Episode 151 Show Notes
Episode 151. Everyone knowns that sake is made from rice, but how much of a role does rice variety really play in a sake’s taste? We’re lucky enough to have a Toji on speed dial! We phoned up our friend and local sake brewmaster Brandon Doughan, the Toji at New York’s first sake brewery, Brooklyn Kura. We tasted two of Brandon’s sakes: their well-loved flagship Blue Door Junmai made with California calrose rice and also an experimental bottling, the “Blue Door on Jupiter”, which is a version of their junmai made with domestically-grown Jupiter sake rice from Arkansas. The recipes and production are very similar with the only difference being the rice strain itself. Together with Brandon, let’s explore the role of sake rice and taste for ourselves what a difference just a change in rice can make.
Skip to: 00:19
Welcome to the show from John and Timothy
About Brandon Doughan:
Brandon Doughan is Co-Founder and Master Brewer of Brooklyn Kura Craft Sake Brewery in Brooklyn, New York where he focuses on brewing junmai and junmai ginjo sakes. During a previous career as a research biochemist, Brandon developed a deep interest in fermentation which naturally led him to sake.
Shop Brooklyn Kura Sakes and their Kura Kin Subscription Service:
Brooklyn Kura Blue Door Junmai Nama
Brewery: Brooklyn Kura
Classification: Junmai Nama
Prefecture: US – New York
Rice Type: Yamadanishiki, Calrose
Seimaibuai: 70%, 60%
Brand: Brooklyn Kura
Brooklyn Kura Blue Door on Jupiter Junmai Nama (limited Release)
Brewery: Brooklyn Kura
Classification: Junmai Nama
Prefecture: US – New York
Rice Type: Yamadanishiki, JUPITER
Seimaibuai: 70%, 60%
Brand: Brooklyn Kura
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Episode 151 Transcript
[00:00:00] John Puma: Hello everybody and welcome to Sake Revolution. This is America’s First Sake podcast. And I’m your host, John Puma. From the Sake Notes, also the administrator over at the Internet Sake Discord, and the, lead mod at Reddits r slash sake community. Hello.
[00:00:35] Timothy Sullivan: And I’m your host, Timothy Sullivan. I’m a Sake Samurai. I’m a sake educator, as well as the founder of the Urban Sake website, and every week John and I will be here tasting and chatting about all things sake and doing our best to make it fun and easy to understand.
[00:00:50] John Puma: Well, hello Tim.
[00:00:51] Timothy Sullivan: Hey John, how you doing?
[00:00:53] John Puma: I’m, uh, doing well and, and I could not help but notice, but we have a guest with us today. Hi.
[00:00:57] Timothy Sullivan: Yes, we do. We have a VIP. We’re gonna talk a little bit about the role of rice in sake, and I thought, who better than to have our local toji? And we gave him a call and he was so kind to meet with us today, welcome back. Brandon Doughen, who is the co-founder and master Brewer at Brooklyn Kura, out in Industry City in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. At that brewery, he focuses on brewing delicious Junmai and Junmai ginjo sakes. Uh, he had a previous career as a research biochemist, but discovered his love for fermentation that led him to sake. So, Brandon, welcome to the show.
[00:01:37] Brandon Doughan: Thanks guys. Thanks for having me back.
[00:01:39] John Puma: Yeah, no problem. I think this is, so this is your third time on This might be, this might be a record. I don’t, I don’t, I don’t
[00:01:44] Brandon Doughan: wow. Well,
[00:01:45] John Puma: ever had anybody else? Three times?
[00:01:47] Brandon Doughan: We all live in the same town.
[00:01:49] John Puma: Yes.
[00:01:50] Timothy Sullivan: Yes, we had Brandon on episode 28 and also for a cameo on our 100th episode. Uh, so we’re so happy to have you back. Before we get into anything else, give us the latest update from Brooklyn Kura. What’s happening out there at your brewery these days?
[00:02:07] Brandon Doughan: Yeah, sure. So, as some may know, we have been involved in a project that started, you know, during the pandemic, like a lot of projects, We’ve been planning on building a, a larger facility, a larger brewery, And after a long look and a lot of planning, we were lucky enough to, actually just move down the building. We’re already in, in Industry City, so, so Industry City for people to know is, is a really big complex, it’s like 6 million square feet and we were lucky enough to get just a, a great spot that’s really conducive for brewing, and, it was a lot of stress for the planning part about it and kind of waiting for things to get going, but now things have kicked off and there’s just, there’s like giant holes being dug and cement being poured, um, and electrical and plumbing lines being run. so it’s, been a long time, but, we’re really happy with the progress. We’re. improving the quality of our sake and, and making a lot more,
[00:03:05] John Puma: That’s fantastic. Great.
