Search Bloguru posts

The 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake Part 2

thread
The 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake Part 2
By Kosuke Kuji

Kumamoto Earthquake that happened at 9:26 pm on April 14th 2016. As mentioned in the previous column, there were many deaths and evacuees. When this Kumamoto Earthquake happened the very first thing that arose in my mind was the condition of "Kouro" which is the birthplace of Kumamoto brewing yeast No. 9.

Brewing yeast has many varieties starting with brewing yeast No. 1 and currently there is No. 18 which are used by sake makers in Japan and the yeast is the basic production factor to produce high quality sakes.

From all the yeasts, brewing yeast No. 9 has a special existence that it was the yeast that also contributed to the Ginjo sake making in Japan from Showa (1926-1989) era to the beginning of Heisei (1989 -) era.

Ginjo sake has the character of having a wonderful aroma and it was this brewing yeast No. 9 that brought out the highest amount of that Ginjo aroma compared to all the previous brewing yeasts and was also the yeast that was used by head sake makers in Japan. This brewing yeast No. 9 was separated at the brewery in "Kouro" of Kumamoto prefecture with Kouro brewing yeast (Kumamoto brewing yeast) being first found at this brewery, then this yeast was passed onto Brewing Society of Japan that named it brewing yeast No. 9.

Brewing yeast No. 9 was distributed to the breweries in Japan and it became the basic production factor to support the high quality ginjo making. What resulted was the birth of the name "YK-35" (Y is Yamadanishiki rice, K for brewing yeast No. 9 & 35 is rice polishing ratio up to 35%) and there was a time that they said if it wasn't YK-35 you wouldn't be able to win the gold prize at the Annual Japan Sake Awards.

Kouro yeast which is the origin of this brewing yeast No. 9. If electricity was shut down by the Kumamoto Earthquake, the yeast would be destroyed if you are not able to keep it chilled which is necessary for preservation. If such a situation continued for a long time, the famous Kouro yeast (Kumamoto yeast), the original
yeast of brewing yeast No. 9, would be gone from this world.

If that were to happen that would mean losing a 'treasure' of the Japan brewery industry and it would be such a major blow to the Japanese sake world.
Is the yeast OK? That just worried me for several days when I received a call from Kumamoto.

The call was from the Mr. Morikawa (master sake brewer) in Kouro. To be continued in #3.

酒豪大陸「熊本大地震 その2」

2016年4月14日の午後9時26分に発災した、熊本大地震。前回のコラムでも書いた通り、多数の死者や避難者を出しました。

そんな熊本大地震がおこり、私の中で一番最初に頭をよぎったのは協会9号酵母の発祥の地「香蔵」の状況でした。

協会酵母には様々な種類がありますが、協会1号から今では18号まで酵母があり、全国の酒造会社で使われて、高品質な酒造りをする原動力となっています。
その中でも協会9号酵母というのは、特別な存在で、昭和から平成のはじめにかけて、日本の吟醸酒を牽引した酵母でもあります。

吟醸酒は素晴らしい香りが特徴のお酒で、この協会9号酵母はその吟醸香をそれまでのどの協会酵母よりも高く出し、全国の蔵元がこぞって使った酵母でもありました。

その協会9号酵母が分離されたのが、熊本県の「香露」の蔵で、ここの蔵で見つかった香露酵母(熊本酵母)が元となり、日本醸造協会がその酵母を譲り受けて協会9号酵母にしました。
協会9号酵母は瞬く間に全国の酒蔵に配布され、高品質な吟醸造りを支える原動力になりました。

その成果は「YK-35」(Yは山田錦、Kは協会9号酵母、35は精米歩合35%まで磨く)という言葉を生み出し、YK-35でなければ全国新酒鑑評会で金賞は取れないとまで言われた時代もありました。

そんな協会9号酵母の元となる香露の酵母。今回の熊本大地震で電源が落ちてしまったら、酵母は冷蔵保存ですから、冷やせないと酵母がダメになってしまいます。

そんな状態が長く続くとなると、伝説の協会9号酵母の元株である香露酵母(熊本酵母)がこの世からなくなってしまいます。
そんなことになれば、日本の醸造業界の「宝」を失うことになり、日本酒の世界にとってあまりにも大きな痛手になってしまいます。
酵母は大丈夫か、それだけが気がかりで数日過ぎたとき、1本の電話が私のところに熊本からかかってきました。電話の主は、香露の森川杜氏さんでした。その3に続く。
#alljapannews #kumamoto #earthquake #japan #sake

People Who Wowed This Post

  • If you are a bloguru member, please login.
    Login
  • If you are not a bloguru member, you may request a free account here:
    Request Account