Types of Sake
Types of Sake
Futsu-shu is commonly referred to as “table sake”. This type of sake makes up a majority (approx.. 75%) of the sake produced and sold. It tends to be made from table rice or other non-premium rice. This type of sake does not have any specific milling requirements for the rice and usually has other alcohol (referred to as brewers alcohol) added to it. Think of this type of sake as being the sake equivalent to table wine.
This type of sake makes up the remaining 25% of the sake market. It is broken down into six types of sake. Like the Futsu-shu some of the premium sakes also have alcohol added to them (typically in less amounts compared to futsu-shu. Another thing that separates premium sake from futsu-shu is premium sake is always made with a premium rice and never with table rice. Premium sakes do have milling requirements based on the type of premium sake being produced.
Sake with the label junmai means the only ingredients in the sake are the rice, water, and koji. There is no extra sugar or brewers alcohol added to it.
JUNMAI DAIGINJO - This type of sake is the type of sake brewers put their heart and soul into. It has a rice that has been polished at least 50%. This means that 50% or less of the rice grain remains after the polishing. It has extremely precise labor behind the brewing. The labor is all hand labor and the use of machinery avoided.
DAIGINJO - It follows the same rigorous labor as the Junami Daigunjo. It has a rice that has been polished at least 50%. This means that 50% or less of the rice grain remains after the polishing. It has a little bit of brewers alcohol added during its production to it so it can not be called a junmai.
JUNMAI GINJO - This is pretty similar to the Junmai Daiginjo when it comes to the process of the making it. The big difference is the Junmai GInjo is that the rice is polished to at least 60% of rice grain remains.
GINJO - This is similar to the Junmai Ginjo when it comes to the process of the making it. The rice is polished to at least 60% of rice grain remains. It does have brewers alcohol added during the production process.
JUNMAI - This is still just rice, water, and koji. It typically has rice that is polished to at least 70% , but there is no polishing requirement.
HOJOZO - Sake the has its rice polished to 70% but does have brewers alcohol added during the production process
NAMA-ZAKE - As mentionted before Nama-zake is an unpasterurized sake. It should be refrigerated in order to keep it from going bad. Any of the sakes above could be a nama-zake.
NIGORI - This sake is a coarsely filtered sake. It tends to look white and cloudy (almost like milk). Sometimes it will have bits of rice still floating around in it.
SPARKLING SAKE - Carbonated sake.
KOSHU - Aged sake. Koshu can be aged in terracota jars, glass bottles, or wooden vessels. Koshu sake is typically aged 3-5 years.