This article catalogs Japanese and US rice that can be used to make / brew sake.
In this article I will catalog the rice used for making sake by both commercial kura (sake brewery) and home brewers. I am sure I will not include all the rice that should be included so I am planning to update this particular post in place as new rice or information comes to my attention. In fact, since I am compiling this information but have only limited experience with most of these, I beg you to correct my errors and mistakes and to add whatever information you can.
While the sakamai used by commercial Japanese brewers are specific strains of Japonica (short grained) that are known for their shinpaku (soft white center). It is not generally true that the rice used by sake brewers outside of Japan have much shinpaku. For example, in the US, Tropical Japonica (a.k.a. Javanica, medium grained) rice is typically used for sake brewing. This includes Calrose, the most popular medium rice cultivar grown in California. Continue reading “Sakamai – Rice for making sake”
This article covers the basic information needed for sake brewing and preventing bacterial infections.
For making sake, as with other fermented beverages, cleanliness and sanitation are extremely important. The reason for this is that a goodly part of the flavors come from the bugs in the ferment. When the bugs are the ones we want we get the flavors we desire but when others invade the party they produce off flavors that lower the quality or even ruin the beverage altogether.
In sake using the sokujo-moto method there is one player (bug) that we want to encourage while restraining all others. The player we want is the yeast we introduce ourselves. When using the yamahai-moto method there are two main players; lactobacilli and yeast.
Given this, how do we go about restraining all the other bugs? Well, restraining these other bugs is a key part of sake brewing. It begins before we even start to prepare the ingredients; it starts with the cleaning of the equipment. Once clean, we sanitize the equipment as needed throughout the process. We control the pH and temperature to provide an environment discomforting for most bugs and finally, when not making namazake or unpasteurized sake, we pasteurize the sake at least once, usually twice. Continue reading “Sake Brewing: Cleanliness is next to godliness”
I describe a tour the lead brewer at SakeOne gave to a group of brewer from the Oregon brew crew.
This last weekend I joined a group of brewers for a brewer’s tour of the SakéOne Kura. Greg Lorenz, SakéOne’s Sakémaster gave the tour to a group of brewers from the Oregon Brew Crew.
As we gathered in the tasting room, we sampled the current nama on tap, a junmai ginjo genshu namazake; wow, very nice. What a way to start the tour. Once everyone had gathered we topped off our glasses and headed out with Greg in the lead.
Stopping in front of a picture of Mr Murai, Greg explains how Mr Murai was a man ahead of his time and how he thought that it was time to establish a Kura in the US. How he had pushed this idea for some time without success, until one day on a flight when he sat next to Grif Frost.
Last week we looked at a sketchy version of the history of rice leading to the rice we use for making sake at home. This week, we’ll look into the rice kernel itself. Brewing refined sake requires that we remove many layers of the rice, but why? Well before we get to that, let’s look at what these layers are.