[00:03:07] Timothy Sullivan: So I have to ask, I know it’s always a moving target, but when can we plan to visit your brand new brewery when it’s open and up and running?
[00:03:16] Brandon Doughan: yeah. We’re targeting this fall. I’ll say that this fall. We’re, we’re hoping before the end of the year if, if, uh, but you know how things arise. We’ll see how it goes.
[00:03:27] John Puma: let’s hope for the best. I can’t wait. so today, as Tim mentioned at the, at the open here, we’re talking about rice, we’re talking about the role that rice plays in sake. I think this is something that, that we get a lot. Uh, and that is, is this like, is this like grapes and wine?
[00:03:42] Brandon Doughan: Yeah, to a degree, I guess you could say that, I mean it’s, I guess, the second biggest ingredient in sake after water.
[00:03:49] John Puma: Mm-hmm.
[00:03:50] Brandon Doughan: And you know, I should say that you know, my experience with rice and, and how it ends up affecting the sake is based. On the American scene here and, the availability of sake Rice or sakemai, is very limited compared to Japan. you know, a lot of breweries in Japan, they use those rice strains that are available to everybody. They use special ones, they grow themselves, they have Sakemais that they’ve been developing for generations and trying to, you know, get their, their house taste. Um, so here are the States. We’ve got, you know, a just a handful of options, and there’s just a couple spots in the United States where, where Rice has really grown. but we’re fortunate enough that because of the upswing interest in, in, um, uh, in sake making outside of Japan and United States, that there there is also more pressure for people to grow more different strains of rice.
[00:04:45] John Puma: Mm.
[00:04:46] Brandon Doughan: So, so that said, you know, two of the biggest rice strains that we use are, calrose, which is, I kind of think is becoming the American Sakemai. and Yamadanishiki, both grown in, California and Arkansas. and those, I’ll just talk about the differences in those two rice and what, what I think general they bring to the taste of sake. Calrose is, is a food rice. So it’s got a lot more flavor to it, it’s got, I think at the final sake, it’s got more umami, it’s got the bigger taste, and, compared to YamadaNishiki, which tends to have a lighter profile. So, I think if you get into tasting, different sakes. and you become aware of what, rices are used to make them. You can start picking that out of, of the final sake.
[00:05:33] Timothy Sullivan: Now, is Calrose really considered an eating rice that started as that, or is it dedicated to sake in the States?
[00:05:41] Brandon Doughan: It’s, it started as an eating rice. Um, you know, uh, legend has it that it’s grandfather is a Sakemai.
[00:05:47] Timothy Sullivan: Hmm.
[00:05:48] Brandon Doughan: I, I think it was a, so, uh, someone in the comments chime in, but, my understanding is that it was a Sakemai combined with, a rice strain that was growing well in California, and then Calrose was born out of that.
[00:06:00] Timothy Sullivan: so that’s a strain that was born in the U.S. May have some heritage from Sake Rice, but because of its availability and its workability, it’s kind of turned into the default. Rice that most domestic brewers would start with or use as as a foundation, rice. Is that fair to say?
[00:06:19] Brandon Doughan: Yeah, that’s fair to say. It’s, really cost effective for people Because Yamada is such a specialty rice, it’s, it’s really just a handful of sake breweries IT’s a bit of a premium for the price..
[00:06:31] Timothy Sullivan: Yeah. I’ve been enjoying Sake made in the States for about 18 years now, and I noticed a really sharp. Increase in quality when the Yamada Nishiki became available on the market for brewers to start working with. And it’s really, I think, made a huge difference in the quality that can be produced.
[00:06:55] Timothy Sullivan: , would you agree with that?
[00:06:57] Brandon Doughan: Yeah. You know, my, understanding of, sort of the impact on, the brewing of, of different rice is, you know, there’s some things you want to avoid, it’s okay to have protein. It’s okay to have big umami and a big taste. That’s just a style of sake. it’s great to have, you know, nothing but pure starch Shinpaku, the starchy center of Yamada Nishiki and get a really clean taste.
