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What is Sake? What is Sake? What is Sake?
What is Sake? What is Sake? What is Sake?
How sake is made?

Sake making involves very unique fermentation process called "multiple parallel fermentation" where saccharification and fermentation take place at the same time and the whole process is carried out in open tanks at low temperatures. (~10) Thus, sake making is suitable during winter. The main ingredients of sake are only rice and water.

Rice good for sake brewing is called shuzo kotekimai (sake rice) and it is slightly different from ordinary rice that we usually eat; the grain is larger and it has a white center part called Shimpaku, where much of starch is concentrated. Having shimpaku in the grain is quite important since the part is turned into sugar that is necessery to produce alcohol. There are several kinds of sake rice, and each type has it own character that gives distinctive flavor.
Water is very important ingredient to make sake, and quality of water can affect flavor of sake. Water to be used for sake making should be good to drink, with proper amount of minerals such as kalium and magnesium.
water grain > white rice >
steamed rice > koji,shubo,moromi >
sake >
final product
First, rice is milled, washed and steamed. It is best when steamed grains are harder outside, and softer in the center. This results in good koji making.

Koji making is a primary step in sake making. Without good Koji, good sake can never be produced. Koji is steamed rice cultivated with koji-kin (aspergillus oryzae). It produces various enzymes that break starches in rice into sugar. Sugar is then turned into alcohol by shubo (yeast starter).
SHUBO(yeast starter)MAKING

The primary purpose of shubo (yeast starter) making is to cultivate yeast cells by mixing koji, steamed rice and water in a concentration of yeast cells. Yeast cells in developed shubo reach 300 million per 1 cc.
Yamahai Shubo ... Shubo made in a classical method. It takes about 30 days to develop, twice as long as an sokujo shubo. Sake made with yamahai shubo has rich, deep flavors with higher acidity.
Sokujo Shubo ... Most breweries use this type of shubo, which is faster to develop than yamahai shubo.

In the process of moromi (the mash) making, more steamed rice, more koji and more water are added together with shubo in a larger tank. This process is divided into three stages, and the volume of moromi almost doubles each time.
The whole fermentation takes about 20 days. Sake making involves a unique fermentation process where alcohol fermentation and saccharification take place simultaneously.
Moromi (the mash) is then pressed and separated into clear sake and sake kasu (the white lees). The clear sake is sit for a few days to let more lees settled out, and it is usually charcoal filtered to adjust its color and taste. It is then usually pasteurized twice and aged for about 6 months.