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Sake without koji

It has been a while, and i have been extremely busy with school, but ifound a way to experiment some more with this lovely drink.

Has anyone experimented with producing sake without koji, using amylases instead? I am about to do a project at my school on sake fermentation, possibly without koji.

I hope noone gets upset with my question and merely regard it as blasphemy.

Tech. you could do this, but so much flavor comes from the koji itself. It would be akin to using turbo yeast with sugar.

I was under the assumption that the yeast produced the majority of flavours, but if the end product of an enzymatic degradation is near the end product of a pure sugar fermentation, I might have to convince my supervisor to reconsider working with fungi in his beer brewery :slight_smile:

It could be a fun experiment to see how many flavours one could get out of using a mix of amylases and proteases.

I cannot even remember if the fruity flavours comes from koji or yeast as I am writing this, but a readup on koji flavours is due, before I begin this project I sense. But what the heck, it’s next year so plenty time is available

While yeast will have quite an impact on flavor, the koji will bring earthy/nutty/mushroom/fruity at various levels. Sometimes flavors when mixed at various levels tend to be greater than the sum of the two. I would hazard a guess making batch with koji the other with enzymes will be completely contrast-able.

In my mind, growing koji can give way to other flora, and when added to the moto for a natural starter allows for complex flavors to be produced. This is an effect of having koji, let alone flavors from the koji itself.

On the flip side… Barley is malted to make enzymes. The grain is cracked and added to water, which is heated up to convert starch to sugar. A barley plant doesn’t grow at 150F, but the enzymes still go to work on the starch to make sugar for the plant to grow at much lower temperatures.

If 1 pound of crushed malted barley is added to 108F water, some starch will dissolve and so will the enzymes. Take this rich enzyme wort and immediately draw it off and cool it down. Instead of adding koji, use this enzyme rich water.

Adjust process to manage the acid producing bugs (maybe cooler temps right away)…

I think I’m going to try this right away…

Hey Dray,

Sorry for the delay with my response. So it was an interesting response you gave me and I am interested in the results you come up with.

We will ourselves be conducting some experiments with addition of commercial beer enzymes (amylases, proteases and lipases), hand selected enzymes, various types of aspergillus oryzae, and with enzymes isolated from koji grown on rice through some filtering and such (a process which has not fully been determined how it’s to be done yet).

One of the obstacles, which you have expressed your concerns with aswell (as far as I understood) is the complication of controlling the release of sugar when using a proces not particularly made for production of sake. Naturally occuring bacteria rely on limiting supplies in which they can outcompete other bacteria. However, if optimal conditions for growth is introduced into the broth sooner than expected in the proces, you will end up with a different microbiota.

As enzymes do have a lower amount of activity at lower temperatures this could be a partial solution, and I have seen at least one sake company make their moto overa longer than usual period, however at lower temperature. However addition of smaller amounts of enzymes can also affect the turnover as their catalytic affect is dependant on theirconcetration.

Either way, enough boredom. I hope to have a report out on the dependance of sake on koji and how to replicate koji flavours by sometime end june :slight_smile:

Back to exams!

Regards,
Claes Nilsson

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