Any Processing Technology for Snake Wine?

First, I would like to ask you a question. What is snake wine to you? A cure all medicine? You want it in hope to cure whatever disease you might have? A collectible to boast with your friends? An aphrodisiac to impress you sex partner? Or an item to make money with?

Snake wine? I don’t think the term is right. I have not tasted it nor make one for myself. I only seen someone making it on television. However, I can tell that it is not a snake wine. It is a strong alcoholic drink infused with poisonous snake specie, commonly a cobra. Just like what they are doing with lambanog. They are adding various flavorings like: whole chewing gum, slice of apple, jackfruit etc… to change the flavor a bit and make it more appealing.

Wine is made by fermenting grapes to get alcohol content average of 14%. It involves action of yeasts to convert sugar to alcohol. Thru time, the definition is extended to other sugary fruits, woods and flowers. There is also provision that if the sugar content is not enough, sugar could be added. Making wine out of meat is not yet covered.

Addition of poisonous snake (and scorpion too) to any alcoholic drink is value adding to the extreme. A plain bitter alcohol suddenly became a cure all medicine and increases man’s virility. Not mentioning its worth as collectible item. Friends and relative coming to your home will surely amazed.

A cure all medicine. Here comes the boring sentence. There is no scientific evidence. I agree but the hell with this so boring line. Every paragraph that should be put on paper for publishing or as a resource should be proven scientifically by scientists, doctors and drug companies. How could there be evidence if no one is willing to study it in the first place!

Maybe it can indeed cure some diseases, maybe not. In can be a placebo effect. Believing you will be okay just because you have taken the wonder medicine. On the good side, stress tend worsen any disorder and even make a well person sick. Getting rid of stress is one factor of wellness.

Cobras are poisonous. If you are bitten, then, your life is in grave danger. However, alcohol has a degrading effect on proteins. Venom is protein and is degraded by alcohol. I guess that is the reason behind why they are fermenting (my term there is aging rather) it for a week to month.

Let us get things clear here. I am not telling you to make or drink it!

Manufacture and trade is forbidden in many countries because of its possible dangers and species near extinction. I don’t know if it is forbidden here but if your going to make one, you can’t get any permit. Applying business and FDA permits will be very troublesome. Law enforcers might sue you in the end.

Using Bubod To Make Fruit Wines

Can I use bubod for fruit wine making? Hmm… Lets do some analysis.

Here is a simple tapuy making procedure.

1) Boil balatinaw (a variety of red rice) in a large wok until cooked.
2) Cool and arrange in a wooven bamboo tray, bilao.
3) Sprinkle with powdered bubod. Cover with fresh banana leaves and store for three days or until mold growth is observed.
4) Transfer it to earthen jar. Cover. Store for 20 days.
5) Harvest the liquid as tapuy and the fermented rice as lepeg.

The bubod was invented by our ancestors for the sole purpose of making wine out of rice. Perhaps the discovery was accidental. Original tapuy are made of balatinaw red rice. Due to scarcity of this red rice, a short gluntenous rice  is widely used as replacement.

Tapuy making is a two process fermentation. First is the conversion of complex carbohydrates to simple sugars. It is carried out by the mold koji or Aspergillus oryzae. The next step is fermentation of sugar to alcohol. The responsible microorganism for this second step is yeast of Saccharomyces species.

The procedure above directed to add powdered bubod to freshly cooked rice – the first fermentation stage which needs Aspergillus oryzae. No direction to add yeast culture in second stage – storing in earthen jar for 20 days. From this, we can assume that both Aspergillus and Saccharomyces are present in bubod.

Then, bubod can be used in fruit wine making. The yeast will be active while the mold will become dormant. The conditions of wine making is not favorable for mold growth.

Trying to Make A Calamansi Wine !

Previously, my friend and I worked at our alma mater. Our project was making and market testing of dragon fruit wine. One of our problem was the souring of wine. We did all the sanitation practices to prevent the entry of contaminant acetic acid bacteria. The bacteria strain is responsible for turning of good wine to vinegar. We did all we can but many of the batches still ended up souring. Maybe our best effort was not enough.

Lately, he found a reading material that addition of citric acid to must is not recommended. It can trigger the acidification process – making the wine taste like vinegar.

I guessed that was the culprit. We are adding citric acid to adjust the mixture acidity before fermentation. Tartaric acid use is advised. The same also explains why I never see any wine made of citrus family. Do you see one?

Now, I am going to test the calamansi wine.The main acid component of calamansi is citric acid – souring is expected.

Fermentation takes three to four weeks. Update will be publish after this period.

calamansi fruits in glass


After over one and a half month, I got the two trials  and poured them carefully into two separate glasses. The trials tasted great. They taste like an expensive and high quality vinegar product. I tried to make wine and not vinegar!

wine in glasses

Update : Making My Own Bubod [For Tapuy Making]

I never know how long I have stored my two pieces of bubod. It is the starter for tapuy making. Probably a mixture of several microorganisms for lactic acid and alcohol fermentation. Charming Christy gave it to us, to me and to Bong. I grabbed them both though.

I want to make some tapuy. I want to use the bread-like wine starter. However, Chisty lives in Mindoro. Getting there is a hassle and very costly. Making my own starter would be a wise idea.

