Hiochikin is a harmful lactic acid bacteria that can cause sake to spoil. Spoilage happens through excessive lactic acid fermentation in the finished sake.
Two primary hiochikin species of greatest concern to brewers are Lactobacillus Homohiochi and Lactobacillus Fructivorans. This type of lactic acid bacteria is one of the few species that tolerates alcohol levels of up to 20% and some species up to 25%. This ability to survive in high ethanol environments makes this bacteria especially concerning to sake brewers. However, Hiochikin is sensitive to heat above 45°C (112°F), so a heat pasteurization (Hiire | 火入れ) is carried out at around 60°C (140°F) to ensure protection from Hiochikin spoilage.« Back to Glossary Index