[00:07:19] Brandon Doughan: , but one thing that doesn’t go too well are the lipids or the fats in rice. Right. So, you know, my understanding is, is that, Food rices are, are meant to be flavorful. And so the, the lipids are part of that. The, the heavy proteins are part of that. So, I think the advent of Sakemai or, or rice that was specifically developed for sake is, is had a really positive impact, uh, on, on the American sake, scene.
[00:07:43] John Puma: Nice. Nice. so. as time has gone on, we’ve been seeing a few more varieties coming our way here in the States. Uh, and actually one of the sakes we’re gonna be, we’re gonna be tasting today, uses, Jupiter Rice. So what I know that you’ve, you’ve only messed with that a little bit, but what can you tell us about that?
[00:08:01] Brandon Doughan: So, so Jupiter Rice, is, is, something that Isbell Farms in Arkansas, has kinda leaned into, because they don’t grow Cal Roses out there. And they, they also wanna offer, a less expensive brewing rice. they’re looking at a couple different. more inexpensive, types of rice and, and Jupiter is, is one of those.
[00:08:20] Timothy Sullivan: in addition to Jupiter. yamadanishiki and the calrose. I imagine, if you imagine yourself to be a painter and these are, colors you can work with, are there any other colors coming down the pipeline that you are thinking about working within the future, beyond those three we’ve spoken of already?
[00:08:41] Brandon Doughan: Yeah. I’m very excited about omachi,
[00:08:43] Timothy Sullivan: John is two. too.
[00:08:46] Brandon Doughan: So Isbell Farms has been growing Omachi and, just so folks know, you can’t just say, oh, this year I’ll grow this rice and have all the rice available. You have to start with the seed rice and get more seeds. You have to plant a whole field. And so that takes, you know, years of development.
[00:09:01] Brandon Doughan: So, so fortunately Isbell Farms, you know, started on that a while ago. And I know this season, they’ve, I think dramatically increased their acreage of, so I have already expressed interest in, in getting some of that from them.
[00:09:17] John Puma: Nice. So you mentioned, it’s, a long process to kind of ramp up, making a, a particular strain or a particular, uh, type. does the quality change over time as well? Like, are they getting, is it basically like the Omachi that they’re growing now, is it, a higher quality than it was like two years ago because they’ve been at it longer?
[00:09:34] Brandon Doughan: Yeah, that’s, I, I mean we just had a, bunch of other American, sake brewers here in New York for a couple of events, and, that was a topic that we were talking about. and there’s a big difference about how, rice has grown in Japan in the United States, right? So the government is involved. Both the federal government and, the Prefecture governments of Japan are heavily involved in agriculture. And, I guess the cynical way to do it is they wanna maximize their tax. So they wanna make sure everybody is making a good product so it sells. so, like for instance, Yamadanishiki, the seed tends to be handed out by some kind of central authority to the farmers every year. Um, and what that does is that ensures, that the variety doesn’t float away from, from its original, you know, its original plant. but there’s less of that control in the United States. So, so seed, as far as I know, and someone can maybe correct me, but seed is saved from harvest and then that will be planted next year. So, um, You know, there’s less of a selective process to ensure that the rice, doesn’t float away from what was originally planted.
[00:10:44] John Puma: Okay,
[00:10:45] Brandon Doughan: I think, and that, that could be good and bad. You know, like I think the whole scene in United States is, is like we’re, it’s still in its infancy and we’re waiting to see how it evolves and like, you know, how American sake is, ultimately, Thought of around the world. and so those, those, everybody’s using rices here. so that’s gonna have a huge impact on what American sake becomes.
[00:11:06] John Puma: So we’ve got, two sakes that we’re gonna be. Tasting, one is is, the blue door, which is one of your flagships, and for that you use, Calrose and Yamada. In that, in that one sake, so, let us know exactly how, how do you divvy that up, what’s that process look like?
[00:11:23] Brandon Doughan: Yeah, I mean, I, I pretty much always, grow our Koji, our kome koji on Yamadanishiki. And the reason for that is, making Koji is, is very difficult, and a difficult thing to learn, and you know, the resources that we have are some, papers from Japan or books, and those are all based on rice like Yamadanishiki,
[00:11:45] John Puma: Mm.
[00:11:46] Brandon Doughan: So I just made the decision early on ins. It’s like, you know, as I learn more and more about sake making, you know, I, I’ll probably start to change the ways that we make Koji. But starting out we were like, okay, let’s just, let’s just always grow. Let’s just keep that variable the same and, and grow, um, and get to know how to grow Koji well on, on the same rice. So almost all of our, our batches start off with, yamada as the koji rice..
