Measuring your Sake – Part One: the Hydrometer and SMV

Measuring your Sake – Part One: the Hydrometer and SMV

In this series on Measuring your Sake I will cover how to measure all the key characteristics of sake. These include:

–          Nihonshudo a.k.a. Sake Meter Value (SMV) and specific gravity
–          Alcohol percentage by volume
–          Sando or Acidity
–          Amino Sando or Amino acid levels

For Nihonshudo or SMV all that is needed is a hydrometer. The most commonly available hydrometers are for specific gravity though you can find other metrics. To simplify this discussion I will stick to specific gravity and SMV. A discussion of these other metrics is in the article: Nihonshu-do (日本酒度) or Sake Meter Value (SMV).

So, what are we talking about when we talk about specific gravity? Well, specific gravity is a measure of the density of a liquid compared to the density of distilled water at 60F. But what does that mean?

Continue reading “Measuring your Sake – Part One: the Hydrometer and SMV”

Sake’s Hidden Stories – One of John Gauntner’s Books

Sake’s Hidden Stories a revew of One of John Gauntner’s Books

I just finished reading John Gauntner’s book: Sake’s Hidden Stories and it was a joy. I really enjoyed “getting to know” some of the brewers from across Japan. John takes us  to meet key people of 13 kura, from the Akita and Iwate regions in the north to Yamaguchi in the southwest. These kura include:

  • Daishinshu of Nagano Prefecture
  • Dassai of Yamaguchi Prefecture
  • Nanbu Bijin of Iwate Prefecture
  • Tairin of Gifu Prefecture
  • Kikuyoi of Shizuoka Prefecture
  • Rihaku of Shimane Prefecture
  • Tsuyu Masamune of Osaka Prefecture
  • Daishichi of Fukushima Prefecture
  • Taketsuru of Hiroshima Prefecture
  • Yuri Masamune / Yuki no Bosha of Akita Prefecture
  • Tama no Hikari of Kyoto
  • Shichihonyari of Shiga Prefecture
  • Rikyubai / Mukune of Osaka Prefecture Continue reading “Sake’s Hidden Stories – One of John Gauntner’s Books”

Amazake – it ain’t sake

Amazake – it ain’t sake

I have meant to post a little something about anazake for some time but I keep putting it off. Now that I have gotten a question about how to make it I can see that it is overdue and I should get my act together. Amazake is a rice and koji mixture that is most thought of as a drink but has other uses as well.

OK, so to make amazake you need koji and rice. You can make koji with the method discussed in the earlier post, “Making Koji for Sake.” In this case you will need to start with koji-kin. If you prefer you can skip making your own and just buy the koji. I have both koji and koji-kin in the store.

Once you have the ingredients, koji and rice, cook 3 cups of rice just as you would to eat the rice.  When cooked, thoroughly mix 1 cup koji with the now 3 cups of cooked rice. Leave this in a warm area (75F-85F is good but could be as high as 140F) for between 6 hours and 12 hours. You should stir this every couple of hours; each time tasting it. It should get sweeter and sweeter until it stabilizes. When it stops getting sweeter it is done. At this point it should be quite mush like. Put it in a sauce pan and boil it for 5 minutes but be careful not to scorch it. This denatures the enzymes and stops the transformation. Continue reading “Amazake – it ain’t sake”

Sake Brewers outside the US and Japan (Part 2 – Sake Breweries)

Sake Brewers outside the US and Japan (Part 2 – Sake Breweries)

Having looked at the sake breweries in the US (Part 1) it’s time to move on to those sake breweries outside of both the US and Japan. There are sake breweries in Canada, Norway, Australia, South America and I believe Southeast Asia, China and Korea. However, I don’t have the details on all of these. In fact, I have lost the information I had on those sake breweries in South America (three of them I think) and have not had any solid info on the breweries in Southeast Asia, China and Korea. So, while I would like this to be complete, it won’t be. If you can add to the list below, please do!

Canada has two small sake breweries in Vancouver BC. They are: the Artisan Sake Maker with a site on Granville Island and Nipro Brewery Co., Ltd. in Richmond, BC. Continue reading “Sake Brewers outside the US and Japan (Part 2 – Sake Breweries)”