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  • Welcome to Dassai Bar 23, in Kyobashi , Tokyo

  • It's a place you can get a glass of the world famous Dassai 23

  • Japanese Sake has gained popularity worldwide,

  • and Dassai is the brand most sought after

  • with its fine polish ratio and smooth sophisticated taste.

  • But how do we get to this refined finished product?

  • I traveled to their brewery in Yamaguchi Prefecture

  • an hour from Hiroshima, nestled deep in the country side.

  • Showing me around the brewery is Dassai CEO, Sakura-san,

  • He shared his knowledge and passion for making Sake with me.

  • From Rice to Bottle.

  • But before we begin the tour,

  • It's good to learn a little about the rice.

  • I joined Dassai's rice planting ceremonial event in June.

  • Yamadanishiki is the variety of rce,

  • most widely used to make SAKE.

  • It's grown deep in Hyogo Prefecture.

  • where the conditions are ideal.

  • Rice planting by hand is back breaking work.

  • Historically, nearly every family had their rice paddy.

  • Nowadays, nearly everybody gets their rice at the store.

  • But this tradition has deep roots.

  • These days though, farmers use a rice planting machine.

  • All rice used in SAKE is polished.

  • Polishing the rice removes the impurities.

  • giving it a smoother taste.

  • Here is a natural grain of rice.

  • and Dassai 23.

  • polished down to 23 %

  • Dassai polishes down to 3 sizes.

  • 50 39 and 23.

  • All Nihonshu brewed with rice polished under 50%

  • is called JUNMAI DAI- GINJO

  • The highest quality.

  • and Dassai only makes JUNMAI DAI GINJO sake.

  • So now let's make some.

  • This is the first room the rice travels to in the brewery.

  • The polished rice is taken here to be washed, rinced and soaked.

  • Sakurai-san explains that the process is strictly timed.

  • Staff work in unison as a team.

  • After HOREI, air drying the steamed rice,

  • Most of it is sent through this tube to the upper floor.

  • and loaded into a fermentation tank with water, yeast and Kouji

  • This is the yeast starter called SHUBO

  • The basic mixture that will increase over the next 4 days.

  • as the yeast multiplies.

  • But before we get into the fermentation room,

  • we should learn about an earlier step.

  • The most critical part about brewing SAKE

  • This is where Dassai makes Kouji

  • Kouji is steam rice inoculated with Kouji mold spore.

  • Steamed rice is separated and laid flat on sheets

  • in a very hot and humid room with dead air.

  • About 20% of the total steamed rice makes its way here.

  • The rest into the fermentation tank.

  • If you're wondering how this rice tastes before becoming Koji,

  • Here's your answer.

  • No taste.

  • Yes, no taste.

  • This is the Tsukihaze Kouji-kin mold spores

  • Practice run.

  • The spores must be spread evenly with great precision.

  • Hold your breath and try not to move!

  • We're about to get started.

  • The staff here have a very specific way to apply the mold.

  • They move in unison so the spores spread evenly on the rice.

  • The air is completely dead.

  • As you see,

  • the air vents are covered to prevent contamination.

  • Simply put,

  • Koji is the secret ingredient to make SAKE

  • mixed in the tank to make sugar,

  • with the help of yeast,

  • which over time creates alcohol and CO2

  • Kouji is made once daily at the Dassai brewery.

  • You can see the polished rice ball surrounded by mold.

  • It's actually growing inside the rice.

  • It has a sweet chestnut aroma to it.

  • To grow strong, Koji needs a warm environment.

  • I'm sweating.

  • How does it taste now, as Koji?

  • Only one way to find out

  • Now we can go back to the fermentation room

  • Dassai has a lot of NIHON-SHU in here.

  • You can't rush making SAKE

  • It just takes time to make magic happen

  • This tank is early in the fermentation process

  • You can see the mash, or MOROMI caked on top

  • Everything happens in this one tank over 35 days.

  • Give it some time!

  • The unique process to make SAKE in one tank is called,

  • multiple parallel fermentation

  • This tank is really bubbling.

  • producing a lot of gas.

  • It nearly has the SAKE aroma and flavor.

  • and the fermentation stage is almost over.

  • Wow. Really fruity.

  • It's alive.

  • It tastes good,though.

  • It's really complex tasting.

  • It's fruity, spicy, it's bubbling..

  • It's alive!

  • Yes, it's alive.

  • Let's head down to the press.

  • When the MOROMI is ready,

  • it's sent here to be pressed.

  • This is an automatic MOROMI press

  • It uses compressed air to very gently press out a tank of MOROMI

  • to produce SAKE

  • The SAKE produced here is filtered but unpasteurized

  • Presses are great for volume,

  • but SAKURAI-san explains DASSAI has another original way

  • to extract SAKE.

  • centrifuge!

  • After pressing, there is filtering.

  • Aging, pasteurization.

  • And finally, the bottling.

  • The bottles are also pasteurized here

  • The bottles are heated at a temperature of 65 celcius

  • Bacteria is killed at a temperature over 60 degrees.

  • Then it goes through the bottling course to cool off.

  • until it's 20 degrees Celsius.

  • Then it gets labeled and packaged for shipping.

  • These Dassai 39 bottles are ready for the world.

  • This is a prized Junmai Daiginjo bottle of Sake for sure.

  • There is only one step left

  • So we've been to the brewery and back.

  • Filled with an amazing amount of appreciation

  • for the process to make SAKE

  • It's more than just SAKE

  • It's NIHON-SHU, Japanese national drink

  • It's perfect.

  • Sip with food, or on it's own

  • It's a date with nature. Loaded with a good night kiss

Welcome to Dassai Bar 23, in Kyobashi , Tokyo

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B1 rice sake fermentation brewery tank polished

Ultimate Japanese Sake Guide: Dassai Brewery 日本酒蔵元 獺祭ツアー ★ ONLY in JAPAN #41

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    Summer posted on 2020/10/31
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