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Brew Your Own Sake in 5 Easy Steps

Tom Inoue

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If you love Japanese sake but don’t like spending a lot of money for every premium brew, you can try making your own at home.

Get ready to brew your own sake in just 5 easy steps.

Homemade sake: ‘Doburoku’

In Japan, homemade sake is called ‘Doburoku’. It has a white and cloudy appearance, and a sweet and sour taste, topped with a little fizz.

Prepare it ahead of time because it takes about a week to make.
* Home brewing is mostly prohibited in Japan, but permissible outside of Japan.

Prepare the Materials and Ingredients

You will need the followings:


*Koji is a mold that decomposes starch into glucose. It should be available in Japanese store.
*Choose plain yeast and yoghurt.



Photo Credit:
Strainer: BMK Wikimedia

Sanitize all tools you will use in making the sake, either by boiling or wiping with rubbing alcohol and a clean cloth. This is to prevent the growth of unwanted bacteria that might make your sake taste bad.

Step 1. Cook the rice


Cook two cups (16 fl.oz / 450 g) of rice grains in 1 and 2/3 cups (13.53 fl.oz / 400 mL) of water. The amount of water should be less than what is used in cooking table rice, so expect that the cooked rice will be harder than normal.

If you have sake, add a teaspoon of it before cooking. This makes the rice softer and fermentation easier.

When cooked, break up the rice and put it in a big clean vessel or capped container (1.3 gal/5-L container will do). Cool for 1 – 2 minutes .

Step 2. Mix with koji, yeast, and yoghurt


  1. Pour 6 ¼ cups (50 fl.oz/1.5 L) of water into the vessel.
  2. Break the rice up again. Make sure that the temperature is less than 122°F (50°C) because Koji fungi cannot survive at temperatures higher than that.
  3. Add Koji.
  4. Add yeast.
  5. Add yoghurt

then stir it well and loosely seal the container.

During fermentation, lactic acid bacilli in yoghurt create an acidic environment for the yeast to grow well. This also inhibits the growth of other microbes.

If you don’t loosen the seal, the internal pressure caused by carbon dioxide can build up and possibly cause an explosion. Always double-check if you’ve loosened up the seal.

Step 3. Wait for several days


Ideally, the vessel should be kept at 86°F (30°C). Do not store it under direct sunlight. Stir the liquid once or twice a day with a sanitized stick.

Wait for 3 -7 days for fermentation.

As fermentation proceeds, the mixture will start to separate into two layers and rice gets crumpled. Taste a bit of rice, It is ready for the next step if you taste enough alcohol.

Step 4. Filtration


Filter the mixture using a kitchen strainer or cheese cloth.


Funnel the strained liquid into an empty sanitized plastic bottle. A soda plastic bottle is recommended since carbonated liquid can explode in a normal plastic bottle.

If you want sparkling Doburoku, (homemade sake) you can tighten the cap. Be careful when opening the bottle, as internal pressure might have built up over time.

Otherwise, loosening the cap a little is recommended.

Step 5. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy the drink!


Keep the sake in a refrigerator. We recommend that you drink it within a week. It’s sour and sweet, as well as, creamy.
Warmed Doburoku is a good drink during winter!

It’s all a matter of experimenting and finding your own perfect sake formula.

Why not try it for your next house party?

This pictures are taken in Australia

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