Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Sake Saga Begins! Stage one. Moto!

So I started this whole Sake saga on 9/19/09. I have to say I am more than a little nervous. After soaking my Koji Rice (Rice covered in mold which converts the starch in the rice to sugars which can be fermented), rinsing and soaking the Sake Rice, and preparing all the equipment, I started steaming the Sake Rice. I discovered during this process that my steamer was not up to the task and it took quite a while to get the rice steamed. This was the first "problem". Next I added the Koji Rice and Steamed rice to the fermenter. A that point it looked like rice porridge, and very thick rice porridge at that. Now, the Koji mold is supposed to break down and liquify the rice, and turn it into moto, but I am worried that I didn't get the rice steamed enough, and that the lil mold buggers won't be able to break down the rice properly. Yesterday (Sunday) I brought the temperature down and pitched the yeast in to start fermentation. I only had one viable pack of yeast, as my feline friends, thinking the yeast packs were kitty treats ripped one pack open creating a nice mess in the kitchen. 12 hours later (Monday) I just checked the ferment and gave it its first stir. There are some signs of fermentation (nice yeasty aroma, some bubbling on the surface) and the moto is more liquidy than before, which is good. There is one fly in the ointment though. To brew sake it is necessary to used an open style fermenter with a lid, in other words a brewing bucket. I despise this type of brewing vessel but it is necessary to use it so that rice can be added and mixed by hand as the process moves forward. Overnight, the lid to the bucket became unsealed, and may or may not have allowed nasty bacteria or wild yeasts in. No bueno. As of right now, a taste test from the sanitized spoon used to stir the mash up tells me that there is alcohol present, so fermentation has occurred, but the airlock is flat with no bubbles at this point so I can't tell if the alcohol is from the initial yeast starter or is a result of fermentation from the moto itself. It smells good so far, and no vinegar smells or tastes so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

I really need to relax, and have faith in the chemistry at this point, but I always find that hard to do when brewing a new style, and this is DEFINITELY new ground for me. Starting with barely 4 cups of rice and very little liquid seems so wrong somehow, but as Charlie Papazian, the father of homebrewing says, I need to "Relax, and have a Homebrew". I don't have any homebrew at the moment, but I think I will have a nice Belgian Blonde ale, relax, and snuggle with my DVR.

Until next time...

Gregg, The Yeast Master


  1. I'm currently digging Sam Adam's Octoberfest. It's not a homebrew, but what's a girl to do?

  2. I Love Sam Adams Octoberfest! It is a great example of the style, and it is pretty damn tasty!