Akaisake

Wine, Sake or any homemade concoctions. Except distillation.

Akaisake

Postby Taylor-MadeAK » 28 Nov 2008, 19:15

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Sooo....I've got some red koji (aka ang-kak) on the way (thank you, layangman!), and it's for the express purpose of brewing an experimental batch of akaisake next month. Akaisake, as its name implies, is red sake - a relatively new and exceedingly rare style of Japanese nihonshu (not to be confused with the sweet Chinese style foochow ang chaw jiu or any other glutinous rice wine). "Rare" as in "I can't get my hands on any." The only information I've ever really seen about it is what John Gautner has written, and even that boils down to "the color comes from beni koji." Amounts, techniques, and other information have proven completely impossible to find, so I'm turning to my forum buds for help, advice, and encouragement.

So, here are some questions I would like answers to:

Have you ever had akaisake before?

If so, can you describe the flavors and aromas of akaisake?

Have you or anyone you know ever made akaisake before?

Do you have any other information or sources of information (non-English sites are okay, thanks to the Babelfish) that might further help me out?

Would you be interested in reading a Taylor-MadeAK™ guide on the subject of akaisake?


Thanks for your time, guys! :mrgreen:
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Re: Akaisake

Postby layangman » 01 Dec 2008, 13:05

Bob,

I have never seen or tasted the Akaisake, good luck in your brew, do keep us posted here on the results.

Cheers,
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Re: Akaisake

Postby keat » 01 Dec 2008, 23:39

neither have I, never seen nor tasted before. In fact, before seeing this post, have never heard of it.
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Re: Akaisake

Postby Taylor-MadeAK » 02 Dec 2008, 06:05

Well, one of my buddies here in Anchorage happens to have close friends who live in mainland Japan, and he's talked them into sending a couple bottles over. So it looks like I'll get to taste some, at least. :D I'll be documenting this batch, so we'll all see how it goes.
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Re: Akaisake

Postby keat » 02 Dec 2008, 09:23

I wonder what is added to make it red?
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Re: Akaisake

Postby Taylor-MadeAK » 02 Dec 2008, 10:22

keat wrote:I wonder what is added to make it red?

Answer:

John Gautner wrote:The first question is obviously "So, how'd they do it?" There are, actually, several ways to create a red color in sake. One is the rice; there are strains of rice that are reddish and purplish. But these are not the kinds of rice best suited for sake brewing. A cool color is a cool color, but if the sake doesn't taste good, it is all for naught.

There are also strains of yeast that will yield a reddish tint. But again, yeast has such leverage over the final flavor and fragrance that going with established yeast strains is best if you are going to mess with other parameters, especially since many wild yeast strains give off far too many acids to make good sake. Tweaking more than one major variable at a time forces a brewer to relinquish control.

What is left is the koji. There are strains of koji, appropriately named beni-koji, that create a reddish tint in the final product.

Niigata is one of the few prefectures that has a fully functioning prefectural sake brewing research center. It was under the auspices of this organization that akaisake was developed, and they chose to do it via the koji.

You might remember seeing another thread in this forum asking about ang-kak? That's the same thing as the beni-koji mentioned above.
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Re: Akaisake

Postby Taylor-MadeAK » 04 Jan 2009, 15:53

Well, I haven't seen much activity around here of late, so I guess I'll post an update to this experiment with akaisake. Pics comin' up!

As with any respectable sake, it all starts with a batch of koji. In this case, I'm substituting 20% of the normal white stuff with the beni-koji that layangman sent me, but I still need to make some regular koji. This time I made it using the spore-covered rice in my big shaker, and damned if it didn't work better than mixing spores with flour and using a sifter.

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After a day's rest, I move immediately into the moto - following my usual procedures, of course.

