What does dry sake mean

The left graph shows how sweet (甘) or dry (辛) the sake is. in this case quite dry. On the line below that, the intensity the taste and the body (how “full” and “round” the sake feels in the mouth). Of tanrei, a Japanese expression for ‘light and refreshing’, on the left to ‘strong and full-bodied’ on the far right.

Otherwise, you can look for a number with a plus or minus sign in front of it, the so-called Sake Meter Value (SMV) or Nihonshu-do[日本 酒 度], which means “sake grade”. This value helps to determine the sugar content of the sake: the larger the number, the drier (-3 would be quite sweet, +10 very dry). The value is calculated from the specific weight, which changes depending on the sugar and alcohol content. But since our perception of sweetness is based on several factors, the SMV can only be used as a guide and does not necessarily have to match your own impression, especially for values ​​in the middle range.

Serving temperature is often given in a table, as in this example. From left to right: 'on the rocks' on ice (ロ ッ ク), chilled (5–10ºC), “room temperature” (like wine, rather cool 15–18ºC), warm (45–50ºC), and hot (50– 55 ° C). The characters that are used here are common in Japan, similar to ours perhaps ✔︎ and ✘. A double circle ◎ stands for the best option, followed by a single circle ◯. The triangle △ means ‘OK, but not necessarily recommended’. A cross × is a clear No ’.

A couple of useful ones Kanji

Kanji are originally Chinese characters that are also used in Japan in a slightly different form. Probably none of you would like to study them all, but even if you only know a few characters that is a great help. Especially the for Ginjo 吟 醸 (it is enough to remember the first character), i.e. sake made from very heavily polished rice, and the character for rice 米 are helpful to know.

大 —Big, very
As in 大 吟 醸 Dai-ginjo.

火 —fire
火 入 (hi-ire) means heat treated / pasteurized. Some brands sell the same sake in two versions, pasteurized and unpasteurized (nama) - so take care!

中 —center, medium
Particularly high-quality sake that was only bottled from the middle portion of the pressing is called 中 取 り (naka-dori) designated. This sake is characterized by its special balance and delicacy and is usually a Dai-ginjo, made from heavily polished rice.

山 —Mountain
山 廃 yamahai or 山 廃 仕 込 み yamahai-shikomi is an ancient brewing technique that results in rich sake with a fuller body, complex and somewhat wild aroma and higher acidity.

田 —Rice field
Along with the previous one Kanji for Berg, this is the name of the most popular sake rice: Yamada-Nishiki 山田 錦.

古 —Old
Koshu 古 酒 is sake that has been stored and matured for several years. This is a somewhat rare specialty that is not necessarily everyone’s taste, but can develop very exciting flavors.