I went to plaza and bought 1/4 kg of giniling na bigas. I only needed 100 grams but the seller have pre-packed ground rice, 1/4 kg for 30 pesos each. I set aside the unused material for our toddler’s rice milk.

I gathered 0.5 gram fresh ginger then chopped it thinly. I never sure what its real purpose, it might be to prevent the growth of invading microorganisms.

All materials set. I pound the three grams of bubod and mixed it thoroughly with other two ingredients. Then added water gradually until I formed the dough. I molded it like the shape of palutang and placed in a tray lined with paper.

making bubod ingredients

mixing bubod dough

fresh bubod on trays

I needed to wait 24 hours before drying.

update as of july 16, 2011

The 24 hours period have passed. I will start drying tomorrow. I have no oven so I will use the roof drying method.

update as of july 18, 2011

I think my first experiment was a failure. I repeated it from the start.

update as of july 19, 2011

This is the picture of my first attempt. It has a brown and black filamentous mold.

trying to make bubod

I tried searching for picture of koji – a material used for making sake or rice wine. The mold growth is similar to koji as shown in sake-world. Then my mistake was,” I never dried it immediately after the 24 hours of incubation. The extension period allowed the mold to grow to filamentous form.

update as of july 21, 2011

I said before that I have no oven and must resort to roof drying. Our house second flour has no roof yet. Staying day during day time is not comfortable, very hot. I covered the tray with clean piece of cloth and place it just beneath the steel roof. I leaved it there for two days.

Now I have more bubod to try making tapuy.  These are the result of second trial.

freshly made bubod


Mango and Chico Wine : Chico Fruit As Wine Starter

Last December, 2010, I received a call from from GMA 7 Pinoy MD team. They requested a wine making demonstration in front of camera. I did as requested and the featured video was aired. Here is the video link of mango wine making for those who missed the episode.

Six months have passed. These are the wines I made during the demonstration. They only requested the mango wine but I also made a chico wine after the taping. Both wines are good but I think mango taste better.

chico and mango wine

Wine can be made by natural fermentation or by a more controlled pasteurization and addition of yeast starter. The latter is the preferred method cause it yields more predictable result.

My former professor and boss told me that chico is a good wine starter. Someone also told her about it. A late worker of a distillery. The fruit should be allowed to over-ripen to the point that it is too soft and exudes sap. Then the chico is added to prepared fruit juice and allowed to ferment. She added that the resulting wine from this method is excellent.

During the demonstration I got a  chance to test the chico’s effectivity. I set aside some juice and added chico as fermentation starter. I also prepared a pure chico juice. No starter was needed for chico wine – the fruit itself was the starter. I kept  them in dry cool place for six months.

The final verdict. Chico is really a good wine starter. In fact the chico fruit itself will ferment on its own. I gonna find time making more wine the next chico fruiting season.

How to Make Bamboo Wine (Ulanzi)


update as of June 2016

If we spread our mind a little wider, we will realized there are several ways to accomplish this.  The first one is stated below. It is by tapping young bamboo sap during rainy season.

When I think about it, accomplishing this is troublesome. Young bamboo shoot is short. Cutting it makes it shorter which makes very little room to position the collection container. It is expected close to ground which would gather so much contaminants.  Rain fall adds to problem. Bins are likely to catch waterfall diluting the sap.

I imagined how the men are doing it, but I cannot picture how could they make it more sanitary to point acceptable to regulatory agencies.

The second is by using the bamboo shoot, instead of its sap. The shoot or ubod is regarded as delicious vegetable. There is a great possibility that it can be processed into wine too.  See this post “The Sweetest Kawayan Ubod and Medicinal Bamboos“.

Bamboo shoot is sweet to some extent and there is a so called sweetest bamboo. It can be extracted by boiling and putting additional sugar in case not enough. Then, from here on, wine could be accomplished using the other popular methods.

The last one is somewhat a gamble. It entails cutting the internodes one by one until sufficient amount of water is collected.  I said it is a gamble cause getting water in every segment is uncertain.  You may not get any if unlucky.  The price of wine produced is not likely to cover the several destroyed bamboo poles.

Product description

Ulanzi is a fermented bamboo sap obtained by tapping young bamboo shoots during the rainy season. It is a clear, whitish drink with a sweet and alcoholic flavour.


Preparation of raw materials

The bamboo shoots should be young in order to obtain a high yield of sap. The growing tip is removed and a container fixed in place to collect the sap. The container should be clean in order to prevent contamination of the fresh sap.


The raw material is an excellent substrate for microbial growth and fermentation begins immediately after collection. Fermentation takes between five and twelve hours depending on the strength of the final product desired.

Packaging and storage

Packaging is usually only required to keep the product for its relatively short shelf life.

by Mr. Mike Battcock and Dr. Sue Azam-Ali,(fao)

Please refer to Making of Mango Wine if you want to induce the fermentation process.

Measure the following physico-chemical properties and and adjust accordingly to your set standard. Properties should be uniform every batch.
a. sugar content. Sugar concentration can be increased by adding sugar or can be lowered by adding water or pulp.
b. pH. This can be lowered by adding citric acid or can be increased by adding water or pulp.
c. titrable acidity. Adjustment can be made by mixing different concentrations or addition of citric acid.
d. alcohol content. Adjustment can be made by mixing different concentrations.
Adjustments can be computed using Pearson’s Square formula.
e. See standards for wine here.