How to Make Sake

By Charong Chow

Sake is an ancient rice-based alcoholic drink from Japan. According to the Sake Information Centre, the first sake was made by chewing on rice and then spitting it out. The enzymes in the saliva would break down the rice and ferment it. Modern sake was first produced at the end of the 16th century. Make sake with just four ingredients: water, rice, Kome-koji, which is a type of rice with aspergillus oryzae mold, and yeast.

Home-brew sake can be done, but it is time-consuming.

Step 1

Wash your 1 1/2 cups of short grain white rice by running cold water over it in a large bowl. You are removing the starch powder from the rice. Rinse with a colander. Place it back into the bowl and add cold water so it covers the rice by at least 2 inches. Refrigerate it for 12 hours or leave it on your kitchen counter for three hours.

Step 2

Add 3/4 tsp. brewer's yeast nutrient to 2 1/2 cups of cold water in a fermenter, which is available at home-brew stores. Stir in 1/2 tsp. of Epsom salt and 1 1/4 tsp. Morton Salt Substitute until completely dissolved. Then, pour in 1/2 cup of koji. Stir again. The koji is found at Japanese grocery stores. Place it into the refrigerator.

Step 3

Drain your soaked rice in the colander for 30 minutes. Cook the rice in the steamer for 45 minutes. It should be tender and translucent.

Step 4

Place the hot rice into the fermenter from the refrigerator with the koji mixture. Mix well and leave it at room temperature, about 74 degrees F. Stir twice a day with a sanitized spoon. After 48 hours, the koji liquifies the rice.

Step 5

Cool the mixture to 50 to 60 degrees F in a refrigerator set at that temperature. Sprinkle in one pack of WYeast Sake #9 Yeast, which is found at home-brew supply stores. Cover it and refrigerate for 12 hours.

Step 6

Raise the temperature of the mixture to 68 to 72 degrees by placing it in a cool basement or changing the setting on the refrigerator. Stir with a sanitized spoon two to three times a day for three days and then stir once a day for three more days.

Step 7

Lower the temperature to 50 degrees and let it rest for five days. Line a sanitized 5-gallon bucket with a large, natural canvas bag to press the sake mixture. Ladle about 2 cups of the the sake mixture into the canvas bag.

Step 8

Press the bag while it is twisted closed to press out the sake from the moromi, or the sake mash. Press as much liquid as possible and then throw out the solid mash. Ladle more of the moromi into the bag and press out the liquid. Continue until you have pressed all your moromi.

Step 9

Pour the sake into the glass jugs. Place the airlocks and one-hole stoppers into the jugs. Store at 50 degrees for up to 2 months.