For the most part the Forum is still to be implemented. Until we have the real thing in place we can used the comments here in lieu of an actual forum.

Click to Enter a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

346 thoughts on “Forum”

  1. Does anyone on this board know of a rice miller that can be manually manipulated to mill 40-50% sake rice?

    There has GOT to be a way to do this.

    Any other suggestions for sake grade milking options?

    1. Hey Mark,

      I hope others will reply as well. One possible source is Minnesota Rice and Milling. In terms of doing your own milling, consumer table rice milling machines seem too small to be useful and commercial rice milling machines tend to be too big for home brewers. A search on will give some current examples. When I look at these milling machines they appear to work in a pretty different manor than those used for sake. I am sure that the different mills give different outcomes in terms of the composition of the milled rice kernel. Just how big the difference is would take some experimentation.


  2. Hey Will,

    Love the website! I’ve been into drinking sake for a few years now and recently (last ~3 months or so) I’ve been getting into brewing sake. I’m just finishing up my second batch. For reference I’m in Australia like some others here.

    To be honest I’ve been referring mostly to TaylorMadeAK’s old recipe but also using yours as a guide. My ingredients are koji kin from Vision Brewing, Australian unpolished Koshihikari rice, and for my first batch I used White Labs 705 (#7) yeast but more recently I’ve been using Wyeast #4134.

    Now here are my problems! My first batch with the White Labs yeast was very yeasty after I filtered it through a beer BIAB bag. To the point it was not very nice to drink. I also found that my sake was still quite cloudy after using this bag and it only became clear after settling for a couple of weeks. It still retained most of the yeasty flavour.

    Now that I’m reaching the end of my second batch with the Wyeast I’m finding it’s less yeasty and smells more fruity, but it’s a pretty ricey flavour with not much complexity. And despite smelling quite fruity throughout fermentation I get none of those as flavours.

    Do you have any suggestions on how to reduce the yeastiness and riceyness of my final product and make it a little more refined? And is it possible to reduce the amount of remaining solids through filtering? I notice when sake brewerys filter it seems to come out transparent (though slightly yellow) immediately. The only solution I can think of to my flavour problem is to obtain polished rice which can be hard to find for homebrewers in Australia!


    1. Hey Jerome,

      Bob’s recipe is good (TaylorMadeAK) and makes a Yamahai style sake while the recipe on this site makes Sukujo style. The difference here is that Yamahai cultivates Lactobacillus to create the lactic acid that protects later stages of the ferment while Sokujo just adds the acid. Cultivation adds or has the potential to add more earthy flavors from the host of bugs that grow before there is enough lactic acid to kill them off. It is possible that some of these bugs are responsible for some of the cloudiness. Not my first guess just possible.

      When you say unpolished, you mean that it has been milled for table rice, about 93%, correct? Moving to a higher polish will lower the rice flavor in the sake.

      Lower temperatures are better, down to about 50F. Some go down to 45 or 40F but be careful with the yeast, if they are doing fine then no worries. This helps with the fruity flavors, slows the fermentation for a clean taste.

      Pressing, racking, filtering: Just a little review, pressing is the first stage after ferment to remove solids or Kasu. This is equivalent to using the bag. In commercial brewing this is where the Fune or Assaku-ki is used to remove the kasu from the sake. These are, of course, much better than home brewers are generally able to do, so we let the sake settle and rack the clear sake off the top. This process can be enhanced by using a clearing agent like Bentonite. Bentonite can speed up the process greatly. For me, the racking step is where I define how clear my sake will be. The more time and care I give the clearer the sake. This is also true for adding racking steps. Filtering is mostly done by commercial brewers. This is a process of adding charcoal powder and then filtering it out of the sake. This is the point where the yellowness is removed. Without this sake does have a yellowish color. However, taste is also removed in this step so care must be taken or you might strip all the character away.


      1. Thanks Will!

        One modification I did make from Bob’s recipe is adding lactic acid so I did make a sokujo style. I wanted to achieve that before moving on to the more difficult process!

        Yes I believed it has been milled down to 90% or so which obviously is not much at all. I wanted to make sure that this is a likely factor before sourcing some more polished rice which can be quite hard to get my hands on down here.

        I’ve been fermenting at around 45-50F mostly so I don’t believe that temperature is too much of a factor.

        I think I need to improve my racking a little. I may practice using bentonite and see if that helps. When commerical brewers do the pressing is the sake so clear that they are able to move directly on to the filtering stage without racking? I wonder how fine their filters are! Do you know of any similar setup that is achievable in a home brew?

