Home brewing in Japan

I'm going to start listing Japan sources of supplies here. There is a pretty good article
on the beerinjapan website that covers some options here
http://beerinjapan.com/bij/486/homebrewing-in-japan/. This article helped me get up
and running and the magazine is a good way to get oriented with Japanese craft beer.
*disclaimer, I don’t work for the magazine but am aquintences with authors*
*Sakeland, Advanced Brewing, and Homebrewing service are all Japan based
webstores that carry the basics to get you started brewing. Sakeland has been
renamed Brew Land now.
Starting with cleaning supplies and chemicals:
Ethanol Spray - Sakeland, Advanced Brewing, Tokyo Hands, 100 yen shops even carry
this. Seems to be the go-to sanitizer for Japan. It isn’t the cheapest sanitizer but it is
available everywhere, look for アルコ on the label.
Morgans Sanitize (a Hydrogen peroxide + stabilizers blend) - Sakeland/Brewland
Pasteurizer 77 (I think this is an ethanol mix of some kind) - Sakeland/Brewland
Dry Bleach Powder - Sakeland/Brewland
Iodophor - Homebrewing Service
Starsan - Homebrewing Service
Beer Line Cleaner (Potassium Hydroxide + surfactants) - Homebrewing Service
Oxiclean - versatile – I got a 5kg case of it Costco for around 1500 yen
Hydrogen Peroxide (Oxydol) - Various drug stores, if it says Oxydol it should say H2O2
as well
Iodine - I bought a bottle at my local drug store under the name "Meiji -イソジン”
which is a small green bottle - you want to make sure to get the liquid form NOT the
Liquid Bleach- Everywhere - 100 yen shops have it even, Usually a light green bottle
with a pink cap (various brands use the same color scheme) - make sure it is an
unscented version, best bet is to look for “kitchen bleach” (キティンブリチ)
Plain White Vinegar - Costco - Large bottles (4 Liters?) for 500 yen or so.
Potassium Metabisulphate (Campden tablets or powder) - Advanced Brewing
TSP (Trisodium Phosphate) -???
Diversol (chlorinated pink powder) -???
Acetone (I've used it for removing labels) - Nail polish remover from 100 yen shop


Aluminum Bottles – You can find aluminum bottles with screw top lids holding coffee
and beer at supermarkets. Asahi has a 2L beer can with a screw lid. I tested a few
coffee bottles for bottle conditioning and found no change in flavor. One drawback I
found was when you pour it is harder to see when you should stop to prevent yeast in
the glass. Another drawback is there is no way to remove the label.
Glass Bottles – There are 2 systems for bottles recycling that I have noticed in Japan.
1. The first one is for the big bottles brewed by the big breweries. The breweries
reuse their bottles, and there is a collection system based on bottle collectors
who buy the empty bottles by the crate from the businesses and then sell them
back to the breweries. You can buy these bottles for quite cheap, they take
crown caps and have paper labels with an easily removed adhesive. There are
crates for storing them that are easily available. Just talk to a business that has
some sitting outside their bar. It's not good to just take them, the business
owner gets a few dollars for each crate and you can afford to give that to them.
Obviously you should give them a real good cleaning, they may have baked in
the sun! I soak bottles obtained like this for a several days with an alkaline
cleaner like oxiclean or bleach before I remove labels and use a bottle brush on
the inside.
-Green Heartland bottles are easiest to clean, they only have a neck label and
hold 500ml
2. Craft beer bottles are not collected by the breweries due to
logistics/feasibility. Pretty much all the craft bottles actually COST the business
owner money to dispose of. In addition, the customers sometimes take glass
bottles to the beer/liquor store for disposal. A small beer store might have a
bunch of craft beer bottles brought to him that he may not have even sold in
the first place, but is required to pay for their disposal! That was the case at
the liquor store (Sakaya 酒屋) I visited in Kamakura for my bottles. The owner
was quite happy to give me his craft bottles for free, even taking the time to
bag them up for me (about 60 bottles)! The craft bottles are more often loaded
with that super-adhesive to hold their labels on. It is really strong stuff and not
water soluble. A long soak in Oxiclean and steel wool works OK but it is time
Kegs - There is a lot of variety of kegs in use here, in valve types (plenty of
imports), and in volume. Asahi started using 7L kegs all the way back in 1977.
I have seen kegs sized from full 55 Liter to 5 Liter! You can rent kegs &
dispensing equipment at some liquor stores (Sakaya 酒屋) as well as purchase
used equipment from online retailers.

