"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!