Last night I went to a release party for Bell's Hopslam, an incredibly delicious beer that we wait for every year. A group of homebrewers all sat together, and naturally, talk turned to what everyone was brewing at the moment. Of course, I said I was brewing sake.
The thing with homebrewers is that many of them are engineers (at least in La Crosse), and many of them like to know all of the intricate things about brewing anything. So when I have to talk to a homebrewing engineer about brewing sake, I should know what I'm talking about. I am not that detail-oriented, however, and I still have a very rudimentary knowledge of how the processes work for brewing sake. So this is what I say.
"Basically, when you brew beer, you throw together the wort, yeast, and water all together. The yeast works aerobically for a day or so building itself up, and then switches to anaerobic action for the rest of the ferment to produce alcohol. When you brew sake, you buildup the yeast (aerobic), use koji to pop open the rice and make the starches and enzymes available, and the yeast then uses the starches and enzymes to make alcohol (anaerobic). This is done is a cycle: yeast buildup, koji addition, rice addition, and repeat three times."
This never satisfies them, but I hope to be able to speak a little more in-depth about it by the time I bring my sake to a meeting. I have two months to figure it out...
DAY 11 (Nakazoe - middle addition)
Wash 6 cups of rice in tap water for 15 min
Soak rice for 1 hr
Drain rice for 1 hr
Steam rice for 1hr
Fluff and cool rice for 15 min
Mix rice and 4.25 cups cold water from DAY 10
Add cooled rice to mash (55 deg)
Stir and place in cold, dark place
Prep for Tomezoe
Add 3.5 cups koji to mash
Add 10 cups R-O water to mash
Put 6 cups R-O water in fridge
Rinse 10 cups rice in tap water for 30 min
Soak rice overnight
Mash smells like bananas and is very bubbly.