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

  1. PorterPro125

    PorterPro125 Champion (812) Jan 19, 2013 New Brunswick (Canada)

    Sake is my beverage of choice when I visit a quality Japanese Restaurant. I don't think I enjoy it deeply enough to drink it all of the time, but nothing goes better with Sushi in my opinion.
  2. NYRunner

    NYRunner Initiate (47) Nov 5, 2018 New York

    The "cool" places in NYC - where I wouldn't set foot - serve it cool or cold. One is wine made from rice, and the other is brewed from barley, yeast and hops, so I don't see it replacing anything.
  3. Hoppsbabo

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

    My second favourite alcoholic drink. Has anyone tried brewing the stuff?
  4. Kanger

    Kanger Zealot (519) Sep 3, 2013 New York

    Dassai is a huge Sake brewer. That new brewery costs $28 million. But it will be nice to have a fresh supply of it being delivered to the city.

    I am the assistant brewer at Sake Brooklyn.
  5. Kanger

    Kanger Zealot (519) Sep 3, 2013 New York

    Sake is NOT wine. It is a rice beer.
  6. NYRunner

    NYRunner Initiate (47) Nov 5, 2018 New York

    I looked it up and was surprised to find out that sake does, indeed, have more in common with beer than with wine. Always something new to learn on BA.
    Victory_Sabre1973 and Kanger like this.
  7. Riff

    Riff Champion (839) May 12, 2016 Virginia

    Like sake, but with all the choices its something that gets a little lost in the mix. That said, we have a sake brewery that opened up not too long ago, North American Sake located in the same building as 3 Notch'd Kitchen. Need to visit sometime when I don't have the toddler around.
    cavedave likes this.
  8. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (243) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    If you didn't know much about sake why would you post earlier that it is a rice wine without researching first?
  9. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (243) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    Also it's isn't just how "cool" NYC places serve sake - it's primarily served cold in Japan as well, unless it's cheap sake.
  10. NYRunner

    NYRunner Initiate (47) Nov 5, 2018 New York

    Because it had always been a truism: saki was rice wine.
  11. NYRunner

    NYRunner Initiate (47) Nov 5, 2018 New York

    When I was growing up, the brand of choice in most Japanese restaurants was Gekkeikan, and it was always served very warm, almost hot. Perhaps I'm dating myself.
  12. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (243) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    A truism doesn't make something true. A lack of independent research is why we have large segments of the population getting their news from russian bots on Facebook.
  13. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (243) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    Gekkeikan is absolutley the worst, yes serving it warm is the safest way to drink it. Japanese people use it for cooking.
  14. deanzaZZR

    deanzaZZR Initiate (120) Jan 8, 2015 California

    I don't often buy sake in the US, but as my wife is Japanese we visit Japan every year at which time we invariably take a trip outside of Tokyo. Good sake is brewed pretty much everywhere in Japan and matches wonderfully with regional foods. It's even common to have sake flights as an option at hotels and ryokans in the countryside. As with most beer, freshness and proper storage is important. At least in Japan, bottling dates are included on the label.
    DonicBoom and Kanger like this.
  15. deanzaZZR

    deanzaZZR Initiate (120) Jan 8, 2015 California

    Gekkeikan makes some wonderful high-end daiginjo sake. The Gekkeikan most people buy in supermarkets or at sushi bars in the US are not wonderful high-end daiginjo.

    If anyone is interested in this topic and has access to Netflix, I highly recommend a documentary called The Birth of Sake about a small brewery in Kanazawa, Japan.
    DonicBoom and FBarber like this.
  16. MoreBeer4me

    MoreBeer4me Aspirant (288) Aug 25, 2014 New Jersey

    I don't drink Sake, but do take my shoes off if drinking Sapporo, Suntory or Kirin.
  17. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (243) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    I haven't seen that one but I really enjoyed "Kampai! For the love of sake"
  18. deanzaZZR

    deanzaZZR Initiate (120) Jan 8, 2015 California

    Sapporo > Kirin > Suntory (I guess) > Asahi with or without shoe removal.
  19. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (243) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    I have to firmly disagree. Suntory Premium Malts is the best Japanese macro pilsner. Too bad it's almost impossible to find in the US.
    KentT likes this.
  20. Kanger

    Kanger Zealot (519) Sep 3, 2013 New York

    A lot of Japanese markets in NYC carry it.

