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types of sake: Image

50% or less milling ratio

60% or less milling ratio

unknown milling ratio

Sake Categories

50% or less milling ratio

60% or less milling ratio

70% or less milling ratio

unknown milling ratio



Sake is about 15% alcohol and it’s typically enjoyed during meals.

There are several categories of sake, divided into 2 big groups: junmai and non-junmai, or aruten.

Aruten comes from aru short for arukōru アルコール (which is how Japanese pronounce the word alcohol) and ten, short for tenka 添加 (which means addition).

Junmai sake is made with rice, yeast, koji mold (the spore responsible for the saccharification), and water.

Non-junmai is made by adding distilled alcohol to the mix.

The milling percentage refers to how much of the rice grain is left after being polished

Useful tips for selecting sake:

  • The more the rice is milled (the smaller the percentage number is) the lighter and more floral the flavour profile will be

  • Adding distilled alcohol to the mix doesn't raise the alcohol percentage but will help round up its flavour

  • Junmai sake tends to have better umami whilst non-junmai sake has a rounder and more elegant flavour

Other types of sake

Tokubetsu Junmai 特別純米 & Tokubetsu Honjozo 特別本醸造

Tokubetsu in Japanese means special.

There are several reasons why a sake can be special. Usually, it has to do with the milling ratio or the type of rice used to produce the sake. 

Kimoto 生酛

One of the oldest sake brewing methods. Made with a specific technique that involves crashing part of the rice before undergoing fermentation. Kimoto sake tends to have a deep and rich flavour.

Yamahai 山廃

Yamahai is close to its cousin kimoto but doesn't involve rice-crashing. It's still similar to a kimoto style, with a complex and deep flavour.

Namazake 生

Unpasteurized sake, Namazake tends to be lively & and brash.

Nigori にごり

Cloudy sake. There are several kinds of nigori depending on how the cloudiness. Nigori sake is obtained by pressing the mash through a coarse-mesh filter.

Not to be confused with unfiltered sake as the filtering process is done with activated charcoal that removes extra colour and flavours that sake can have after being pressed.  

Koshu & Choki Jukuseishu 古酒 長期熟成酒 

Aged sake. It tends to have an amber colour and a smoky and caramel-like flavour. 

Sparkling sake  

A new addition to the sake market, it often has a lower alcohol content. 

Taruzake 樽酒

Aged or made in wood barrel (quite rare)

Genshu 原酒 

Undiluted sake. Usually stronger than regular sake, it can be up to 20% alcohol content.

Kijoshu 貴醸酒

Often referred to as fortified sake, it's made by replacing some of the water with sake during production. 

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