doing with our spirit once They’ve got it so as you can see just From like that last diagram oftentimes You’re fermenting more grain in a pit Than will easily fit in one still and Many times you’ve got you know many many Batches that come out of the still so Depending on where they came out of the Pit how old the pit was what time of Year it was produced each batch that Comes out is going to be slightly Different and it’s taste so they want to Preserve those differences and they do That by storing them separately and they Age by Jo traditionally and most often In clay jars and these are terracotta Clay and reduce evaporation because clay Is an incredibly porous substance they Will they will usually either bury these Jars underground or they’ll store them In caves where there’s a lot of humidity So basically what’s happening I would Say cheaper by Jo you’re going to have An age for a shorter period of time a Few months maybe half a year but I would Say you’re mid-to-upper in by Jo’s are

Going to be aged for at least two to Three years in most instances and what You’re happening you get almost no Impact from the the clay itself on the Spirit it’s a fairly neutral substance May be a slight minerality into the Final product but it’s it’s almost Unnoticeable what you’re doing more is You’re allowing the oxygen to enter the Spirit from the surrounding air and then Come in through that can come in through The back exactly so it’s coming in Through the pores of the clay and what That does it does two important things One is it kind of neutralized some of The more like astringent volatile Compounds within the spirit so that they Become smoother and mellower up so it Changes the texture of it and then You’re also adding more oxygen which is A new chemical compound that will Interact with the the chemicals already Within sphere You will further develop esters you will Further develop aldehydes and other Congeners that will change the taste of The final product so so it is absolutely I’m Matt Joe and I think this is an Important thing to think I’m one of them So he’s absolutely a maturation process There is change that’s going on yes not Give it it’s not giving color and it’s Not actively giving flavor in the way That a wood vests or an oak vessel would

Correct excellent and then obviously When they get to the end they’re going To have lots of different spirits which They’ll then blend so you’ll get the Kind of the less expensive ones which One have kind of maybe younger from kind Of less aromatically intense layers of The pits to derive like the redeemed Seemingly expensive some of these Studies very top end stuff which is the Older spirits with them from the very Deeper levels of the pit which have got Much more character to them okay so That’s taken us I think through oh sorry It was another I should point out that So that the the maturation at the end of That process that would classically be The end of the budget process a hundred Years ago you would just spoon people Out you know bye Joe from the from the Clay jar and sell it on the market but Pretty much all bye Joe and China is Going to be blended and that is why it’s So important that all of the spirits That come out of the separate distilled Bastards all of the different Distillates that have all those Different flavours you kept them Separate so that at the end of the Process you can actually blend them Together to create more combinations of Flavor more complexity of flavor and Balance them out also with modern Products you have brands and reputations

To maintain it was very important that You have someone with a very good palate Who’s your master blender who can take All of these variations and product and Blend them together so that you know Ming river in 2018 tastes the same that Main river tastes like in 2019 Well if you didn’t blend no no Absolutely and it’s that kind of Slightly counterintuitive reality that For a blender the more options they have The easier it is to get to that kind of Consistent product and the other thing Is that the I mean even some incredibly Expensive buy jokes so I’m just think as They melt eyes higher higher end Expressions which I think in the European market for quite small bowels Are several hundred pounds so these are Purdue some very big scales as well Aren’t they so that they’re not only and Create not only creating incredibly Valuable product but actually Significant volumes of them as well Which is always something that we don’t Associate so much in a way you think High value but very low production sure And when you’re talking about like I Mentioned at the beginning they recorded A billion liters of production last year I would guess the overwhelming majority Of that is coming from I would guess less than a hundred Distilleries the the the bigger

Name-brand distilleries have enormous Operations and in some cases operations That pretty much are the biggest Business in in a city and spread out Throughout that city in many different Buildings so it’s what all the processes Themselves are very what we would think Is very like traditional lots of manual Labor lots of very few artificial if any Additives of any kind but the scale is Tremendous yeah I know I’ve not yet had The opportunity to visit but I mean I’ve Seen photographs and it’s just like it Is truly it’s truly enormous thank you Very much Don that’s great we’ve gone Through that and one of the things I’d Just like to to maybe conclude with on This before we take a few questions is What are the difference that we’ve Mentioned there are different stars I Mean what and there are the four there Are twelve kind of to a degree lay down In the Chinese law and there’s the four Main ones and then there’s then there’s The eight kind of much smaller kind of Ones so what are the say if we look Folks on the Anyone what are those four main ones and What kind of flavors would you be Looking out for if you were looking at Some some good examples of those okay so Moving from let’s say mild to complex Which again is shorter fermentation time To longer fermentation time of the four

