Sake batch

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Junior Member
Apr 18, 2016
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Hi, I started an experimental batch of sake about a week ago using this moto starter protocol times three to make a three gallon batch.

The rice additions were not very liquid at the start but the koji enzymes and moto have done their jobs and broken down the starches nicely by day 6 so far.

I have this one in a 7.9 gallon primary and will likely move to either five or six gallon carboy this weekend to finish out primary ferment and better monitor the progress.

I think I will like to bottle some more cloudy and some less cloudy so as ferment finishes up i can rack off to 3 gallon carboy and allow clearing.

This recipe calls for pasteurization so will also experiment with that.

I love sake but also intend to use this in my “Shanghai Drunken Chicken” recipes so my expected 15’ish bottles won’t last that long even if I don’t drink all of em.

I’ll update this thread with some pics and notes as I go and looking forward to further batches after this.

One interesting part of this protocol is the use of lactic inoculation in the moto for the acid. Will also run some metrics on ph, ta, paper chromatograph, etc.

Interested in other stabilisation methods too but not particularly interested in sorbate. Perhaps a series of microbial filters.

This is the sake must 7 days after pitching the moto and first of three rice / water additions - all has been added by now. Smells good and is a little sweet a little bitter. Can taste the alcohol.

I used jasmine and basmati for the koji-kin and Botan short grain for the main rice additions which was a total of about 15lbs.

Gonna be yummy!

This mornings taste test is promising around day eight or nine of AF.

The must still pretty chunky but flavor is good. Still sweet too so could be a couple three weeks till dry. I’ve seen AF duration mentioned of a couple weeks to five weeks.

I’m xferring to glass this weekend and putting under airlock.

Frothy fermentation activity alpears to be subsiding so I’m looking forward to the glug-glug-glug of the airlock.

One thing about this is that it’s not as easy as taking an SG and FG measurement because the koji-kin enzymes work in tandem with the yeast to convert the starches in the rice to fermentables throughout the fermentation process.

This must is still too thick to vacuum pump into glass so i’m keeping it in the primary fermentation vessel under airlock. I’ll strain it through a paint strainer bag when airlock activity has stopped then plan to clear it in glass.

For the next weeks I’ll be stirring 2-3 times daily and tasting :)

I’m on day 15 or so of the primary ferment. Still plenty of activity in the must and the koji-kin inoculation also appears to still be further breaking down the grain starches into sugars. My cellar is keeping the lager yeast happy with temp about 59*F. The alcohol bite is increasing and the sake flavor is nice too.

Looking forward to a halt in co2 production and straining out the remaining grain solids through a paint strainer bag and xferring into glass to clear and bulk age for a bit.

Expecting a week to two weeks before next steps.

We’re at 28 days in primary fermenter now. Here’s another detailed sake brewing protocol linked below for reference. There is still airlock activity and bubbles in the must. I do see however that the grain cap is falling too. We are close to moving into glass. I skimmed a little off the top before stirring this morning and it’s quite strong and good. I will top up the glass with spring water and prepare to clear.

No sulfites no preservatives. Just rice, koji, and yeast. Pasteurization to 140*F.

Transferred the sake into glass tonight and yes still airlock activity. The wine pump transfer worked like always after pressing the gross lees off. I used a mop bucket squeezer (dedicated for this type of thing and sanitized). I sanitized everything with kmeta spritz but will keep with the tradition and not add any kmeta to protect against oxidation.

This stuff is basically going to sit and clear now. Expecting a couple months at least but should be much more clear in 60 days.

I’ll add bottled spring water to top up as I go.

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I don't really have any questions or comments, but I wanted to say this looks interesting, and to thank you for documenting this effort. I don't want your thread to feel lonely! :) I don't think I have it in me to try a sake, but maybe you will change my mind!
Thanks Sour Grapes!

Next morning is see airlock looks equalized so we’ll see how it develops over the next weeks. As sediment starys to fall the clear sake looks very yummy to me!

I use kmeta sokution plus a couple drops of wine in my airlock so it’s easy to see from across the room.

Looking forward to the shanghai drunken chicken (and some for me!)

Thanks John!

Looks like it’s dropping. I can’t imagine that all those solids are going to compact down to 2-3”. I might use a fining agent to help but family members have severe shellfish allergies so superkleer and chitosan aren’t going to work.

Nothing but time around here on the other hand so I’ll see what shakes out over the next period.

Airlock is bubling again so it’s still fermenting?

I drank a small heated carafe and it works :)

So, Little update:

I'll be working on the Sake this weekend and posting some photo's. The settling is pretty much done and the lee's have compacted to about 1/3 which leaves about 2 gallons of Sake. I would have liked them to compact more but they have not and I don't think more time will do that without more focused fining agents.

There will definitely still need to be further fining or filtering to clear that but might just rack off lee's now and let further clearing happen naturally.

Sake is also made without S02 additions so pasteurizing and bottling are high on my list once happy with clearing.

I'm considering taking the lee's and adding in maybe 1/2 to 1 gallon of spring water and using egg whites or similar to see if I can get further more dense flocculation of the lee's - either that or just pasteurize and bottle with excessive sediment and use it for my drunken chicken cooking broth then drinking the much more clear sake after heating to 145f and also adding a slight bit of water to drop the ABV a little...

In any case, I'll be racking this weekend and spending some time researching some fining options. I like super-kleer for fining but since it has shellfish ingredient will not be using it again as some folks are deathly allergic and just want to prevent any issues with that.

Maybe egg whites or gelatin? Need to read up on those and interested if anyone has any input regarding non-shellfish fining.

Thanks JohnT! I racked off the lees and separated. Made up a bentonite slurry for each and topped up with some spring water to reduce abv slightly and also reduce the acidity a bit. I have not measured pH lately so will add that to the list for next round on this.

After a couple days I see much better clearing activity and I think i can expect to rack again in a couple weeks or so. I’ll want to pasteurize and bottle soon.

These are both under vacuum now and I splash racked the clear one several times. Lots of co2 even after a couple months. My cellar is pretty chill tho.

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