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Homebrewed sake: straining, pasteurising and bottling

Homebrewed sake: straining, pasteurising and bottling

This is is part six of a series on making sake at home, part one is here.

As we came to day 20 (conveniently, a Saturday), the sake fermentation had slowed down significantly. There were still small signs of fermentation but we decided to stop and take advantage of a quiet day at home. Time to strain out the solids!

We had 7 litres of sake on the lees, and first planned to let the sake filter gently through cloth into another 10L bucket.

My small assistant and I thought we would filter through cheesecloth set over a strainer, so we sanitised a bucket and strainer, and boiled a cloth.

However, it soon became obvious that the rice particles weren’t going to allow passive filtering, and so we switched up to a method with more force.

We were left with around 5L of fresh sake, still milky, and a kilo or so of pressed lees
The lees started to fall, but fermentation continued: we decided to pasteurise.

The cloudy sake started to fall clear, but it was still fermenting a little.

At this stage we really started to feel the pressure of the many different paths one can take with sake. To stop, to pasteurise, to let it go? We really didn’t feel we had a definitive answer. Pretty much on a coin flip and a ‘we are home today, we will be away at work all of the next week so let’s sort it out now’, we went with pasteurisation (half an hour at 60C), resealed the bottle, and put it away to, hopefully, clear.

This sight worried us. Surely yellow isn’t optimal? Eek

The sake ‘cleared’, sure, but it cleared to a worrying yellow. Did we ruin it? Was it always going to be this way? We just didn’t know. We gave it a week, thinking perhaps the colour was particles still in suspension, but it stayed stubbornly yellow. And then we bottled:

Our yield was small: ten little 330ml bottles of homemade sake.

We were pleased, but kind of worried about all the different choices we’d had to make along the way to here. These ten bottles were the sum of our choices, this time.

Before we tasted it, there was one more project to enjoy: kasuzuke pickles.

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