Words to Know
Acidity (Sando) – a scale for measuring the level of acidity in sake. Succinic, malic, lactic, citric, acetic acids are the primary acids found in sake.
Aruten – sake made with the addition of brewer’s alcohol. Aruten sake tends to be lighter with more distinct aromas when compared to junmai sake.
Atsu-kan – heated sake (kanzake) usually to 50⁰C (122⁰F)
Daiginjo – a premium sake made with rice with a minimum polishing ratio of 50% or less
Fune – the container (literally “boat”) used to hold cloth bags filled with moromi which will be pressed to separate sake from the sake lees.
Futsu-shu – ordinary table sake, not considered premium.
Genshu (undiluted sake) – A toji controls when to stop fermentation at a certain alcohol level to achieve his desired flavor profile. Sake can be fermented to an alcohol level up to about 20-21%, and is usually controlled to around 16-18%. Normally, pressed sake is then diluted by adding water to the desired bottling level around 15-16% which is most suitable for drinking. Some brewers, however, may want to present the undiluted sake at the fermented level without adding additional water. This is referred to as genshu sake, or “original sake.” Genshu sake tends to have a much stronger and richer flavor profile
Ginjo – premium sake made with rice with a polishing ratio of 60% or less.
Happoshu – sparkling sake (also known as awazake) can be made via carbonation or through a secondary fermentation process in the bottle. Sparkling sake is relatively new, and has seen an increase in supply and demand worldwide. The style is likened to champagne-style, and can run from sweet styles to dry styles.
Hiire – pasteurization. Sake is usually pasteurized to kill off microorganisms and also to deactivate amylase, protease and other enzymes to improve storage stability.
Hiyaoroshi – a namazume sake normally released each autumn. Namazume is sake that is pasteurized once right before storage. Sake is normally stored for 3-12 months or more before bottling and shipment.
Honjozo – premium sake with brewer’s alcohol added and a rice polishing ratio of 70% or less.
Isshobin – a 1.8 liter bottle (about 61 US fl. oz.)
Jizake - local sake, similarly referred to as a microbrewery
Junmai – “pure rice” – premium sake without the addition of brewer’s alcohol. For regular junmai sake, laws do not define the minimum rice polishing ratio unless it is junmai ginjo or junmai daiginjo, for which minimum rice polishing ratios apply.