Ikigage Sorghum Beer

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Ikigage, sorghum beer, is a typical Rwandan beverage that is easy to make. It was once a common drink in the areas of the Kinigi and Musanze volcanoes in Rwanda. It is not sold commercially, but has typically been made in the home for personal consumption. Due to decreasing cultivation of sorghum in the area, and the availability of commercially produced yeasts and sugars and other beer-making ingredients, local residents fear that that ikigage will die out as a traditional local fermented beverage.   To make ikigage, the sorghum is prepared traditionally, which is to say that it is immersed completely in a large container filled with water where it stays for three days. It is then removed and, after a few days, it begins to ferment. This process gives the sorghum a good flavor. The sorghum is then placed under the sun for three or four days, before it is ground in a mortar to obtain the flour that is mixed until it forms a concentrate that will then be diluted with water. The mixture is left to cool, and is then poured into a large container. Malt is then added to help this fermentation process. The malt that is used to make ikigage is prepared in advance from another traditional plant called imbazi). The malted sorghum mixture is left in a warm and well-covered area overnight. The next day, this traditional and delicious drink is ready to be consumed. Honey can also be added to this beer to obtain inkangaza, a high quality beer that was consumed at important fests.

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