How to Homebrew Sake
by Mutsuo Hoshido, email@example.com
After the very hot summer, suitable season for Sake brewing
is approaching. Following is the one of the simple Sake brewing
procedures to enjoy Sake taste.
Koji is available at a grocery store in Japan during
the winter time.
Koji is sold as a cooking material to make "amasake",
very sweet pasty liquid which has no alcohol and not
as a homebrew material.
- 1500g(3.3lb) rice,
- 5g(0.18oz)citric acid
- 5g (0.18oz) Dry yeast(I used bread yeast. I heard wine is better.
Sake yeast is not available at present.)
- electric rice cooker(steam cooker is better),
- 10liters(2.6gal) enamel deep cooking pot with lid.
- big spoon(stainless is better)
- 1.Wash 1500g(3.3lb) rice and then put the rice in a basket for
at least one hour.
- 2.Cook the rice with 1800ml(0.48gal)water using rice cooker.
- 3.After cooking the rice,cool down the rice to 20deg C(68deg F).
- 4. Melt the citric acid with 2.4liter water in the enamel cooking pot.
Temperature to be lower than 20deg C(68deg F).
Citric acid will prevent contamination of bacteria and add slight
sour taste to Sake.
- 5.Add 400g koji and well melt it by agitating with the big spoon.
- 6.In thirty minuets, add the cooled rice and well mix by agitating
with the big spoon.
- 7.Pitch the dry yeast and place the lid on the pot and keep it under
20deg C(68deg F).
- 8.Stir it at least once a day. In two or three days you can enjoy
Sake smell. Be careful about bacteria contamination.
I used 70% ethyl alcohol spay around the pot and to myself.
- 9.In two weeks fermentation will stop.
- 10.Filter the sludge using a sterilized basket or cheese cloth.
- 11.Enjoy the filtered Sake. Do not drink too much.
Alcohol content is two to three times more than beer.
Cooling the filtered Sake is the best way to taste.
- 12.Remaining sludge can be used to cook vegetable pickles in a
refrigerator. Cucumber is the most suitable vegetable.
If real "Amasake" is available (sake sludge mixed with suger is not
real amasake),directly pitch dry yeast in a bottle.You can brew Sake.
In Japan, at present, fermenting more than 1% alcohol without
license is illegal.
Before world war one, I heard that every family had been enjoying
home sake brewing. It was the Japanese culture.
But the war destroyed the culture too.
At present,members of " Homebrew News Letter" is only less
than 300. It is supposed that about ten thousand homebrewers exist
in Japan. We do not always brew beers but sometimes Sake.
Just two years ago the minimum amount of beer production
was reduced from 2000kl/year to 60kl/year by the pressure from
the USA. It was the beginning of small local beer brewers.
We,most of general Japanese people, are wanting more pressure
from the USA for free homebrew and for free trade.
Commercial Sake brewers use very expensive materials such as
50% polished specially selected kind of rice,which looks
very small crystal beads because of the excessive polishing process.
We never eat such a rice, we usually eat normally slightly
polished normal rice grown only for eating.
When I visited Sake brewer near my house,the manager told
me that he tried to eat that sake rice but that it was not tasty.
Homebrew Sake is very simple to make and satisfactorily tasty
if you do not compare with commercial real Sake.
I heard that US Sake brewer produce only real Sake because of
US tax law.Real Sake means Sake only from rice. In Japan,
tax law allows mixture of so called industrial ethyl alcohol to
Sake within a certain percentage. Real sake (Junmaishu) is very
I hope you enjoy homebrew Sake.