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Hakutsuru Mini-Dictionary

"Amakuchi" (sweet); (sweet to dry) "Sakamai ('sake' rice)"
"Amino-san" (amino acids) "Moromi (main mash)"
Alcohol (alcohol) "San (acidity)"
"Kan" (warm or hot) "Shubo (seed mash)"
"Ki-ippon" "Junmai-shu (pure rice 'sake')"
"Kikizake (sake tasting)" "Seimai (rice polishing)"
"Ginjo-Shu (special brew 'sake')" "Dai Ginjo (very special 'sake')"
"Koji (any of a number of molds)" "Toji (master 'sake' brewer)"
"Kobo (yeast)" Special Name "Sake"
"Nada (name of a 'sake' producing region in Japan)"
"Namachozo-shu (fresh storage 'sake')"
Ingredients of Japanese "Sake"
"Noutan (shade) (dark and light)"
"Hiire (pasteurization)"
"Honjozo-shu ('sake' with a limited addition of brewer's alcohol)"
"Yamadanishiki (rice used for making 'sake')"





"Amakuchi" (sweet); (sweet to dry)
The most common word that is used to express the taste of Japanese "sake". When there is a large portion of sugar, the "sake" is felt to be sweet; for a small portion, the "sake" is felt to be dry. The "sake meter value ('nihonshudo')" (i.e., index of the specific ratios of Japanese "sake" for sweet and dry) appropriately matches the portion of sugar in the "sake", and it is used as a standard of the sweetness or dryness.
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"Amino-san" (amino acids)
Amino acids are a component of the proteins. The amino acids which the seed mash "koubo" generates melt and give richness and deepness to the taste of "sake". When the acidity is too high, however, the "sake" becomes difficult to drink because the rough taste is overwhelming.
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Alcohol (alcohol)
There are many types of alcohol, but the ethyl alcohol contained in "sake" means ethyl alcohol only if it can be served and is drinkable. Ethyl alcohol is also called "shusei (alcohol)", and is the main ingredient of the liquor which brings about drunkenness. 13 to 18% of alcohol is included in typical Japanese "sake", and this type of "sake" is said to contain the highest alcohol content among breweries.
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"Kan" (warm or hot)
Let's talk about heating Japanese "sake". Warm "sake" is considered to be "sake" served at about 40 degrees C (100 degrees F), and hot "sake" is said to be "sake" served at about 50 degrees C (120 degrees F). Japanese "sake" is one of the few types of alcoholic beverages that can be heated up and consumed.
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"Ki-ippon"
In "ki-ippon", "ki" means that there is no mixing; "ki-ippon" means pure rice "sake" brewed only in a single manufacturing place. From the Edo period, "Nada no ki-ippon" has come to be used as a terminology for high-quality "sake".
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"Kikizake (sake tasting)"
"Kikizake", or "kikishu", literally means to see the taste of Japanese "sake". It is a general method where, first, the color is looked at; second, the aroma is smelled; and lastly, the "sake" is included in the mouth.
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"Ginjo-Shu (special brew 'sake')"
Rice polished 40% or more is used for the material, with the alcohol made by fermentation for a long period of time at low temperature; it is one of the special name "sake". Advanced technologies are necessary and high production costs are involved. Having a brilliant fruity aroma like apples and bananas, it is delicious cold.
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"Koji (any of a number of molds)"
A kind of mold grown on the surface of steamed rice. It is an indispensable material in "sake" making and can exert a big influence on the making of "sake". "Sake" is made when "koji" changes the starch quality of rice to sugar, and "kobo" carries out alcohol fermentation with this sugar.
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"Kobo (yeast)"
"Kobo" is responsible for "sake" making with single cell micro-organisms about 1/100 the size of 1mm. "Kobo" makes the "sake", and "man" only assists the "kobo". "Sake" is made when the "kobo" carries out alcohol fermentation with sugar made by "koji".
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"Sakamai ('sake' rice)"
"Sakamai" means rice suitable for "sake" making. A characteristic of "sakamai" is that there is a white opaque part ("shinpaku") in the central portion of the grains, and it therefore differs from rice for home consumption. Yamadanishiki and Gohyakumangoku are representative types.
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"Moromi (main mash)"
"Moromi" means "to press" and "to be divided into'sake' and 'other parts.'" It includes rice and "koji" which do not melt in "sake" caked lees, and "shubo", and is of a high nutritional value.
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"San (acidity)"
Acids such as lactic acids, succinic acids, etc., are included in "sake", and are a component to present a sour taste to the "sake". When there is acidity, width and depth appear in the taste. However, a sour taste is felt when the acidity is too high.
