dreamstime_xxl_44182160The word “moto” in Japanese is the word for the yeast starter that begins the fermentation process to create sake. There are three types of “moto” that can be used: kimoto, yamahai, or sokujo. At Moto-i in Minneapolis, our on-site brewery offers several types of sake, and if you’re interested in trying a new type of alcoholic drink, our servers will gladly recommend an ideal choice for your table. In this post, we’ll discuss the three yeast starters, how they differ, and how they are used to begin the fermentation process.


Kimoto is the original yeast started used for sake brewing, and its origin dates back centuries. It takes a month to create this yeast, and it requires combining the rice, water, and koji (the bacteria used to convert the starch in the rice into sugar) into a mash that creates the starter for the fermentation process. Kimoto, when finished, should be slightly gamey and earthy.


Yamahai is similar to kimoto, but requires a bit less labor to produce. The fermentation temperature is higher, resulting in a stronger and more robust flavor. As with kimoto, the rice, water, and koji are combined into a mash to begin the fermentation process.


Sokujo is essentially the “quicker” yeast starter, and only takes two weeks to create, as compared to four weeks for kimoto or yamahai. The lactic acid, which would normally form in the mash as the rice, water, and koji are combined, is instead added at the beginning of the fermentation process. This cuts down on the time it takes to create the starter, and results in a more prominent flavor in the sake.

If you’re interested in trying sake, or want to learn more about each type of yeast, come to Moto-i in Minneapolis today!

moto-i Ramen & Sake House

2940 Lyndale Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55408

P: 612-821-6262

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  1. MON-FRI
    1. 12:00pm – 9:00pm