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Koji Beer

Koji Ber

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.


Koji Beer

Course: Drinks
Keyword: beer


  • 1 kg flaked rice
  • 400 g Umami Chef koji
  • 2 kg Simpsons Extra Pale Malt
  • 1 SafAle US05 Yeast
  • Saaz leaf


Rice Preparation

  • 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.

Koji Fermentation

  • 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.
  • Leave to condition for 10 weeks.

6 thoughts on “Koji Beer

  1. Interesting that nowhere in the recipe does it actually state how to use the koji rice. Not entirely sure how a nylon bag is supposed to ferment when covered with water.

    1. Thank you for pointing that out! I’ve changed it now. Nylon bags don’t ferment very well!!!

  2. How much wort did you make out of the 2kg of grain that you then mixed with the koji ?

    1. I had 15lt after sparging, after the boil 9lt went into the fermenter with an sg of 1055. To this was added the 3.3lt koji/rice water which of course had soaked for 6 days. This had a sg of 1072. Together the mix ready for fermentation had an sg of 1063. Final sg was 1004 giving a ABV of 7.8⁶%

  3. Intriguing! Thanks for the recipe! Can you say more about the taste, if it is possible to describe it somewhat more of course…

    1. It’s really hard to describe! It tastes like a beer with citrusy notes, but it also has another dimension to the taste – something that is hard to describe, but is reminiscent of sake. You’ll have to give it a try and see if you can describe it better!

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