How Sake is made

Sake is made from but a few ingredients: Rice, Water, Yeast, and a mold known as Koji-kin, or Koji mold. But the land and the guilds of craftsmen are part of the finely wrought
expression of sake as well. Here is a bit more about each of these “ingredients,” although in truth, each topic could fill tomes with what there is to say.

Sake World Line

Making Sake -- The Mash (Photo by Kenji Nachi)

THE BREWING PROCESS
For a step-by-step review of the brewing process, accompanied by photos of the various brewing stages,
please click here.

Sake World Line

The Rice

THE RICE
There are dozens of special rice used to make sake. Growing sake rice is hard and backbreaking work, and inefficient as well
from a  mass production standpoint. For a description of the rice varieties used to make sake, click here. For an example of a typical rice bag, click here.

Sake World Line

The Water

THE WATER
Great sake typically comes from small brewers who use special water from nearby mountain streams or hidden underground
aquifirs.  But how does the water (whether soft or hard,  rich or poor in minerals) impact the taste? Click here for an overview.

Sake World Line

The People

THE PEOPLE
At the end of the day, the final sake product says as much about the people who make it as the ingredients they use. Click here to learn about the special brewing traditions that smaller brewers continue to use, despite intense competition from mass-producers who use less labor-intensive methods and lower-quality ingredients.

Sake World Line

Grain of rice on which koji is propagating

THE KOJI
The magical koji mold is used in sake brewing to break down the starch molecules into sugar molecules that can be used as
food  by the yeast cells. Click here for more about koji.

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THE YEAST

THE YEAST
The type of yeast used in the brewing process significantly impacts the flavor and fragrance of the resulting sake. Click here for more about the types of yeast used in sake production.

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The Land, The Weather

LAND & WEATHER
What type of terrain and climate is best suited for growing the rice used in sake  production? Click here for an overview.

Sake World Line

GRAB BAG

GRAB BAG
Photos and descriptions of various sake-making machines, curious drinking vessels, and other interesting objects associated
with Japanese sake.