Sake Knowledge


Japanese Reading Meaning
Amakuchi Amakuchi Sweet in taste. Opposite of karakuchi (dry in taste).
Amazake Amazake Literally, “sweet sake.” The non-alcoholic mixture of steamed rice, koji, and water that results when enzymes in the koji convert rice starch into glucose.
Atsukan Atsukan Warmed sake.
Daiginjo Daiginjo Super premium sake brewed with rice milled down to 50% or less of its original weight.
Futsu-shu Futsu-shu Standard-grade sake, with milling rates above 60%, and a moderate amount of distilled alcohol added. (No more than 280 litres per ton of rice).
Genshu Genshu Sake that is undiluted with water.
Ginjo Ginjo Premium sake brewed with rice milled down to between 60% and 50% of its original weight.
Honjozo Honjozo Sake with a small amount of distilled alcohol added. (No more than 116 liters per ton of rice).
Izakaya Izakaya Japanese-style bar or pub.
Junmai-shu Junmai-shu Sake that has no distilled alcohol added.
Karakuchi Karakuchi Dry in taste.
Kasu Kasu The lees that remain after the sake is pressed at the end of the brewing process. Masumi uses its lees to distill two high quality shochu products, “Sumi 20” and “Sumi 25”.
Kobo Kobo Sake yeast.
Koji Koji A type of mold (aspergillus oryzae) that produces enzymes that break starch down into glucose. Also refers to rice upon which koji mold has been propagated.
Kura Kura A sake brewery. Also called a sakagura.
Kurabito Kurabito Literally, “brewery people.” Refers to everyone working at the brewery.
Moromi Moromi The fermenting mash of steamed rice, water, koji, and yeast that produces sake.
Namazake Namazake Sake that has not been pasteurized. This type of sake must be kept refrigerated.
Nihonshu-do Nihonshu-do Known in English as the Sake Meter Value (SMV), is a measure of the density of sake relative to water. Can be a rough indication of the sweetness or dryness of the sake, higher being dryer in theory, but a variety of factors influence the flavor so this index alone cannot be taken as a guide to dryness.
Sakagura A sake brewery. Also called a kura.
Seimai-buai Seimai-buai Polishing rate. Usually indicated as a percentage on the label, this refers to the amount of rice that remains after milling. The lower the percentage, the higher the grade of the resulting sake.
Shinshu Shinshu Traditional name for the mountainous region of central Japan encompassing all of Nagano Prefecture and parts of surrounding prefectures.
Shochu Shochu A clear distilled spirit popular throughout Japan. Masumi produces two shochu products using the lees remaining after the sake is pressed, “Sumi 20” and “Sumi 25”. Masumi also produces shochu from the rice flour created when sake rice is milled. This shochu is used as the base for Masumi’s fruit liquors.
Shubo Shubo Yeast starter. The yeast starter is the first stage of sake fermentation, and is intended to produce a vigorous, highly concentrated yeast culture.
Toji Toji Master brewer.