Main styles rice aroma is the shortest And I would say most approachable least Complex style you do taste some like Notes of toasted rice you can that comes Through and I think it reminds me the Most of probably like sake or like lower A BB and this this is typically bottled I would say in the 30s to 40s it can be Stronger but you people prefer this Style to be a bit milder and you might Get some like honey like sweetness and Also like some like kind of lemon rinds Like bitterness to it as well sweet Notes then that that comes from Southeastern China and then up north you Have light aroma by Joe which comes from Beijing and chonchi and that is that Tends to be it’s a sorghum based by Joe It tends to be drier and like a bit like Dry crisp it’s got some floral notes I Got it has some like herbaceous notes And it has some fruitiness but more on Be like dried fruit scale like I like to Think of like apricots is a good tasting Note for this and I would say in the Spirits world it’s probably most similar To grappa or like more like grassy mezco Okay yeah that’s a southwest China Strong aroma by Joe That is that can be made either from Sorghum or from sorghum blended with Other grains and and there’s a very Famous style that uses five grain mashes Our distillery uses 100% sorghum mash

And like sorg 3 grain like sorghum wheat Rice blends as well so strong aroma by Joe is the one that used that continuous Fermentation process and the pit for Machines is the one the one that we Showed on that start right and and that Is that that tends have three like Strong notes like fruity floral funky And fruity notes are gonna be like Pineapple guava like a very tropical Tropical fruit note yeah and then you’ve Got like a in a nice note it’s got a Very like licorice fennel like taste to It and then all of them have this umami Funkiness that’s kind of similar to like A cheesy and it’s like almost like a Blue cheese or the fresh camembert or Something and those three flavors might Not sound like they would work together But they complement each other in some Really like fun and unusual ways no I Just well I’ve been teaching with strong Aroma it’s very interesting how and for Me I’m quite sensitive someone that Funkiness and I got a quite actually Quite enjoy it and I didn’t really Notice the extent of the fruitiness in There and until people kept saying I get Really fruity aromas I get really fruity Aromas in this and then you kind of like Go go back to it and go oh yeah I mean If these really are amazingly complex And layered spirits and then the fourth Of the major four and we’re talking here

With sauce aroma and this is a very Unusual production process it uses Sorghum ashes but like the first two They they ferment and distill them at Like eight times and the first two times That they’re doing this they’re adding Fresh grain into the cycle as with the Strong aromas Process but the last like the last for Psych 405 cycles what they’re doing is They’re just adding Chu so you’re adding No fresh sources of starch you’re just Getting every little bit out of that Mash so the flavor as you go gets like Increasingly like smoky and umami and so We think of this as being a V like far End of the umami spectrum where there’s Lots of like sesame chocolate caramel Mushroom blue cheese it’s it’s a Profoundly like funky spirit that tastes A lot like certain ingredients in the Chinese kitchen but maybe not so much Like other spirits that were used to Drinking so like the name sauce aroma in Fact refers to soy sauce yeah and there Is I’ve always come in but I’m most Familiar with melt I because it’s the One you can most easily get into the Outside of China to a degree and you do Very much get that kind of that sense we Saw it sesame kind of sesame oil some Soy sets the flavors within it I just I Just I think it’s really really really Delicious so and so that’s there the

Four that dominate aren’t they know that We’ve got a ago okay the production and Then then the other ones are sort of to A degree variations on a theme I’m not Sure we got like the next most like Popular well-known style would be like What they call Phoenix aroma and I’m not Going to get into much but like for Example Phoenix aroma is a sorghum base By joe that is fermented in mud pits but The they might they’re using the style Of chew that they use in north china to Make light aroma by joe and they’re also Not developing the pits over time so They clean out the pits every year so They’re variations on like it’s it’s Kind of a combination of light and Strong aroma by joe processes but they Also you know do unusual things with Aging at the end they fail age in like Wicker baskets Instead of clay clay jars so and like There’s another style that’s called Mixed aroma by Joe that is essentially Just a blend of strong and sauce aroma By Joe’s so very much these other styles Of by Joe are experimenting with the Production process and borrowing Elements from elsewhere Excellent ok so I’ve just got a few Questions that have popped up here Thank you very much Lydia for sharing Those right ok so this season is the Volume of the layers the same order the

Volumes of the layers decrease as the Pick goes gets deeper and the contents Morgan yeah so I think what I’m just Liam was asking here was about the when You’re entering the pit he’ll ah I think Maybe are these layers a uniform or are They kind of yeah so thinking of Deciding where does one layer end and One isn’t those layer style I think that Graphic representation might be a little Misleading in that respect that the Different layers that you’re showing There are different sizes whereas in the Actual at the distillery they’re Actually taking it out you know like a Few feet at a time and it will be the Same amount every time as they work Their way down the pit ok so so it would Be kind of that day would know that out Of this pit we’re gonna take ghosts Ghosts go down so far that’s a letter go Down so far and that’s a layer and the Right and that will be the same time at A time at a time after time and there’s A couple reasons for that you can only Distill so much at a time and you don’t Want to leave this fermented mash just Laying around exposed to the elements And also you so yeah that’s that’s the Basic reason for it and you also if you Emptied an entire pit out you would just Have this massive pile of grain that Wouldn’t be very easy to work with yeah No no absolutely no that doesn’t make a

