SAKE FAQ:
Got a question about Sake? Chances are it’s answered in our F.A.Q. section! Heated vs Chilled? How long does sake keep? Is sake distilled? Read on to discover the answers to the questions we get asked most!
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SAKE CLASSIFICATIONS:
Do you know what makes a Honjozo different from a Daiginjo? Visit our tutorial on sake classifications to help clear the air on sake makes and models.
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SAKE PRODUCTION PROCESS
How does humble rice and water become the ‘drink of the gods’? Take some time to learn about the facinating sake production process. You’ll be amazed to learn what makes the magic happen!
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SAKE GLOSSARY:
Some sake terms got you confused? Help has arrived in the form of our helpful Sake Glossary! Research all the sake keywords you need to know to win friends and influence people.
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SAKE TEMPERATURE:

One of the biggest questions in the world of sake is serving temperature. Before you get hot under the collar, read all about it on our sake temperature page.
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Want to explore the world of sake even more? Here are some Links and Resources:

Recommended Books:
Sake – A Modern Guide by Beau Timken
The Sake Handbook by John Gauntner
The Book of Sake by Phillip Harper
Sake – A Drinker’s Guide (out of print) by Hiroshi Kondo
Insider’s Guide to Sake by Phillip Harper
Sake’s Hidden Stories (eBook) by John Gaunter

Sake Brewery Websites in English:
Mukune: Daimon Sake Brewery
Kagatobi: Fukumitsuya Sake Brewery
Chikurin: Marumoto Sake Brewery
Kikusui: Kikusui Sake Brewery

Sake Bloggers:
Tokyo thru the drinking glass
Sakaya Blog
Nihonshudo-NYC
tokyofoodcast
Shizuoka Sake
The Pour
The Sake Diaries
Kyoto Foodie
Sake and Kimono
Meishu No Yutaka
Learn About Sake
Beau’s Blog

Other Sake Sites:
Kanpai New York
eSaké
Sakaya
Sake Discoveries
Sake World
Sake Guide

Sake Retailers:
True Sake
Sakaya
Sake Social
Sake Nomi
Astor Wines
Linwood Wines

Sake Importers:
Vine Connections
Mutual Trading
Winebow
Prestige
Nishimoto
JFC
Joto Sake
World Sake Imports

Sites of Interest:
Umami Mart
Japanese Food Report
Chopsticks
Japanese whiskey blog

Web Hosting I Recommend:

Sake Production Process:

Coming Soon!

Any Sake terms you need to know? use this glossary to learn them all.

A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M|N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U|V|W|X|Y|Z


Acidity: General scale of acidic content in sake.

Alcohol Percentage: Percentage of
Alcohol content in a sake by volume. usually around 15% – 16%.

Amakuchi: Word to describe sweet flavor in Sake

Aspergillus Oryzae: Scientific name for Koji mold.

Daiginjo – Classifcation name for sake made from rice milled down to at least 50% of it’s original size and made with Rice, water, yeast, Koji and the addition of distilled brewers alcohol.

Futsu-shu: NON-premium sake… could also be called “table sake”.


Genshu: Undiluted Sake. Hot off the presses, sake is normally about 20% Alcohol. Brewmasters usually add pure water to dilute the strength down to 15-16%. Genshu skips this step and give you full-on high octane sake. It’s strong! Also referred to as “cask strength” sake, it’s sometimes served on the rocks.

Ginjo – Classifcation name for sake made from rice milled down to at least 60% of it’s original size and made with Rice, water, yeast, Koji and the addition of distilled brewers alcohol.


Hiire: Also written Hiire. The process of heating sake to make is more shelf stable. Pasteurization.

Honjozo – Classifcation name for sake made from rice milled down to at least 70% of it’s original size and made with Rice, water, yeast, Koji and the addition of distilled brewers alcohol.


Jizake: this could be considered “micro brew” sakes. Basically, sake from a small producer.

Junmai – Classification name for sake made from rice milled down to at least 70% of it’s original size and made with only Rice, water, yeast and Koji – no additives.

Junmai Daigino – Classification name for sake made from rice milled down to at least 50% of it’s original size and made with only Rice, water, yeast and Koji – no additives.