        Thanks for the tips,

        1. That sounds like a good plan Jerome. Using Bentonite with help clear and greatly speed up the process.

          Commercial brewers don’t rack for the most part. Their pressing stage is good enough to remove the finer particles. Another Sake home brewer, Kent, was discussing filtering with me and he mentioned that he was using a 1 micron filter bag that can be found at Midwest Filter, LLC ( This is much finer than I have ever used but it is working well for him so far. It would be interesting to know how well this works for you if you try it.


  3. I’ve recently gotten into the sake world and I have been trying for find the proper way to warm the drink. I feel I understand how to, but I see some people saying to cover it with a plastic sheet while heating and others don’t. I was wondering if there is a clear answer as to which way is right or wrong.

    1. Hey Edward,
      If it works, do it. That is to say whatever works for you is fine. I see no reason to cover the sake unless you want to ensure nothing falls into it. I think many people use a water bath and would say this is the correct way to heat the sake. Some use the microwave, while others say this is bad. Try each method and see which you like. Can you tell the difference?


  4. Is this forum still active?

    I wanted some feedback on sake making. I have made many batches following the receipe on this site, using #7, #9, EC1118, and many other yeasts, but what I make tastes nothing like sake.

    After about 15 days of fermentation it smells like sake and smells wonderful, but problem is by the time fermentation finishes all that aroma is gone. The brew is bright yellow in colour and always has off flavours.

    If I treat it with activated carbon in a column filter and filter really slowly, I can strip all the yellow colour, but it also strips virtually all the flavour. I’m left with something that tastes a little malty and is full of alcohol but nothing else.

    I make my own koji from two different mold spore sources. I have tried koshihikari (both Japanese and local), sushi/calrose, arborio, jasmine, and other rice but the result is always disappointing.

    Any tips?

    1. Hey Michael,

      I’m sorry you’re not getting the results you’d like. It is certainly not for lack of effort.

      A few points:
      – Sake is normally that yellowish color – looks like mountain dew in some of my greenish tinted jugs
      – Most breweries but almost no home brewers use a charcoal powder they mix into the sake and then filter out to remove color and …
      – Off flavors would suggest some type of contamination so a very through cleaning followed by a sterilization where possible and sanitation where not

      One thing you might try is to stop fermentation early, press and quickly pasteurize. At this point the sake will most likely be more cloudy than you’d like and maybe too sweet. If so, you can give it time and rack or filter. But anyway, you can then see if at this stage if is more like the sake you’re looking for in terms of flavor and aroma.

      Another thing you might try is to double the amount of lactic acid. This will better protect the sake from bugs as it starts out.


      1. Thank you for your feedback.

        I have found one of the reasons why my many previous sake fermentations failed. It was the yeast nutrient. I used the standard nutrient I used successfully for wine, but it’s brown and smells like crushed up vitamin tablets. I think the flavour was persisting in the finished product and giving it an off taste.

        I also think oxidization was a problem sometimes when the finished product was handled. I don’t use bentonite anymore as I think it’s really not necessary at all. Just wait for the lees to naturally settle.

        My finished product is almost colourless after very slow drip filtering through activated carbon chunks. But now the problem is the product doesn’t really have a true sake taste. It’s devoid of any fruity tones and rather flat overall. I know chemicals like ethyl hexanoate (apple) and isoamyl acetate (banana) are responsible for some of the lovely aromas and flavours of some sake, but could these chemicals be removed by carbon filtration? I’m tempted to buy these chemicals, mix into alcohol and water, and see how much of the aroma can be removed by carbon as a reference.

        I have difficulty getting fermentation down below 10C. Normally it’s 15C at the beginning of the main ferment and drops to around 12C. Up until the 15th day or so of overall fermentation I can smell the apple and banana flavours coming off the ferment, but as the ferment completes all these aromas disappear. The fact that I can smell these chemicals means they are disappearing from the container, but the boiling points of these chemicals are well above 100C so they shouldn’t be that volatile. Part of the volatility is probably from all the CO2 bubbling up through the brew, but I’m concerned that by the time I’m ready to press the liquid all these lovely smells and tastes are gone. Maybe the chemicals stay in the lees and that’s why brewer’s alcohol is added to some sake before pressing?

        How do I get these chemicals to stay in the liquid?

        Ideally I would like something that smells like bananas. Some of my favourite sake have a burst of banana aroma when the bottle is opened. I like strong, fruit driven aromas rather than dry styles of sake.

        1. Hey Michael,

          Are you using the activated carbon to clear the sake? Are you trying to remove the yellowish tint? It is also removing some of the flavor and aroma. I’d try at least a partial batch without the active carbon treatment.

          The aromas may appear to go away because of the lower volume of CO2 coming off the ferment. They are likely still there but are subtle, and more so without CO2 lifting them out. As you mention, the lees will hold onto some of these aromas and flavors and adding alcohol does help bring these into the final sake.

          The yeast is responsible for the fruity aromas and #9 yeast produces more of these at the lower temperature range.