    Sapporo has a brewery in Wisconsin. Asahi has a brewery in Canada. So that's why we see those so much more.
    #60 Kanger, Nov 17, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
  21. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (243) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    I haven't seen Premium Malts at Sunrise Mart or Dainobu. I've seen imported Yebisu, Eichigo, Orion. Yes I know the other big 3 macros are contract brewed in the US and Canada.
  22. LifesAnesthesia

    LifesAnesthesia Crusader (733) Dec 17, 2014 Virginia

    Never been a huge fan of Sake. I've had it several times and it's just never done it for me.
  23. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,772) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Sapporo apparently has an alternating proprietorship deal at the City Brewing Co.'s brewery in La Crosse, WI - based on the TTB address (do a Google Map search of the street address) and they appear to also maintain an office there, acting as its US import division:
    And, noted in that address is the fact that Sapporo also owns Sleeman (along with Unibroue) and some Sapporo-branded beer imported into the US is brewed at the Sleeman's brewery in Guelph, Ontario.[​IMG]
    Asahi Beers imported into the US from Canada are brewed "under Asahi's supervision" by Molson.

    cavedave likes this.
  24. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,772) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Well, like beer, saké is a grain-based, fermented alcoholic beverage (as such, it would be nearly impossible to reach 30% unless it is distilled or fortified - and would have to be labeled as such - despite what it "tastes" like) and, in the US, production must be done in a licensed brewery.

    DonicBoom, cavedave and ecpho like this.
  25. Ext

    Ext Initiate (70) Aug 17, 2012 District of Columbia

    As mentioned briefly earlier, Sake is definitely beer according to the United States government. Straight from the US Code:

    26 U.S.C.
    United States Code, 2008 Edition
    Subtitle E - Alcohol, Tobacco, and Certain Other Excise Taxes
    Subchapter A - Gallonage and Occupational Taxes
    Subpart D - Beer
    Sec. 5052 - Definitions
    From the U.S. Government Publishing Office,

    §5052. Definitions
    (a) Beer

    For purposes of this chapter (except when used with reference to distilling or distilling material) the term beer means beer, ale, porter, stout, and other similar fermented beverages (including sake or similar products) of any name or description containing one-half of 1 percent or more of alcohol by volume, brewed or produced from malt, wholly or in part, or from any substitute therefor.
  26. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,772) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Not quite - it's a bit more complicated since it depends in which part of the Federal government and under which Act, as noted in the link in my post above for the TTB Saké Resources:
    The TTB operates under the FAA Act, which defines beer as a "Malt Beverage":

    An alcohol or alcohol-free beverage made by the alcoholic fermentation of an infusion or decoction, or combination of both, in potable brewing water, of:
    · malted barley comprising not less than 25% by weight of the total weight of fermentable ingredients
    · hops (or their parts or products) in an amount equivalent to 7.5 pounds per 100 barrels (3100 gallons) of finished malt beverage
    AND, with or without
    · other malted cereals
    · unmalted or prepared cereals
    · other carbohydrates (or products prepared therefrom)
    · carbon dioxide
    · other wholesome products suitable for human food consumption

    So, while Saké is like beer since it is a fermented, grain-based beverage, it's not "Beer" under the FAA and the TTB's regulations since it uses neither malted barley or contains hops.
    DonicBoom likes this.
  27. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,417) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    I see Sake taking off in the US as just another high-end niche alcoholic beverage. Probably just more to do with US affluence/disposable income than anything else. I mean basically any/every form of high-end alcohol has taken off in the last 5-10 years, craft brewers, vineyards, rustic cider makers, meaderies, distilleries for various small batch/craft whiskey's, vodka and rum, shine etc. You name it, there has been an explosion of new small businesses in all areas of high-end alcohol. Sake is just another one being added. Next time I go to a sushi restaurant, I'll try to do my research first on Sake and try to order a good one to try. I've only had once at a local sushi restaurant and it was ok but I'm sure it was low-grade stuff. Served warm, it was fun for the new experience/meal, but just ok in flavor. Strong ABV in the teens so not exactly a session beer type a thing that the western culture with embrace in mass.
  28. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,417) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    Just wondering, what avg. prices are we talking about for buying a bottle of low end, medium range and high end Sake from a liquor store?
  29. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,646) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    Last month, the results of Tokyo's 2018 Sake Competition were released. According to the capital of the sake world, after two rounds of judging and a gauntlet that spanned a season, the world's best sake made outside Japan is made right here in Arizona.

    If you have tried Arizona Sake, this won't surprise you.

    Atsuo Sakurai, a native of Yokohama, Japan, brews small batches of Arizona Sake at his Holbrook, Arizona, home. He works in an air-conditioned garage and makes 50 gallons of sake at a time. He makes raw, unfiltered junmai ginjo, a pure sake style that limits ingredients to rice, water, yeast, and koji (a kind of fungus).