Junmai Ginjo – Classification name for sake made from rice milled down to at least 60% of it’s original size and made with only Rice, water, yeast and Koji – no additives.


Kanpai: Japanese word for “Cheers!”

Karakuchi: a word to describe sake that is dry in flavor.

Kasu: the pressed rice solids or “lees” left over when sake is separated from the main mash after brewing.

Kobo: Japanese word for Yeast

Koji: Rice that has been inoculated with Koji-kin mold

Koji-kin: Aspergillus Oryzae. This is the name for the mold that is used to create koji rice

Koshu: Aged sake. Normally, sake should not sit around for years, but some premium sake is aged and produces a sake known as Koshu. This produces a golden-amber color and a complex flavor profile. It’s really similar to sherry. Personally, I love this stuff.

Kura: “Sake Brewery”

Kurabito: Worker at the Sake Brewery

Kuramoto: Head of the Sake Brewery, AKA the big cheese.


Masu: Square box used as a sake cup. Traditionally made from Cedar, but also now found in plastic. This square shape was originally used as a measure of rice.

Moromi: Main fermenting mash consisting of yeast starter, koji, steamed rice and water

Moto: Yeast Starter


Nigori: Sake that is only corsely filtered of rice solids after brewing. These tiny bits of the rice are left in giving this sake a creamy and miky appearance. Be sure to shake up a nigori before you pour. Sometimes called “cloudy” or “unfiltered” sake.

Nihon-shu – The way we refer to Japanese rice wine: “Sake” is referred to as “Nihon-shu” in japanese.

Nihonshu-do: a scale of measurement of the “specific gravity” of sake. higher positive numbers indicate generally drier sake, lower negative numbers represent generally sweeter sake.

Namazake: Nama is a word you should know! Trust me. Nama is just unpasteurized sake. It must be constantly refridgerated, consumed within a day or two of opening and is only available seasonally. The trade off for all this is that nama is known for it’s fresh, young, bombastic taste. Delicious!


ochoko: Small ceramic sake cup.


Prefecture: The country of japan is broken down into 47 locally governed units called Prefectures.


Sake Meter Value (SMV). A scale that indicates the relative sweetness or dryness of a sake. Postive number are Dryer, negative numbers are sweeter. Also referred to as “nihonshu-do”.

Seimaibuai : also known as Rice Milling Percentage. Indicates the precent of the rice grain remaining after milling away the outer hull prior to brewing

Shubo : Yeast Starter

Shuzo : Sake brewery. for example: Takara Shuzo means Takara Sake Brewery.


Taru: Sake that has been stored in cedar barrels, imparting a cedar-y taste to the sake. If you love to spend time in your cedar closet, this may just be the drink for you. The more subtle the cedar notes, the better.

Toji: Head brewer at the sake brewery

Tokkuri: Small carafe for serving and heating sake. Traditionally made from ceramic.

Below you can review a list of the questions I get asked most frequently. If you don’t find your questions addressed here, please feel free to contact me.

1) Should sake be served hot or chilled?
Sake can be served both gently warmed or chilled. It really depends on the type. If you have an elegant Daiginjo, warming may erase any subtle aromas and complexities. However, a hearty junmai may open up with warming.

2) Once I open a bottle of sake, how long will it last?
You should consume sake as quickly as possible after opening. If it is kept sealed and in the refrigerator, it will not spoil and can be consumed for several weeks, however, the flavors will soften considerably.

3) Is sake meant to be aged like wine?
No, almost all sake is meant to be consumed young and fresh. Only a certain type of sake called Koshu is aged.

4) Is sake a distilled beverage like vodka?
No, sake is a brewed beverage. Alcohol percentages range between 14%-20%.

5) How should I store my sake?
I recommend that sake be stored in the refrigerator. This keeps sake out of the light and away from heat. Any unpasteurized sake must be kept refrigerated at all times

6) Is sake only made in Japan?
No, sake is made in several countries such as Austrailia and the United States. However, the best premium sake still comes only from Japan.

This is another video in the “Sake 101” series which explains the 6 major classifications of sake. These different categories can effect both price and taste of your sake, so it’s worth learning about. I hope you find this useful and informative. Once you know these basics, you’ll be honjozo-ing with the best of ‘em.