A Sake Story


This is the story of our sake, brewed under the tutelage of Master Eric Taylor via this excellent guide.

Moto: humble beginnings

Our sake came from humble beginnings, like all great heroes. Nothing more than 2 cups of rice, koji and sake yeast in a small plastic bucket. Our sake lay for 3 weeks in this pupal stage, awaiting its call to action.

This stage is where the culture of yeast and koji used to ferment the rice is cultivated. Koji is a type of fungus that breaks down the complex starches found in rice into sugars, which the yeast can digest. But, the two need to be healthy and working together properly in order to tackle an entire batch’s worth of rice. During moto, the yeast and koji have a chance to settle and make friends with each other before beginning the primary fermentation.

At the end of the moto stage, we noticed lots of delicious smells — foreshadowing what was to come.

Moromi: so much rice!

After 3 weeks, we transferred the moto into a large 5 gallon bucket and began gradually adding rice.

Over three days, we added exponentially more rice until we reached the final volume of 5 gallons. This involved a lot of rice cooking (basically the entire sack of rice) and provided lunch for the hard-working club president for several days.

Primary fermentation: the big chill
In order to make the sake as aromatic as possible, while avoiding off flavors due to esters and fusel alcohols, the fermentation needs to occur at a cold temperature. After adding all the rice, we stored the sake in our fridge for 3 weeks around 15C.

Overflow into the airlock after a vigorous first night of fermentation. A good sign!

Aging, bottling, and drinking

After primary fermentation, we strained the batch through a grain bag in order to remove all of the insoluble rice matter. At this point we had nigorizake, fresh, sweet, unfiltered sake. Much of this was drank in celebration.

In order to get real sake though, we had to perform secondary fermentation. At this point, the sake was split up into several small vessels and placed back in the fridge. Unfortunately, at one point our fridge heated up due to the door being left open and the sake blew off the airlocks of some of the vessels and soaked our entire club space. We were able to salvage about half of the batch, but we learned a valuable lesson about temperature control.

After two weeks in secondary a round of racking gave us sake in the most refined state we were willing to work for. The process was challenging, but a lot of fun, and the end-product was surprisingly good. We ended up with about 8 liters of 10% sake. There were notes of pears and white grapes, but also a considerable amount of estery funkiness, probably due to the unexpected warming. We decided that the nigorizake was quite a bit better than the finish product, especially in the first few days when it was fresh.

If you’re thinking about making sake, we recommend you to try it! It’s fun and is a remarkably different process than any other brew. Just remember — temperature control!

Check out our Facebook page for info, events, and discussion!

Hey there!

If you’re interested in the UBC Brewing Club and want to get involved, the best way to start is to join us on Facebook. We keep our page updated with info on upcoming brews, special events, and brewing talk.


Alternatively, come to any of our weekly brewing sessions, Sunday from 3-6pm in the SUB Servery (2nd floor). At our weekly sessions, you can learn the process, brew your own batches, and take part in our club brews.

beercast—Feb 23, 2012


Kathy goes to Portland for reading week! With her friend Megan!

They come close to sampling Breakside Brewery’s Lavendar Fudge Stout (oooh, so close), and get inoculated into the Rogue Nation. There was a no talking on cellphone rule at the bar. And we didn’t know how taster sets work.

And so much beer drinking.

Beers drunk:
from Rogue:
Yellow Snow IPA
Dungeness Crab Porter
Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout
Single Malt Ale
John John Juniper
Mocha Porter
Mogul Madness
Hazelnut Brown

Notable beers not noted:
Breakside’s Aztec

Questions, comments and concerns? Send an email to ubcbrewing@gmail.com, or tweet us at ubcbrewing. Oh. And send us beer. We will drink them.

Easy 10-Step Instructions on How to Brew a Basic All Grain Beer

Through my many adventures in the series of tubes we call the internets, I have found it interesting how hard it is to find a simple straightforward guide on how to make a basic All-Grain beer.

So here is a simple no B.S. guide on how to make your first basic (Single Infusion) All Grain batch for beginners! (I’m leaving out some tips and tricks for the sake of brevity, but it’s encouraged that you use your head while brewing)
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A Taste of One of the World’s Most Expensive Beers

Oh yes, you read that correctly, boys and girls.

The brUBC has had a chance to taste not only one the world’s most expensive beers, but also taste a onetime holder of the Guinness Book of World Records for the most alcoholic beer in the world.

What beer, you may ask, that I am referring to?

Not what you would think when you hear the word ‘expensive’.

I introduce to you, Samuel Adams Utopias Beer. (2009 vintage)

Sam Adams Utopia

Aged up to 16 years in a single-use bourbon wood casks in the Sam Adam’s Boston barrel room, this beer is brewed in very limited qualities with only 9000 bottles being brewed in 2009. Coming in at 27% ABV, it’s the world’s strongest naturally fermented beer ever made. (Unlike the 55% Brew Dog: End of History which applies fractional freezing to increase alcoholic content)

So how much, you may ask?
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