hist-brewing: koji

Elizabeth England-Kennedy lizek at antioch-college.edu
Thu Dec 6 23:53:03 PST 2001

I have found that the sake comes out best if I "starve" the yeast a bit --
add any sigars over the course of a few weeks (part each week) -- I had
this suggested as a way to force the yeast to begin breaking down the more
complex starches of the rice sooner. In making some side-to-side tests, I
have found the quality to really be better when I did this.

-- Liz EK

On Fri, 7 Dec 2001 AlannnnT at aol.com wrote:

> 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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