HOW IS SAKE MADE
One of the first steps in making Sake is to mill & polish the rice to remove the protein and fatty substances in the outer part of the grain. A higher milling rate, will produce a better quality sake.
During the washing stage, particles and impurities, get rinsed away. Immediately after washing, rice kernels are soaked until rehydrated. Finally, the rice enters the steaming stage.
About 20% of steamed rice is separated from the rest, then placed in special temperature-controlled rooms for cooling. Brewmasters sprinkle koji spores on it. Koji mold is a rice-native mold essential for the breakdown of individual rice starch.
Starters (also known as moto) are a mix of the recently cultivated koji, a portion of steamed rice, additional water and yeast. The four-part mixture is added to a small, separate stainless-steel tank where it ferments for up to two weeks.
The sake mash is then combined in a large fermentation tank, this process permits the living yeast and koji to fully (and flavorfully) integrate with the rice.
Fermented sake is pushed through filter panels to remove varying levels of sediment.
Filtration will happen depending on the style of sake being brewed. Junmai Ginjo sake gets 100% filtrated in this process.
During pasteurization, the liquid sake is heated between 140-150°F. Heat ends fermentation, but more importantly, it kills any bacteria that could compromise the taste, texture and shelf life of sake.
Aging sake mellows the aggressive natural flavors at the fresh stage. Aging techniques don't seek to change these flavors, but rather coax them into a refined, drinkable palate with layered secondary aromas and finishes.
In this process the aged sake gets blending and diluted to get the desired flavours and alcohol volume.
Sake gest a second pasteurization just before bottling to maximize it’s shelf life.
The last step of the process is getting that delicious sake into some beautiful WESAKe cans and packing the, for distribution.