ABOUT SAKE   FAQ - B. SAKE MAKING PROCESS    
 
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b-1. How is sake different from wine and beer?

The sake fermentation process is called parallel fermentation. The fermentation of starch to sugar and the fermentation of sugar to alcohol occur simultaneously in a single batch. In wine making, sugar already exists in the juice of the grapes, so only yeast is added for the fermentation. In beer making, starch is first converted to sugar and subsequently yeast is added. In both wine and beer making the fermentation process is linear.


b-2. How long does it take to make sake?

It takes 5-7 months from the first stage, which is preparation of fermentation, to the bottling of the sake.


b-3. How long is the fermentation stage?

It lasts 3 to 4 weeks. It varies according to the types of sake being produced. Normally, the Ginjo type sake that is produced at a lower temperature takes a longer fermentation time.


b-4. Is the production of sake seasonal?

No. Sake production is continuous throughout the year. This system is called Shiki-Jozo.


b-5. What is pasteurization?

Sake goes through heating process; it is heated at 149°F-158°F for a short duration, which stops fermentation and also eliminates bacteria; therefore, the sake gains shelf life without adding the sulfites which are added in the wine-making process.


b-6. Do you use wooden barrels for production?

Wooden barrels are no longer used. They were used until the early 20th century but were found to cause the growth of harmful bacteria. In modern sake making, wooden barrels have been replaced by the use of stainless-steel tanks.


b-7. What do you do with the leftover sake lees (sakekasu) after pressing moromi?

Sakekasu  is often used in Japanese cooking and also used as a curing agent for fish and vegetables.  To see recipes using sake lees (sakekasu) click on the recipe link.


Sakekasu

b-8. Can you purchase sakekasu at a Japanese market?

You can purchase it at some Japanese grocery markets. It’s also available at our online shop.


b-9. How does the sake brewing process make possible alcohol levels of 15% or higher?

It is make possible by sake’s unique parallel fermentation that allows growth of stronger yeast.

In contrast, yeast produced in wine making dies at around an alcohol level of 13%. In beer making, yeast dies even earlier, at an alcohol level of 4-5%.




   
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