Sake, also known as nihonshu, is a Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice. There are many different types of sake, each with its own unique flavor and characteristics. Sake is traditionally graded based on the percentage of rice that is milled away. The higher the grade, the more premium the sake is.
This is the most common type of sake and is made from rice that has been polished to 70%. It is light and versatile, making it a good choice for both food pairing and drinking on its own.
About Added Alcohol
Sake can also be classified by the added alcohol content: futsu shu, honjozo-shu, and ginjo-shu. Futsu-shu is the most common type of sake and has the lowest alcohol content, while ginjo-shu has the highest alcohol content.
Additional Sake Terms and Classifications
Kimoto sake is made using a traditional brewing method that involves lacto-fermentation. This method is time-consuming and labour-intensive, which is reflected in the higher price of Kimoto sake. The flavour of Kimoto sake is often described as earthy and full-bodied, with a slightly acidic finish.
Nigori sake is a type of Japanese rice wine that is cloudy in appearance. It is made with rice that has been milled to a lower degree than is used for other types of sake, resulting in a sweeter, fuller-bodied flavor. Nigori sake is often served chilled or at room temperature.
Sparkling sake is a type of sake that is slightly carbonated, giving it a refreshing and slightly sweeter taste. It is typically lower in alcohol than regular sake, making it a perfect choice for those who want to enjoy the flavor of sake without the strong alcohol content.
Muroka sake is a type of sake that is made without charcoal filtering. This gives the sake a more robust flavor and a darker color. Muroka sake is often aged for a longer period of time, which also contributes to its deeper flavor profile.
Genshu sake is undiluted and has a higher alcohol content than other types of sake. It is typically bolder in flavor and has a higher acidity level. Genshu sake is also the most versatile type of sake, and pairs well with many different types of food.
Nama sake is a type of sake that has not been pasteurized. It is typically made with higher-quality rice and is considered to be a more premium sake. Nama sake is often lighter in color and has a fresher, more delicate flavor than other types of sake.
This type of sake is made from rice that has been polished to 70% and then fortified with distilled alcohol. It is lighter than junmai shu and has a higher alcohol content, making it a popular choice for those who want to enjoy a drink without feeling too full.
The Official Sake Grades
Honjozo is a type of sake that is made with distilled alcohol. It is light and smooth, with a slightly sweet flavor. Honjozo is typically served chilled or at room temperature.
Tokubetsu sake is a premium sake that is made with special care and attention. It is often aged for longer than other types of sake and has a richer flavor.
The most common type of sake, futsu-shu is made from lower-quality rice and typically has a lower alcohol content.
Ginjo sake is a premium type of sake that is made using a special brewing method. The rice used to make Ginjo sake is milled to a very high degree, which results in a smoother, more delicate flavor.
Junmai Ginjo 純米吟醸
Junmai ginjo sake is considered to be the top grade of sake. It is made with rice that has been milled down to at least 50% of its original size and uses pure water with no additives. This type of sake is also fermented for a longer period of time, which gives it a more refined flavor.
Junmai Daiginjo 純米大吟醸
Junmai Daiginjo is the highest grade of sake, and it is made with rice that has been milled to at least 50%. This type of sake is usually very smooth and has a delicate flavor.
Daiginjo sake is made with highly polished rice and pure water and is fermented for a longer period of time than other types of sake. This results in a smooth, delicate flavor that is perfect for enjoying on its own or with a meal.
Junmai sake, such as takuetsu junmai is made with pure rice and water. No other ingredients are added. This type of sake is typically lower in alcohol content and has a stronger flavor.
What Are the Different Types of Sake?
Sake is a Japanese alcoholic beverage made from rice that has been fermented. There are many different types of sake, each with its own unique flavor. The different types of sake are classified according to their alcohol content, rice polishing ratio, and brewing method. The four main types of sake are junmai, ginjo, daiginjo, and namazake.
What Are the Grades of Premium Sake?
Ginjo sake is a premium grade of sake that is made with special care and attention. The rice is milled to a higher degree, and the fermentation process is longer and slower. This results in a lighter, smoother, and more fragrant sake.
This type of sake is made with special care and attention, using only the finest ingredients. As a result, daiginjo has a delicate flavor and a smooth texture. If you’re looking for a premium sake that is truly a cut above the rest, daiginjo is the way to go.
Tokubetsu honjozo is a type of premium sake that is made with specially polished rice. This type of sake is often considered to be the best of the best, as it is made with the highest quality ingredients.
The highest grade of sake is Junmai Daiginjo, which is made with polished rice and distilled alcohol. This type of sake is known for its smooth taste and fragrant aroma.
Tokubetsu Junmai is a type of premium sake that is made using pure rice, water, and koji (a type of fungi). The koji helps to break down the rice starch into sugars, which are then fermented by yeast. Tokubetsu Junmai sake is known for its full-bodied flavor and its rich aroma.
Honjozo is a type of premium sake that is made with a higher percentage of rice polishing, which results in a cleaner and smoother flavor. It is also typically lighter in color and body than other types of sake.
