hist-brewing: koji

AlannnnT at aol.com AlannnnT at aol.com
Thu Dec 6 21:06:42 PST 2001

In a message dated 12/6/01 9:39:59 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
segedy at gsinet.net writes:

> What is koji?

Koji is a mold, similar to yeast. The primary thing that makes ordinary 
homemade rice-wine different from sake is the action of koji. When you mix 
the koji with the cooked rice, it starts to 'digest ' the rice, breaking it 
down to more simple sugars. So, the yeast can ferment it into alcohol more 
easily. The koji starts working, then the yeast is introduced. The koji keeps 
working while the yeast is working on the already 'digested' rice. The unique 
complexity of each specific sake is partially controlled by the introduction 
of more rice at various intervals. Of course, this is simplistically 
presented. Sake flavor is greatly affected by the rice variety, water, koji 
culture, yeast strain, temperature, fermentation schedule, racking interval, 
fermentation vessels and the skill of its creator.  

Now I'm going downstairs to my homebrew fridge/vault to open a split of my 
homemade sake. Served on the rocks, it's slightly yellow but very clear, dry 
and sharp with a pronounced rice flavor. Note: keep your finished sake 
refrigerated, or it will continue to ferment in the bottle. 
Alan Talman

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