Home Brew Forums

Home Brew Forums (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum.php)
-   Wine Making Forum (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f25/)
-   -   Summer Sake (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f25/summer-sake-13729/)

jeremyz 09-18-2006 07:04 PM

Summer Sake
Summer Sake

I learned this summer why sake is traditionally made in winter. I thought if I kept fermenter in a bucket of water with a wet cloth on it in a basement then would be fine.

Here are my summer batches. I used recipes from visionbrewing.com


1st Run
Sake Intermediate Recipe
Wyeast Sake Yeast
homemade koji
68.5F Fermented 20 Days
Undrinkable Acidity

2nd Run
Sake Beginner Recipe
Wyeast Sake Yeast
homemade koji
50F Fermented 9 Days
I might have shocked the yeast with temperature
Rice did not break down very well
Tasted watery

3rd Run
Sake Beginner Recipe
Wyeast Sake Yeast
homemade koji
50F Fermented 14 Days
Rice did not break down very well
I used 1 gallon container to make 1 gallon of sake
1 gallon of sake requires 6 gallon container because sake needs more air
Tasted a little better, a little more alcohol and acidity but still watery

4th Run
Trappist High Gravity Yeast fresh from Cisco Brewery
homemade koji
Used 6 gallon bucket to make 1 gallon of sake
70F 8 Days ferment
Rice broke down very well
Good ferment
Banana aroma
Unpasteurized Nama style
Flavors similar to Demon Slayer sake


In Fall with colder weather I plan to make intermediate 20 day recipe. I still haven't fully figured out sake. Ales are made around 60-70F and lagers are made at 40-50F and sake is usually made at 50-60F. I read about foamless yeasts and how much of the yeast activity in sake is in foam on top of sake similar to ales.




jeremyz 09-28-2006 12:04 AM

5th Run
Trappist High Gravity Yeast fresh from Cisco Brewery
store-bought koji
Used 6 gallon bucket to make 1 gallon of sake
70F 5 Days ferment
Rice broke down very well
highly active ferment
Unpasteurized Nama style

This sake is sweeter because I ended the ferment earlier because I was afraid of how much more acidic it could get.

http://www.tibbs-vision.com/sake/instrct.html :
Basket or sieve to drain excess water A 10litres(2.6gal) deep brewing container with a lid. This should be made from either enamel, stainless steel, glazed ceramic material or glass. Plastic containers are not recommended as they are difficult to sanitize and can lead to a vinegar tasting brew.

The acidic flavor I have always tasted in my sake could be from my food grade plastic fermenters. I have sterilized plastic for 1 hour with bleach and I thought if the sake was infected it should taste 10x worse.

Next time I brew it will be using a metal or glass lined container. What many brewers do not know is that I cannot use a carboy because trying to jam all of that cooked rice through the tiny opening would take an unreasonable amount of time. It may be very difficult to find a suitable fermenter for sake.

homebrewer_99 09-28-2006 12:17 AM

Could you line your plastic fermenter with a large food grade plastic bag?:confused:

jeremyz 09-28-2006 12:26 AM

I appreciate your help but I was already using food grade plastic and recipe says to avoid any plastic. I also just read on esake.com that professional breweries use glass or ceramic coated fermenters.

afromaiko 10-10-2006 03:32 AM

Hi jeremyz,

Glad to finally find a thread on this that is recent! I'm currently attempting to brew up a batch of sake from Vision Brewings recipe too. I've been doing a heck of a lot of research into this the last few months but still not having a great deal of luck with even the basic recipe. I haven't been able to get hold of any proper sake yeast here in Australia yet, but am getting closer. So I have used champagne yeast, which I think (strangely enough) has added a strong champagne taste to the sake.

I used premade koji bought from our local Japanese supermarket along with Koshihikari short grain rice. I've had it brewing for about 14 days now. It took a few days for the yeast to kick in, and I sampled about 300ml of it at day 10 on a very empty stomach first thing in the morning. It was slightly sour and had a reasonable alcohol level, from how whacked I felt I'm guessing about 10-12%. I'm suspicious of how much effect the citric acid has on the taste too.

