Yes, both koji and liquid yeast should be refrigerated until use. The other ingredients have no special storage requirements.
The easiest way to get started brewing your own sake is to fully read through a good procedure like one of those listed below. Collect the needed equipment and ingredients. A good ingredient kit like those we sell can ease this process. Closely follow the procedure. Each step in the procedure is simple enough for anyone to do. Fred Eckhardt’s procedure: recipe & procedure. Can no longer access Taylor-MakeAK guide which was a very good resource.
Yes, you are correct, there are a lot of factors but most of these are beyond me. If the sake is kept cold it should be pretty safe for 3 to 6 months. I have kept some nama for more than a year without harm.
It takes about 60-90 days to make sake. There are several variables here with the main one being the type of sake you intend. For example, if you want to make draft (nama) sake, you will not pasteurize or spend as much time to clarify.
The sake kits, as well as the recipe, are for 2-2.5 gallons of Sake.
The following page that is linked off of the recipe page gives examples for all the needed equipment: Equipment Page
Basically the equipment needed is:
– A large steamer, at least 12” double deck found at Asian food stores
– 5-6 Gallon food grade plastic bucket (Fermenter)
– Racking Cane and hose
– 6 Glass one gallon jugs (like the gallon apple juice ones)
– Airlocks with stoppers for the glass jugs.
The ingredients needed are: – Koji, rice cultured with Aspergillus Oryzae – rice, a short grain rice preferably highly milled (table rice is milled to ~90%) – sake yeast – and yeast nutrient. In addition Lactic Acid and Bentonite can be use to speed up the process a little.
It is best to store your sake in a cool dark place. Both heat and light can have a negative effect on your sake. Nama (unpasteurized) sake MUST be kept refrigerated!
Many of those who take up making or brewing their own sake have made their own beer or wine. This experience is helpful but not needed. And if you are interested in brewing sake then that is where you should start. Everyone starts out as a beginner 🙂