          1. Hi Will,

            Thanks for your quick answer. Years ago I often used bentonite to clarify the product after fermentation and first pasteurization, but then I read sake lees are used for skin cream, soap, rice cracker, and other food products so professional brewers don’t use bentonite. I just let gravity do the work now.

            I use activated charcoal chunks (about 3mm wide) to remove the yellow colour of my sake in a long filtration column where the liquid slowly drips out. Ideally I would like my product to look almost clear like many commercial brands. I have had no success using powdered carbon, as the extremely fine component of the powder remains suspended in the solution. I’m looking at a jar of sake I made 5 months ago and it’s still not completely clear of a darker tint.

            I did try my sake without carbon filtration and while it has a strong good taste, it was a bit course with flavours that ideally shouldn’t be there. Maybe I’m being too hasty and the product improves with a few months aging?

            I am aware that putting the liquid through carbon does strip out some flavour. It’s always going to be a trade off. But the curious thing for me is commercial sake makers manage to make a colourless liquid that also has lots of flavour. It’s something I cannot achieve.

            To give you an example, I recently tried Kikusui Junmai Ginjo sake. It’s available in North America as well as Australia. When I opened the bottle there was a burst of banana aroma. It tasted great, and was colourless. I am only a home wine producer but ideally I want to try making something that tastes and looks great.

            The best sake I have ever tried was Dassai 23. Absolutely marvelous. I can only dream of making something that good.

            Just out of interest, I had a spare Brita style carbon cartridge that quickly filters water. I passed my sake through that a few times with no change in colour or flavour. Only a very slow drip carbon filtering process can remove colour.

            Last year I ran an experiment where I divided the water/rice/koji into 8 separate batches and used 8 different wine yeasts from the Mangrove Jacks range. There were some interesting results with a couple of strains noticeably more aromatic. One reason why I used these yeasts is they are easy to get and come in a dry form. All #7 and #9 yeasts I have seen are liquids and I can only mail order them.

            In my next experiment I will set up 8 more batches using the most promising yeast, but this time finish fermentation earlier. Over 8 days finish the ferment of 1 batch per day and try to find the sweet spot for alcohol production and flavour.

            Regarding yeasts, getting the #9 yeast in Australia is rather difficult. Only one online retailer in the entire country stocks it. #7 is easier to get. I tried #9 but it was honestly absolutely horrible to use. I’m accustomed to low foaming yeasts, and #9 blew me away with how tricky it was to use. There is a low foaming version available but I can’t get it. The one time I used #9 I was also using the yeast nutrient that was spoiling the flavour, so maybe I should give it another go.

            Recently I was lucky enough to visit the only sake brewery in Australia for a tour. Very interesting to see all the equipment up close, and to get some insights on how the product is made. That brewery also uses carbon filtration. Interestingly, a mention of champagne yeast was made. They’re possibly using the ever popular EC1118?


          2. Very interesting.

            Generally sake yeasts tend to produce more flavors and aroma when fermented colder. Beer yeast, on the other hand, tends to produce more when fermented warmer. I have no idea where wine yeast fall in this respect but it maybe at play in your efforts.

            Standard, not nama, sake is usually aged for 6 months or so before releasing to allow it time to mature and integrate its flavors.

            Thanks much,

  5. Hi I am looking to get the full starter kit, but I am based in Singapore. Anyone had any experience shipping to Singapore and if there were any issues with customs?

  6. Dawn Agro Machinery, we are a manufacturing factory, we produce agricultural machines like rice mill, combined rice mill, maize thresher, paddy thresher, chaff cutter, pulverizer grinder, disc mill, hammer mill, etc. Our products are well-known in both Asia and Africa and many other countries. For more info:

    whatsapp: 008615298011211
    wechat: 008615298011211

    1. I would not normally approve add notes like this but some might find it useful so I’m letting it be. These rice mills are not the same type usually used for sake but they may still be useful.

  7. Hi all
    I recently got back from a year in Japan and am looking to get back into brewing beer and doing my first batch of sake in years.
    With a new found appreciation for sake and its production from my extensive liver abuse in japan I found a great love for Namazaki or unpasteurized sake which typically is available mid winter till mid spring due to its short shelf life. the big aroma and mild carbonation is tops and you cant get anything like it here in New Zealand. Note can come in cloudy or clear forms.

    I was curious how many people have wondered down the unpasteurized route as I have been unable to find any resources on here. Curious if you have any do’s and do nots to share. I naturally assume you follow typical suits minus the pasteurization and maybe let it sit a little longer after pressing to make sure you have fermented out residual sugars as avoid bottle bombs. Other assumptions are it keep refrigerated to keep for longer shelf life and maintain aromas. from my experience with late addition hopped beers.