I think the first batch of yeast I had wasn't very good. I tried to rehydrate and then prime it but it didn't do much. Unfortunately wasn't able to get any more for a few days so just crossed my fingers and eventually it started. Fermentation was fairly subdued but did fizz lot and bubble the airlock occassionally, but never much foam on top.

So after my taste test at day 10 I threw in some more koji and steamed rice (as per Visions recommendations) and about 100gms dextrose. Also, got some more yeast rehydrated and primed it - frothed up like crazy - and chucked that it. Now it's fermenting like crazy and has already sweetened up a bit.

I'm using a plastic screw-on lid beer fermenter but was also wondering about the effect the plastic would have on a prolonged fermentation like this. Are you stirring yours everyday like Vision recommends? I would like to try a glass carboy but how to stir it! I have one idea, about perhaps using a big stainless steel stock pot.

From research it looks like an airtight seal it not necessary except just to keep any nastys from falling in. If you look at the pics of the traditional or commercial brewers half the time its just in big open vats. I'm sure the old dudes stirring away didn't take any major precautions for sanitising themselves, probably coughing or sniffing away over it.. dropping cigarette ash into the brew :( I think if you just used the stainless or glass lid that comes with the stock pots and wrapped some clingwrap around to seal it each time it would be fine. Any gas escaping will find a way out. If you had a stainless lid you could always drill a hole and put a grommet and airlock in.

I'd be really interested to hear how your sake is going so please post some more here & I'll do the same. While there are plenty of brew shops around here no one I've come across has a clue about it so I feel I'm kind on my own. I can read some Japanese so found a few more sites about that were interesting, but due to the laws preventing brewing over 1% alcohol in Japan no one really goes into it in much depth.


jeremyz 10-13-2006 03:15 PM

Stirring, Stainless, and Smoothness
"If you look at the pics of the traditional or commercial brewers half the time its just in big open vats. I'm sure the old dudes stirring away didn't take any major precautions for sanitising themselves, probably coughing or sniffing away over it.. dropping cigarette ash into the brew."

Do you know anything about Japan? Most traditions in Japan are taken far more seriously than in Western countries.

Jame's Clavell's Shogun novel might help give you some cultural additude of Japan.

My first older brother loves gadgets. He recommended this for you. I hope that I never use a carboy. I can't imagine how annoying it would be to jam all of that cooked rice in the opening.

Sake that I just made two weeks about I was going to throw out. I ended it early because when I tasted it I was afraid it was going to get more sour. It came out too sweet of course because the ferment ended early. 4 days instead of 8. So after a week of aging I ended up drinking two wine glasses of it. I want to find out what aging does and how it rounds out the flavors. I just ended my first stainless steal ferment. Not much rice broke down because I think I have to rethink how I make koji. I plan on ignoring instructions and let koji grow as much as I think it needs to. I think my rice is only coated with the fungus and I think the fungus needs to penetrate the rice like store-bought koji. I notice rice breaks down very well after two days with store-bought koji versus my homemade. I think sake should break down in two days or the ferment will never be as good.

How did my stainless steel sake taste? Smoother. I think I will have to age it. Still has sourness or acidity. I wonder if any professional sake brewer has ever tasted sake just off the presses and if they would say it tastes acidic too. I want to research more and find out: sake tastes like this at this stage, if you do this then sake will tastes more like this, blah blah blah.

To define what we are making. I would have to say ending ferment and drinking is doburoku. Straining or filtering and then adding some lees back in can be nigori. Not pasturizing would make it nama style. And, I really need to buy a hydrometer, if the alcohol is 20% then it would be a genshu sake that could be served on the rocks. Nigori sake is usally high alcohol %.

Yes I stir my sake everyday. I read on a blog that someone who didn't stir caused a crust of dry rice to form on top so stiring helps airate and mix. A fungus (yeast) eating a fungus (koji) causes sake to ferment differently then Western brews. So I think stirring is important. Intermediate and Advanced recipes say to stir at least 2x daily I think.

A plastic screw on lid should have very little effect on your brew compaired to the fermenter. After all is the maromi touching the lid all the time? It shouldn't.

