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Sake/Nihonshu brewing

Discussion in 'General Brewing Techniques' started by Wine2k, 12/6/19.

 

  1. Wine2k

    New Member

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    Location:
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    Posted 12/6/19
    Hi all,

    I have made about a dozen attempts at brewing sake here in Australia on a hobbyist scale, so if anyone has any questions please feel free to fire away.

    I will start with my own question first: Does anyone know how to remove yellow colour from sake? My brews are affected by it to various degrees. Bentonite has no effect. Carbon (granular like a Brita filter) or powder mixed in with the liquid has no effect either. The powdered form is so ultra fine it doesn't settle in the liquid anyway and is very difficult to filter out. How do the Japanese get something like Gekeikan to look like water?

    Anyway, as for my brewing...

    Water: I have used both carbon filtered tap water and spring water with virtually identical results. Iron in water is meant to be bad for sake but regardless of what water I use the product is always yellow.

    Koji: Make your own! Only one Asian retailer in my city stocks koji and the price is $30/kg. It's very easy to make. I mill short grain rice down to around 70% and use mould spores from Japan. I initially used the Tibbs Vision spores but the koji always turned out yellow. The Japanese mould is always white and super fluffy without striking any colour.

    Rice: I mill my own rice using a Twinbird machine imported from Japan and run off a step down transformer. Its low capacity and takes a very long time to achieve 70% or lower, but it can be done. I have used many different types of rice, including Koshihikari (AU and JP), Calrose, Sushi rice, brown, and even had a go at using Arborio (very disappointing result).

    I asked a few specialist rice shops in Tokyo whether they could sell me the king of sake rice: Yamada Nishiki. The answer was always no, so I even went to a sake brewery outside Tokyo and on their tour asked if they could sell me a bag. The answer was a very firm "No". The Japanese are proud of their rice and aren't willing to share under any circumstances. The other part of the reason is Yamada Nishiki is meant to taste pretty bad so the only purpose is for brewing. As making home liquor above 0.5% is illegal in Japan there is no purpose in selling the rice to the public.

    Yeast: I've used EC1118 but the results were disappointing. It tasted sort of like sake, but far inferior. So I tracked down a shop in Brisbane that sells #7 yeast. Aha! Much better result, but my liquid is still yellow. I have just started batches using #9 yeast from Wyeast, which is the yeast best used for fragrant high grade sake. Will post results later.

    If anyone here wants to try a spectacular sake then I suggest hunting down a bottle of Dassai 23. It's fantastic. About AU$60 tax free in Japan.

    I note there are some sake/nihonshu threads on this forum but most are a decade or more old, so let's get the conversation started.
     
  2. Bellyup

    Well-Known Member

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    Posted 19/6/19
    Ok I'm interested. What's the process for making sake, same as beer?
     
  3. Wine2k

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    Posted 19/6/19
    Hi Bellyup,

    If you want all the details in an accurate recipe then I suggest following this:
    https://homebrewsake.com/recipe/?doing_wp_cron=1533796100.1231520175933837890625

    Unlike beer fermentation, the saccharification of starch happens in parallel with the fermentation. The mould on the koji rice releases enzymes to split starch into glucose during fermentation.

    If you're in the southern hemisphere then now is the best time to try, as sake production requires cold temperatures for the best results. I have my fermenters currently at 12C.
     

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