HONJOZO-SHU

Honjozo is sake to which a very small amount of distilled ethyl alcohol has been added to the fermenting sake at the final stages of production. (Water is added later, so that the overall alcohol content does not change.). Honjozo-shu is made with rice that has been polished to remove at least the outer 30% of the original size of the grain. This means that each grain of rice is only 70% or less of its original size. This, plus the addition of distilled alcohol, makes the sake lighter, sometimes a bit drier and often makes a good candidate for warm sake.

JUNMAI-SHU

“Pure rice sake” Nothing is used in its production except rice, water and koji. Junmai-shu is made with rice that has been polished to remove at least the outer 30% of the original size of the grain. This means that each grain of rice is only 70% or less of its original size. The taste is usually a bit heavier and fuller than other types of sake.

GINJO-SHU

Ginjo-shu is sake made with rice that has been polished so that no more than 60% of its original size remains. This means at least the outer 40% has been ground away. This removes things like fats and proteins and other things that impede fermentation and cause off-flavors. But that is only the beginning: ginjo-shu is made in a very labour intensive way, fermented at colder temperatures for a longer period of time. The flavor is more complex and delicate, and both the flavor and the fragrance are often (but not always) fruity and flowery.

DAIGINJO-SHU

Daiginjo-shu is ginjo-shu made with rice polished even more, so that no more than 50% of the original size of the grain remains. Some daiginjo is made with rice polished to as far as 35%, so that 65% is ground away before brewing. Daiginjo is made in a even more delicate and labour intensive way. This is the pinnacle of the brewers art for sake.

NIGORI SAKE

Nigori sake is a variety of sake, which is very different to other types of sake. “Normal sake” is usually filtered to remove grain solids left behind the fermentation process. However nigori sake remains unfiltered, resulting in a far cloudier drink.