One of the best things I think you can do is make friends who like nigori sake. Then taste test their favorite nigori with your sake. From how the professional nigori tastes you might be able to research and change your recipe. My favorite nigori is called Sake Romance. I might buy polished rice and koji from a California homebrew company. I will get the name later, I forgot.

Sake is truely troublesome because it's so easy you can do as much or as little work as you want. If my homemade koji does not get better I cannot use it because it will retard my ferment. I will start adding rice and koji to ferment. Intermediate and Advanced recipes require rice and koji 2 or 3x so that must be important. Adding yeast sounds like a good idea. It sounds like sake needs more fuel for ferment so adding during ferment is a good idea. It is what the breweries do for making even cheap sake.

Urbansake.com is a good resource if you want to be a better sake drinker.

This post should be the first I many. I hope to hear from you Afromaiko!

afromaiko 10-14-2006 02:33 PM

Thank you very much for the update. I have lived in Japan for a while and visited again a few times since then. I've travelled the country from the bottom tip of Kyushu, zig-zagging my way from tiny villages to big cities up to the very northern tip of Honshu. A lap of Hokkaido is planned for my next trip. I studied Japanese seriously for about 2 years and still learning slowly from my fiance who is Japanese.

Last time I was there I got introduced to nigori sake, it was ladled out from a huge communal bowl and totally delicious. My light-hearted comments were simply joking that while commercial brewers surely take their brewing very seriously, some home sake brewers would probably take a less than scientific approach. I know a few of my beer brewing buddies would freak out at the thought of possible infections if they had to open up and stir their brew a dozen times or more.

I found two things of interest in the last few days. One was jars of rice malt syrup in the supermarket, apparantly used as a honey substitute by vegans. The other was Amylase Enzyme which is used in beer to get a more thorough breakdown of starch, prolonging fermentation and leading to a dry taste. I'm going to use these as part of a Kirin beer recipe I'm making, however I am wondering if they have any usefulness in sake production.

I have decided I will next try brewing sake in a stainless pot. But now I'm not sure of the best width/height ratio. I found in my last attempt that a lot of the rice tended to settle at the bottom. So wondering if a wider shallower fermenter is better, rather than a tall narrow one. I was going to put the pot inside a cooler box, and surround with ice changed every day. But I've just had someone offer me a small chest freezer so may end up getting an external thermostat for that. It's going to get hot here soon, it was 36C (96F) here last week. Not great brewing weather!

I asked at my local home brew shop today about high gravity trappist yeast but unfortunately they didn't have any there. I might try a lager yeast, and perhaps even double pitching since I heard that can help generate higher alcohol levels but may also increase acidity. I've found somewhere that can get me the Wyeast Sake #9 here, but there is about a month wait when ordering. It's a bit pricey too, especially since I'm playing around with small batches at the moment.

Tomorrow I'm going to taste this batch again and see it it's still sour. I might filter and pasteurize a bottle worth and put it away for a few weeks to see if it improves. I think it's been brewing nearly 3 weeks now so if it's no good I will say goodbye to it and try again. I'm determined to figure this out!

jeremyz 10-17-2006 09:51 PM

Rice and Koji for Sake
Shipping for koji alone cost 30$ so I only bought that because it seems like a lot of koji and I really think koji is important. And curiosity is another reason why I spent so much.

homebrewer_99 10-17-2006 10:12 PM

Just a thought...how about a large ceramic pot...maybe even a large bowl for a potted plant? Could that work?

I would think that it would have to be glazed inside as well as out to seal the ceramic.

afromaiko 10-19-2006 12:40 AM

That shipping seems kind of expensive, is that for kome-koji or koji-kin?

The store bought kome-koji is kept in the freezer in the shop and I also store it in there at home. Do you know if this ok to pitch directly in like this, or whether it should be left out to defrost first? However, when it's frozen the kome-koji nicely crumbles up into individual grains and doesn't seem sticky at all. Is your fresh homemade version like that or a is it a different texture? I can see the furry little white mold on it.

I guess it wouldn't actually freeze that much in the first place, but don't know about leaving it sit our for a day on the bench at room temperature would help or hinder a good start to fermentation.

All times are GMT. The time now is 12:45 AM.

Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.