    1. Rheuben, hi,
      Yes, nama is very nice. For the most part there is not a lot of difference for the home brewer to make it. By the time you would normally pasteurize the sake has completed fermentation and will not be making much more co2. So you don’t really need to wait longer. However, you do need to keep it cold. Don’t bottle it and let it sit out like you might for beer your not yet ready to drink.

  8. Hey guys, I need some help. On the shubo day 1 instructions I steamed 12oz of dry rice and added 4oz of fresh koj (that I had previously made and was in the refrigerator) to 2.5 cups brewing water (with yeast and nutrients as per instructions), and by 12 hours later…the rice and koji had soaked up all of the water and I just have a mushy cake of rice mashed potato looking stuff with no liquid. Is this normal? Is the recipe wrong? I am using 60% semaibuai yamada nishiki

    1. Skyler, Hi,

      Yes, this fall into normal. It does not always have this much absorption but often does. It won’t take long for the enzymes to break down the starches and make the shubo more liquid again.


  9. Hey guys,

    someone of you living in europe? I have great problems finding a source for polished yamada nishiki rice. I contacted some european japan online shops but nobody is importing sake rice.
    I really want to try out homebrewing 😀 I hope I can overcome this troubles

    Yunus (from Germany)

    1. I do ship to Europe but shipping is expensive. For beginners a good medium to short grain table rice (doesn’t have to be Japanese and should steer away from glutinous rice) will do the trick.


  10. Hi Will,
    I am a newbi on making sake/rice wine. I just finish making my 2nd batch of making before I ran into your website and purchase your book. (fyi: just starting to read the book).

    My question is – there are many steps – target temp: x F.
    I lived in Florida (very warm place).
    Is it better idea to stick stuff into a small refrigerator that has a temp control during each phase?

    And at temp of 55F to 60F – It does ferment? That is not too cold for the yeast?

    Thank you in advance for the answer.

    1. Hey Robert,

      Yes, in Florida a refrigerator will help a lot, as long as it is not too cold. Most refrigerators are much colder than 55F. You can be a little colder but should keep the sake in the 50s or above. 55F is not too cold for the sake yeast.

      Good luck!

  11. So I am doing my second run at this. This batch of sake is strange. I did an alcohol strip test to see if there is alcohol in my sake (after fermenting for 3 weeks) and the strip came up negative. I know that the yeast is converting the sake into carbon dioxide because the airlock is showing me so but the mixture is coming out tasting like vinegar and not much like sake. Also the strip not showing a positive reading of alcohol being present is strange as well. ( I tested it against store bought sake and it came out positive) If anyone has any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it.

    1. Just seeing this message, 🙁

      I don’t really know but it sounds as if you have acetic acid bacteria that are producing acetic acid (vinegar) at a rate that matches the alcohol production of the yeast. My general understanding before this is that this bacteria converts alcohol to acetic acid but I have ready that there are some bacteria that can convert directly from sugar to acetic acid.


  12. I was reading that Will was asking if Bob Taylor was alright. He says he is doing fine. Bob and I are collaborating on my new Sake homebrewing website. You guys should check it out and become a member of the forum there as well. Bob and I are writing articles and moderating the Forum.

    1. Glad to hear Bob is doing fine. In changing employment I have lost his email. Anyway it’s good to hear.

      For those interested checkout


  13. Hey Will:) so I’m on day 26 (main 14 moromi) I’ve been holding at 50 degrees but I got home from work today and saw that my temp. Control unit was unplugged and it looks like my chamber has been at 58-ish. I’m thinking this may have been unplugged 12 maybe 14hrs. I brought it back to 50 within 10 mins. When I noticed it and we’re back on track. Will this short temp change harm my batch, or are we gonna be ok? Thanks again!!

    1. Sorry I missed seeing this note.

      Your sake should be just fine. The bounce up in temp of 8F for less than a day should have very little effect on the outcome.


  14. Hey All,

    I’m going through the list on this site of recommended supplies and getting ready to purchase everything to start brewing. Are there any suggested deviations from that list?
    Here’s my purchase list so far on Amazon:

    Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!

  15. Hi Will,

    I was just down at Steinbart Co getting scoby to make some kombucha with my daughter. For some reason I’ve been thinking about an old Japanese movie that features a sake brewer, who drinks from his wooden casks. Anyway, I asked about koji and the guy behind the counter said they do sell it there, and then he mentioned you.

    Then I found your site here. Wonderful shop and book you’ve created.

    Are you aware of any sake homebrewing clubs or meet-ups in pdx?

    All the best,


    1. Hey Ed,

      So sorry this is such a late response. I didn’t get a note like I normally do.

      Anyway, I am not aware of any sake homebrewing clubs or meet-ups. That would be nice.


