Rice Wine (Saki) Recipe & Guidelines

Rice Wine (Saki) Recipe & Guidelines

Post by H. Sandero » Thu, 24 Oct 1996 04:00:00

I would like some help with Rice Wine (Saki).  Have found numerous
recipes which are quite similar.  Most recipes call for husked or raw
rice but don't suggest brand names.  The rice in grocery stores in my
area don't actually say raw or husked on the packages.  Some recipes use
raisins, others use grape concentrate.  I have seen recipes with corn
sugar, regular sugar and also with honey.  Does it make much difference.
Would like to start out with just one gallon.  What about racking and
long term shelf life?  Can anyone give some extra comments and
precautions?  Thanks.


Rice Wine (Saki) Recipe & Guidelines

Post by GREATFE » Sat, 26 Oct 1996 04:00:00

The best Sake is made from highly polished rice, with as much as 90% of
the rice grain polished away for the very highest grades,  leaving a
little crystal of the very heart of the grain. This is then cooked, and
sprinkled with Koji, a fungus which has starch converting properties.
Growing this in the rice takes about a week, under carefully controlled
temperature and humidity. Then it is mashed, with hard water, slightly
acidulated, and fermented on the mash. Finally it is filtered, through
huge filters, like heavy canvas. A bit of trouble to do at home.

We put together a kit several years ago, when the Wyeast sake yeast came
out, but there was little interest at the time, and after throwing away
several orders of old Wyeast, we dropped the project. I still have the
instructions, as follows:

                      GREAT FERMENTATIONS of Marin
                          87 Larkspur Street
                         San Rafael, CA 94901
                       Telephone: (415) 459-2520


This kit is designed to make Full Strength sake, which is as ***ic as
fortified wine. To obtain that strength, we must have a high ***
yeast, perfect yeast nutrition, and a program for feeding the yeast with
several additions of Dry Rice Extract (DRE).  If all the DRE is added at
the fermentation may stick.

Begin by bringing at least two gallons of water to a boil. Add the Citric
and Gypsum, to acidulate and harden the water. Turn off the heat, add one
of DRE, and stir until it is fully dissolved. Add one and a half gallons
cold water, for a total volume at this stage of 3 1/2 gallons. Mix in the
Yeast Food.

Since the first version of this we have available a liquid Sake yeast from

WYEAST. We recommend you use this, according to the directions on the
You can also use active dry wine yeast. If you use the dry yeast,
the Wine Yeast in plain warm water, at a temperature of 100 degrees
Fahrenheit, for about 10 minutes. Then add some of your unfermented sake,
few spoonfuls at a time, until you have the temperature of the yeast
and the temperature of your brew within 10 degrees of each other. Pitch
yeast culture into the brew, and put it all into a 5 gallon glass carboy,
a fermentation lock. Let it ferment for several days, past any foaming

Heat another half gallon of water. Turn off the heat, and add your next 5
bag of DRE. Dissolve completely, to make a sterile syrup. Pour the syrup
your fermenting carboy, and mix. The fermentation will speed up for a few
days, and then slow down. After about a week, dissolve your last bag of
DRE in
the brew. This should bring you very close to the top of the carboy. You
to top up the carboy as full as you can get it with boiled, cooled water.

Now wait for the fermentation to complete. It will get slower and slower,
finally stop and begin to clear. Ideally, it should clear all the way to
a few inches from the bottom, but some batches are stubborn, and require
additional Koji to complete the clarification as much as possible. It will

never clear as completely as a grape wine, with the compact lees deposit
the bottom. When you have a clear border between the clear sake at the top
the milky sake at the bottom, prepare your Bentonite Finings by soaking
in a cup of water overnight. If you are adding additional Koji, you can
it along with the Bentonite. Rack the sake, siphoning it all into another
clean carboy, thoroughly mixing in your Bentonite slurry.

Let it re-settle for a week or so. At this point it is probably as clear
as it
will get. Professional sake plants would pressure-filter it at this stage,
as to get it all clear. Home sake makers just have to accept two types of
sake, the clear kind, which you carefully siphon off the top, and bottle,
the milky type. Serve the ceremonial sake warm, in the traditional small
or the ancient cypress boxes. Serve the milky sake sweetened, mixed with a

little boiled rice, in an earthenware cup. I still remember my first sweet

sake, on a cold February morning in Tokyo, served from a ramshackle cart
the Deer Park...