Banryu Ichi 万流一
Experimental Beer/Sake hybrid
There is an old saying in Japan, “There are ten thousand ways to make sake.” (Sake zukuri banryu or 酒作り万流.)
CBC is very proud to introduce number ten thousand and one.
Banryu Ichi (10,001 ways in Japanese) is an experimental brew that straddles the line between beer and sake. Produced in collaboration with our good friend and local sake brewer Todd Bellomy of Boston Sake, this has been one of the most interesting and labor-intensive beers ever to come out of CBC.
We began in March by spending three cold, windy days on the CBC patio, steaming rice in small batches to brew what became 100 gallons of pure sake. Sake is produced by multiple parallel fermentation: polished rice is converted from starch to sugar by a fungus called Koji (Aspergillus oryzae) and fermentation is taken care of by sake yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae kyokai). After two weeks of fermentation this batch of sake (the largest batch of sake ever made in New England) was destined to become the starter culture (called moto) for our beer.
Next we brewed a mere six barrels of the craziest beer wort ever. Pale barley malt and flaked rice went into the mash, and after extracting only the first runnings we added a significant amount of brown rice syrup. This yielded a wort of 25*P/1.100SG, or in other words, some really thick, sticky stuff! The wort was sent to the fermenter and then, with fingers crossed, we pumped over the entire batch of still-fermenting sake including the yeast, Koji, and lots of rice slurry. Fermentation was slow and low at 50*F for four weeks, followed by cold-conditioning until it reached 14%abv. Note that this is NOT simply a blend of sake and beer. Rather, the fermenting sake is used to inoculate and ferment the beer wort. No Brewers Yeast was added to create this beer, only sake yeast and koji were employed.
Incredibly complex aromas and flavors abound, including sweet rice, fresh apples and wine grapes, hints of earth and mushroom from the koji, and as it warms further notes of fennel, herbs, and an almost Belgian-yeast spiciness. Brilliant copper-colored, it is full in body despite its very dry finish. This is one to be sipped, savored, and contemplated, as it is perhaps the most unique fermented beverage in the American craft beer world.
Banryu Ichi is served with intentionally very low carbonation in a 5oz. glass set inside a Masu, a traditional cedar sake cup.
5oz Masu $6