  16. Hi, I recently made sake, but never tasted real sake, because my parents (I am 16) don’t really like it. When I tasted the sake, it was a bit acidic and I am worried that I might have gone bad. Could it be acetic acid that has been produced? Can sake go bad during fermentation?
    Thank you in advance

    1. It is almost impossible to say with this amount of information. However, It is unlikely it went bad during fermentation. It is entirely possible that it is quite dry and that you don’t like it that dry.

  17. Will,

    I noticed his site has been gone maybe since july and ahvent found any information on its dissapearance. I have seen your instructions and am building an incubator currently, but the taylor-made website had some instructions on how to get the koji to go to spore at the end and was wondering if you had ever done that to collect the spores, I didnt see that in your section..


    1. Aaron, Hi,

      Wow, that is too bad that the taylor-madeak site is gone. I really hope Bob is OK.

      As for the koji, its not hard if you have mastered the koji making process already. Basically you just let the koji continue passed the normal stop time and under the same conditions. It will spore. Once it has, the trick is to get it to thoroughly dry. You could spread it out and leave it at room temp for quite a while, place it in a low temp oven or possible a food dehydrator. If it does not dry properly it will likely mold. Once fully dry, you can place it in some type of shaker for use. Think something like the powdered sugar shaker.

      I hope that helps,

  18. Will, I have followed you and taylor for a while, and made my first (bad) batch of sake recently. I’ve bought all my supplies from you and was looking to make my own Koji-Kin, but it seems that the site is gone…. you dont happen to have instructions to make Koji-Kin do you?

    1. Aaron,
      Wow, that is really sad, I hope he is all right!
      When did you first see the site was gone?

      Yes, I have some articles on making koji as well as a Video Series and Instructions for Making Koji for Sake. You can find the Series from the recipe page.


    1. Ken, sorry I missed this message.

      The rice in the kits is calrose milled to 60% of the original. It is the same rice used by SakeOne, a Sake brewery in Forest Grove, Oregon.


  19. Will,

    What do you think about crushing the spore covered rice and powderizing the whole batch for future use. It might make it easier to sprinkle over the next batch of Kome koji.

    1. You could do that with no harm. I put mine in a large salt shaker (like used for popcorn at the movies) without any trouble. However if you like putting the spores in a spoon and using that to spread them like I do my purchased koji-kin then grinding would make that easier.

  20. Will,

    I used my new incubation system over the last couple days and it seemed to work well. Automatic temperature control and stirring incorporated into the design. A little tweaking is needed but it worked for the most part. I decided to allow the growth to continue until all the rice was covered in green. Took approximately 50 hours. Looks like I now have a huge crop of koji-kin. I started with about 4 cups(dry rice).

    Currently I have the green koji-kin rice evenly spread out in a large cookie pan . I covered it with dry paper towels and is now kept at room temp (~73 degrees F). Any recommendations on drying it for storage?

    1. You’re doing the right things with the cookie sheet and paper towels. Leave it there for longer than you feel it needs. Once you can’t stand it any longer, place it in a container but monitor it to make sure that there isn’t excess moisture.


  21. I see that you just removed the prices from the home page. That’s a good solution since it consolidates all the pricing at the store page. Thanks.

  22. Ya, the first time I decided to purchase some supplies from you I noticed the price difference. At the time it felt a little deceiving. I still purchased but didn’t like the different prices. I’ve purchased from you again since. Some may not, so I’d change that as soon as you can. I have checked around and found your pricing to be quite fair. Keep up the good work.


  23. Hey Will hope all is well. Studying Japanese several hours a day – the entire staff! – so we’ve been busy.Tye cooler weathern at least nextweek will allow us to startbv makiing sake.

    A few questions?
    What size cheese press and made of what material do you recommend? Because we also make cheese maybe a fancier stainless steel one? A used one?

    We have the rice and koji chillled that you sent a while back. Was that for 10 pounds rice? It’s gonna take a while to find receipts and the scaled. Sure looks like a lot more than 10 pounds rice though!

    Ken, Ann, Denis, Paco!

    1. For pressing you can use any type of cheese press you like as long as you can collect the runnings; that’s the more important part. I just squeeze it in a nylon bag.

      The rice bags are at least 10lbs but some times they run heavy.

      Good luck!

    2. Oh, I forgot to mention. There is a book “Fluent Forever” that talks about learning languages; the auther has a web site ( with products (Anki decks) for learning languages including Japanese. It looks like it could be helpful. If you try it, please let us know if it is helpful.


  24. I see that you’re right. The first 24 hours it’s balled and then the ball is broken up and spread out. Looks like a little experimentation is in order. I’ll let you know what I come up with. Thanks for your help.

  25. I understand your concern about maintaining an inner and outer rice mass temp. I do have provisions to both cool and warm the mass in my incubation chamber but your points are well taken.

