Around a year ago, as I crafting my test batch soy sauce, it dawned on me that I'd need something larger to handle larger batches. It wasn't just about size, but also about finding the right containers for optimal soy sauce fermentation, ones that allowed the sauce to breathe and mature gracefully.
In Japan, traditional soy sauce breweries relied on massive wooden barrels known as "Kioke" (木桶). While nowadays only about 1% of these breweries still use Kioke, some of these revered barrels have stood the test of time for over a century. The brew masters would attest that these wooden vessels played a vital role in producing soy sauce of exceptional quality. The art of crafting Kioke itself is a testament to the dedication that goes into this process.
Of course, replicating this traditional process in Australia posed a bit of a challenge. So, I opted for the next best thing – Wine and Whisky Barrels. Luckily, I discovered a skilled cooper right here in Australia and promptly ordered two pristine AMERICAN OAK barrels.
When they arrived, it was quite the sight to behold! These barrels were massive – so big, in fact, that they couldn't fit into a regular car. They had to be transported by truck.
I've had a few curious souls ask me, "Are you making whisky or wine?" To which I replied, "Nah, I'm brewing soy sauce in wine barrels..."
Now, I'm eagerly anticipating the flavors that will emerge from these seasoned barrels.