Options and rough prices of fermenters I have seen:

Standard glass carboy - mostly unavailable, cost estimate around 10000 yen
PET carboy - 12,19, and 23L - from 2000 to 7500 yen
Glass traditional carboy -18L -(fancy sake style) - 12500 yen
Glass "Umeshu" jars - 2-8L - from 600 to 1400 yen. These are great for small
batches. I have a few of these but they are mostly full of Umeshu and
Umeboshi. They have a hard plastic lid and underneath there is a soft plastic
snap-on lid that can act as an air-barrier. I have fermented in these, just put
the whole thing in a plastic bag and tie it up to prevent bugs getting in, if the
bag inflates too much put a pin-hole in it.
HDPE water jug - 22L - 1000 yen + 400 yen airlock (or 100 yen of tubing and a
blowoff + sanitizer airlock)
HDPE water jug with tap added, sold online- 20-30L - 3500 to 4500 yen
USED Opaque HDPE Munton’s Extract Jugs (20 L) from Advanced Brewing. Free
when available but you pay the shipping so it depends where you live. I
received 2 with enough light liquid extract still in them to make 5 liters of beer
. May have small vent holes.
Corny and Sanke Kegs can be purchased in a few places online, I have no
experience using them as fermenters but HBT has threads discussing how to go
about doing that.

Lab Supplies
Most Lab supplies can be found from several companies listed in the other file
 Erlenmeyer flasks, test tubes, slant vials, petri dishes, pipettes, tubing,
Screwtop Vials - ネジ口試験管(neji guchi shikenkan) in japanese, Magnetic stirbar, Syringes, Gloves, Alcohol burners
 Magnetic Stir Plate – DIY supplies are much cheaper than the cheapest
commercial option. a computer fan with a small magnet glued to it and put
inside a lunchbox. Daiso has strong magnets 8 for 100 yen for the smallest
ones. Cost less than 2000 yen to build easily.
 Hydrometer – Brew supply websites, lab supply websites
 Refractometer - there is an Ebay store from Hong Kong that specializes in
Refractometers, seems to be one of the cheapest sources and has a good
 Funnel – 100 yen stores
 Rice Cooker – sanitize small tools, department/hardware stores,


Brew Pots – Costco, Daiso, 2nd hand shops, Online resources
Die-cast burners - 鋳物コンロ (chuubutsu konro) in Japanese. Liquid Propane
(LP) or natural gas (city gas) – various hardware stores and online – Watch the

power ratings, you may want to convert to BTU to compare. I have found fairly low power
to be standard.

LP Gas Rental - You can rent LP gas tanks, in Tokyo
10,000 yen is required as a deposit but you get that back when you return the
DIY Jet Burner – (not sure you can do this in most places, you would need
space and they are loud) However this is a cheap powerful burner that can be
built simply.
Digital Kitchen Scale – Many department stores, online. I got one for 1500 yen
for +/-1gm accuracy and 2kg max load.
Digital Thermometer – Department stores, Online stores
BIAB grain bag - laundry net bags from 100 yen shops – “delicates” have finer
Hop Bags – Ocha/Tea bags are small, the larger polypropylene sink strainer
bags get better utilization. Both can be found at 100 yen shops.
Timer – 100 yen shop, or use an app on your phone/tablet/computer for free
Copper Tubing for Immersion Chillers
Tubing – PVC Vinyl, Reinforced PVC Vinyl (braided), Silicone, Thermoplastic
Temperature Controller – Ebay from Hong Kong seems to be one of the
cheapest for the STC1000
Insulation – Polystyrene styrofoam, silver insulated tarp/blankets,
The Japanese bath tub - fill it half way with water then just stand your Carboy
in it
Small Freezers & Fridges – Cheap 2nd hand
Heated Blanket/Carpet
Sanke Keg Tool, and excellent info in Japanese http://www5.ocn.ne.jp/~wyi/tarudume_folder/tarudume.html
Bottle Drying – Bottle Crates, Metal Grids from 100 Yen shop stores flat when
not used
Countertop dish washers: I have seen a few of these recently at the HOMES
store but have not spent time looking at their features to see if they have a
sanitize cycle.
Sponges, Brushes, cloths - 100 shops carry plenty of cleaning supplies


Gelatine – Fining - Supermarkets
Agar - 寒天 (Kanten) in Japanese. It should be in any supermarket near gelatine

and other cooking supplies, in sheets or in powdered form. I've seen one in
powdered form sold in sticks, 4 sticks each containing 4 grams for 240 yen
Sugar – Supermarkets, Online
Malts and Malt Extracts – Advanced Brewing, Brewland (sakeland), Asahi Malts,
Homebrew service, Ohnishi Shoten (Weyermann malts),
Hops Pellets, Extract, and Whole – Advanced Brewing, Brewland (sakeland),
Asahi Malts, Homebrew service, Bruhahops ships from Korea, (Nikobrew and
Yakima Valley Hops Ship from USA)
Hops Rhizomes - http://www.freshops.com/ will ship to Japan but they have a

minimum 15 rhizome order so a group buy is perhaps the best method, 30 USD shipping
fee on top for paperwork. They told me that March is the time to make the order from

Hops Rhizomes TRADES: various rhizomes may be grown by homebrewers in
Japan, please see HBT thread dedicated to this topic or discuss in the Japan
Group for availability.
Fruit & Juice: Costco carries cheap frozen fruit, large containers apple juice
Honey: Various supermarkets, online, costco
Citric acid – Daiso – 99.9% pure but in the cleaning section next to Bleach
Sodium Bicarb – Daiso – 99.9% pure but in the cleaning section next to Bleach