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Jakarta Post

Making ‘brem’ and ‘arak’ in Bali

  • Harry Nazarudin

    Contributor

Jakarta   /   Sat, January 26 2013   /  11:23 am

We’ve all heard of hops and malts for beer production, although we’ve probably never seen them in real life. With rice it is the opposite — most of us living in Indonesia have seen different types of rice in various shapes and servings. But do we know how to convert rice into rice wine?

Brem, a brownish liquor with a 5 percent alcohol content, is a popular rice wine in Bali. Not only used for pleasure, it has a religious significance, for brem, together with arak and tuak, are compulsory elements for tabuhan (offering) to the Gods.

Unique to Bali, brem has recently become an export commodity to Japan and China, popular because of its taste, aroma and distinctive color — qualities influenced by the uniqueness of its production.

The process starts with cooking white and black glutinous rice together, which give brem its brown color. It must be cooked with the r...