Sake (Japanese: 酒 酒), (pronunciation) which is also called Japanese rice wine, is an alcoholic beverage made from rice. Historical data date back to the 3rd century, when books recorded the manner and customs associated with the enjoyment of Sake. This is the late period of the Yomon era when the method of growing rice was brought to Japan. It is believed that production began around this time.
Japanese beverage law defines sake as "a drink made from rice, rice-ya (a mold used to turn starch in rice into fermentable sugars) and water by fermentation and filtration." This is a theoretical definition and refers to the traditional type of sake that is characteristic of Japan.
The fermentation process of sake production differs from the beer process, where the transition from starch to sugar and then from sugar to alcohol takes place in two different steps. Like other rice wines, when sake is fermented, these conversions happen at the same time. Furthermore, the alcohol content differs between sake, wine and beer; while most beers contain 3–9% ABV, wine usually contains 9-16% ABV, and undiluted sake contains 18-20% ABV (although this is often reduced to about 15% by diluting with water before bottling).
During World War II, 1944, Japanese sake makers began adding alcohol to the production process to gain strength. This addition of alcohol was supposed to compensate for the lack of sake caused by the reduction in the amount of rice produced during the war. At that time, after about 2000 years of tradition of using 100% pure rice, sake production was divided into two different types: with the addition and without the addition of alcohol. This division is still valid today.
Types of sake
Among the types to which alcohol is added, there are four groups, the first and largest of which is Cheap Sake, to which large amounts of alcohol are added in order to gain volume. The other three groups to which alcohol is added are premium Sake (Honjozo, Ginjo-Sake and Dai-Ginjo-Sake), to which only small amounts of alcohol are added. The difference between these groups is how much rice is ground before production begins.
In the second group, which includes Sake, which is made only from rice, there are three subgroups:
Junmai-Dai-GinjoThe difference between these three subgroups lies again in the amount of rice used in production. Therefore, a parallel can be drawn between the above-mentioned Honjozo, Ginjo-Sake and Dai-Ginjo-Sake. Sake, as is well known, can sometimes be found under the names Nihonshu, or even Seishu (legally).
Seishu can be produced in one of the following ways:
Fermented from rice, rice which-i and water, and then strained through a sieve (to remove solids and get a clear drink).
Fermented from rice, water, Sake-Kasu (sediment that remains after passing sake; may contain elements that can still be fermented), rice koji-ja, and everything else that is allowed by law, and the mixture is then passed through a sieve . This Sake is not as clean as the previous one.
Sake to which Kasu is added, after which it is passed through a sieve.
Sometimes labels such as "Super Ginjo" or "Specially Brewed" can be found on labels. These are terms that serve exclusively for marketing purposes and are not recognized at all by the legal systems used in defining and ranking sake.
Until April 1992, there was another system of categorization and then sake was marked with; II class, I class and special class. As a rule, each sake is in the beginning of the II class. However, if producers want their sake to be recognized as superior, they must submit a sample to the State Tax Service for verification. The State Tax Service employs professionals who specialize in sake tasting. Why the Tax Service? Higher sales of sake increase the amount of money that goes to the state in the form of taxes. If the overall level of sake is good, it means d