DAIGINJO JUNMAI Sake

DAIGINJO JUNMAI Sake

51.00

SAKE (15.5%)
Polising: 45%
Rice : Yamada Nishiki.
Brewery: Shirakabegura
Provenance: Nada-Kobe, Hyogo
Type: Junmai Daiginjo

The pinnacle of sake production, this Junmai Daiginjo is made using only the best Yamada Nishiki sake rice carefully milled to 45% of its original size, resulting in a wealth of fruity aromas with hints of banana and unrivaled depth that spreads slowly and pleasantly through the mouth, making each sip as much a joy as the next. 

SMV: ±0 / Acidity: 1.5 / Alc: 15% / Size available: 640ml, 1.8L

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As with making any great beverage, making great sake starts with sourcing the finest ingredients.  Sake is made essentially from water and rice, with the help of important catalysts yeast and koji spores.  Koji spores are dusted onto some of the rice in order to convert rice starches into sugar, which is consumed by yeast to create alcohol. 

Good rice must be used and very clean river water. The soaking process is very important as well. A carefully measured amount of rice is washed and soaked in preparation for its steaming

After the washed and soaked rice is at the perfect condition for steaming, the rice is hand-loaded into a rice steamer, which was manufactured in Japan especially for the production of small- batch sake rice for the highest quality sakes (large breweries use mechanized continuous steaming systems).  Unlike rice for the dinner table which is typically boiled in hot water either in a pot or automatic rice maker, sake rice is prepared by steaming, which allows the rice to maintain a firm outer texture and soft centre, thereby helping the brewing process.

Next is the Rice cooling process. When rice is taken out of the steamer it is very hot and must be cooled prior to being used in further stages of production. Using traditional methods of rice tossing and kneading to adjust the temperature, which also allows the brewmaster to assess in detail the texture of the steamed rice and choose how to best use it within the brews.

Koji Making: heart of a sake brewery is its “koji muro”, the cedar-lined room in which koji is made, which has a delightful aroma in addition to having natural anti-bacterial resins which help to create a clean environment conducive to efficient koji production.

Koji making is a 48-hour process which involves the inoculation of rice with koji spores, careful kneading and control of temperature and humidity, resulting in very sweet and white koji, ready for becoming about 20-35% of the rice used in the production of sake depending on recipe.

The operating temperature in the koji muro is typically 30-32 degrees Celsius, which makes for a challenging work environment for our brewery staff!

Once the first batch of koji is ready, it is time to start mixing it into chilled spring water and yeast in a fermentation tank, then adding steamed rice.  The tank is filled gradually, in three stages over a 4-day period. This allows the yeast to retain its strength to keep consuming sugar and producing alcohol throughout the fermentation period, which typically continues for 21 days.  Temperature within the fermentation tanks is carefully controlled using cooling jackets, as the sake’s pleasant tastes are enhanced by not allowing the yeast to act at its ideal productive temperature of 28 degrees Celsius, rather at a lower temperature ranging from 8-18 degrees depending on the stage of fermentation.   The brew, called “moromi”, is carefully mixed by hand on a daily basis to ensure consistent fermentation.  Each day tests are performed to check specific gravity, acidity and alcohol content.

Pressing And Racking: Once the moromi reaches completion as determined by the brewmaster, it is drained by gravity into cloth bags which are placed in the traditional “Fune” press which works with gravity and hand-applied mechanical pressure (in a large commercial brewery the moromi is machine-pumped into a large accordion like hydraulic press called a “Yabuta”).  The first juice of sake starts emerging from a spout at one end of the press under the natural weight of the filled bags, resulting in a light-and-fruity first-pressed sake known “arabashiri”.

Gathering around the press and tasting the arabashiri is a reward to the brewery staff who have worked very hard to create the batch!  It is also perhaps a treat to be savoured by those who visit our brewery on pressing days.

8. Bottling

Once pressed and racked the sake may either be bottled immediately or temporarily tank-stored at close to 0 degrees Celsius. 

This is the main process but every brewery has different variations. Just as with wine, everyone has their favorite type and brands for different occasions. Sake is an essential part of our culture and is a must for celebrations, weddings, and for our ancestors.