Thursday, October 7, 2010

Homebrewed Carbonated Sake Tasting

After a few months in the bottle I thought it was time to crack open a bottle of my first batch of sake for a review. I went with a bottle of the watered down, carbonated variety since the last one I opened seemed to be closer to being ready than the the still/undiluted portion of the batch (I'll wait another few months before reviewing one of those).

A jacketed glass of carbonated sake.Carbonated Sake

Appearance – Nearly the appearance of seltzer water. Except for the slight yellow tint, the sake is perfectly clear

Smell – The aroma has a rice/grain aroma, along with some mellow toasty-yeasty qualities. When I say yeasty I don't mean fermentation, I'm talking a packet of bread yeast. Not sure if that character comes from the pasteurization step, or from extended aging on the yeast sediment. There are some faint hints of vanilla, but for the most part it is missing the complex/fruity aromas of a good sake.

Taste – The flavor is similar to the aroma, clean with some rice and yeast. It is dry, but there is still a subtle sweetness in the finish. The alcohol is very mellow, so the slow feeding and cool temperatures convinced the yeast to that part of their job correctly.

Mouthfeel – It seems to lose its carbonation faster than a beer would, going from well carbonated to barely bubbly in the course of just a couple minutes. The body is pretty thin, as expected.

Drinkability & Notes – There isn't anything wrong with it, but it isn't especially interesting. Maybe my low fermentation temperature reduced the ester production of the yeast too much. Overall though I think it was a successful first attempt at making something new, it turned out drinkable and that's really all I could reasonably expect.


  1. I imagine the yeast character you're noticing comes directly from this:

    7/6/10 Split 3 bottles into 6. Topped off with 6 oz of filtered/boiled/chilled water. Added 1/2 tsp of table sugar and a sprinkle of EC-1118 Champagne yeast. Capped.

    Sake - especially diluted sake that is less than 14% ABV - doesn't have the strong flavors that would mask the flavor of champagne yeast used for bottle conditioning. I don't know why, but champagne yeast is some really bready stuff. Every time I've ever used it (twice) to carbonate a soda has resulted in a beverage that was so yeasty it was undrinkable.

    This is one reason why I never make sparkling sake myself, and why I usually recommend to others that they force carbonate instead of trying to bottle condition.

    Incidentally, I would love to see you review some of the still sake sometime soon. It's been three months since you pasteurized and bottled it, and that's plenty of maturing to take the harsher edges off of a homemade sake. =)

  2. Makes sense to me, thanks for chiming in. I'll post a review of the full strength version next week, haven't opened one in two months or so.