Discussion in 'Other Beverages' started by not2quick, Jul 19, 2018.

  1. not2quick

    not2quick Disciple (385) Dec 1, 2015 Missouri
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    Forgive me if this has been discussed before.

    I have always enjoyed sake. The process of creating sake is very close to the process of making beer. I believe it is considered a beer more so than a wine. If mead gets all the attention from the beer guys, why no love for sake?

    Could sake be the next "it" alcoholic beverage? I believe it did get pretty popular a few years ago, but you don't hear much about it these days. Any small batch craft sake being made in the states? What are everyone's thoughts?
  2. jrnyc

    jrnyc Meyvn (1,082) Mar 21, 2010 New York

  3. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,632) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
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    It is a rice wine, I don't know anyone that considers it a beer or close to a beer, it is in a class of its own. Sake is very popular, they sell it all over and make some very expensive bottles.
    So what is your question? Could it be the next "it" drink? Sake has been made since like 300 B.C. and does have a large following, just not on Ba since this site is focused on beer.
  4. ShanePB

    ShanePB Poo-Bah (1,971) Sep 6, 2010 Pennsylvania
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    @AZBeerDude72 Perhaps because the brewing process using starch to sugar to alcohol like beer, vs. wine - fruit/sugar to alcohol?
  5. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,711) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Sake is generally served slightly warmed and thus I'm not sure how that would go over in the Western world as the next "it" drink.
    thesherrybomber likes this.
  6. Hoppsbabo

    Hoppsbabo Champion (877) Jan 29, 2012 United Kingdom (England)

    It depends on your definition of beer, but comon, it's nothing like beer. No barley, no hops, much higher ABV, doesn't drink or taste like beer, evolved independantly over the other side of the world.

    Absolutely ruddy love the stuff though. Nothing quite like it.
  7. not2quick

    not2quick Disciple (385) Dec 1, 2015 Missouri
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    So why does mead get so much attention on BA? Seems sake brewing process is more related to beer than mead.
    stevepat, beertunes and Kanger like this.
  8. Kanger

    Kanger Zealot (519) Sep 3, 2013 New York

    Sake is already the next big alcoholic beverage on the market. Its popularity has recently exploded here in NYC.

    Two sake breweries (sakagura) have opened in NYC in the past years: Sake Brooklyn and Brooklyn Kura.

    The American Sake Association has just recently formed and already has numerous members.

    I currently work for Sake Brooklyn and this is incorrect. It is considered by everyone in the sake industry as "Rice Beer". In fact the first thing I tell people about sake is that is it NOT a rice wine, but closer to beer.

    Wine is a fermented beverage, but the sugar needed for the yeast to create alcohol is already present in the fruit.

    Beer, on the other hand, uses barely that is boiled to release the enzymes that are needed to convert the starches into fermentable sugar for the yeast to eat - aka "saccharification."

    Sake is similar to beer in that the grain (rice) needs to go through saccharification. But unlike barely, rice does not contain the enzymes that convert starch to sugar. That enzyme must come from some where else. That's where Koji Mold (aspergillus oryzae) come in. This mold converts the rice starch into sugar. This Koji Rice is mixed with Yeast (the same Saccharomyces Cerevisiae beer uses) and water to create the fermentation started, aka "Shubo". This "shubo" is then added to a larger mash of steamed rice and water to create the "Moromi" or main mash.

    Now here is the big difference between beer and sake. With beer saccharification and fermentation occur separately, but with sake "multiple parallel fermentation occurs." Starch to sugar and sugar to alcohol occur at the same time in the same tank.

    Actually most sake nowadays is served chilled. Higher quality sakes (junmai, ginjo, daiginjo) have a lot of subtle flavors that can be destroyed by heat. Yes many sushi restaurants serve their cheap sake heated because heating those up can actually hide flaws.

    Of course there are many exceptions and plenty of high end sake can be enjoyed heated. But the majority of high grade sakes served will be chilled. The back label of sake bottles usually have serving suggestions.

