Creamy Pink Cloudy Cherry Sake from 'True Brews', Make your own Nigori

After sensible Mango Lassi Kefir Smoothie from 'True Brews' How to craft Fermented Cider, Beer, Wine, Sake, Soda, Mead, Kefir and Kombucha at Home (Ten Speed Press, Spring 2013) by Emma Christensen, here's something way stronger.

Cloudy Cherry Sake

Makes 1 gallon

This may just be the prettiest sake you’ll ever drink. Nigori is a style of unfiltered “cloudy” sake, so named because the rice sediment left in the sake turns it milky white in the glass. Or, in the case of this sweet cherry sake, the creamy pink of cherry blossoms. Since the sediment settles over time, you’ll need to give the bottle a quick snow-globe shake before pouring.

11⁄2 pounds fresh or frozen sweet cherries
1 gallon dechlorinated water (see page 14)
1 Campden tablet
10 cups / 5 pounds short-grain rice
21⁄2 cups / 11⁄4 pounds koji rice (page 146, or see Resources, page 176)
1 teaspoon yeast nutrient
1⁄2 teaspoon acid blend
1⁄2 teaspoon pectic enzyme
11⁄2 tablespoons (1/2 tube) liquid sake or lager yeast, or 2 teaspoons (1 packet) white wine yeast

Cloudy Cherry Sake

Starting 24 hours before you plan to brew, sanitize a 2-gallon bucket, its lid, the air lock, and a spoon for stirring. 

Pit and coarsely chop the cherries. Combine the cherries with the water in the bucket. Crush the Campden tablet and stir it in. Snap on the lid and attach the air lock. Wait 24 hours for the Campden to sterilize the cherries.

The next day, soak, steam, and cool rice as described on page 140. Add the steamed rice, koji rice, yeast nutrient, acid blend, pectic enzyme, and yeast to the bucket with the cherries. (If you are steaming your rice in batches, combine everything with the first batch and add the remaining rice to the fermenter as it is cooled and ready.) Stir vigorously to distribute the yeast and aerate the rice mash.
Snap on the lid and attach the air lock. Store the sake somewhere cool and dark, ideally around 55°F. You should see active fermentation as evidenced by bubbles in the air lock within 48 hours. Ferment the sake for 2 weeks, stirring daily with a sanitized spoon.

To finish the sake, sanitize a strainer, flour sack towel, stockpot, funnel, a 1-gallon jug, and its stopper.

First, pour the sake through the strainer into the stockpot. Discard all the rice and cherry solids. Set the funnel in the 1-gallon jug and line it with the flour sack towel. Strain the sake again, this time into the jug. Because of all the rice sediment, this can take a while. Stir the liquid in the funnel frequently to prevent the sediment from compacting and slowing down the straining. If the flour sack towel becomes clogged, rinse it out, sanitize it, and replace.

Clean the stockpot. Set the jug of sake, uncovered, inside the pot and fill the pot with water until the water is level with the surface of the sake. Set the pot over medium heat. Warm the sake to 140°F to pasteurize the sake and stop the koji and yeast activity (this does not affect the alcohol content). Allow the sake to cool.

To bottle the sake, sanitize ten 12-ounce bottles or six 22-ounce bottles (or five 750-milliliter wine bottles), their caps (or corks), the siphon hose, the racking cane, its tip, and the bottle filler. Shake the jug of sake to make sure the sediment is fully suspended in the sake during bottling. Siphon the sake into the bottles, shaking the jug again if the sediment begins to settle. Cap (or cork) the bottles and label.

Sake can be drunk immediately or aged for up to 1 year. Shake the bottles before serving and serve chilled.

Make your own Nigori for Tokyo Thursdays # 260

( Reprinted with permission from True Brews: How to Craft Fermented Cider, Beer, Wine, Sake, Soda Kefir & Kombucha at Home by Emma Christensen, copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Photo credit: Paige Green © 2013)

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