GUIDE TO TYPES OF SAKE
Futsu-shu — Made with regular table rice, often using automated brewing processes, and plenty of distilled alcohol. Futsu-shu represents about 75% of the entire sake market with premium sake constituting the remaining 25%. No minimum requirements for rice grain in this sake.
Junmai — Until recently, the minimum milling rate for Junmai was 70%, but the law changed and now no minimum milling rate exists for Junmai sake. Unlike for other sake grades, the milling rate must appear on the bottle.
Honjozo — Honjozo sake is often a bit lighter than Junmai sake, due to the small amount of alcohol added at the end of fermentation. 30% or more of the rice grain is milled away. 30% or more of the rice grain is milled away.
Junmai Ginjo —Indicates a special and painstaking brewing process where fermentation proceeds at lower temperatures and for longer periods, and pressing is often done by hand. This extra effort produces a sake that is layered and complex, light, and fragrant. All Ginjo and Daiginjo sake are considered "super premium sake". Less than 6% of all Japanese sake falls into this category. 40% or more of the rice grain is milled away.
Junmai Daiginjo - An even more painstaking, labor-intensive brewing process than Ginjo, which results in sake that is even lighter and more fragrant and fruity than a typical Ginjo. Daiginjo often goes as far as a 35% seimaibuai (65% of the rice polished away). Junmai means "pure rice", so no distilled alcohol was added to the sake during the brewing process. 50% or more of the rice grain is milled away.
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