Sake Main Directory

Saké sake making

While often referred to as rice wine, Saké is actually more like a beer - made from a grain - rice - which is broken down by koji mold and fermented into an alcoholic beverage. Saké shows up in Japan's first written history compiled in 712, CE. Many of us have had a ceramic cup full of hot, harsh, barely drinkable Saké in a Japanese restaurant. My introduction to the world of sake beyond the heated liquid in the ceramic cup began when Moto-I, one of America's first Sake Brew Pubs opened a mile from my house. Frequent visits there over the years always involved drinking at least one of their house Sakés. They were good and gradually built up the courage to start buying bottles.

Sake comes in grades depending how the rice is handled. The more outer rice that is polished off, the higher the grade of Saké. Daiginjo Saké has 50% or less of the rice remaining, Ginjo has 60% or less of the rice remaining, Honjozo has 70% or less of the rice remaining and Futsu-shu has no rice requirement. These grades of Saké are bottled with a little bit of distilled alcohol to bring out the aroma and smooth out the flavors. Junmai Saké does not have added alcohol and is make only with rice, water, yeast and koji. It comes in Junmai Daiginjo (50% or less of rice remaining, Junmai Ginjo (60% or less of rice remaining) and Junmai (70% or less of the rice remaining). Most Saké is pasteurized before brewing and again before shipping. Nama-zake is not and has to be refrigerated to stay fresh but can have fresher flavors. Nigori Saké is unfiltered - the hefeweizen of the Saké world and is usually milky with very small bits of rice floating around in it. My experience so far has found that anything with Junmai on the label is usually good. Anything with Daiginjo and Ginjo on the label is usually very good.

Saké Books

John Gauntner The Saké Handbook

Beau Timken and Sara Deseran Saké: A Modern Guide

Griffith Frost and John Gauntner Sake Pure + Simple

John Gauntner Sake Confidential: A Beyond-the-Basics Guide to Understanding, Tasting, Selection, and Enjoyment

Philip Harper The Insider's Guide to Sake

Saké Reviews

Akita Shurui Seizoh Co., Ltd. Shimizu-no-mai Pure Dawn Junmai Ginjo

Akita Shurui Seizoh Co., Ltd. Shimizu-no-mai Pure Snow Junmai Nigori

Asahi-Suzo Dassai Junmai Daiginjo 50 Sparkling Nigori Sake

Dewazakura Dewa Sansan

Dewazakura Oka Ginjo

Dewazakura Tobiroku

Gekkeikan Junmai-Shu

Gekkeikan Suzaku

Hakutsuru Sake Brewing Company Awayuki

Hakutsuru Sake Brewing Company Excellent Junmai Sake

Hakutsuru Sayuri Nigori Sake

Hakutsuru Brewing Company Superior Junmai Gingo

Housui Brewing Company Housui Tokubetsu Junmai

Joto Junmai Nigori Sake

Kaetsu Sake Brewery Kanabara Junmai Ginjo Bride of the Fox

Kizakura Sake Brewing Co. Ltd Tozai Junmai Sake Living Jewel

Kizakura Sake Brewing-Co Ltd Tózai Snow Maiden Junmai Nigori Sake

Kurosawa Sake Kurosawa Junmai Kimoto

Moti-I Junmai Another Dalliance

Moto-i Junmai Ginjo Nama-Zume

Moto-i Junmai Yamahai

Nanbu Bijin Tokubetsu Junmai Southern Beauty

Oomuraya Shuzo Wakatake Daiginjo Onikoroshi Sake

Oomuraya Shuzo Wakatake Onikoroshi Junmai Ginjo Sake

Otokoyama Junmai Sake

Ozeki Sake Ozeki Premium Junmai

Rihaku Dreamy Clouds Nigori Sake

Rihaku Junmai Ginjo Wandering Poet

SakéOne g Fifty

SakéOne Momokawa Organic Creamy Nigori Junmai Sake

SakéOne Mura Mura River Premium Sake

Takara Sake USA Sho Chiku Bai Classic Junmai Sake

Takara Sake USA Inc. Sho Chiku Bai Nama Sake

Takara Sake USA Sho Chiku Bai Nigori Silky Mild

Takara Sake USA Sho Chiku Bai Premium Ginjo Sake

Takasago Shuzo Sake Brewery Ginga Shizuku Divine Droplets Junmai Daiginjo

Tsukinowa Yoi-no-Tsuki (Midnight Moon) Daiginjo Sake

Watanabe Sake Brewery Ninja Hourai Sake Ninja Junmai-shu

Yaegaki Sake & Spirits Yaegaki Nigori Sake



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