Kikusui's brewery diaryLet's trace the history of our first brewing in winter. you will understand the making of Sake in our Kura (chateau) soon.
Our Toji (brew master) come to Kura from Sannai Village. Traditionally, most of Toji in Akita are from there. They cultivate their field in summer, and work in Kura after harvests until spring. Our workers are eight, have been served 17 years in this Kura. they are all tanned, strong farmers.
Now, our brewing has started. first, we must clean the Kura and take care appliances. rice is ordered from Mr.Kousaka, Tokiwa, Nosiro City.
Kiyonisiki is the name of this rice. Put it in a polishing machine. 30% of the weight is taken away and pure pearl like rice grains leave. To polish each grain equally, we need moderate speed, pressure and long experience.
(Steaming the rice)
The first day to use Koshiki (steamer). Put rice in water 5 hours and steam it an hour. Steamed rice have to be soft in inside and hard in outside, so we control quantity, heat of steam and the shape of rice pile in a steamer. Toji inspect the steamed rice. After permission, we make Koji, a base of the aroma and taste of Sake, like a hop in beer. Cool the steamed rice and sprinkle Koji germ on it. Keep it in the Koji room, and after two days, Koji making is completed. The making of Koji is the first key point of Sake brewing.
(Moto, the starter mash)
Moto is the base of ferments acts well and very Moto becomes Sake. Cultivate pure brewers' yeast No.6 in the mixture of the Sake is decided. Toji passes anxious but hopeful time in these days.
Yeast in Moto ferments acts well and gives off sweet smell. Toji's smile never ends, because Moto foams smoothly.
Moto grows well and foams 'Tora Awa'. It means originally 'tiger foam'.
Now we have made 5 tanks of Moto. All of them is in good condition.
(Moromi, the final mash)
It's a day to make up Moromi. We mix Moto, Koji, steamed rice again to get final mash. The next day of Moromi making is called 'Dance Day', and we rest all the day. Moromi is doubled in 'Naka-zoe' (middle addition), and once more doubled in 'Tome-zoe' (final addition).
Moromi foams 'Taka-Awa' instead of 'Hon-Awa'. The flavor of Sake begins to spread all over the Kura.
The fermentation has almost ceased and Moromi comes to mellow. Now Toji feels quite relieved.
Our Sake has mellowed. Next we squeeze the Moromi and get fresh Sake. The Moromi is loaded into cotton sacks and stacked up in a container like a boat. It is called 'Fune' that means a ship in Japanese. When weight is applied on top of the stacks, the Sake filters down through the cotton. First, fragrant but rather harsh Sake drips out. After this, we can get Sake that has moderate aroma and taste. This is the highlight of brewing.
Moromi has all squeezed. In filtration, we take away remainder yeast and so on. This is Kikusui's 'Shiboritate' (Sake Nouveau). Some yeast is still living and a little cloudy.
Sterilize the bottles. 'Shiboritate' is transferred from the tank to the bottling machine by a pomp. Put crown caps and labels, we'll ship them tomorrow. They will soon be sold at liquor stores.
Sake which is not bottled as 'Shiboritate' is allowed to sit for about 2 weeks. Then skim the clear Sake and preserve in another tank. We make cloudy Sake 'Yoneshiro' from the rest.
Filtrate again, using some active carbon.
(Pasteurization and Aging)
Clear Sake is pasteurized (Hi-ire) at a temperature of 60ßc. Yeast is killed and let ferment inactive. Afterward, Sake needs aging. Anyone can buy time for growing up. All we can do now is only to wait.