W&L No. 036: Sima
a grisette featuring Koji rice
Our ongoing experimental series sets down a number of different paths, and one of our favorite concepts to explore is bridging beer to the realms of other beverages. We’ve tried projects focused on wine, tea, and a number of different spirits, but today’s installment is something brand new to us: creating a saison/sake hybrid.
We teamed up with Andrew Neyens from Tahoma Fuji Sake Brewing to bring this idea to life. He provided us with some of his koji rice, inoculated in his own chamber at his brewery right here in Ballard. We thought these umami-rich spores, when combined with our mixed yeast culture, would contribute intriguing notes that couldn’t be replicated with our typical grain bills or even the native yeasts found on different fruits we’ve used in the past.
Wanting the koji to be the star of the show, we added the rice to our simple, workhorse grisette after its primary fermentation. This helped to preserve the aromatics and flavors of the koji, as well as allowing the enzymes present to produce an even drier beer. After steeping, a bouquet of incredible aromas emerged ranging from pear and just-ripe banana to pistachio and cedar. Sima presents a perceived floral sweetness in the mid-palate, fading into a bone dry finish that begs for another sip.
We’re proud to collaborate with Andrew and employ his koji rice in a new fermentation environment. If you haven’t tried his Nama Genshu sake, we highly recommend seeking it out at a number of sake bars and bottleshops around town.