    Also sake should always be kept refrigerated. It pains me to see sake sitting on warm shelves at the liquor store. It's like seeing beer sitting out on a shelf getting warm.
    Jacobier10, DVMin98, jcruz_ and 51 others like this.
  9. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,632) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
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    I cannot say why people like Mead more, maybe it is closer to what they like in reference to taste, etc. Sake does have a lot of love, just not on Ba. I happen to enjoy Sake and most of my friends do also. Like @Kanger said, Sake is very popular and growing more so each year. If you look around you can find a lot of people making some very high end stuff. My point was that its not really an item discussed here since we are focused on beer. I don't think anyone dislikes it, it's just not the forum for in-depth discussion that's all.
    not2quick likes this.
  10. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,632) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    Awesome answer! I guess I was just commenting in reference to the taste side not the process side. I have always enjoyed Sake, with all the new stuff coming out I feel it is very main stream now.
    PorterPro125 and Kanger like this.
  11. Kanger

    Kanger Zealot (519) Sep 3, 2013 New York

    Thanks! Yeah I wanted to add that I use to work in the beer industry for Other Half Brewing and the reason I switched over to the Sake industry is because there are so many parallels between beer and sake. So the switch over was fairly easy, well minus having to learn hundreds of new Japanese words and brewing terminology!
  12. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (930) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Sake is brewed. It is a great hybrid, has many different styles, and can be a real pleasure. I'm no expert, but I do know that great sake isn't inexpensive at all.
    PorterPro125, cavedave and Kanger like this.
  13. Daveshek28

    Daveshek28 Initiate (185) Nov 10, 2015 New York

    I love sake, and get it every time I go out for Japanese. Never thought to discuss it on Beer Advocate however.
    Prince_Casual likes this.
  14. Keene

    Keene Editorial Director (764) Sep 11, 2009 Washington

  15. CrimeDog

    CrimeDog Aspirant (215) Dec 31, 2015 New York

    Only drink sake when it's sprayed in my mouth at a hibachi restaurant.
  16. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Meyvn (1,300) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey

    I like flavored sake but regular tastes like how sweaty socks smell. Unsure about the process but I think it won' gain huge momentum in the states.
  17. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Meyvn (1,477) Oct 4, 2017 Germany

    I used to love sake when I was visiting Japan and living in London, always enjoyed having a few cups at my favorite izakaya with some sashimi or tonkatsu. I guess I still do, but I can't really get any decent ones easily here in Germany though. I'm getting all nostalgic now *sigh*, really miss the English pubs and Japanese izakaya.
    AZBeerDude72 likes this.
  18. Thankin_Hank

    Thankin_Hank Defender (641) Nov 18, 2013 Texas

    I like warm sake with my sushi and pho in the wintertime, but summertime calls for a Sapporo, my favorite and depends sometimes on if someone else wants to share a bottle of sake. It also goes well with sake(salmon) sashimi or nigiri. Yes, that's the raw fish.
    The best I ever had.

  19. Kanger

    Kanger Zealot (519) Sep 3, 2013 New York

    High grade sake will have very floral aromas, as well as ester heavy aromas such as bananas (isoamyl acetate) and apples (ethyl caproate). And sake is like beer in that 80% of sake is cheap, mass produced stuff - aka "Futsu-shu". Now that doesn't mean it can't taste good, but most likely it doesn't taste good.

    So a quick tip for those new to sake - look for the following terms on a bottle, or menu, if you want a quality sake:
    Junmai (this is kind of like "Reinheitsgebot" in that only rice, koji, yeast, and water are used. Granted it has nothing to do with taxation)
    Junmai Ginjo
    Junmai Daiginjo
    (a bottle labeled with this will most likely be the priciest)
    Honjozo (kind of a mid-upper range sake)

    Again, keep in mind cheap stuff can be delicious and expensive stuff can be boring and bland. I suggest just trying anything you can. That's what life is about.
  20. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (389) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    That's an option for beverage delivery?! Forget the pint glasses, I'm bringing my bartender a small supersoaker. She's gonna earn her tip.
    CrimeDog likes this.
  21. nomisugitai

    nomisugitai Initiate (100) Mar 11, 2006 New Jersey

    I love drinking cans of sake at every train station in Japan.
    KentT likes this.

