In this glossary, we have compiled a list of terms relating to the world of sake. It is not exhaustive and is expected to be completed over time and your suggestions, but it gathers useful information, including to help you choose a sake.
Scale defining the amino acid content of sake and thus its umami.
A sake for which distilled alcohol has been added to the fermentation tanks. This is the opposite of Junmaï, but unlike Junmaï, the term "aruten" is not used in the characterization of sake, it is implied.
Sake tasting temperature at 50°C
Method of pasteurization where sake is pasteurized after bottling. It is increasingly used by breweries for their high-end sakes.
Or Mizumoto, is a method older than the Kimoto method and consisting of soaking uncooked rice in water to allow the lactic acid concentration to rise naturally and thus protect the fermentation from bacterial contamination.
|Choko||Small sake bowl.|
|Daïginjo||Sake category for which rice is polished to a minimum of 50% and special yeasts are used. Daiginjo means "great Ginjo", it is the emblematic sake of every brewery and is produced with the utmost attention.|
Unfiltered sake. A term often used for "homemade" sake. From a regulatory point of view, this is not a nihonshu because the doburoku has not gone through the mandatory filtration stage.
When tasting sake, the first flavors of sake when put in the mouth.
Or Fukurozuri, a filtration method consisting in placing the contents of fermentation tanks in canvas bags and then hanging them over a container to collect sake.
|Funeshibori||A filtration method consisting in placing the contents of fermentation tanks in canvas bags before pressing them into a wooden press.|
|Futsuu||Table sake, or ordinary sake, for which the addition of alcohol and different flavor compounds (lactic acid for example) are allowed.|
|Genmaï||Rice, with its brown outer layer.|
|Genshu||Sake made without adding spring water at the end of fermentation. Whole flavors and often a higher than average alcohol level.|
|Ginjo||Sake made with at least 60% polished rice and special yeasts. Ginjo literally means "watching the process".|
|Go||Volume unit equal to 18cl.|
|Goku||Or Koku, is the traditional unit for expressing the production volumes of sake from a brewery. A Goku corresponds to 180l.|
|Guinomi||Small sake bowl literally meaning "drink at once".|
Sake tasting temperature of 10°C - temperature of a cool spring day at the time of hanami.
|Happo||Or Happoshu is a sparkling sake and a relatively rare category. Some Happoshu received an addition of gas, others continue a second fermentation directly in the bottle, some are developed using techniques inspired by the ancestral method of production of Burgundy sparkling wines.|
|Hempeiseimaï||A way to polish the rice in an oval shape, following thus the natural shape of the grain.|
|Hiire||Pasteurisation of sake. This can be done using several methods.|
Sake tasting temperature corresponding to 35°C - skin temperature.
|Hiya||Hiyazake, Reishu, sake served cold.|
|Hiyaoroshi||New sake that is made available to the public in the autumn, i.e. after the summer maturation period for sake produced the same year.|
|Honjozo||A sake for which distilled alcohol can be added at the end of fermentation. The addition of alcohol, in very small proportions, allows the aromas to be captured.|
|Isshobin||1.8l bottle of sake.|
|Izakaya||A traditional Japanese restaurant that could be compared to a tapas bar or wine bar. Sake is served with small dishes.|
|Jakan||A method of pasteurising sake in which the sake is passed through a pipe placed in an apparatus heated to 65°C.|
|Jikagumi||Sake bottled directly from the fermentation tank.|
|Jokan||Sake tasting temperature corresponding to 45°C.|
|Jo-on||Sake tasting temperature corresponding to 20°C.|
Sake that has undergone maturation.
