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.
329 thoughts on “Forum”
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?
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!
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.
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.
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?
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:
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.
Great, thanks Will!!!
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
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)
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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: https://a.co/04ymzl1
Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!
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,
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
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..
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 taylor-madeak.org site is gone…. you dont happen to have instructions to make Koji-Kin do you?
Greetings Will! What type of rice is in your kits? Thanks!
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.
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?
Found this nice little Japanese web site from the Sake and Shochu Association that has a very nice flow chart and some small detail on the process of making Kome-Koji and Sake.
There’s also a nice little cultural and process video series (Sake School) of the sake process and culture:
Just thought I’d share.
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.
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.
You might want to update your home page. The product prices don’t match the ones in the store.
Thanks Will! I’ll let you know about (https://fluent-forever.com) how that turns out.
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!
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.
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.;)
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?
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.
Cool – thanks. I’ve got a store locally that carries Cold Mountain, so I might give that a shot for simplicity.
Ever tried brewing with Cold Mountain Koji (http://www.coldmountainmiso.com/coldmount.html)? Any thoughts on how well it would work vs. koji specifically intended for sale brewing?
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.
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?
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!
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 (https://www.brewjacket.com/) – 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!)
Is this shop still active?
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
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?
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, culturesgroup.net, 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 homebrewsake.com
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 mnrice.com
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
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
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)?
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
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