Deciphering Sake


It’s not the most common of beverages in this part of the world, for sure. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some crisp, refreshing Sake, served cold of course, on a hot summer day. The best of the Sake brewers in Japan make a light, smooth liquor with aromas and tastes of peach, lychee, apples, bananas, and other tropical fruits. The use of rice, along with the production of the Sake means that it has a much lower acidity than a typical white wine, but it should be drunk as such.

The production is where the Sake truly takes form. Only four ingredients are use in traditional Sake brewing; rice, yeast, water, and a mold grown by the Sake house to their own specifications called Koji. See, the problem with rice is that it does not have any readily digestible sugars for the yeast to consume, as well as a sheath of undesirable compounds which produce inferior Sake surrounding the pure core. To address the first part, the Koji is used on the rice, breaking down the rice to a point where the yeast can access the sugars they need to produce alcohol during the process of fermentation. This Koji also adds something to the flavor profile, which is why each Sake house is very careful to choose just the right culture. The second problem is remedied by milling the rice down in order to get the undesirable components off of the rice used in the Sake. This is where the Sake obtains its quality ratings from, for the more the rice is milled, the higher the quality of Sake it becomes. images-3

Hakutsuru Sayuri Nigori Sake $8.99 0.296L / $16.99 0.750L

This type of Sake is one that is not as filtered as the others. A lot of times, these will look cloudy and taste a little creamy on the palette. These Sakes have unfermented rice solids floating inside the bottle and tend to be sweeter and smoother than the other styles of Sake.

Hakutsuru Junmai Sake $10.99 0.750L and TYKU Junmai Sake $15.99 0.750L

In this type of Sake, a portion of the rice grain has been milled away. This results in a cleaner, crisper version of Sake. The rice is generally milled to only 70% of its original size.

Hakutsuru Junmai Ginjo Sake $16.99 0.750L and TYKU Junmai Ginjo Sake $23.99 0.750Lslide_sakeportfolio

Even higher quality sake, the Junmai Ginjo Sakes generally use rice that has been milled to 60% of its original size. Cleaner, with more delicate fruits and an incredible smoothness, the Junmai Ginjo Sakes are a fantastic addition to any meal.

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