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Two weeks after starting the moto, it's time to build up the moromi - starting with hatsuzoe and the included 2-hour interval stirring that my daughter likes to help with (pictures of me hand-mixing the moromi courtesy of my wife):

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Today was nakazoe, but I didn't get any pictures because my wife was too busy visiting with her neice and new great-neice to snap pics for me while I was up to my forearms in moromi. It looked mostly the same, though, so you didn't miss anything. I just added the final koji addition in preparation for tomorrow's big tomezoe addition, but those pics won't be coming off the camera until sometime tomorrow.
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Re: Akaisake

Postby Taylor-MadeAK » 05 Jan 2009, 15:01

Okay, tomezoe is finished. Here are the updated pics:

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Re: Akaisake

Postby Taylor-MadeAK » 26 Jan 2009, 10:48

Pressing day! This is the second time using my "new" press for pressing sake. In my quest to find pressing bags that work better than the ones I already had (the super-fine one that let liquid through only very slowly and the coarse one that let too much kasu through), I stopped by the hardware store and had a look at their paint straining bags. Two "five gallon" paint straining bags cost me about $4 and turned out to have a mesh that was just about right smack in between the two types sold by my LHBS, which meant they would probably be about perfect for the job. The down side is the material they're made from is lighter than what's used for actual pressing bags, so I wasn't sure how they would hold up to the pressure generated by a press.

The initial results were pretty positive, the paint straining bag let plenty of liquid through rather quickly while holding back the more solid material of the kasu. I still need to work on my pressing technique, but the mortal blow to this pressing session came when the pressure generated by the final hard pressing popped a quarter inch hole in the material of the pressing bag - sending moromi jetting in to my face and across the table. :shock: It wasn't much of a mess, and I had already transferred and pressed all of the moromi before it happened. When I inspected the lees after taking the press apart, I found that the very middle was still pretty wet with perhaps a cup of sake that wasn't recovered. No big deal, I just moved the kasu to my usual freezer containers (for later use in making pickles!) and discarded the busted bag. The good news is it was a two-pack of bags, so it's not like I have to buy a new one next time. :mrgreen:

In the end I have just over 2.5 gallons of cloudy akaisake in secondary with a FG of 0.997. It'll be left alone for the next two weeks before undergoing the racking/fining/pasteurizing step.

Here are the pics of today's pressing:

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Re: Akaisake

Postby Taylor-MadeAK » 09 Feb 2009, 15:33

Okay, interest in this topic seems to have slacked off, but that won't stop me from updating! This batch is nearing completion, with today being the day I racked the settled akaisake off of its ori and into clean vessels for fining and pasteurizing. The final gravity of this batch has dropped a bit since pressing, settling at 0.994 (SMV +8.7). That's very dry, but it doesn't taste dry because the red koji makes it so darn fruity! I'm going to hold off on trying to do a full review of the flavor and aroma for a while yet because this batch isn't done, but I can tell you now that this batch is coming pretty much exactly into line with the other akaisake I've tasted (which is still in my fridge, waiting to be compared to my homebrew version).

In the photos below, you'll notice a clear jug that I've racked the akaisake into. Somewhere along the line I lost one of the four green 4L jugs that I bought for making sake years ago, and I don't have a lid that fits the clear one, so I'm stuck using as nothing more than an intermediary vessel to hold racked sake while I clean out the green jugs as I empty them. I'm posting a picture this time to show off the color of this batch of sake. I'm sure you see why. :mrgreen:

On to the pictures!

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Just a head's up to everyone: it's going to be another three weeks before I get around to bottling this batch. Normally I would bottle it after allowing two weeks for the bentonite to clear the sake, but we're headed out of the state for a week of vacation two weeks from now. So, bottling and updates after we get back!
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Re: Akaisake

Postby Taylor-MadeAK » 11 Mar 2009, 13:32

It's bitter!

It's grainy!

Weighing in at around 17% alcohol by volume, it's indescribably the fruitiest thing* I've ever tasted!
*That wasn't a fruit juice, that is.

It's...freshly bottled akaisake. I'm pasteurizing now, but the above are my preliminary final results for this batch of sake. My wife doesn't like it, but this is nothing new (to date she has pronounced only my last batch of ginjo sake to be fit for feminine consumption). Here are a couple pics to tide you guys over until I get around to writing up the full Taylor-MadeAK story on this style of sake:

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Re: Akaisake

Postby Hunty » 23 Mar 2009, 14:25

Now I wonder what it is about this thread that makes it such a target for spambots.... :oops: I am deleting 2-3 posts (all the same) each week.
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Re: Akaisake

Postby Taylor-MadeAK » 18 Apr 2009, 06:33

Any of you moderator types want to clean this smut out of my topic? Please? This is some really offensive stuff!
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