3 types of Rice for making sake

Koji, Syubo, Kakemai

There are more or less 10 steps during processing sake.  It is often written that main ingredients of sake are rice, water, malted rice and brewing alcohol(*to create Junmai-syu, sake maker does not add brewing alcohol). 

Wait a minute. What is malted rice exactly? We hate malted breads. But we love sake…

In this article, I explain to you what malted rice.

[malted rice is so important]

First of all, I need to explain why Sake maker use malted rice. It is because of scientific point of view.  Whole rice grain consists of protein and starch. Sake maker does not need protein part. So, they only use starch after polishing rice(磨き). However, starch can’t be fermented. So, malted rice decompose starch  into sugar.  This malted rice is called Koji(麹).

[Sake’s mother]

After making koji(麹), sake maker mixes up rice, water , Koji, lactic acid and yeast. This becomes the base for sake. It is called “Syubo(酒母)”. It liturally means sake’s mother. As mamę shows, syubo becomes sake and lees after fermentation. When syubo is fermented, it change the name as “Moromi(醪)”.


When Moromi is under the fermentation process, sake maker adds  steamed rice, which is called Kakemai(掛け米).  Large amount of rice is needed for making sake. Kakemai actually account for 70% to whole rice for the process of making sake.