March 2003 Newsletter

March 2003

Sake It To Me — Experience the Bliss of Sake!
DATE: Monday, March 10
TIME: 7:30 p.m.
PLACE: Banzai Restaurant, 3690 Quakerbridge Rd., Hamilton, NJ 08619
PHONE: (609) 587-0454


If you are interesting in running for office, or voting (for that matter), we will be holding elections at this meeting.

Running for office (the incumbents) are:

*Steven Rowley – President

*Andrew Koontz and Laurie Harmon – Vice

*Al Boccardo = Treasurer

*Kevin Trayner = Secretary

*Dave Albert = Events Coordinator

*Betty and Joe Scarlatta and Chuck DiSanto = Members at Large

*Dan Noon – webmaster

(Additional Members at Large positions are
available if we have folks interested.)


Grandmaster of sake, Bruce Hammell presents this most alluring of ancient beer styles.

One of the most popular alcohol beverages in the world (3 out of 4 glasses of wine are sake), sake is also one of the least understood. Crafted from grain (rice) and undistilled, sake fits the
definition of beer. Yet it’s character and alcohol strength make it more of a wine.

Enjoy both premium commercial examples and homebrew examples of sake and learn about this unique and ubiquitous beverage. Sake is just rising in popularity in the US – and there are a handful of sake breweries here (in the Northwest). Come find out what makes this one of the most widely drunk beverages in the world.

Attendees may want to sample from the sushi/sashimi and other entrees (at their own cost) to pair with sake.

I’d like to close by sharing some haikus I found on the web dedicated to sake. (When’s the last time, you found poems dedicate to beer, eh? Actually, check out Jim Anderson’s site for some pretty good beer haikus).

The sake starts
to work, swaying gently
fireflies at night
Lying in long grass
I taste the harvest full moon
in my sake cup
Aspirin downed with sake
from last night’s cup

See you all at the meeting.


They have a website at You can get directions from there.

In general, it is on Quakerbridge Rd. If you were driving away from the mall, it is on the right side, shortly after the railroad bridge.


The beers of Matt McCord were well-received at our Feb meeting, from the delicately balanced Mild, to the creamy brown, to the pleasantly grainy Helles to the delectable Tripel.

Matt clearly was in his environment, fielding questions (and many compliments) from homebrewers, most everyone agreeing that Matt had made a major contribution to the beer here. Indeed, many will recommend Harvest Moon to their fellow pubcrawlers I would guess! Thanks for hosting Matt, we’ll see you around – especially
for cask night.

Many of us ventured to Old Bay afterwards, that bastion of New Brunswick beer bars (say that a few times fast) to enjoy a Bigfoot, La Chouffe, Piraat or many others. All in all, an enjoyable close, to an enjoyable evening.


Here is a quick list/recap of the club’s events for the year. Note that some of these are tentative, but this gives you a darn good idea of
what we are planning for the upcoming year:

* JANUARY – Barleywine styles meeting

* FEBRUARY 24TH – Beers of Harvest Moon

MARCH 10TH – Sake meeting

APRIL – Styles meeting – Pale Ales

MAY – Big Brew (We’re tossing round the idea of a
California Red, with each person using a
different yeast).

JUNE – Summer Ales

JULY 12TH (tentative) – Annual NYC Pub Crawl

SEPTEMBER – Focus on hops (hop picking, hoppy

OCTOBER – Cooking with beer


DECEMBER – Club’s Hoppiest Show on Earth AHA
competition (yes, we are doing it this year

*Indicates a past meeting


MARCH 17TH – ST. PATTY’S DAY. ASN and Tim Schafer, the Brew Chef, are hosting a St. Patty’s dinner, which will feature beerhunter Michael Jackson, and a St Paddy’s day menu. A stellar
event to be sure!

MARCH 22 – University of Pennsylvania Archaeological Museum tasting. A tutored tasting from Michael Jackson, great food, great beers, and a great setting.

Check out
=108 for more info.

