Koji beer is a fusion of east and western styles of beer. Sake is generally called a rice wine but it is in fact more like a beer than wine. It is made using rice and top quality koji and this formed the “Eastern” element of the brew. When making sake, only rice and koji are used and a special yeast which can reach the 18-20% ABV levels in sake (although it is often diluted down to 15% when sold commercially).
The Western part of the brew was a mash made using extra pale malted barley and flavoured with Saaz hops (which are used in European beers like Hoegaarden). These two elements were blended together and fermented using an American yeast which gives a crisp finish. This is a truly international beer!
The final ABV of the beer was 7.8% which places it fairly well up the normal beer ABV range of 3 to 9%. It fermented most of the sugars out to give a fairly dry finish similar to traditional ciders but without the astringency. This is a very different tasting beer and one which goes well with dishes made using koji.
Wash the rice and then add at least 2 litres of water.
Leave to soak in a fridge overnight.
Rinse and then boil for 20 minutes.
Drain the rice and then leave it to cool.
Add the rice and the koji to the nylon bag. Place the tied nylon bag into a 3 gallon fermentation vessel.
Cover with 3 litres of cooled, boiled water.
Place a lid with an airlock on top and leave at room temperature (21'C) for 4 days.
Filter the rice from the liquor.
Make the beer with 2kg of Simpsons extra pale malt and saaz hops in a kettle ready mash at 66'C. 25g of saaz leaf is used as a bittering hop, boiling for 60 minutes. Add a further 15g with 15 minutes to go and 10g with 5 minutes to go. (Note: The initial gravity of this wort was 1055.)
Add the liquor from the koji (3.3 litres) (Note: The initial gravity of the koji liquor was 1072 and when combined it was 1063)
Add SafAle US05 Yeast and fit a lid with fermentation lock.
Leave to fermet out, about 5 days. (Note: Final gravity 1004 - giving 7.8% ABV)
Rack off the beer and add 60g priming sugar before bottling.
Shio koji is a special marinade that provides three major functions in cookery:
Salt consumption is reduced
Meat becomes more tender
A rich umami (savoury) flavour is produced
Reduce Your Salt Intake
Add shio koji to almost any food as an alternative to salt. If you replace one teaspoon of salt in your recipe with two teaspoons of shio koji your food will taste just as salty, but you will only be using 10% of the salt.
A high salt diet can raise blood pressure and lead to coronary heart disease and stroke. The NHS recommend that adults should not eat more than 6g of salt a day – this is around a teaspoon. Any steps you take to reduce your salt intake is beneficial for your health.
Meat becomes more tender
The enzymes present in shio koji have the ability to break down proteins, which makes meat more tender. Marinade any meat (chicken and white fish are especially good) overnight in a thin coating of shio koji and it will be transformed to another level!
Rich Umami Flavour
Shio koji contains protease which has the ability to transform protein into a range of amino acids. This creates a depth of savoury flavour that tastes delicious! It also contains amylase, which performs a similar function on starches; this makes carbohydrate rich food taste sweeter. To improve the flavour of dishes it is best to leave shio koji to ferment for one week before using.
Koji is the term for a grain or bean that has been inoculated with Aspergillus Oryzae, a special fungus that has been domesticated for about 9000 years.
White Rice Koji is made by steaming white rice and then allowing spores of Aspergillus Oryzae to germinate and multiply on it.
This process is carefully controlled to ensure conditions are perfect for koji growth, with both temperature and humidity monitored continually. The fungus then converts starch within the rice into a range of enzymes, which go on to create the delicious range of savoury/umami flavours within foods like miso and soy sauce.
Before being packaged, the koji is gently dried to preserve it, and it is then delivered to fermented food enthusiasts around the world!
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