Unit/Weight : 375ml-750ml-1.5L
Brand : Gekkeikan
Country : Japan
Sake or saké is an alcoholic beverage of Japanese origin that is made from fermented rice. Sake is sometimes called "rice wine" but the brewing process is more akin to beer, converting starch to sugar for the fermentation process.
In the Japanese language, the word "sake" generally refers to any alcoholic drink, while the beverage called "sake" in English is usually termed nihonshu. Under Japanese liquor laws, sake is labelled with the word "seishu" (清酒, "clear liquor"), a synonym less commonly used colloquially.
The rice used for brewing sake is called shuzō kōtekimai (sake rice). The grain is larger, stronger, and contains less protein and lipid than the ordinary rice eaten by the Japanese. The rice has a starch component called shinpaku in the center of the grains. Since sake made from rice containing only starch has a superior taste,[clarification needed] the rice is polished to remove the bran. If a grain is small or weak, it will break in the process of polishing. This rice is used only for making sake, because it is unpalatable for eating. There are at least 80 types of sake rice in Japan. Among these, Yamadanishiki, Gohyakumangoku, Miyamanishiki and Omachi rice are very popular.
Water is one of the important ingredients for making sake. It is involved in almost every major process of sake brewing from washing the rice to dilution of the final product before bottling. Mineral content can play a large role in the final product. Iron will bond with an amino acid produced by the koji to produce off flavors and a yellowish color. Manganese, when exposed to ultraviolet light, will also contribute to discoloration. Conversely potassium, magnesium, and phosphoric acid serve as nutrients for yeast during fermentation and are considered desirable. Yeast will use those nutrients to work faster and multiply resulting in more sugar being converted into alcohol. And so hard water, with a higher nutrient content for yeast, is known for producing a drier-style sake, while soft water will typically yield sweeter sake.
The first region known for having great water was the Nada-Gogō in Hyogo Prefecture. A particular water source called "Miyamizu" was found to produce high quality sake and attracted many producers to the region. To this day Hyogo has the most sake brewers of any prefecture.
Typically breweries source their water from wells, though lakes and rivers can be used as well. Also breweries may use tap water and filter and adjust components as they see fit
Sake is produced by the multiple parallel fermentation of rice. The rice is first polished to remove the protein and oils from the exterior of the rice grains, leaving behind starch. Thorough milling leads to fewer congeners and generally a more desirable product.
Newly polished rice is allowed to "rest" until it has absorbed enough moisture from the air so that it will not crack when immersed in water. After this resting period, the rice is washed clean of the rice powder produced during milling and then steeped in water. The length of time depends on the degree to which the rice was polished, ranging from several hours or even overnight for an ordinary milling to just minutes for highly polished rice.
After soaking, the rice is steamed on a conveyor belt. The degree of cooking must be carefully controlled; overcooked rice will ferment too quickly for flavors to develop well and undercooked rice will only ferment on the outside. The steamed rice is then cooled and divided into portions for different uses.
The microorganism Aspergillus oryzae (a mold) is sprinkled onto the steamed rice and allowed to ferment for 5–7 days (Uno et al., 2009). After this initial fermentation period, water and the yeast culture Saccharomyces cerevisiae are added to the koji (rice and mold mixture) and allowed to incubate at 4 degree Celsius for about 7 days. Over the next four days, pre-incubated mixture of steamed rice (90 kg), fermented rice (90 kg) and water (440L) are added to the fermented mixture in three series.
This staggered approach allows time for the yeast to keep up with the increased volume. The mixture is now known as the main mash, or moromi (醪, also written 諸味).
The main mash then ferments, at approximately 15-20 degree Celsius for 2–3 weeks. With high-grade sake, fermentation is deliberately slowed by lowering the temperature to 10 °C (50 °F) or less. Unlike malt for beer, rice for sake does not contain the amylase necessary for converting starch to sugar and so it must undergo a process of multiple fermentation. The addition of A. oryzae provides the necessary amylases, glucoamylases, and proteases to hydrolyze the nutrients of the rice to support the growth of the yeast(S.cerevisiae). In sake production these two processes take place at the same time rather than in separate steps, so sake is said to be made by multiple parallel fermentation.
After fermentation, sake is extracted from the solid mixtures through a filtration process. For some types of sake, a small amount of distilled alcohol, called brewer's alcohol ), is added before pressing in order to extract flavors and aromas that would otherwise remain behind in the solids. In cheap sake, a large amount of brewer’s alcohol might be added to increase the volume of sake produced. Next, the remaining lees (a fine sediment) are removed, and the sake is carbon filtered and pasteurized. The sake is allowed to rest and mature and then usually diluted with water to lower the alcohol content from around 20% to 15% or so, before finally being bottled
The process during which the sake grows into a quality product during storage is called the maturation or maturing process. Mature sake has reached its ideal point of growth. New sake is not liked because of its rough taste, whereas mature sake is mild, smooth and rich. However, if it is too mature, it also develops a rough taste. Nine to twelve months are required for sake to mature. Aging is caused by physical and chemical factors such as oxygen supply, the broad application of external heat, nitrogen oxides, aldehydes and amino acids, among other unknown factors. It is said that Saussureae radix from the Japan cedar material of a barrel containing maturing sake comes to be valued, so the barrel is considered indispensable.
Tōji is the job title of the sake brewer, named after Du Kang. It is a highly respected job in the Japanese society, with tōji being regarded like musicians or painters. The title of tōji was historically passed on from father to son; today new tōji are either veteran brewery workers or are trained at universities. While modern breweries with refrigeration and cooling tanks operate year-round, most old-fashioned sake breweries are seasonal, operating only in the cool winter months. During the summer and fall most tōji work elsewhere, and are commonly found on farms, only periodically returning to the brewery to supervise storage conditions or bottling operations
Ο τρόπος παρασκευής:
μοιάζει με αυτό της μπύρας, αλλά με τη διαφορά ότι η μετατροπή από το άμυλο σε αλκοόλ γίνεται σε ένα στάδιο και όχι σε δύο. Η διαδικασία αυτή ονομάζεται παράλληλη ζύμωση. Το ρύζι που χρησιμοποιείται στο σάκε είναι μακρύσπορο και πιο μαλακό και με λιγότερες πρωτεΐνες από αυτό που προορίζεται για κατανάλωση. Το ρύζι αποφλοιώνεται και μετά πλένεται. Μετά το πλύσιμο, το ρύζι μπαίνει στον ατμό και εκεί προστίθεται ο μύκητας Aspergillus oryzae, γνωστός ως «Κότζι», που μετατρέπει το άμυλο του ρυζιού σε σάκχαρα, οι ζύμες και άφθονο νερό. Η διαδικασία διαρκεί 18 - 32 μέρες και παράγονται 13 - 20 βαθμοί αλκοόλης. Στη συνέχεια το σάκε παστεριώνεται, φιλτράρεται και εμφιαλώνεται.