Contact the Annenberg Center for tickets at

[Readers, since the focus of the next meeting is sake, I though you might enjoy the following lengthy article, which is take from the
International Sake Institute newsletter]


Tasker Tanaka and Jim Bayley in Honolulu shares some of his home brewed saké with me, and WOW!, it was as good if not better than some of the commercially brewed saké in the US. I asked them to share their thoughts on home brewing sake and their recipe with
With Aloha;
Grif Frost

To: Grif Frost

From: Tasker Tanaka

Grif, here is my response to your request for info about myself and my brewing partner, James Bayley. He will answer your questions and I will forward to you.

I am in the food equipment sales and service business and frequently travel to other islands to do service for clients. Being in this kind of work gives me access to equipment that I have used in my brewing, like stainless steel soda kegs and half barrel beer kegs for brewing vessels. I have been in business for 18 years
and service supermarkets, food processors and other clients in the food industry.

I reside in Nuuanu here in Honolulu, and have been homebrewing for about 6 years, starting out with beer, and have done a few all-grain batches. I read Fred Eckhardt’s book about Sake, and mentioned it to Jim, and decided to give it a try. Getting the ingredients proved to be the most difficult part in the beginning. I got brown rice Koji from the Kushi Institute in Boston for our first simple sake batch, and used regular table rice, and dry wine yeast for the first shubo. The next few brews were also brewed with cooking rice and with Koji from a company in Fort Bragg in California. I just wanted to try it out, to see if I could do it like Fred outlines in his book, standard shubo, with three additions. We used various sized plastic containers for the starter, and a seven gallon vessel for a five gallon yield. Finally it was announced in the Sake Digest that real brewers rice and koji would be available at Steinbarts. I made my first order and gave it a try, with a yield of
about 2.5 gallons. It was a lot better than all the rest that were
brewed with cooking rice.

Having enough time to see the brew to the end proved difficult,
especially during the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd additions. During the last brew, after doing the last addition, the mash multiplied and fermentation happened too quickly, causing an overflow of the mash. I lost about 3-4 lbs. of the mash, plus some liquid. Squeezing and transferring is also another difficult part of the brewing process, as it had to be done manually with straining bags. The best part of the brewing process is when all the work is done and you are having a tasting of the final product.

Our sake tends to taste a little on the sweet side, as if the yeast has
not quite done its business. I have compared our sake to other brews, and it does not quite have the dryness in comparison to commercially brewed sakes. In comparison to Ozeki, our sake would definitely be on the low end of the scale, although there is some fruitiness to the taste.

I would recommend trying to brew sake because it is the only brew that does not use barley for the sugars needed for fermentation. It does involve a lot of effort in the entire process, but the end product
speaks for itself.

For me, it was the amazement of the moment that the yeast starter took off and bubbles emerged on the surface of the mash. If it was okay at this time, as long as I kept to my schedule, it would work out in the end.

As far as my family goes, they are okay with my brewing sake, as long as it does not interfere with their activities.

Aloha from Honolulu,
Tasker Tanaka

1) Jim Bayley, I”ve lived in Hawaii for 13 years and have been homebrewing on and off for about 11 years. Prior to coming to Hawaii I lived and worked in Japan for the US Navy for 6 years (”84-90). During that time I had a chance to sample quite a few different sakes, standard and premium. Otokoyama Daiginjo probably influenced me the most in my pursuit of quality sake.

2) My homebrewing experience includes working at a home brewing supply shop, teaching basic and advanced brewing classes, and brewing beer and meads that have won awards at various local and national homebrewing competitions. Trying to brew sake was the next logical challenge.