    Seems to me that, rather then balling up the koji rice in the incubator, it would be better to spread the rice out into a thinner form in order to maintain a more consistent temperature through out the mass. I’ve seen where many kura implement a furrow system when making koji then covering the furrowed koji layer with cloth. They probe the deeper area of the furrow with a temp probe and chart the temperature from there for data collection. Any method of maintaining a large ball mass seems to be more problematic since the outer and inner temps would differ by quite a margin. Furrowing might cut down on the thermal runaway issues and allow more resting time between mixings.

    Sorry if I’m over thinking this but it’s my nature. I was a design engineer by trade and like to create automation projects as a hobby now. I’ve automated my brewery, my stir plate and my wife’s cheese press. Seems like Sake making opens me up to so many uncharted areas to continue my passion.;)

    1. Julius,

      If you have the time and inclination to experiment a bit, there is nothing to loose, go for it. In all commercial cases that I know of koji making takes place first as a wrapped component and later more spread out. If you experiment with this, we’d love to hear what you find. And if you are so inclined as to want to write an article on your experience, I’ll post it in the articles section.


  26. While reading your vary excellent instructions on making Kome-Koji and Sake I noticed the emphasis on not using water with iron in it. I understand why, but now have a question. During the build up phases of Sake production and during the initial production of the Koji I see that the rice must be washed well and soaked. The problem I have is that my water at the house is well water and I don’t know the iron content. I was intending on using distilled water for the soaking/fermenting processes but washing the rice could take a large amount of distilled water. Any suggestions? How critical is it that the washing process be conducted with iron free water?

    1. Julius,

      I’m not sure about this. My guess would be that you can wash with your water and then rinse and soak with iron free water.


  27. I posted this in the Koji section but I don’t know if that’s viewed very often. While reviewing your directions for making Kome-Koji I noticed that you were using two temperature probes. One for the controller and one to simply monitor the rice ball temp. Why not insert the probe from the controller directly into the Koji rice ball and control ambient temperature from there. Seems like you would have a lower risk of overheating the Koji during the thermal phase. If the Koji produces too much heat it would simply turn off the heat generation and allow the system to cool back down. You can then set the temperature differential to 1 degree since the rice ball mass would offer some hysteresis. When I brew beer I use a thermo-well with my controller probe in the center of the fermentation vessel. Seems like that would be the same as inserting it into the rice ball.

    1. Julius, Hi,
      There are a couple of issues here that make it different from your case:
      1. You want to keep your temperature below a set level and you are controlling a cooling device.
      – I am controlling a heating device and want it to be warm enough but not too hot (there is no cooling device)
      – Turning off the heating device will not prevent it from over heating. In fact the heating device will likely already be off when the koji is climbing to high temperatures.
      2. Employing both heating and cooling devices could come closer to what you are suggesting but the outer koji will have to cool down more than I’d want in order to cool the center of the koji enough. This would stifle koji growth.


    1. Sure. In fact this is one of the more common ways to brew sake. Some say they like it better than the koji I carry because it produces less bitter sake. I prefer fresher koji but it is reasonable to use Cold Mountain.


  28. Are yanahai and kimoto done at room temp? I thought they just involved natural yeast inoculation (like a lambic), rather than pitching lacto yeast (or sake yeast, respectively). Definitely want to try that, but not on the first brew…

    Current plan is to give be brewjacket a shot and see how it goes – I’ll let you know.

    1. Yamahai and Kimoto are different from the most common method, Sokujo, in the way the moto is treated. They can all use specific yeast strains or natural inoculation but Yamahai and Kimoto don’t use an addition of lactic acid. For them the lactic acid comes from a natural inoculation (or from the environment without any real help) of various bugs like lactobacillus that produce the lactic acid.


  29. Any thoughts on what happens if you do the entire brew at room temperature? Does it produce lots of funky favors, or do the warmer temps allow too many unwanted bacteria to grow?

    1. Russ, Less clean. Yamahai and kimoto methods will produce more funky flavors. Here again you can give it a try and if you like it well enough then you don’t have to go to the expense of extra equipment. At least not until you know that you want to stick with sake brewing for a long time.


  30. Thanks, Will. Unfortunately I’m in a Manhattan apartment, so I don’t have easy access to cooler spaces, even in winter. I had considered some of the cooler/pump setups (using a wort-chiller or similar) but the brewjacket seems like the best solution for my purposes – I’ll let you know how it comes out!

  31. I’m about to kick off my first brew. Any suggestions on solutions for chilling the fermenter? I don’t have enough room for a fridge/freezer solution, so I was thinking about going with the Brew Jacket – any other solutions to suggest?

    Thanks! (also, btw, bought your book and found it incredibly helpful – the newly translated Sake textbook from the Sake Society of Japan is also a great read!)