[00:12:13] John Puma: Hmm.
[00:12:14] Brandon Doughan: So, yeah. And the blue door, the, all the rest of the rest of the rice, the kakemai is calrose
[00:12:20] John Puma: mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Uh, and then for the, the other one that we’re gonna be tasting the, blue door on Jupiter. This was a, a little bit of a one-off that you guys had done where you, you made blue door essentially, but with a different rice it, with the Jupiter rice from, that you mentioned from Isbell Farms.
[00:12:35] John Puma: Uh, and that, I imagine that in this case it’s replacing the calrose.
[00:12:39] Brandon Doughan: Yes. So, so we, I kept everything as the same as I could. So it’s the same, you know, it’s the same ratio of Koji, it’s the same yeast, it’s the same mizubuai or ratio of water, and same, fermentation temperature. doing that is a really good way to like, you know, we’ve just isolated one variable. So, so there’s a lot of variation in our sake, even from the same batch, the same batch.
[00:13:04] John Puma: Mm-hmm.
[00:13:04] Brandon Doughan: but, I really wanted to see, okay, let’s just do this, change this one thing and see.
[00:13:10] John Puma: Hmm. That’s, that’s something I found to be like, really, fascinating. And it was like one of the, one of the thoughts that Tim and I had when we were putting, uh, this episode together first today. And that’s, that was we rarely have situations where, So many of the variables are the same across two different sakes with like one change. And that’s, so I thought that would be a lot of fun to kind of, uh, compare and contrast and talk about and and then of course we have you here, which even better.
[00:13:32] Timothy Sullivan: Yeah, we, we rarely have the toji on speed dial,
[00:13:35] Timothy Sullivan: so, uh, we’re.
[00:13:36] John Puma: yeah. Yes. Yes. So, my understanding and what I, what I’ve always heard from people is that calrose, is a little bit weird sometimes. It takes a really, really long time to soak specifically. and did you find that like. When you moved on to the Jupiter, was that like a similar experience or were you like, oh, wait a minute, this is very different.
[00:13:54] Brandon Doughan: Yeah, so, one of the biggest, concerns and things you need to figure out when using a new rice is, how long you soak it for, cause, we’re aiming for specific, um, moisture content. So we wash the rice and then we put it into tubs of cold water, and we have a. We have like kind of a countdown NASA clock on the wall, and we watch until we reach the, the time we’ve determined will give us moisture content that we want. so Calrose is a very hard rice. and it takes a long time for it to absorb water and it, it has one of the longest, it has the longest soak time of any rice we use. And I also, all the calrose I get in is, is 50% milled.
[00:14:37] John Puma: Hmm.
[00:14:38] Brandon Doughan: So, so that’s, there’s a couple reasons for that because I, I, I know that it’s got a lot of protein and I wanted to remove as much as I could, but also it’s already a long soak time at, at 50% milled. If it, if we reasons 70%, it would be even longer.
[00:14:55] John Puma: Hmm.
[00:14:56] Brandon Doughan: I’ve, I heard stories of, of Tojis in Japan who have used. Only 90% milled, rice of a, of a particular kind that’s very hard. And they, they go out in the middle of the night and change the water and keep soaking it. They just keep soaking it for, for like hours.
[00:15:10] Brandon Doughan: at 50% we’re, we’re almost at 40 minutes, for, calrose. So, to finish your question here, so Jupiter, we got that rice in and the first thing we did was we did soak trials. We took. A reasonable amount that would, we could still measure without too much error of the weight of it. And we soak some for five, some for 10, some for 15 minutes, and so on, so on.
[00:15:32] Brandon Doughan: and determine what soak time would get us our weight. So we was, I can’t remember exactly what it is off the top of my head, but it was, it was significantly shorter than Calrose. So that tells me maybe softer rice.
[00:15:44] Timothy Sullivan: So we have these two sakes. We’re gonna taste side by side with the toji. John. We have the blue door Junmai, which is a nama sake un pasteurized. And we have the blue door on Jupiter, which I at first thought was one of those space sakes that they sent up, but it’s a different Jupiter.
[00:16:05] Timothy Sullivan: Alright, so why don’t we pour the blue door Junmai nama, the foundation. Sake from Brooklyn Kura and give that a taste first. yeah. All right, so let’s get this open.
