Enjoy Shochu Fermentation Sounds (video)

Yoriko Onomura, Sound Producer

Fermentation is one of the important processes in the manufacturing of shochu. Shochu is created through the alcoholic fermentation of raw materials such as potatoes, wheat, or rice.

The raw materials used to make shochu cannot be directly transformed into alcohol. An enzyme in aspergillus oryzae mold is used to convert the starches found into the raw materials into sugar, then yeast works to create alcohol. Carbon dioxide is produced as the alcohol is produced.

Fermentation, which relies on the power of microorganisms invisible to the naked eye, can be considered an important part in the production of delicious-tasting sochu.

Shochu brewers pay attention to the sounds inside the fermentation pot. Checking the “breathing” of the fermentation, they look after the progress of the mash. Our “fermentation sounds” are recordings of the sounds of this breathing of the fermentation. A special underwater microphone is inserted inside the pots or tanks to pick up these sounds.

These fermentation sounds include the sound of carbon dioxide popping, the sound of carbon dioxide bubbles rubbing against each other, and the sound of the mash beginning to move inside the pot as the temperature increases.

These three sounds produce a beautiful harmony.

Singling out the value in the inherently mysterious and life-filled sound of shochu fermenting, we hope for this fermentation sound, which is the real sound of shochu, to be established as a new “sound logo” for this alcoholic beverage.

Each of these sounds will be subtly different depending on factors such as the raw materials used, the size of the pot or tank, the number of days in the tank, or the external temperature. The fermentation sound you are now listening to is the sound of barley/wheat on the fourth day of the second shikomi (time in the tank).

Please try listening to this fermentation sound imagining that you have submerged yourself in the fermentation tank. We think this will serve as a liberation from day-to-day stresses, and to regain peace of mind, and the feeling of being born again.