Junmai ginjo is considered to be a premium grade of sake. The junmai ginjo grade of sake is characterized by its smooth and complex flavor. It is often described as being fruity or floral, with a delicate balance of sweetness and acidity.
This is made with pure rice and water, with no additional alcohol added. It is typically fuller-bodied with a more robust flavor.
Junmai-shu is the most common type of sake and is made with pure rice and water. Junmai-shu is typically light and smooth, with a slightly sweet taste. The alcohol content of Junmai-shu is usually around 15%.
Premium Sake Grades Meaning
Premium sake grades mean that the rice used to make the sake is of a higher quality. The rice is milled more, so there is less of the outer layer of the grain. This results in a more refined flavor. The higher the grade, the more expensive the sake.
Mashing: Shubo 酒母 / Moto 酛
Mashing is the process of crushing the rice to release the starch. This step is crucial in sake brewing because it is during the mashing process that the enzymes are released that will convert the starch to sugar. There are two types of mashing that are used in sake brewing: shubo mashing and mota mashing.
Shubo mashing is the traditional method of mashing and involves the use of a koji mold to break down the rice. This method is time-consuming and requires a lot of skill.
Mota mashing is a newer method that uses enzymes to break down the rice. This method is less time-consuming and does not require as much skill.
Bodaimoto 菩提酛 or 菩提もと
This method is used to create a special type of sake called kimoto sake. Kimoto sake is made using a special type of rice called koji rice. Koji rice is a type of rice that has been inoculated with a special type of mold called koji mold. This mold is what helps to create the unique flavor of kimoto sake. Bodaimoto mashing is a very important part of the sake-making process, and it is what gives kimoto sake its unique flavor.
Kimoto mashing is a traditional Japanese method of preparing sake rice. It is a time-consuming process that involves repeatedly washing and soaking the rice, which helps to break down the starch and produce a more flavorful sake. The kimoto method is one of the oldest and most labor-intensive methods of preparing sake rice, and it is said to produce a more full-bodied and flavorful sake. This method is used by a limited number of sake breweries, and it often results in a higher quality sake.
Yamahai mashing is a traditional method of preparing sake that is said to produce a full-bodied and robust flavor. This type of sake is made with a special type of rice called yamadanishiki, which is known for its high starch content. The rice is milled down to a very fine consistency and then mixed with water and koji (a type of mold) to create a mash. This mash is then left to ferment for several weeks before being pressed and bottled. Yamahai sake is typically aged for at least one year before being released, and it can be enjoyed either chilled or at room temperature.
Sokujo Moto 速醸酛
This is a process where koji, or Aspergillus oryzae fungus, is mixed with steamed rice. The koji breaks down the starch in the rice, which then turns into sugar. This sugar is then used to create alcohol. There are different grades of sake that are created through the Sokujo Moto method. The three grades are Daiginjo, Ginjo, and Tokubetsu Ginjo.
Daiginjo-shu is the highest grade of sake and is made with pure rice that has been milled down to at least 50%. This type of sake is known for its smooth and delicate flavor.
About Rice Polishing
Rice polishing is the process of removing the outermost layer of the rice grain and is a key step in the production of sake. The degree to which the rice is polished will impact the flavor, quality, and price of the final product.
Junmai-shu and Honjozo-shu
Junmai-shu is made with rice that has been milled to at least 70% of its original size, while Honjozo-shu is made with rice that has been milled to 60% of its original size.
The rice polishing ratio is important because it affects the flavor of the sake. Junmai-shu is typically richer and fuller-bodied, while Honjozo-shu is lighter and smoother.
Junmai Ginjo-shu and Ginjo-shu
Junmai ginjo-shu is a type of sake that is made with rice that has been milled down to at least 60%. This type of sake is known for its delicate flavor and aromas. Ginjo-shu, on the other hand, is made with rice that has been milled down to at least 40%. This type of sake is known for its fruity and floral aromas.
Junmai Daiginjo-shu and Daiginjo-shu
Junmai Daiginjo-shu and Daiginjo-shu are the two highest grades of sake. Junmai Daiginjo-shu is brewed with rice that has been polished to at least 50%. Daiginjo-shu is brewed with rice that has been polished to at least 40%.
Pressing – Jozo 上槽
Pressing is the process of extracting sake from fermented rice. The pressed sake is then graded and categorized according to several factors, including the polishing rate of the rice, the type of yeast used, and the brewing method.
Jozo, or brewer’s alcohol, is the process of adding alcohol to sake. The addition of alcohol helps to preserve the flavor and aroma of the sake.
The Shizuku method is a type of pressing that uses gravity to extract the liquid. This method is considered to be the most premium method of pressing. The Shizuku method is considered to be the most premium method of pressing and results in sake with a more refined flavor.
Ginjo-shu is made with rice that has been milled down to at least 50%. This type of sake is typically very smooth and has a delicate flavor.
The taste and quality of sake depending on the rice used, the water, and the koji mold. While the most common type is Junmai, there are many different types of sake, as well as various grades within each type. So, there is a lot of flavor and quality to try and experience.