Sake Terminology

Wall of Sake - Sake Terminology

Here's a list of some sake terms as well as general drinking terms you should be familiar with, especially if you visit Japan. 

Amaguchi (甘口 ) - Sweet in flavor

Amazake (甘酒) - "Sweet Sake". It is a thick white sweet beverage with little to no alcohol content. 

Amino Sando (アミノ酸度) - Level of amino acids measured in sake

Arabashiri (あらばしり) - applied

Atoaji (あと味) - Aftertaste

Atsukan (熱燗) - Hot sake

Awa (泡) - Bubbles; Foam

Bero Bero (べろべろ) - Describes the state of someone being really druink

Chozo (貯蔵) - Sake storage

Daiginjo Shu (大吟醸酒) - Highly milled rice, with or without added alcohol; at least 50% of rice kernel is ground away during the brewing process; the taste is even lighter and more fragrant and fruity than ginjo sake

Deisui (泥酔) - Wasted; Drunkenness

Doburoku (濁酒) - Unfiltered sake that is cloudy and chunky

Edaoke (枝桶) - For smaller or delicate batches of sake, the Edaoke is a small vat that is used to begin the mashing process of building up the moromi. The mash is then moved to a larger “parent” tank on day 3 of the moromi creation process.

Fukurozuri (袋吊り) - The finished sake mash is placed in bags and hung up which allows the sake to literally drip out with the bags holding the rice solids behind. No pressure is applied. This method creates an elegant and expensive sake known as Shizuku.

Funaba (槽場) - Area in the brewery where the pressing of the sake mash is done.

Fune (槽) - A large box made of wood or metal used to press bags filled with sake mash. 

Futsukayoi (二日酔) - Hangover

Futusuu Shu (普通酒) - Normal sake; anything without a special label; any sake that is not junmai-shu, honjozo, ginjo-shu or daiginjo

Genmai (玄米) - Whole grain brown rice that has not been milled

Genryoshori (原料処理) - The section of the brewery in charge of washing, soaking and steaming sake rice.  Literally means raw materials processing

Genshu (原酒) - Undiluted sake

Gero Gero (げろげろ) - Describes the sound of someone throwing up

Ginjo Shu (吟醸酒) - Sake that is made up of rice, water, koji mold, yeast and with, or without, a portion of added distilled alcohol, and the rice is milled 40% with 60% of each grain remaining

Ginjoka (吟醸香) - The aroma typical in Ginjo grade sakes. Usually fruity with apple and banana aroma esters.

Guinomi (ぐい呑み) - A style of sake cup

Happo Shu (発泡酒) - General term for sparkling sake

Hatsuzoe (初添) - Hatsuzoe is the first addition of rice, water and koji to kick off the sake  making process tha involves the production of the main mash/moromi.

Hiire (火入れ) - Pasteurization

Hineka (老香) - The unpleasant aged smell usually from sake that is beyond its prime or improperly aged.

Hiochikin (火落菌) - Hiochikin is a harmful lactic acid bacteria that can cause sake to spoil. Spoilage occurs through excessive lactic acid fermentation in the finished sake.

Hiya (冷や) - Chilled sake.  Technically, can also be used to refer to room temperature sake.

Hiyaoroshi (ひやおろし) - This is a once-pasteurized type of sake that is typically available in Fall, only pasteurized once before cellaring over the summer, but not a second time before bottling and shipping out. It's also known as “namazume” or  “fall nama”.

Honjozo Shu (本醸造) - Sake that is made up of rice, water, koji mold, yeast and with, or without,  a portion of added distilled alcohol, and the rice is milled 30% with 70% of each grain remaining.

Ichigo (一合) - Common, single serving of sake

Isshobin (一升瓶) - Large bottle of sake, usually 1.8 liters

Izakaya (居酒屋) - Japanese style pub, usually small and lively, where small dishes of food and different types of alcohol are served

Jizake (地酒) - Local sake; Sake from smaller kura; or alternatively, sake that is not mass produced

Jozo Arukoru (醸造アルコール) - Brewers alcohol

Jukusei (熟成) - Sake maturing

Junmai Daiginjo (純米大吟醸酒) - Highly milled rice, without added alcohol; at least 50% of rice kernel is ground away during the brewing process; the taste is even lighter and more fragrant and fruity than ginjo sake

Junmai Ginjo Shu (純米吟醸酒) - Sake that is made up of rice, water, koji mold and yeast without added distilled alcohol, and the rice is milled 40% with 60% of each grain remaining

Junmai Shu (純米酒) - Sake that is made up of rice, water, koji mold and yeast without added distilled alcohol, and the rice is milled 30% with 70% of each grain remaining.

Kanpai (乾杯) - Japanese word for "Cheers!"; Literally means "dry cup";

Kaori (香り) - Fragrance; aroma

Karakuchi (辛口) - Dry taste (sake, wine, beer)

Kasu (粕) - The lees remaining after the sake has been pressed from the fermenting mixture

Koji (麹) - Rice on to which goji-jin has been propogated

Koji-kin (麹菌) - The mold that is used to create koji rice

Oishii (美味しい) - Delicious

Umai (旨い) - Delicious; Skillful (term more commonly used by men)

Yopparai (酔っ払い) - Drunk, Drunkard, Intoxicated person