    1. Hey Russ,
      Mostly people wait until the cooler months and then put it somewhere cooler. James of Basic Brewing Radio discusses a method where the bucket is placed in a water bath that is cooled using ice and a temperature controlled pump; I think lots of people use this method. I’d never seen the brewjacket. If you go that route, let us know how well it works for you.

  32. Dear Will

    I use MICHIBA RC23 rice polisher to mill rice, I used 3 go in 50%, but there are a lot of broken rice after milling, is there any way to improve this problem.

    Thanks a lot


    1. Hank, I’m sorry to say I don’t have any answers for you; I don’t have any experience here. Maybe someone else will be able to reply with a better answer. If you have some control over the speed of milling, slowing things down may help. Changing the batch size (larger or smaller) may also have an effect that could help. If you experiment with various parameters, let us know the outcomes.


  33. Thanks Will!

    We received the Koji and rice today!

    We’ve bee researching water since you recommend Epsom salts and Morton salt substitute. Recommending that we use distilled or any water without iron or even chloramines is for the same reasons that Kikkoman cites we think: “An even more important ingredient in the brewing of sake is the water. Brewing water generally contains very little iron and manganese, and is categorized as moderately hard water according to the American measurement scale that determines the degree of mineral concentrations in water. Ideally, brewing water has a higher mineral content than the average drinking water in Japan, and includes potassium, magnesium and calcium, making it well-suited to the cultivation of koji fungus and yeast. As a result, many brewers even relocate in search of superior water. Probably the best-known water for brewing purposes is Miya mizu (Miya water), found in a particular area of Kobe.” So, many companies cell pure mixtures of magnesium, calcium and potassium for supplementation. Why shouldn’t we just use one of those pills? We have some on hand! Or Potassium Citrate (100%) instead of the Morton Salt substitute because we also have that on hand. With the quantities involved per recipe a combo of the three might be somethhng you might want to have for sale?

    1. You can use other ingredients to reach the same goal. I have not used these other options so I don’t have much to say about them but there is nothing sacred about the ingredients I use. Where do you get the tablets? What are they exactly?


  34. Thanks guys, you are very kind!

    Let me take these questions one at a time, inline below:

    Really excited about the new emphasis on both your book – we just got it and will start promoting it heavily @culturesgroup (IG, Twitter,, FB at kenfornataro or japanferments or culturesgroups, etc.) – and these new kits and sake brewing aides. Wow! Just wow, Will! Thanks! If you have any social media accounts let us know so we can direct people to you in our posts. Or we’ll just direct them to

    We have five questions to start.

    1. What exactly is the amelioration step you discuss in your book?

    [will] Amelioration as described is simply adding some sugar so the sake isn’t as dry. The process we use gives the yeast the full strength needed to dry the sake out (eat up almost all the sugar) so amelioration adds some sugar back to get to the level desired. Some brewers will consider this cheating. You, of course can make up your own mind. If you don’t like this method and you don’t want your sake to be as dry there are other methods that can be used to stop fermentation early.

    2. We just purchased our first White Labs Sake WLP705 yeast so we assume we don’t need to use yeast nutrient, etc. right? You include the Wyeth yeast which we used to make our last 5 gallon batch and didn’t add anything to the shubo since it seemed so incredibly active. The temperature, however, was never below 72 degrees F until we started the moromi, though. Do you think that if we get the temperature lower that yeast nutrients, etc. should always be used? Rice used throughout for koji/moromi was 92% semibuai (good sushi rice)

    [will] I use the yeast nutrient because I believe this improves the batch but there is lots of yeast (volume wise) so it will work without the nutrient.

    3. Have any plans to mill some Omachi rice anytime soon?

    [will] I don’t do any milling myself (except experimentally). For a variety of rice milled for sake check out

    4. Several tojis and sake/shochu brewers we’ve spoken with insist that during the process of letting the kasu settle out after dripping – yeah, we’re that crazy – that we not touch the stuff for ten days and keep it at close to 34F as we can. They obviously have more refrigeration capacity and space than your average home brewer especially us but do you think the coolers you suggest would do the trick (and apologies if you have already answered this question but we have a thousand posts and your book to read, thank you again!) or should we try to cadge some refrigeration space from a local restaurant?

    [will] I bet you could rig something up to work in a small space but you’ll have to be creative. Even with larger temperature controlled freezers it would be difficult. Maybe a standing freezer would be the best for this type of thing.

    5. Bentonite. Pro or Con?

    [will] I mostly let time do the work but bentonite does a good job. The choice is whatever you like.



    Ken, Ellis, Leco, Ann and Denis

  35. dear will

    Could I know each pack of Wyeast 4134 Sake Yeast # 9 is How much ml.
    If I want to brewing more than two gallons of capacity, how to calculate
    The amount of yeast the yeast mash or shubo that will need to add is how many ml/ L,
    and the concentration(CFU) and activity of the yeast.

