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Sake - Japanese Rice Wine


The World of SAKE
[mongip's Essay on Japanese Rice Wine]

Only after vast, intense hours of imbibing SAKE and deeply contemplating its nature (and a whole lotta other unrelated stuff) could such an informative tome be written on the nuances of Japan's most prominent and omnipresent "spirit". As a devoted vehicle of Japanese culture to you, the wide-eyed Westerner, I felt a moral obligation to explore (to the dregs, so to speak) the wide world of SAKE -- purely, of course, with the sole intent of providing you with the following informative information:

[But first] I sincerely hope you appreciate the time and effort I have spent (drinking) in order to bring you the following information...

Actually, I'm getting most of this info from a brochure I received while buying the several large bottles I felt compelled to consume in order to honestly report this to you..

SAKE In General

SAKE has played a central role in the Japanese people for about two thousand years, during which time the knowledge and skills required for SAKE production have spread to every region of the country (of Japan). Today, some 1,600 breweries of all sizes are engaged in the production of SAKE. Together they produce more than 10,000 brands of Japan's national beverage.

The principle ingredients of SAKE are rice, yeast, and spring water. The finest SAKE is made only from the central part of the rice; the husk and outer layers are discarded. The process used to achieve this is known as "polishing". Characteristic of premium SAKE; rice wine is polished down to 50 - 70%, brewed at a low temperature for a long period of time, using only regional spring water, produced with tradition for perfection. The higher the polishing ratio the more delicate and refined the SAKE.

Premium SAKE is best enjoyed chilled or cold.

different types of SAKE


Jun-Mai-Shu is SAKE brewed using only the rice which outer 30 - 40% has been polished away as well as spring water, Koji, and yeast. No alcohol or spirits is added to the final product. Usuually full-bodied and slightly acidic. Goes well with a variety of foods.


Gin-Jo-Shu is SAKE made with rice polished to the extent that the outer 40 - 50% of each grain has been polished away. Gin-Jo-Shu is layered and complex, lighter and more fragrant.


Dai-Gin-Jo-Shu is a sub classification of Gin-Jo-Shu. At least the outer 50 - 65% of each grain has been polished into oblivion, and the various brewing processes are handled ith even more care and attention. Dai-Gin-Jo-Shu is even lighter and more fragrant that Gin-Jo-Shu. It represents the top of the SAKE line.

other types of SAKE

HON-JYO-ZO-SHU - SAKE with brewing alcohol added.


GEN-SHU - SAKE straight out of fermentation. Alcohol averages 20%.


NIGORI SAKE - Roughly filtered SAKE.

TARU SAKE - Cask or barrel SAKE.

mongip's commitment to you

Dear Reader, please know that through my utmost desire to provide you information like this, I will continue to fully immerse myself in these various SAKE brews. Yes, it is a great and noble undertaking, I KNOW, but I cannot do otherwise, thinking only of you.

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