[00:16:20] Timothy Sullivan: All right, John, so this is a sake that you and I know very well.
[00:16:30] John Puma: Yes. Very
[00:16:31] Timothy Sullivan: to Brooklyn, kura. Yes. Hmm.
[00:16:34] John Puma: Mm-hmm.
[00:16:36] Timothy Sullivan: So there’s lovely fruity notes on the aroma. Brandon, how do you describe the sake to people who are tasting blue door for the first time?
[00:16:42] Brandon Doughan: Yeah, so, our two flagship, nama-namas are, blue door Junmai, and then number 14, which is a Junmai ginjo, and the thing I’ve been trying to develop with both of those in all our sakes is really to show people that there’s variety in sake, and that, you know, I want people to come into the tap room and see the different taps and think of it oh, I could have, a white wine, a rose or merlot or, or like a pilsner or a stout.
[00:17:08] Brandon Doughan: And just that, that there’s a range. It’s not just one thing. So that said, you know, I, I do try and make the blue door a little heavier, a little bigger. It’s got a bit more alcohol in it. , I try and get it drier, than 14. So 14 is a little softer, I think. it’s, got more yamada in it. and, uh, a little bit more mizubuai. and even the ratio of koji in both of those is a little different. So i’m trying to drive Like a bigger with blue door and a lighter with 14
[00:17:39] John Puma: I spent a lot of my. My earlier Brooklyn career experiences being a staunch number 14 guy. In recent years, I’ve kind of gotten, I’ve, I really warmed up to blue door.
[00:17:50] Brandon Doughan: both have gone through a lot of changes. You know, one thing we decided. As we weren’t gonna be a brand new sake brewery and be like, this is our house style. You know, after a thing that takes generations for, you know, for other breweries to get to. So we allow ourselves, changes and stuff. But both of those now are pretty dialed in.
[00:18:08] John Puma: Yeah.
[00:18:09] Timothy Sullivan: Yeah, but focusing on the blue door Junmai specifically now I find that, there is a, Gentle fruitiness to the aroma, but there’s also a rice component in the background, and when I take a sip, it has structure and a little bit of that bolder flavor you were talking about. It has a little bit more presence, and you can also sense that it’s a naama. It has a little zip and a little zing to it as well.
[00:18:32] John Puma: Yeah, so.
[00:18:34] Brandon Doughan: Yeah, I don’t, I don’t think maybe, maybe you won’t find as much. Fruity aroma in, in her, in her pasteurized Junmai. but I think you do get some of that in this Junmai Cause it’s unpasteurized.
[00:18:44] Timothy Sullivan: Yeah. Do you have any favorite things that you’d like to pair with your standard blue door Junmai?
[00:18:49] Brandon Doughan: yeah. I mean, I, I think, I don’t like to tell people what to pair things with, but, Just because it is a little bit bigger, it’s get a little higher alcohol, I think you can, it’s easier to mix with bigger foods,
[00:18:59] Timothy Sullivan: Oh
[00:18:59] Brandon Doughan: you know, with, with, uh, steak or, things that might have some spice in it.
[00:19:06] Brandon Doughan: cause it can kind of keep pace with it a little bit more than, than maybe, uh, Junmai. Ginjo, which you might, you might lose some of its nuance.
[00:19:14] John Puma: I would love to have a blue door with steak. that’s a solid combination.
[00:19:19] Timothy Sullivan: Yeah, I think so too. And I agree with you, Brandon. I mean, we don’t, we talk about food pairings all the time, and we don’t do it in the spirit of here’s what. Matches perfectly and will change your life if you eat this and drink this. But I think when it comes to sake and non-Japanese food, sometimes people just want a starting point, jumping off point. Like, what, what do you enjoy with this? And I’ll, I’ll give that a try and maybe I’ll, I’ll find something else. But I find it helpful to give people just a handle to grab onto and someplace to get started with pairing. So that’s a, that’s a super yummy suggestion. Just a simple steak. Maybe steak frit. I I can have some, I can have french fries with just about anything.
[00:19:56] John Puma: I mean, there’s there, there’s french fries, pair with everything, so
[00:20:00] John Puma: that’s
[00:20:00] Timothy Sullivan: they do. It’s a proven fact. All right. Now I think the moment of truth has come.
[00:20:06] John Puma: Yes,
[00:20:07] Timothy Sullivan: Uh, so we have this blue door on Jupiter, this was a special release and this is no longer available in the tap room, correct.
