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Q & A

Q1BUTTON 1. What sort of thing is "akibare (fine autumn day)" for "sake"?
image It expresses that "sake", pasteurized and stored in the spring, has come to have a good quality with maturity and a mellow taste with the coming of autumn. "Akibare" also means the same thing as "akiagari". The "sake" of Nada produced with "hard" water that includes mineral components such as calcium, potassium, phosphorous, etc., in abundance, is particularly said to underscore "akibare".

Q1BUTTON 2. I heard that a day celebrating "sake" ("Nihonshu no hi") exists. When is it?
image This day has been set by the "sake" industry as October 1. The right side character in the "kanji" of "sake" indicates the 10th (i.e., October) sign of the twelve signs of the zodiac; ordinally, this came from the fact that it had meant "sake" in the hieroglyph to express a jar. In addition, October denotes the period when "sake" brewing begins, as was determined in 1978.

Reference material : Nihonshu Saijiki

Q1BUTTON 3. What is "nihonshudo", i.e., the "sake meter value"?
image "Nihonshudo" is considered to be one of the indicators of the sweetness and dryness of Japanese "sake"; it uses the specific gravity of water at 4 degrees C is assumed to be zero. A greater specific gravity value is said to be on the "minus" side and a lower value is said to be on the "plus" side. Because the sweetness of Japanese "sake" is derived from sugar, the greater the content of sugar is the larger (i.e., heavier) the specific gravity becomes; the "sake meter value" goes to the "minus" side. Accordingly, generally speaking, an increasing "plus" reading indicates a greater dryness, and a decreasing "minus" reading indicates a greater sweetness. Actually, however, how one feels about the sweetness or dryness also differs depending on the amount of acidity in the "sake". When the acidity is high, one is said to feel dryness, and when it is low, one is said to feel sweetness..
-5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5
Sweet Slightly sweet Neutral Slightly dry Dry

Reference material :
  Collection of Terms for the Sake of Nada and Nihonshudo Dokuhon

Q1BUTTON 4. How is the "sweetness" or "dryness" of "sake" determined?
image "Sake" feels sweet if the amount of sugar is high, and feels dry if the amount of sugar is low. However, like the senses, because the concentration and temperature of "sake", and the acidity, influence each other in a complex way, some "sake" with the same sugar quantity may at times feel different. It is not easy to discriminate and say this is in the direction of sweetness or this is dry in the case of "sake", and so comparisons are persistently made on what is sweet and what is dry.

Q1BUTTON 5. What does "acidity" mean?
image "Acidity" expresses the amount of "organic acids" such as succinic acids, apple acids and lactic acids, that are contained in the "sake". These acids are important ingredients that compose the taste of the "sake".

Reference material : Collection of Terms for the Sake of Nada

Q1BUTTON 6. What is a good way to preserve "sake" that has been opened? And about how long is that "sake" good for?
image Because various germs enter when "sake" is opened and there is a strong smell in the immediate vicinity and the smell moves to the "sake", after drinking "sake", the best recommendation is to cover it at once and quietly maintain the "sake" in a cool and dark location. In addition, because the flavor of "sake" changes after it is opened, the best way to enjoy any "sake" is to drink it as soon as possible.

Q1BUTTON 7. In what way can I preserve "sake"?
image image"Sake" is mainly influenced by the factors of "temperature" and "light" which cause changes to occur to the fragrance and taste. Therefore, please do not store "sake" in a location where the temperature becomes high or in a location directly exposed to sunlight. The ideal location is a "cool and dark" place.

Q1BUTTON 8. Why is "sake" weak against light?
image Japanese "sake" degrades when it is exposed to light such as sunlight or fluorescence light. In fact, it becomes yellowish and comes to have an offensive smell; called "nikkou-shuu". This is because ultraviolet rays chemically change the amino acids and vitamins contained in "sake". Therefore, because it is easy for a transparent bottle to let through ultraviolet rays, be particularly careful of where your "sake" is kept.

Q1BUTTON 9. Is there a way to make warm or hot "sake" in a microwave oven?
image When heating "sake" in a "tokkuri" vessel, when the "tokkuri" is placed in a microwave oven as is, a temperature difference occurs at the top and the bottom of the "tokkuri". The temperature becomes uniform when aluminum foil is wrapped around the top part on the "tokkuri" where it is thin. Because the time to leave the "tokkuri" in the microwave oven varies depending on the type and size of the "tokkuri", the type of microwave oven, etc., please take sufficient care so as not to overheat the "tokkuri" by referring to the operations manual of the microwave oven.

Q1BUTTON 10. What kind of "sake" is "namachozo-shu (fresh storage 'sake')" and "namazake (fresh 'sake')"?
image It is possible to say that "namazake" is "sake" that is not absolutely processed in the heating until it is filled into bottles or packing after being made, i.e., "just-born 'sake'". Such a type of "sake" is characterized by a "fresh flavor."
"Namachozo-shu" is the same as "namazake" up to the point of low-temperature storage as "live 'sake'" after becoming "sake", but it differs in the point of when the heat processing is performed during the packing process. Because it is stored as it is (i.e., fresh), it is the same as "namazake" and is characterized by a "fresh flavor."

Q1BUTTON 11. How can one drink "namachozo-shu (fresh storage 'sake')" and "nama-zake (fresh 'sake')" deliciously?
image imageThese types of "sake" are characterized as "fresh," making the most of a "just-squeezed" flavor. When consumed cold, each type brings out that flavor. Please cool the "sake" by cooling the container in a refrigerator or in water with ice, pour it in a "sake" cup or wine glass that provides a transparent impression and drink it.

Q1BUTTON 12. Is there a way to drink "sake" to maintain one's health?
image imageModerate "sake" improves the circulation of blood, it relieves stress and improves the appetite, and indeed, "'sake' is the length of 100 pieces of medicine." It is first for all of this. It is important that "appropriate drinking" be defended.
In fact, let's try to drink while keeping the proper quantity ("ichigo" (0.18l) or "nigo" (0.36l)), provide two days of rest a week, and to delightfully drink "sake" while enjoying food. In addition, it is recommended to receive physicals at regular intervals to check the liver, etc., and to take care of oneself.

Reference material : Nihonshu Dokuhon

Q1BUTTON 13. Is it true that one becomes fat by drinking "sake"?
image Alcohol becomes an energy source even if it is absorbed by the body, but it does not become a component of the body. To become fat or not to become fat, is not limited to refined "sake", and the problem is whether the starch and fatty parts taken in with the alcohol and the amount of calories are large or small.

Q1BUTTON 14. What kind of person is a "toji"?
image A person responsible for the seasonal employees who engage in the "sake" making at a "sake" brewery in the winter season, a person aware of "sake" making techniques and with a "sake" making sense due to years of experience, a person able to lead the seasonal employees and a person who works to make the most delicious "sake". At Hakutsuru, there are two facilities where "sake" making is done only in the winter season, and there are two "toji". Both are "Tamba toji", but "Tajima and Echigo toji", "Noto toji" and "Nanbu toji" among others are also famous.

Q1BUTTON 15. Is "sake" made only in the winter?
image imageTo brew high quality "sake", it is necessary for the environmental conditions to be arranged so that the temperature is low and few germs exist. To do this long ago, "sake" was made only in the winter time to arrange for these conditions. At present, a number of brewers make "sake" only in the winter time, but at Hakutsuru, "sake" is made throughout the year with a four-season "sake" making facility where the ideal environment is prepared artificially for "sake" making.


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