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Thread: brewing - diversion from earlier thread

  1. #1
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    brewing - diversion from earlier thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Ablett View Post
    Mark I guess it would depend on the time of year

    FYI "Warm" sake is usually the absolute "Plonk" or crap........ Take a little trip with me

    Good sake is just Rice, Water and yeast, really, that is it, the type of rice, water and yeast will all change and there are better versions of everything, so the taste of the sake will be very different, depending on what is used.

    Now that is "Good" sake, like a "Real" beer, for example (sake and beer are both "Brewed").

    Now the crap national brand stuff, is different, they brew it from low cost materials, and then they cut it with water, significantly, and add "brewers alcohol" to it to bring the alcohol content back up to the 16% to 18% range. This alcohol that is added is grain alcohol, as in distilled, not brewed. If you drink sake and get a splitting headache from it, this is why, this stuff is again, cheap grog.

    Now this is where the "warming up" thing comes into play. When you warm up "Good Sake" you often destroy the taste of the sake, as a lot of good sake is "Nama" meaning "unpasteurized" and heating it up will boil off the alcohol content and the best tasting and smelling ingredients, thus, good sake is almost NEVER warmed up, you would not heat up your favorite pint of real ale would you? The saving grace of the cheap sake is that, well, it is cheap, but also that it is good for warming up, as the grog, distilled alcohol, the stuff that gives you a headache, is the first stuff to float away as you heat it, so heating cheap sake actually improves the taste...........most likely a LOT more than you wanted to know......
    This was very interesting. I've always been averse to the boiling method for mead making for fear of losing any aromatics that might be in my honey. I'll either sanitize my must with low level of sulfites or, lately, not sanitize my must at all and just rely on the antimicrobial nature of honey and the aggressive growth of champagne yeast to control any undesirables. Now that you mention it, I do prefer my mead slightly chilled at maybe 40 - 50 F (is this around 18 C?). I'll typically refigerate the mead and then let it warm outside the 'fridge for about 30 - 60 minutes before enjoying it.

    Unfortunately, I have to admit to not being a fan of the hop so the ale reference is lost. If anyone knows of a good unhopped ale or barleywine I'd sure like to know!

    Back to sake, I was under the impression that the rice needed a fungus pre-ferment to access the rice sugars similar to how barley needs to be enzymatically treated (malted) to release the sugars. Am I misunderstanding the process?

    When you mention the distilled "brewers alcohol" and headaches, are you referring to the fuesil alcohols (various phenols) that need to be "aged out" of good wines and meads?
    Last edited by Mark Kosmowski; 10-17-2007 at 03:16 PM.

  2. #2
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    Mead eh?

    My older brother and some friends actually set up a company to make it in Canada, but by the time they got a good product that they could reproduce regularly, they had still a LOT of hoops to jump through to get a license to brew it and sell it, plus all three of them had good job offers and they just folded up shop and went their separate ways, I did get a few bottle of it and it was good!

    I tired to answer you questions below in RED

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kosmowski View Post
    This was very interesting. I've always been averse to the boiling method for mead making for fear of losing any aromatics that might be in my honey. I'll either sanitize my must with low level of sulfites or, lately, not sanitize my must at all and just rely on the antimicrobial nature of honey and the aggressive growth of champagne yeast to control any undesirables. Now that you mention it, I do prefer my mead slightly chilled at maybe 40 - 50 F (is this around 18 C?). I'll typically refigerate the mead and then let it warm outside the 'fridge for about 30 - 60 minutes before enjoying it.

    Unfortunately, I have to admit to not being a fan of the hop so the ale reference is lost. If anyone knows of a good unhopped ale or barleywine I'd sure like to know!

    To my knowledge, the hops in most barleywine is there mainly as a preservative. A buddy up in Hokkaido imports beer from Rouge breweries in Oregon, they are made to his specs just for Japan. He has one that is roughly translated as "Have a Phred and go to bed" (his name is Phred) and it is something sick like 14% alc, and has a 10 year plus expiration date, I love the stuff, it comes in fairly small bottles, but it is darn good, to me at least.

    Back to sake, I was under the impression that the rice needed a fungus pre-ferment to access the rice sugars similar to how barley needs to be enzymatically treated (malted) to release the sugars. Am I misunderstanding the process?

    No, you have it right, the fungus is called "Kojikin" in Japanese, I'm not sure what that translates as but yeah, it is a fungus that basically breaks down the starches in the rice so they are converted to simple sugar, and then the yeast can grow in them. It is quite the process, they polish the rice, to rid the rice of the outer areas, which contain the most minerals etc, as these are thought to effect the pure taste of the sake. The most expensive stuff, Diaginjo, has the rice polished to at least 50% of it's original size, so they take 100 Kg of rice, polish it, and they have 50 Kg of polished rice that is one reason it is more expensive. The rice they use is specific for making sake as well, the grains are MUCH fatter than the rice you would eat, and in face, sake rice, cooked like you would regular eating rice, is not that tasty. The rice is polished, and then steamed, the Kojikin is added to it while still hot from the steamer, then it is taken into a special room, the room is HOT and HUMID the rice is spread around on these large tables in these wooden racks with a bottom made from bamboo matting, which allows air flow. How long the rice stays in the room etc also depends on what rank or grade it is. This rice is then then sprinkled with yeast, and put into a vat, where it cooks for a certain number of days. When it is ready it is split up and put into other vats of rice that has been steamed and mixed with water, the first smaller batch is basically a "Starter" mix which activate in the new larger vats.

    This is all from memory, off the top of my head, so I could have some smaller details wrong

    When you mention the distilled "brewers alcohol" and headaches, are you referring to the fuesil alcohols (various phenols) that need to be "aged out" of good wines and meads?

    No, I do not think so. The brewers alcohol is distilled cheap alcohol, made from anything that they can get their hands on, potatoes, rice, fruit anything, then distilled until it is just about pure alcohol, think of the cheapest rot-gut vodka you can imagine, it is nasty stuff, better for cleaning your paint brushes, IMHO
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

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