[00:20:16] Brandon Doughan: Yeah, so, currently we have our, our larger tanks that we, do most of brewing on, but we also have a couple smaller tanks, and what we do is we experiment, we try and refine different things we’re working on in those tanks and, and the results, frequently goes into our sake subscriber club our Kura Kin
[00:20:33] Timothy Sullivan: Oh, that’s great.
[00:20:34] Brandon Doughan: yeah, because it’s, it’s not a lot of yield and it kind of works out well to just sell it in the tap room and to our subscribers.
[00:20:42] Timothy Sullivan: Well, if people are interested in getting into this insider club and becoming a subscriber, what do, what do people need to do to sign up for Kin?
[00:20:50] Brandon Doughan: They need to go to BrooklynKura.com and click on the Kura Kin membership area.
[00:20:57] Timothy Sullivan: Awesome.
[00:20:58] John Puma: See he does sales and he’s.
[00:21:00] Timothy Sullivan: Sales and brewing. Great. Well, I think if, if people are interested in these smaller batch releases from Brooklyn Kura, it’s a wonderful reason to join the Kura Kin subscription. Uh, so John, should we get this in the glass and taste this with Brandon?
[00:21:16] John Puma: let’s do that. There we go.
[00:21:24] Timothy Sullivan: Okay, I have my first observation. The aroma is, the aroma is very different. It’s much more restrained and quiet on the Jupiter version of the blue door. And the, the calrose version of the blue door has, uh, in, in my assessment, it has more pronounced fruit aromas.
[00:21:50] John Puma: Yes, there’s definitely more fruit on the, uh, on the blue door,
[00:21:53] Timothy Sullivan: Yeah.
[00:21:53] John Puma: I really like this Jupiter aroma though. It’s nice, it’s, it is different, I think the rice maybe comes through a little bit more.
[00:22:00] Timothy Sullivan: Mm. giving it a taste. The, the Jupiter version of the blue door has a little bit of a richer texture for me, and it, it’s overall just a little more subtle in all the aspects of it. The, the traditional blue door is a little more bold across the board, and this is a little more quiet, restrained, rounded, very elegant.
[00:22:26] John Puma: I think for me, when I tasted it just now, the very first thing I noticed was like the how, how very different the texture is.
[00:22:33] Timothy Sullivan: Right.
[00:22:33] John Puma: Like, I was like, whoa. Like this is very, very, different. and I, and, it’s really stands on it own. It’s like it is a, it’s. You know, we made one change that being the rice type, and it really, it’s a completely different product in a lot of ways. It, it really stands on its own, as a separate sake.
[00:22:50] Timothy Sullivan: Brandon, I don’t know if you agree with my tasting assessment here, that the, the traditional blue door is a little bit more fruit forward than this one, but for me it’s pretty striking that this is much cleaner. The Jupiter is a little cleaner and more rounded and, it’s very well integrated as well, but it, it’s just, it’s just a little crisper and cleaner overall.
[00:23:12] Brandon Doughan: Yeah, I mean, I, there, there are definitely noticeable differences between those two. You know, and I, I. I do think we can put a lot of that on the different rice. you know, but, it’s difficult to really get a full assessment of, of what’s going on, just having done this once when there are so, so many variables. In making sake. and the fact that we are, you know, pretty small scale and, and you know, things like the decision when to press is like, well, we’re bottling today, so, so maybe we’re not, we’re not gonna be pressing today. So, so things will have some other variation on it, but I think you can, you can get a pretty good idea that like, that they are different.
[00:23:52] John Puma: they are very different it’s so interesting to me that it’s just, again, like, you know, obviously there’s, there are other variables in play, but your big variables are your, you know, your, your water, your rice, your timing, your temperature, and you know, keeping all these things equal and then changing out the rice gives you such a different saket.
[00:24:10] Brandon Doughan: Yeah.
[00:24:10] Timothy Sullivan: Yeah, it’s really striking and very fun and it’s, I think it’s one of the advantages we have that John, you and I are so lucky to have a great brewery like Brooklyn Kura in, in our backyard because we can go to the tap room and experience these sakes, uh, pretty easily. And, uh, that is just, I’m so grateful for that.