|Junmaï||A sake produced solely by the fermentation of rice by yeast, to which the addition of alcohol at the end of the process is not permitted. Junmai literally means "pure rice".|
|Kaiseki||A type of refined cuisine corresponding to Japanese gastronomic cuisine.|
|Kakemaï||Rice used for the main fermentation (which may be different from the rice used to prepare the koji).|
|Kan||Kanzakée, Atsukan, Saké served hot.|
|Kasu||Sakekasu, a paste made from fermented rice residue resulting from the filtration of moromi. It is used in certain culinary preparations.|
|Kasubuaï||The percentage of kasu left in relation to the volume of rice used to produce sake. As a general rule, the higher the kashunuai, the more prestigious the sake.|
|Kijoshu||To make Kijoshu, sake is added to the vats during fermentation, not just spring water as in traditional sake. This technique results in a softer, smoother final product.|
|Kikichoko||Traditional brewery bowls. They are simple in shape, white, and marked with concentric circles at the bottom to assess both the colour and turbidity of the liquid.|
|Kimoto||Sake produced using an ancient method that involves crushing the steamed rice into a paste at the start of fermentation.|
|Kire Finish||A sake with a very clean, pure finish.|
|Kobo||Yeast. They ferment simple sugars into alcohol.|
|Koji||Rice carrying Kojikin fungus.|
|Kojikin||Microscopic fungus (Aspergylus oryzae) that converts starch into simple sugars.|
|Kojimaï||Rice used to prepare the koji (which may be different from the rice used in the main fermentation).|
|Kojimuro||The room where the Koji is prepared. The temperature and humidity are precisely controlled.|
|Kojimuro||Koshiki Instrument used to steam rice. The steam arrives from below.|
|Koshu||Sake aged for at least three years in casks, vats or bottles. Koshu has a distinctive amber to orange colour and tertiary aromas.|
|Kosui||Mineral-rich water. Opposite : Nansui.|
|Kurabito||Employee, often seasonal, of a sake brewery.|
|Kuramoto||Owner of a sake brewery.|
|Masu||Box made from hinoki (cypress) or sugi (Japanese cedar) wood. In the past, masu was used as a unit of measurement.|
|Mirin||A drink made from fermented rice and similar to sake, but much milder. It is now considered a condiment and can be enjoyed as a drink when the quality is right.|
|Moromi||Fermenting rice in the vats.|
|Moto||Or Shubo or starter. A preparation containing rice, koji, water and yeast. The base of a fermentation vat.|
|Muroka||A non-filtered charcoal sake. It is pale green to yellow in colour.|
|Nakadori||Or Nakagumi, a sake for which only the liquid that runs out before the pressing action is recovered. Nakadori literally means "to take from the middle".|
|Nama||Or namazake is an unpasteurised sake. It is a lively sake that should be drunk quickly after opening.|
|Namachozo||Sake stored unpasteurised in vats, then pasteurised when bottled.|
|Namazume||Sake pasteurised and then stored in vats, before being bottled without further pasteurisation.|
|Nansui||Soft water, low in minerals. Opposite: Kosui.|
|Nigori||Or nigorizake, is a coarsely filtered sake. It has a milky white appearance because particles of rice are still suspended in it.|
|Nihonshu||Japanese name for sake (Nihon = Japan, Shu = alcohol).|
|Nihoshudo||Sake "sweetness" scale, centred on zero, a negative number indicates a sweet sake while a positive number indicates a dry sake.|
|Nuka||Rice powder resulting from polishing. It is used to make crackers.|
|Nurukan||Sake tasting temperature corresponding to 40°C - body temperature.|
|Otsumami||Small side dishes such as dried fish or squid, crackers, to go with the sake.|
|Roka||Charcoal filtration, which takes place after the moromi filtration stage and removes the colours from the sake.|
Or Kura, or Shuzo, refers to the sake brewery.
Sake rice. There are around a hundred different types of sake rice, some of which are very popular and highly prized by brewers. Sakamai is different from everyday rice and is grown solely for sake production.
|Sakazuki||A generic term for a sake cup, it was originally a very wide-shaped object used in ceremonies.|
|Sake no sakana||Literally "fish for sake". These are small dishes served with sake in izakaya-type establishments.|
|Sandanjikomi||Three successive stages consisting of the addition of the ingredients needed to maintain the main fermentation.|
A scale that defines the acidity of sake.
|Seishu||Another way of describing Japanese sake.|
|Seuimaïbuaï||Degree of polishing of the rice (expressed as % of remaining material).|
|Shinpaku||The opaque core of a grain of sake rice, rich in starch.|
|Shizukuzake||Or Shizukudori, refers to the drops of sake that drip from the canvas bags in the fukuroshibori method.|
|Sokujo||More recent and the opposite of the Yamahaï or Kimoto method, it is also more widely used. It involves adding lactic acid at the start of fermentation to protect the yeast population and encourage fermentation to begin.|
|Sugi||Japanese cedar used to make masu and taruzake barrels.|
|Sugidama||A ball of sugi branches made every year by brewers to celebrate the start of the new production year.|
Sake tasting temperature corresponding to 15°C - the temperature at which it goes from fresh to cold.
A very dry and pure sake. A style traditionally found in the Niigata region.
Sake matured in wooden casks, giving it a woody aroma.
|Tobikirikan||Saké served very hot - 60°C.|
|Tobingakoï||Or tobindori, corresponds to the heart of the shizukuzake flow (a "Tobin" is an 18-litre lady-jar in which this sake is stored).|
|Toji||A master brewer, he manages sake production.|
|Tokkuri||A decanter used to serve sake. It is also used to heat sake.|
|Tokubetsu||It literally means 'special' and can be used in conjunction with Junmaï or Honjozo if the producer has chosen to polish the rice more, or to use a special yeast or rice.|
|Tokutei Meishoshu||Categorisation grouping together the different types of premium sake. Strict technical rules are imposed on brewers to register their sakes in the Tokutei Meishoshu class, which accounts for around 30% of sake production in Japan.|
|Usunigori||A slightly cloudy sake because it contains a small proportion of suspended rice particles. A variant of the Nigorizake category.|
|Uwadachika||On tasting, the first aromas of sake appear when the glass is raised to the nose.|
|Yabuta||Machine for pressing moromi to filter sake.|
|Yamahaï||Sake produced using an ancient method, an evolution of the kimoto method in which the steamed rice is not crushed into a paste.|
|Yukibié||Sake tasting temperature corresponding to 5°C - snow temperature.|