Sake brewing

The brewery’s traditional sake brewing skills
and passion for excellent sake
produce brilliant sake.
Kikuchi Sake Brewery began business in 1878.
This brewery, which produces the sake brands “Sanzen” and “Kiseki No Osake”,
stands at a corner of the traditional wholesale district in the Tamashima area of Kurashiki City in Okayama Prefecture.
Tamashima was one of many port towns for the large, wooden stone-hauling ships that departed from the Bitchu area.
Boasting excellent water quality from the Takahashi River valley and together with the superior rice strains of Omachi and Yamada Nishiki, “qualityoriented” is our motto in producing sake using traditional methods. The brewery owner and brewmaster To Kikuchi brews “Sanzen” with a commitment to quality and a passion for making the most excellent sake.
  • About Sake Brewing at Kikuchi Brewery

    The Sake brewing process is the most complicated fermentation system in the world of alcoholic drinks, because the process consists of converting the rice starch into sugar and fermenting the sugar simutaneously in the same tank. This complicated process is the traditional skill has been built a long time, and is handed down to each brewery ‘Toji’ (or brewmaster) who is the person in charge of the sake brewing.

  • About the ingredients

    Okayama Prefecture, where Kikuchi Sake Brewery is located, is the major production area for sake-making rice such as the ‘Omachi’ and ‘Yamadanishiki’ strains, as well as for table rice such as ‘Asahi’ and ‘Akebomo’. “Sanzen” is brewed mainly from these types of rice produced in Okayama Prefecture. When making sake, the rice is polished to a percentage of the original weight depending on th type of sake being made. The rice for ‘Daiginjo’ is polished to 35% of its original weight. The starchy ‘shinpaku’ or “white heart” of the rice kernel is the only part of the kernel that remains. Sake make from highly polished rice yields a cleaner, smoother sake.
  • Washing & steeping the rice

    The washing and steeping of the rice are performed for washing away the rice bran, and the water absorption rate is carefully monitored; the steeping time varies depending on the type of type and purpose of the rice. The more the rice is polished, the more rigidly the washing and steeping time are monitored to achieve the desired water absorption rate.
  • Steaming & cooling the rice

    The washed and steeped rice is steamed for about an hour in a special vat called a “koshiki”; the steamed rice is then cooled to the intended temperature. Especially rice for making high quality sake such as “daiginjo” is cooled slowly and naturally. The steamed rice is loosened by sake brewery workers (known as “kurabito”)f the brewery”) by hand to ensure uniform cooling.
  • Koji

    Making “koji “(a kind of mold grown on rice) is the most important step in the brewing process. In a high temperature room called a “muro”, the sake brewery workers sprinkle “Aspergillus oryzae”spores on the steamed rice; “Aspergillus oryzae” then grows proliferously on the rice. The growth of the koji is complete in about two days. The diastatic enzyme of koji breaks down the starch of steamed rice into glucose during the “shubo” and “moromi”processes.
  • Shubo

    Making “Shubo”consists growing a large amount of yeast in a small tank. The yeast is the microorganism which breaks down glucose into alcohol (fermentation). Making shubo is completed in about two weeks, and has a high quality fragrance at the end stage of the growth process. Shubo is used in the the next brewing process known as “moromi”.
  • Moromi

    Steamed rice, koji, shubo and water are put into the same tank .This process is divided into three stages for proper yeast growth. After the yeast has developed, the temperature of this mixture, called “moromi”, is strictly controlled for approximately 25 days. During this time, the the processes of parallel fermentation (saccharification of steamed rice starch by koji, and the alcoholic fermentation by yeast) is occurring in the moromi, and a fine balance between the processes is maintained. Brewery workers agitate the moromi (called “kaiire”) every day in order to equalize the contents and temperature, and to remove gas.
  • Pressing

    At the end stage of the moromi growth process, the brew master determines when to press the mixture by observing the surface, temperature, and taste and density in regards to the ‘sake meter value’, also known as “nihonshudo”, of the moromi. By pressing, the moromi is separated into liquid sake and solid lees, called “sakekasu”. After pressing, the sake is bottled, and goes through the processes of being pasteurized, quality adjustment, storage, and more before being shipped.