My road to Sake took a detour through a swamp. Or it smelled like one. First, that cheese smell I talked about is only bad. That batch is on the compost pile. The next batch that included the Koji with the wonderful smell was somehow compromised. Two possibilities, not sure which, maybe both. Also on the compost pile.
A new batch of Kome Koji is going using some high quality medium grain Sushi rice. Wonderful smell, probably ready to add to some steamed rice.
In the mean time I did a little side project. The rice wine hooch was very successful with little effort. I keep thinking that simple worked back in the old days. A bit of research reveals that tomatoes and molasses both contain nutrients that yeast needs to thrive. Being a big fan of a good Bloody Mary mix, I thought about a tomato hooch. It turns out that ketchup is often used as a primary fermenting component by those finding themselves confined in governmental institutions.
A big can of tomato sauce, a little can of tomato paste, a couple tablespoons of molasses and three cups of sugar. Boiled up with a gallon of RO water and four finger sized dried hot red peppers. It fermented wildly. I racked it after five or six days into a glass jug with air lock. It cleared to a redish color reminiscent of Cider Vinegar. Only about a quart is left.