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"Shubo (seed mash)"
This is a small preparatory stage before entering into the actual preparation. generally speaking, the preparation quantities of rice and water are enlarged in multiples in three stages from "shubo". "Shubo" helps in the sound growth of the "kobo".
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"Junmai-shu (pure rice 'sake')"
This type of "sake" is created from only the ingredients of rice, rice "koji", and water, and is one of the different "sake" types with a special name. The rice polishing ratio is defined as 70% or less. Generally speaking, there are many dark types.
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"Seimai (rice polishing)"
"Seimai" is work to remove the outside part of the material rice. This is because fats and proteins (among others) which cause the "sake" quality to degrade are numerous on the outer part of the rice. The degree of polished rice is expressed with the "rice polishing ratio"; a rice polishing ratio of 70% means that 30% is removed on the outside.
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"Dai Ginjo (very special 'sake')"
The "Ginjo" among the "Ginjo" sake varieties, and a very luxurious alcohol where the rice is polished and processed to half (or more than half) of its size. Very delicate and skilled techniques are necessary for the preparation, as it is said to be the masterpiece of "sake"showing the skills of the master "sake" brewer.
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"Toji (master 'sake' brewer)"
Said to be the highest responsible person of the "sake" making facility. Because the "mechanisms" for making "sake" are very complex and detailed, there is a great reliance on the techniques of the "toji". Particularly for "sake" such as "Dai Ginjo", even if the ingredients and the "sake" making techniques are the same, the "sake" will change depending on who the "toji" is.
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Special Name "Sake"
8 types of "sake" are included here. They are "Ginjo", "Dai Ginjo", "Junmai-shu", Junmai-ginjo-shu", Junmai-Dai Ginjo-shu", "Honjozo-shu", "Tokubetsu-Junmai-Shu", and "Tokubetsu-Honjozo-shu". These 8 types, under law, have requirements that are set such as ingredients to use, rice polishing ratio, flavor, etc.
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"Nada (name of a 'sake' producing region in Japan)"
Said to be the chief "sake" producing region that borders the sea in the south-east of Hyogo Prefecture. At present, there are about 50 "sake" producers in the region, responsible for about 1/3 of the amount of "sake" produced in Japan. And the Nada region is steadily being rebuilt by virtue of the support of "sake" lovers in Japan, after the devastating damage brought on by the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995.
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"Namachozo-shu (fresh storage 'sake')"
"Namazake" is "sake" not subjected to heat processing, and "namachozo-shu" is "sake" stored without heat processing. When delivered as products, they are first heat-pasteurized. Either is mainly consumed as cold "sake", and makes it possible to experience a "just-squeezed" taste.
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Ingredients of Japanese "Sake"
The ingredients of Japanese "Sake" ("seishu"), are defined under the Japanese tax law as rice, rice "koji", water, and other items. "Other items" (under cabinet order) includes fermented alcohol, brewing saccharide, and acid flavoring, and so on.
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"Noutan (shade) (dark and light)"
For words that express the taste of "sake", "noujun" indicates a profound taste and richness and "tanrei (light)" indicates a smooth beautiful taste. As a recent trend, the latter type of "sake" has been preferred.
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"Hiire (pasteurization)"
The aim of "hiire" is to raise the maintainability of Japanese "sake"; it is the process of heating new "sake". Generally speaking, the "sake" is heated to 62 degrees C to 64 degrees C (144 degrees F to 147 degrees F), sent to a storage tank and then stored (sealed). This process is said to have been invented in the Muromachi period.
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"Honjozo-shu ('sake' with a limited addition of brewer's alcohol)"
This type of "sake" is made with only the ingredients of rice, rice "koji", water, and brewer's alcohol; it is a "sake" with a special name. The amount of brewer's alcohol used is fixed to 10% (or less) of the amount of white rice and even the rice polishing ratio is fixed to 70% or less.
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"Yamadanishiki (rice used for making 'sake')"
"Yamadanishiki" is an excellent strain of rice for making "sake" and is the representative "sake" making rice, having come to be raised along with Nada "sake". The name "yamadanishiki" was set in 1936, for a variety that was artificially crossbred and selected (assuming "yamadaho" as the mother and "tankanwataribune" as the father) at the Hyogo Prefecture National Agricultural Experiment Station in 1923. After that, in a history of close to 60 years, although a variety of improvements have been carried out on other strains, "yamadanishiki" is still the reigning champion of "sake" rice today.
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