So what is sake? Is it wine, or is it beer? Wine is made from fruit (typically grapes), and beer is made from grain. Well sake is made from rice, and rice is a grain, so shouldn't sake be considered a beer? Also, sake is brewed, whereas wine is not. The challenge is that sake has a much higher alcohol level than beer (on par with wine), and is not carbonated. For our discussion, let's just say that sake is something in between a beer and wine.
|Koji Mold on rice grains|
- Nigori – unfiltered sake
- Honjozo – small amount of pure ethyl alcohol added for lighter, drier taste
- Namazake – unpasteurized sake – making a somewhat fresher and livelier sake. Must be kept and stored in refrigeration. There is a variation called Namachozo– a sake that is only pasteurized one time (most is pasteurized twice: once after brewing, and once before it is stored for maturation)
- Taruzake – sake that has been aged in cedar casks (taru)
- Tokubetsu – “special” – somewhat nebulous – anything that might be special about the rice, brewing method
- Nigorizake – when the moromi is pressed, the white rice solids that did not ferment are separated from the clear nihonshu. Nigorizake is sake in which some of this white stuff (sake kasu) is left in the sake.