21 November 2014

Sake Process Pictures

Lovely look at the moto

Steaming 5 pounds of rice

The moto bucket

Bamboo steamer getting burned!

Gallon +1 cup of water for the 5 pounds of rice

Fermentation: 3 Weeks

Yesterday there was a mild fiasco with my ale pale. The spout decide it would be good to start leaking the precious sake on the floor. Much to my dismay and my dog's glee. With the help of my spouse, we transferred the ~3 gallons of sake mash into a big mouth bubbler. I sampled some of the brew and it is fabulous tasting. Sweet, alcoholic, floral, yeasty. I moved the bottle to attic. My thoughts being the outdoor temps are around 30-40 degrees and ambient building temperature ~65 degrees. I figure that should be somewhere around 50 degrees.

The bottle will sit for roughly three weeks, undisturbed. On December 9th, I will start Yodan. Because I am unrealistically ambitious, I am planning on starting another batch on Thanksgiving weekend.
I took this picture as fast as I could !
It's cold!

18 November 2014


Tomezoe started this morning with the addition of 20 oz of more koji. This evening I set aside the final five pounds of rice (10 cups) to soak. Tomorrow night I will steam the soaked rice in batches. I'm really getting my money's worth on this steamer. I think I've learned the best approach for this steamer too. The steamer must be propped on the edge of a large water filled pan. Soaking the cheese cloth or fabric before putting the rice on top prevents it from sticking.

Newsflash: I tasted the moto this evening and it tastes amazing! Sweet, yeasty, floral. I am beside myself with joy. I can hardly wait to get to Yodan.

I plan on starting another batch on Thanksgiving weekend and another on Christmas weekend.

Interesting note:
At the time, sake was brewed only 5 times a year. Each sake, brewed in different season, had its name and were called "Shinsyu", "Aisyu", "Kanmaezake", "Kanzake" and "Haruzake". "Shinsyu" was brewed around the autumn equinoctial week. "Aisyu" was brewed in the season between "Shinsyu" and "Kanmaezake". "Kanmaezake" was literally brewed just before winter. "Kanzake" was brewed in the depth of winter, and "Haruzake" was brewed in spring. Not surprisingly, it was hard to beat "Kanzake" for its quality and flavor. kikusui-sake
Sake and Rice

 In this vein, my batch would be classified as "Aisy" sake. I started it after the first day of Fall and before the first day of Winter. My Christmas brew will be "Kanmaezake". I'm curious to see how these all compare.

17 November 2014

Nakazoe: Sake

Nakazoe began this morning with the addition of more koji (aspergillus covered rice). When I arrived home, I began steaming the 6 cups of rice for the moto and the 2nd addition-Nakazoe. If you think 6 cups is a lot, just wait until Wednesday. I will be steaming 5 pounds of rice! 

When I cracked the lid this evening to add the steamed rice and water, the moto was happily bubbling and emitting pleasant odors. The rice in the moto has maintained its shape. I wondered if it would melt down into a goo. The smells are still yeasty, fruity, and sweet. I tasted it again, not something ready to be drunk yet. 

After Wednesday, Tomezoe, fermentation will commence for 2 weeks. The final step is Yodan. You will have to wait and see what happens in Yodan. 

Fun side note: my loving spouse returned from a trip to Maine and stopped in New Hampshire along the way. He acquired many bottles of different sakes for my drinking pleasure. I was so pleased. I sampled an aged, blended nigorizake. Blended sakes typically have fruits like plums or lychee added into the final product. I love the beautiful unfermented rice solids (Lees) suspended in this unique beverage. I'm starting to get really excited about the future prospects of this fermentation. 

15 November 2014

Hatsuzoe: Sake

If you are following along, the past two weeks the moto (mash) had no rice additions. The first week of November I stirred it twice a day. Last week I dropped the temperature to 50 degrees Fahrenheit and let it sit undisturbed. 

Hatsuzoe began yesterday evening. I added one cup of Koji and stirred it. Last night I soaked two and half cups of rice and steamed it this morning.  I feel like my bamboo steamer has a significant learning curve. The first addition of rice I steamed all stuck to the cheese cloth. This time the rice was a bit mushier than I would have preferred. 

Steaming Rice inside a pot
Today I will be stirring/agitating the moto every two hours and tomorrow I will soak more rice to for steaming. Monday begins Nakazoe. More rice and Koji is added to the moto. Fermentation is but a few days away. The process is lengthy but exciting. I tasted some today and the smell is on target for sake aroma but the taste is dry, fermented. Not something I'd want to pour in a glass and gulp down. I am excited to see how the rice characteristics pan out and create multidimensional flavors.

mmm...Future sake....