[00:24:30] John Puma: Yeah. And uh, and Brandon, you had mentioned that you guys have the smaller tanks that you can experiment with a little bit. And I for me, like, you know, as a, as the consumer, that’s a lot of fun because it is, it’s nice to see what you guys get to do. And the idea that you, that, that the tap room and the subscription of affords you the opportunity to kind of. All right, we’re gonna, we’re gonna do something a little different. We’re gonna do something a little weird and see it and see what happens. I, I assume you guys then take that feedback you get and, and that informs future products and things of that nature.
[00:24:59] Brandon Doughan: Yeah, definitely. You, you know. People are very excited about something. There’s a, there’s a good chance that we’re, it’s gonna move from a small tank to a big tank and can, and, you know, become a thing. And, and a few of our sakes that we make on a regular basis now, uh, did start their life off there.
[00:25:16] Timothy Sullivan: Hmm.
[00:25:17] John Puma: do you have any, uh, any that you’re a particularly fan of, that made their way from the, from the small batch?
[00:25:22] Brandon Doughan: It hasn’t made its way from the small batch yet, but like, As far as playing with variables and things you can change, you know, another variable is our water. And, here in Brooklyn we have stellar water, we steal from upstate. Um, and, it’s a very soft, it’s got a really light profile. so recently, we decided to play with the mineral structure of, the initial brewing water. and for that I look to beer, because there, there’s the different kinds of water profiles around the world are, are known for beer, and the hardest is in England, , it’s an area called Burton upon Trent. And, and they, and there’s a mild ail made there, a Burton Ale, that, its flavors heavily affected by the hardness of the water. So in the, in the beer burning world, you can just buy the right ratio of salts and minerals to, to adjust your water and do a little math and, and mimic that water. So we did do a small batch, of that, it’s, I believe it’s still available in the tap room, but that, and I think you’ve had it as well, John, but it, it, it has a big impact on, on the mouthfeel and, the texture of it.
[00:26:26] John Puma: that’s a, that is a fun sake.
[00:26:28] Brandon Doughan: Yeah. Yeah, but those, I mean, those small tanks are perfect for. Changing a variable, right? to keep everything the same, but change the rice, change the yeast, change the amount of koji that goes into the kind koji. so it’s fun. It’s good learning for us.
[00:26:42] John Puma: Nice.
[00:26:43] Timothy Sullivan: Awesome. Well, this was fantastic, Brandon. Thank you so much for joining us today, for enlightening us on the role that rice plays in sake, and also for giving us a window into the situation that American brewers are facing with the development of new rices and what’s coming down the pipeline. Super interesting, and we’re so happy to learn about that from you. So thank you so much for joining us.
[00:27:07] Brandon Doughan: Yeah, always a pleasure to talk to you both.
[00:27:10] Timothy Sullivan: Yeah. Now Brandon, you are going to be joining us for an upcoming special event as well. John and I will be, Seeing you at the American Craft Sake Festival, which is going to be held on July 22nd in Charlottesville, Virginia. And we will be live podcasting from the festival and Brooklyn Kura will be well represented. And Brandon, I believe you’ll be there as well.
[00:27:34] Brandon Doughan: I will.
[00:27:36] John Puma: So he will be on for the, for a record breaking fourth time.
[00:27:42] Brandon Doughan: I just, as long as I get residuals.
[00:27:45] Timothy Sullivan: So if you would like to join myself, John Puma and Brandon Doughan from Brooklyn Kura. If you would like to join us at the American Craft Sake Festival, there’s still time to get tickets. Visit SakeAssociation.org and get your tickets now. Again, it’s in Charlottesville, Virginia, and we can’t wait to see you there. We hope you join us.
[00:28:06] John Puma: we’re hoping to run into as many listeners as possible. I think that we want to get a couple of them at the table. Maybe. You know talk about what’s your favorite Sake that you had while you’re there things like that i think it’s going to be a lot of fun
[00:28:16] Timothy Sullivan: Thank you so much for tuning in, and we hope you enjoyed our episode today, as I sure did, talking to Brandon. If you would like to support our show, there’s a wonderful way you can help us out. We have a group of patrons who support us and you can join us at Patreon.com/SakeRevolution to learn more.
[00:28:32] John Puma: And don’t forget that we have a wonderful website over at SakeRevolution.com, where we’ve got the show notes for every episode, a transcript that Tim painstakingly puts together. Uh, As well as a link to our swag shop we’ve got some shirts we’ve got some stickers we’ve got new shirts you should go check them out if you’ve even if you’ve been there before So without any further ado, please raise a glass. Remember to keep drinking sake and Kanpai.