Speak Sake to me

words to quench your thirst + curiosity

Terminology

  • Daiginjo 大吟醸

    Super Premium Sake.

    This Sake classification has a polishing ratio of at least 50%. It is made from water, rice, yeast and koji, with the addition of distilled alcohol.

    Also called “Daiginjo-shu.”

  • Genshu 原酒

    Undiluted Sake.

    Also referred to as “cask strength” Sake, the alcohol level is not diluted with water and can be as high as 20%.

    Best served on the rocks.

  • Ginjo 吟醸

    Premium Sake.

    This Sake classification has a rice polishing ratio of at least 60%. It is made from water, rice, yeast and koji, with the addition of distilled alcohol.

    Also called “Ginjo-shu.”

  • Honjozo 本醸造

    This Sake classification has a rice polishing ratio of at least 70%. It is made from water, rice, yeast and koji, with the addition of distilled alcohol.

  • Junmai 純米

    This classification is for sake made purely of rice, water, yeast and koji – no alcohol added. There is no minimum rice polishing required.

    Also called “Junmai-shu.”

  • Junmai Daiginjo 純米大吟醸

    Pure Super Premium Sake.

    This classification is for sake made purely of rice, water, yeast and koji – no alcohol added. The rice polishing ratio is at least 50%.

    Also called “Junmai Daiginjo-shu.”

  • Junmai Ginjo 純米吟醸

    Pure Premium Sake.

    This classification is for sake made purely of rice, water, yeast and koji – no alcohol added. The rice polishing ratio is at least 60%.

    Also called “Junmai Ginjo-shu.”

  • Koji 麹

    An essential ingredient in Sake production, koji is rice cultivated with Koji-kin mould.

    Also called “Kojimai.”

  • Koji-kin 麹菌

    The type of mould used in Sake production, propagated onto steamed sake rice grains to create Koji rice. Koji mould is essential in breaking down starch into sugar which can be fermented to make alcohol.

  • Namazake 生酒

    Unpasteurized Sake.

    A type of Sake that has a fresher and livelier taste.

    Also referred simply as “Nama.”

  • Nigorizake 濁り酒

    Unfiltered Sake.

    Sake that is coarsely filtered and is characterized by a cloudy or milky appearance, due to rice sediment. Gently shake before pouring.

    Also referred simply as “Nigori.”

  • Nihonshudo 日本酒度

    Sake Meter Value (SMV).

    A scale of measurement used to define the density of Sake compared to water. SMV determines whether a Sake is dry or sweet. Higher positive numbers represent drier Sake; lower negative numbers represent sweeter Sake.

  • Sakamai 酒米

    Rice grown specifically for Sake production.

    This rice variety has a larger kernel and contains less protein than table rice.

  • Seimaibuai 精米歩合

    Rice Polishing Ratio.

    The percentage of the rice kernel remaining after polishing or milling the outer surface of the grain prior to brewing.

    Seimaibuai 40% means 60% is polished away and only 40% of the rice is left.

  • Toji 杜氏

    Master Sake Brewer.

    Head of all Kurabito (Sake brewery worker) at a given brewery.

  • Yamadanishiki 山田錦

    King of Sake Rice.

    A highly-acclaimed Sake rice with a well-balanced quality of minerals, most suitable for brewing premium Sake.