    THANAT0PSIS Crusader (782) Aug 3, 2010 Wisconsin

    I'm sure some people thought this about lambic and sour beer before they exploded. Some of my favorite gueuzes taste like sweaty socks.
  23. Zorro

    Zorro Poo-Bah (4,413) Dec 25, 2003 California

    Stone Sake, only 60 IBUs.
  24. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Meyvn (1,300) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey

    I'e had a few I don't like geikekan whatever it is that green big bottle that' everywhere.
    THANAT0PSIS likes this.
  25. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (1,689) Sep 15, 2014 New York

    Sake isn't really relevant to this site, but I'll take this chance to push Stillwater Extra Dry - their sake inspired saison. That beer is so good.
    thebeers likes this.
  26. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (243) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    That sake is generally only supposed to be used for cooking. Most sushi places (in the US) serve it as their warm sake, that's why you shouldn't order warm sake unless you know what you are ordering)
  27. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Meyvn (1,300) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey

    Idk if it was a one off but lagunitas sakitumi was very unique
  28. Vitacca

    Vitacca Crusader (702) Sep 15, 2010 Wisconsin
    Society Trader

    Could never get used to this stuff. More for you peeps.
    GreenBayBA likes this.
  29. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (1,689) Sep 15, 2014 New York

    It was probably a one-off, which is a shame. I wish I could try it.
  30. islay

    islay Aspirant (256) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    I consider sake beer. It's an alcoholic beverage made from fermented malted grain using yeast. It's certainly not wine, which derives from fruit.
    Ceddd99, KentT and PorterPro125 like this.
  31. Greywulfken

    Greywulfken Poo-Bah (4,609) Aug 25, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Here's my take...

    Sake is a product closer to beer than wine, as I think has been established, whereas mead and cider are closer to wine than beer - what's odd about this is that beer stores seem more likely to sell mead/cider but not sake...
    The markets for the three are hard to compare because I think they appeal to different groups. As a fan of sushi and Asian fusion, I enjoy my fair share of sake. I've only had mead a few times, and it reminded me too much of a sweet wine to really pull me in.
    Who is the cider crowd? I dunno. Those "hard ciders" I see for sale in stores seem to be targeting the wine cooler crowd from the 80's, but I myself have never actually purchased or consumed legit cider, so I don't know if they're true ciders or just flavored malt beverages.
    For my tastes, I'll take sake over mead or cider any day, with my preference being for the chilled variety, though I've also enjoyed it warm. FWIW, when I ask for a recommendation from the (presumably Japanese) server, they've always recommended one that's chilled.
    All this said, I don't think any of these three will be the next "it" alcoholic beverage because they appeal to specific and relatively small groups. Beer, wine, and liquor/spirits will likely continue to be the dominant alcoholic beverages of choice...
    eppCOS, DISKORD, Hoppsbabo and 3 others like this.
  32. cmiller4642

    cmiller4642 Aspirant (283) Aug 17, 2013 West Virginia

    I'm a glutton for alcohol and enjoy it all. I love craft beer the most, but I will indulge in wine and scotch and things like sake. Just like I don't stick to steak primarily, I will have sushi.
    bubseymour, PorterPro125 and TrojanRB like this.
  33. BeanBump

    BeanBump Devotee (410) Dec 14, 2016 California

    Im a fan of Setting Sun in SD:

    The best part is, their tasting room is nestled in a business park area that also has: a wine producer, a whiskey/gin/vodka maker, a meadery, a cidery and 4 breweries. Great place for one-stop booze shopping.
    #33 BeanBump, Jul 24, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
  34. chilltown38

    chilltown38 Initiate (39) Feb 24, 2017 Kentucky

    love some good sake!
  35. Kanger

    Kanger Zealot (519) Sep 3, 2013 New York

  36. Alefflicted

    Alefflicted Initiate (80) Dec 2, 2017 Minnesota

  37. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,632) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

  38. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,547) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    EMH73, PorterPro125 and tobelerone like this.
  39. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,547) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    Haha, we all know that guy who thinks to be clever and humorous behavior others see as childish, sad, and self incriminating. Have a beer and ignore is my best advice, both in real life and here. Have a good laugh to yourself at their expense is second best advice. Cheers!
  40. tobelerone

    tobelerone Poo-Bah (2,644) Dec 1, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Thanks for posting, Dave. I’ve been wondering about the timeline of that place since hearing about it earlier this year. Have almost no sake experience aside from a warm glass at a random sushi restaurant and no idea if this producer is a good one. Definitely intrigued though. Still haven’t made it to the brewpub the CIA opened either.
    cavedave and Harrison8 like this.