I finally did it! My book, Brewing Sake, is out.

I finally did it! My book, Brewing Sake, is out.

Brewing Sake hit Amazon around the 20th and is making it into the channels. It can take up to 6 weeks to fully make its way through the channel. I am told that at least one person has been able to order it in Denmark through a standard retailer, so it is working its way into the channel nicely; a bit quicker than I had expected.

Brewing Sake: Release the Toji Within is here on Amazon and interestingly enough, the used copies are asking 2.5 times the price of the new copies. J Are there really any used copies? I wouldn’t think so.

I believe that I have pulled together a lot of material that is pretty hard to come by for those of us who don’t speak, and more importantly don’t read, Japanese. The table of content is below. The overall layout is a quick introduction on sake brewing and the equipment needed as well as a step by step walk through to begin with. This is followed by details on each of the ingredients and chief measurable characteristics. Next, is a bit about how to protect the sake. Then I dive head long into each step of the process. After this we look into the details of analyzing your sake for each of its measurable characteristics. This is followed by a brief look at sake’s enemy, Hiochi-kin. I have then provided a significant glossary containing more than 170 entries. Finally, I give a list of links to places where you can find specific pieces of equipment.

If you get a copy I hope you will also write a review on the Amazon page on what you think about the book.

Table of Contents:
Introduction 1
How Saké is Brewed 5
Brewing Equipment 11
Quick Start Saké Brewing 23
Rice – Kome (米) 37
Koji (麹) 47
Yeast – Kobo (酵母) 57
Water – Mizu (水) 65
Nihonshu-do (日本酒度) or Saké Meter Value (SMV) 71
Sando ( 酸度 ) – Acidity 77
Amino Sando (アミノ酸度 ) – Amino Acid 79
Protecting your Homebrew Saké from light 81
Sanitation 85
Seimai (精米) or Rice Milling / Polishing 89
Rice Preparation 101
Koji Making 105
The Moto 111
The Buildup – San-Dan-Jikomi (三段仕込み) 135
The Main Ferment – Moromi (諸味) 145
So you like the Honjozo (本醸造) 151
Time for Shibori ( 搾り ) 157
Final Steps in Saké Brewing 161
Measuring Your Homebrew Saké 163
Spoilers and Trouble Shooting 189
Glossary 191
Links and Contacts 209

How Sake is Brewed

Brief introduction to how sake is brewed.

Sake is brewed in a strung out process that can take quite a long time but none of the steps are particularly difficult. In the traditional method, brewing sake starts with the rice and its milling. The objective is to remove the outer layers of the rice which cause sake to be less stable and to have harsher flavors. These layers contain the bran and the highest concentrations of oils, fatty acids, proteins and minerals like magnesium and iron. Table rice (white rice) is generally milled to around 93% of its original size. Sakemai (Sake Rice) is usually milled somewhere between this for futsu-shu (table sake) and 35% for the most refined Daiginjo. Removing these components leads to a more stable and refined sake.

Once the rice has been milled to the proper level we need to steam the rice. We used steamed rice both for making koji and to directly add to the brew. In order to steam the rice properly we need to first wash the milled rice to remove the outer layer of rice flower, talc or whatever may be on the rice. After a good washing the rice is soaked to absorb the needed amount of water for proper steaming. This amounts to about 30% by weight. The higher the milling rate the faster the rice will absorb the desired amount of water. Kurabito (brewery people) working with the most highly polished (Milled) rice often use a stopwatch to time the soaking period so the rice does not take on too much moisture. Here the goal to get enough moisture into the rice so that the steaming process gelatinizes the rice by heating the water already there. If the rice has too much moisture it will become soggy / mushy during the steaming process and will not form a nice home for koji. Continue reading “How Sake is Brewed”