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Orthodox brewing with stirring

Kimoto is a traditional style of brewing that’s been around for centuries. It involves the laborious process of pulverizing the rice manually using long, oar-shaped poles when starting the yeast starter. Unlike the modern “sokujo” method that adds lactic acid directly to the yeast starter, kimoto relies on ambient bacteria that builds up the lactic acid naturally. This yeast starter process takes about four weeks, compared to the modern method which takes one or two weeks.

Kimoto describes the yeast starter method, so the type of sake can be junmai, ginjo, etc. Flavors (and price) will depend on which type of sake is being made, but this method adds depth of flavor, complexity, and often, earthy tones. The umami given to the sake usually holds up well when warmed, and can be paired with rich foods like meats, cheeses and mushrooms.

One brewery that exclusively uses the kimoto method is Daishichi Brewing Company. Their classic “Kimoto” Honjozo offers notes of pine, rice and chestnuts. Try Chogetsu “Clear Moon” by Kodama Brewing Company for an example of Akita style kimoto sake — smooth, gently acidic and aromatic.

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