    Thanks a lot

    1. Hank, Hi,
      The packs contain 125 mls of liquid yeast with 70 Billion yeast cells. This is much more than is needed for the recipe(s) discussed on this site. The yeast is added to a moto where it is multiplied (much like a yeast starter for beer). You could easily brew a batch 3x the size with this same amount of yeast. Keep the ratios all the same, except for the yeast, as you increase the size of your batch. You could increase the amount of yeast every 3x or experiment with a higher multiplier.

  36. Hi Will,

    I brewed my first batch of Sake following the instructions in your book. I was lucky enough to get my hands on some 50% polished rice and some fresh koji rice from a local micro sake brewery here in Toronto Canada and everything has gone very well so far. I got through the main ferment, the pressing, the initial settling in carboy, and secondary settling with bentonite. I now have 2.5 gallons of 18.5% ABV +19SMV clear sake with a yellowish hue. I am now getting ready to do some ameliorations, bottle, and pasteurize. I was interested in using charcoal to remove some of the “rough edges” from my sake, and remove the color as well, but I don’t want to have to filter it. I was thinking of running the sake through a Brita filter to achieve the same thing since it is basically activated charcoal in a plastic cartridge.

    Have you ever used a Brita filter on your sake, or know someone who has? Would you recommend it, or should I just live with the yellow color?

    Thanks in advance,


    1. Phil, hi,

      I have not used a Brita filter. Nor do I think there is any need to remove the color, however, that is all about personal taste. To see if it makes the sake better, you can pass through just a glass worth of sake. Give that a try and see what you think. I do know people who have used these filters for home made vodka and like the results.


  37. hey will.
    i’m interested in buying polished rice for sake, but the postage listed for posting abroad is far above my threshold for spending, is it possible to avoid some cost by sending the rice in smaller amounts? I’ve been told packages from the us to uk are cheaper to send if below 4lb.


    1. Sorry Chris, I can’t break up the package for smaller shipments. I do understand and agree that the cost of shipment is pretty high and international shipping is outrageous.


  38. Hi Will (or anyone else),

    I will be traveling to Tokyo in a couple of weeks and that will be sooner than I will be back in the USA. Do you know of any stores in Tokyo that sell sake brewing supplies, most importantly koji-kin.

    Thanks for any help.


  39. Hey Will, you seem to be the right person to answer this question. I have a bag of Mitoku brown rice koji and I would like to use it to ferment mushrooms. Do you have any experience with something like this? I’m wondering if the brown rice koji should be ground up and added directly to the ferment or incorporated in some other way. I know this isn’t a sake specific question, but I know you’re a wealth of knowledge with regards to koji.

    1. Hey Chris, I can only guess about how to go about using koji in a ferment for mushrooms. When making miso you mash the soy beans in to the consistency of well a mash; some might say a paste, and then add the koji and salt. When mixed together, the soy and the koji have as much surface area in contact as possible. If you want to keep the shape and texture of the mushrooms then you couldn’t mash them but you can grind the koji and thoroughly mix it with the mushrooms. You could give that a try and see how they come out.

      Let us know what you do and how it all turns out,

  40. Hi Will,

    I’m trying my first batch of sake: made my own koji using vision-brewing’s spores and following your very helpful video instructions. Because this is not only my first sake brewing experience, but my first ever brewing experience, I opted for a shorter method that does not include multiple rice additions (it is a beginners recipe noted on the koji packet). My question: how do I know when it’s done? The instructions say “two weeks” but I’m brewing at a colder temperature than they suggest. I’m currently sitting at day 11, my sake has been around 60F for the entire process. Since about day 3 to now I have had a foam that is much like the one Con included a picture of above.

    1. Krishtina,

      With sake it can take longer than with wine / beer because the koji slowly transforms the rice starch into sugar which is then converted by the yeast to alcohol. Without any measurements, I would let it ferment for 3 weeks, maybe 4. If you have a hydrometer, then you can take readings over a few days to see if the specific gravity is still dropping. If not, you are done. One other approach is just to taste it and when it is where you like it, then it is ready.

      Enjoy and Kampai,

  41. Hello Will,
    My first sake brew, also from Ireland (hello Louise)homemade kome koji made from kin and I closely followed the instructions, fermented at the lower temperature range.
    Currently at day 28, nearly ready to rack to 3 jugs. Fermenting at 7C (45F) but in the last few days a crust has formed like a beer Krausen, here is a picture:
    I am stirring twice a day but the foams/crust reforms the following day. Could it be a wild yeast infection (maybe brett)?


  42. Thanks so much for that Will, I’ve more confidence with letting it have a bit more time now – and I think that this evening it is perhaps starting to go again a bit more! I’ll let you know how it goes. I really appreciate your advice


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.