Yeast Explores the Brewery

(11) Maturation and Bottling

Yeast “It is now time for the maturation of the kimoto genshu (raw kimoto sake) that has been pressed earlier. Let’s go to the bottling line!”
- - Yeast visits the storeroom - -
Yeast “What large storage tanks! How long is it since you were born, Kimoto? It’s getting time for bottling.”
Kimoto “Ah, Yeast. That’s a long time ago. I’ve spent a year and a half in this cool tank.”
Yeast “So you haven’t been able to look outside at all?”
Kimoto “On the contrary. After I entered the tank when I had been pressed, samples called ‘nomikiri’ were taken every month during half a year, and after that every few months. That was in order to check my health and growth. So I know what has been going on outside my tank.”
Yeast “Now you have nicely matured. But how did you feel spending a year and a half in the storage tank?”
Kimoto “I haven’t been totally idle. I have been quietly meditating on my own. And I felt I was slowly changing, my depth and roundness were increasing.”
Yeast “I see...”
Kimoto “Often sake will start getting weaker after the summer is over, and go down in quality. But really good sake takes several years to reach its peak, as if describing a large arc. Maturation is after all a job requiring patience and mental power.”
Yeast “That’s how you can build up true latent powers. In the past, I thought that new sake had to be fresh, but now I realize that I was wrong.”
Kimoto “It’s great to continue growing with time.”
Yeast “True.”
Kimoto “In my cool tank, I could still experience the four seasons, and enjoy the passing of time. Sake of a good year can really reach far.”
Yeast “How philosophical! We should treasure the quality reached by this long process. Are you not uneasy about being bottled as your environment will change?”
Kimoto “No problem. Daishichi has developed the first anoxic bottling system in Japan.”
Yeast “What does that mean?”
Kimoto “It means that the mouth of the empty bottle is first sealed and that the air is removed to create a vacuum. After that, the bottle is filled with pure nitrogen.”
Yeast “What is that, nitrogen gas?”
Kimoto “Nitrogen gas is what remains after the oxygen has been taken out of the air. It is stable and doesn’t interact with the sake.”
Yeast “Why is the presence of oxygen a problem?”
Kimoto “When sake is exposed to oxygen, it oxidizes, resulting in loss of quality. Thanks to Daishichi’s bottling system, the sake doesn’t come in contact with air when it leaves the storage tank and is bottled.”
Yeast “So there is no need to worry about any loss of quality during bottling?”
Kimoto “Of course! This is the only anoxic bottling line in Japan.”
Yeast “Fantastic! I give my seal of approval. Kimoto is by nature a strong sake that doesn’t easily loose its quality. So this makes you even stronger!”
Kimoto “Yes, this system protects the good taste of the product for a long time after bottling. It takes advantage of my strong point, that I have matured with the passing of time.”
Yeast “The most important time comes after the sake has become a product. Well, show your fighting spirit and allow yourself to be bottled!”
Kimoto “Okay! I’m happy to reach my customers in a delicious condition.”