Museum of Sake Journal Summer 2015 - Page 33

EUROPE’S FIRST SAKE BREWERY SANDAN SHIKOMI Brock Bennett had planned our internship so we were able to assist him during Sandan Jikomi which is the three stages of the Moromi making process executed over 4 days. In this process koji, rice and water are added to the Moromi in adjusted measures every day during a four-day period, with the exception of the second day called Odori where the Moromi is left to “dance” by itself in order to multiply the yeast cells. Everything was done by the book and I often had to remind myself that I was actually in Norway and not Japan. It is very clear that Brock Bennett knows what he is doing and he was both proud and happy to share his knowledge and passion with us. All steps of the sake brewing process are performed with the highest attention and care: when the rice is washed and soaked it’s controlled by stopwatch and after steaming the rice a small rice cake is made and squeezed to decide if the steaming has been done correctly. The koji making process, which also became one of my favourite parts of the internship, is done in the brewery’s small custom made and temperature controlled koji-muro room where the koji is moved to special designed koji-buta boxes to achieve a more even humidity level and temperature. Brock Bennett does not sleep in the brewery during this process to check on the koji every 2-3 hours as it is done in many places in Japan. Instead he has a small portable electronic device that he brings home and is able to remotely follow and check the room- and rice temperature as well as the humidity. Apart from participating in the Sandan Shikomi we also had the luck to help with the pressing a batch of the Junmai sake on the brewery’s custom made Fune (wooden vat press). We tapped the sake from the brewery’s 1,500 litre tank into smaller cloth bags that we then layered in the Fune and pressed overnight. It was the very first time I tried arabashiri sake, which is the very first sake that runs out when pressing. The sake was super lively, pricking on the tongue and full of flavour – what a great experience! My six-day internship with Brock Bennett at Nøgne Ø was definitely a one of a kind experience and I would absolutely conclude that the brewery has achieved the aim of what they set out for – to make sake with lots of character and integrity! MUSEUM OF SAKE JOURNAL 33