    The accolades are huge to Sakurai, who dreams of opening a sake brewery. (Long pause for effect.) Before he moved to Arizona, his wife's home state, Sakurai worked at a string of sake breweries in Japan.
    afrokaze likes this.
  30. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,417) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    Ok I just ate at a Japanese restaurant today and Sake pricing seemed quite crazy. $8 for the house/warm pour. Saw a $50 can and even several hihg end ones offered at $150 range. There has been alot of discussion as to why wine pricing range is so vast but is there any fair justification for why higher end Sake is so expensive for a rice based beer?
  31. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (243) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    I would seek out a sake bar over the average Japanese restaurant if you can find one near you. That way you can taste a bunch of different types by the glass or even better if they serve it in a lacquer box for the overflow.
  32. ichorNet

    ichorNet Meyvn (1,039) Mar 16, 2010 Massachusetts

    Been looking into getting into sake recently, as it has a nice price point, tends to be somewhat complex, and has cool marketing (what can I say, I'm a sucker... better to admit it than to deny). I will report back here if I find anything worth reviewing and discussing.
  33. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (243) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    Avoid the American-ized imports like Tu-Kyu, they are low quality and too sweet. There is a dry to sweet scale on most bottles, I think dry is the way to go.
    deanzaZZR likes this.
  34. Kanger

    Kanger Zealot (519) Sep 3, 2013 New York

    It's mainly based on "Seimaibuai" aka Rice Polish Rate.

    A Sake with a 50% Rice Polish Ratio (seimaibuai) has to use more rice in their sake than a 70% Seimaibuai. Because that higher polish rate results in 20% less material to work with.

    That's why a Junmai Daiginjo (50% rice polish) will usually cost a lot more than a standard Junmai Honjozo with a rice polish of 70%.

    Also milling rice down takes a lot of time, money, and energy. The more you polish rice, the slower you have to do it.

    Just a quick recap:

    Daiginjo is at least 50% polished
    Ginjo is at least 60% polished
    Honjozo is at least 70% polished.

    Junmai has no rice polish standard, it just refers to using only rice, koji, yeast, and water. No "Jozo Arukoru" (Brewer's alcohol) has been added. If you don't see the term "Junmai" on the bottle, then brewer's alcohol has been added to enhance aroma and flavor (not to fortify it).

    So usually a Junmai Daiginjo will always be the most expensive sake on the menu since it has the highest polish rate and is using only four ingredients.
    DonicBoom likes this.
  35. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,035) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    I love me some Sake especially with some sushi, but if I had my choice it'd be Soju with Korean food:heart_eyes:
  36. nomisugitai

    nomisugitai Initiate (100) Mar 11, 2006 New Jersey

    Tax/tariff on Japanese sake is big. Japanese sake is about 2.5x the price in the US than it is in Japan. US made sake is so much cheaper, especially on the low end, like your house pour. I love being able to go into a 7-11 in Japan and buy a can of sake for $2-3 that costs $7-8 at home.
  37. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,772) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    According to the TTB:
    so, the excise tax on saké is the same as beer, which currently is $3.50 - $18 a barrel (so, about 1¢-5¢ per 12 oz. bottle), except in the case of Saké with Added Alcohol:
    The US tariff on imported saké 2206.00.4500 (which does not seem to have a specific rate for Japan "JP") varies from "Free" to 1.3¢-33¢ a liter.
    nomisugitai likes this.
  38. Jow13

    Jow13 Initiate (33) Apr 5, 2016 Florida

    wow that awesome, I'll be on look out next time i'm in AZ, I went to a sweet japanese restaurant in Phoenix its across from the famous pizza place in a house.

    I love sake and have drank a lot of it

    In San Fran end of Sept each year is Sake Day a nice sake festival but can only imagine headache next day. Its put on by True Sake and excellent store I always hoped to attend

    I lived in NYC for last decade and plenty of great sake to be had there, Sakagura in NYC has a huge menu for example.

    Florida haven't found much sake wise as of yet
    AZBeerDude72 likes this.
  39. Ext

    Ext Initiate (70) Aug 17, 2012 District of Columbia


    So, while Saké is like beer since it is a fermented, grain-based beverage, it's not "Beer" under the FAA and the TTB's regulations since it uses neither malted barley or contains hops.[/QUOTE]
    Great info, thanks. What is interesting is that it sets a floor of 7% abv for the definition that covers wine. So, it looks like there is a gap in what sake is legally defined is if it is sake with less than 7% abv.
  40. islay

    islay Aspirant (259) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    Quite a few beers other than sake also don't meet this imperfect federal regulatory definition of beer, including any truly gluten-free (as opposed to gluten-reduced) beer (often made from sorghum), some (though not most) wheat and rye beers, and beers brewed in certain ancient styles that use no or minimal hops such as many Sahtis.