Lot of sense actually there is always That thing when you kind of get so far Into this game that you will Is that there are some very practical Decisions that producers have to make And actually a lot of the decisions are Based on just that the raw mechanics of Practicality so there’s another question Here which is about in vessels now the Play vessels will be letting through Oxygen so they will allow oxygen oxygen Oxygen to happen has any one kind of Experimented with anything that’s kind Of more like stainless steel that kind Of would be a barrier to that oxidation Yeah there are certainly so there are I Mentioned that traditionally by Jo is Aged in terracotta clay but there are Many distilleries that will age there They’re lower in products typically in Large tanks like you might see at a Brewery just big stainless steel tanks And oftentimes after you’ve aged you’re By Jo for the like amount you would like In clay you will move it to stainless Steel so that you can use those valuable Clay drawers for the next occasion yeah Yeah okay well that’s that’s that again Again that’s that’s fair enough now I Think this did this is this is this I Think the most important question of all From Charlie how how are the various Styles typically consumed and what how Did I mean I mean it’s a it’s a very

Relevant question how do they consumed By Jo in China so in China by Jo is Going to be served at dinner time so or Lunch time it is viewed as an Accompaniment of food much the way that Like grape wine is served with meals in Europe So the typical by Jo glass is a tiny Little thing I’m holding one up here It’s about a third of an ounce and the Reason that they’re so small as both by Jo is often bottled at quite high Strengths I would say 50 to 55 percent Is the the average strength of a by Jo In China and The way it’s consumed is not like Sipping while you’re drinking the meal But usually communally so when you’re at The dinner table usually the host will Start the meal by making standing up and Making a toast to everyone everyone Lists their glass and they say Gombe Which means dry the glass and then you Shoot it the whole thing and you present It to everyone so they know that it’s And so you usually do about three Communal toasts and then anyone at the Table can go up to anyone else at the Meal and toast them and it’s reciprocal So if you get toasted you’re supposed to Toast that person back and if you toast Someone they’re supposed to toast to you Back and by the end of dinner if you’ve Done your job right everyone is but it’s

It’s like a fun communal way and the Other important thing to note about the Fact that it’s consumed with food is That the flavor profiles within a by Joe I pointed out the regions that they come From like rice aroma from Southeast China light aroma from North China sauce And strong aroma from southwestern China That’s very important because the Because by Joe is part of the dining Tradition the flavors of by Joe Compliment the regions that create that By Joe very very well so in in very real Terms the strong flavors of a by Joe are Complementary to the strong flavors of The food of that region then there’s one Other way that’s a typical four by Joe To be consumed in China and that is in In more of a medicinal kind of folk Infusion way where you go to many parts Of China you go to wine shops and you’ll See jars of by Joe lined up you know Sometimes 20 30 different jars and each One of them will be infused with Something else whether it’s like plums Goji berries ginseng sometimes Many different combinations of flavor on Sometimes sugar is added and this Originated as medicine but some people Drink these just for you know because They like the flavor as well that Absolutely felt like fusion is the way That you add flavor to the by Jo itself In China but of course outside of China

And in many cities in China today by Dough is starting to be used as a Cocktail ingredient and it can be quite Challenging because the flavors are Unique to by Jo but some of the results Are quite delicious yeah I’ve had some I’ve had some things that haven’t worked Quite so well because you kind of lose The sweet kind of dislike what do you do With by Jo particular it’s a very Powerfully flavored thing do you do you Try and work around it or you just kind Of just try and support it and lift it Up and it’s them I’ve had some really Really interesting and successful kind Of cocktails but they’re just they’re Just different and I think that would be One of those kind of the things to kind Of potentially push more in the way in Kind of in European markets to kind of How do I use this how do I use this Exotic beverage so I have another Question here which is is ming river Available in the UK so a quick plug yes So at the moment it is not but i’m happy To announce here tonight that we have Recently decided that we are going to Start distributing in UK in September With high spirits so we’re really Excited to be working with them and Hopefully you will see it all over the Place by the end of the year I will Certainly be going for it now I think we’ve we’ve gone over the hour

And I think everyone has been very Patient to kind of hang around so I Think we’re probably enough to wrap this Up now because yeah we’ve we’ve done I Think we’ve covered a lot of ground I’d Like to say thank you very much though I Know it’s been a really I’ve enjoyed That conversation and hopefully Hopefully other people have enjoyed it Too Lydia’s just put up on the screen Here all of your various different links So your website and your barrister Social media handles as well and I would Also like to quickly plug if you want to Check out main river and what we’re Doing main river by Joe is our handle on Most social media ming river calm em ing Is our website and check out my new book Drunken china yes and may the best man Win Or indeed maybe someone else would i Know who knows we will see thank you Ever so much for your time I really Really appreciate but this is the plan I’m thanks so much for having yeah and And thank you everyone for for tuning in And staying okay thank you all very much Alright