3) The challenges faced in homebrewing sake are formidable but not insurmountable. First, Fred Eckhardt”s Sake (USA) is required reading but his recently modified recipe techniques are an improvement over the original in the book. Regular homebrewing
equipment can be used depending on batch size so most home beer/wine makers should have no trouble equipment wise. Ingredients are another matter, we”ve made sake 4 times (I think) and had to use regular cooking rice for some of the batches. This produces a much stronger tasting sake with more alcohol than when polished brewing rice is used. Obtaining the proper Koji and polished brewing rice are the biggest problems (and aren’t cheap especially when shipped to Hawaii), also the only sake yeast available is from Wyeast which is the Sake No. 9 variety which produces good results but really foams up so you need at least 30% extra volume in your fermenter so you don’t lose any of the
good stuff. Also temperature control during fermentation is essential. Another point is that we started with a batch size of about 7 gallons but ended up with only about 4 gallons of finished product due to losses in transferring, filtering, tastings, etc.

4) I think our latest effort using polished rice was extremely good and compares favorably with most commercial grade sakes and maybe a few premiums as well. It had a bit more color and aroma (no charcoal filtering or water additions). The aroma was pleasant and a bit fruity overall and was very smooth and easy drinking.

5) I’d recommend home brewing sake only to those who are experienced homebrewers and are somewhat knowledgeable about and have tried a variety of sakes. Compared to beer or wine
making sake brewing usually takes more time, space, and money.

6) Those who tried our latest sake and are experienced sake drinkers were very impressed with our efforts.

And here is their award winning home brewed saké recipe!

From: Tasker Tanaka [tasker@p…]
Sent: Friday, December 13, 2002 12:42 PM
To: grif frost
Subject: Sake Competition
Re: Saké brewed for ISI Saké Summit at Righa Hotel in NYC.

An article in the Saké Digest outlined the competition, so we got our materials and equipment together to brew our entry.

30 lbs. Akita Komachi Brewers Polished Rice
7.5 lbs. Brewers Koji
WyeEast 3134 Yeast
Lactic Acid, 88%
Yeast Nutrients
Morton’s Salt Substitute
Hawaiian Tap Water

Rice, Koji and yeast was purchased from FH Steinbarts of Portland, Oregon.

Converted 13 Gal. Stainless Steel Keg was used
to do the main ferment.
Various sized, (2 to 5 Gal.) plastic containers were used to do
different stages.
6 Gallon Carboy.
5 Gallon Keg for Aging.

Our procedure:
Sokujo Moto method was used for this brew. Yeast Mash started on Dec. 21, 2001, and it took seven days to mature. The three additions took place next, ending on January 1st of 2002. After completing the first ferment, the mash was squeezed and a secondary ferment took place in a six gallon carboy. As ferment came to an end, distinct layers of clear and cloudy material were noted. Further filtering took place, then the saké was aged in a 5 gallon keg, prior to pasteurizing and bottling for competition. Bottling took place on March 31, 2002.

Co-Brewers: Tasker Tanaka and James Bayley


Dear Fellow Homebrewers:

Foam on the Range proudly announces that it will serve as the host club for the 1st Annual AHA TechTalk Competition!!!

The competition will take place Saturday, March 15th, 2003 and the entry deadline is Wednesday, March 12th, 2003. Entries will be accepted for the following BJCP Categories:

Category 6A: American Pale Ale
Category 6B: American Amber Ale
Category 6C: California Common Beer
Category 10D: American Brown Ale

The styles have been specifically selected to encourage new homebrewers to feel comfortable entering the contest as well as
their more experienced colleagues. The goal of the competition is to provide the best, most constructive and valuable feedback to each entrant.

Entrants MUST be AHA members to enter since the competition is sponsored and conducted under the auspices of the AHA. If you are not already an AHA member, you can send in your registration
paperwork with your entry or contact Tom Kosinski, FOTR’s Head Schmoo and AHA Liason at tmkmasher@m…
to join.

Full details and rules can be found in the attached .pdf file or at the
club’s website at

Remember, we need judges and stewards to make this comp a success and it is a sanctioned AHA/BJCP event, so all who help out are eligible for experience points! If interested in assisting as a judge or steward, please contact me at hopfenkopf@h….

Please distribute this announcement to all fellow brewers who might be interested!

Fire up those kettles and get ready!!!


Jon Douglas
Minister for Information
Foam on the Range

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Princeton and Local Environs Ale and Lager Enthusiast Society