A

  • Akiagari (秋あがり): sake brewed in early spring and stored during summer; around September, when the outside temperature and the temperature of the sake is about the same, the sake is released without being pasteurized the second time (hi-ire). The main characteristic of this sake is a deep, matured aroma. Sold as a seasonal sake and is a limited production only in September and October.
  • Amakuchi (甘口): sweet flavour in sake; sake that tastes sweeter than neutral taste.
  • Amami (甘み): sweetness
  • Amazake (甘酒): a sweet and non-alcoholic drink made from kōji, rice and water.
  • Amino acid (アミノ酸 aminosan): amino acid in sake includes twenty varieties such as glutamic acid, proline and alanine; the amount of amino acid is usually indicated on the label; high amino acidity means more umami or "thick" taste.
  • Arabashiri (荒ばしり): "first run" or "rough run"; the first sake extracted from the moromi simply by gravity, before applying any pressure; tends to taste rough; also called hatsudori.
  • Aruten (アル添): sake to which distilled alcohol (brewer’s alcohol) has been added. This word is an abbreviation of arukoru tenka (アルコール添加) which means as much as "adding alcohol".
  • Aspergillus Oryzae (ニホンコウジカビ): scientific name of kōji mould.
  • Assaku-ki (圧搾器): an automatic sake press to separate the alcohol from the unfermented rice solids left in the sake mash.
  • Atoaji (あと味): the Japanese term for "aftertaste".
  • Atsukan (熱燗): heated sake.
  • Awa (泡): the foam on the surface of shubo or sake mash, or the bubbles in sparkling sake.
  • Awanashi kōbo (泡なし酵母): “foamless yeast” that prevents overflow during sake production.

B

  • Bodai moto (菩提酛): the ancient and complex fermentation starter method. It is said to be created in the Edo Era. Temples used bodai moto, hence it is called “monk’s sake”.
  • Binzume-yosui (瓶詰用水): the water used for cleaning bottles, warimizu and cleaning equipment.
  • Brewer’s alcohol (醸造アルコール): distilled alcohol, used in making a certain type of sake (regular sake, honjōzo, ginjō and daiginjō); in the case of premium sake, brewer’s alcohol is added in small quantities to enhance the aroma, taste and the texture not to increase the volume of sake.
  • Bunji (ぶんじ): flat wooden spades used to break up the hardened kōji rice into smaller chunks during kirikaeshi (see below).
  • BY (醸造年度 jōzō nendo): "brewing year”, showing the year in which sake was brewed. BY is sometimes expressed using the year of imperial rule (e.g. BY2 means Reiwa 2) or using the Western calendar (e.g. 2019BY).

C

  • Choko (猪口): also called o-choko (お猪口), a small sake cup often used with a small ceramic flask called tokkuri (徳利).
  • Chozō (貯蔵): the storage of sake.

D

  • Daiginjō (大吟醸): premium grade of sake with a rice polish ratio of 50% or less.
  • Dakidaru (暖気樽): a canister that can hold water of varying degrees, used for adjusting the temperature of the yeast starter.
  • Dekōji (出麹): the last step involved in rice kōji production; when the growth of rice kōji reaches the desired level, it is removed from the kōji-muro (kōji room).
  • Doburoku (濁酒): the classic home-brew style of sake (home brewing is illegal in Japan); created by simply adding kōji mould to steamed rice and water and letting the mixture ferment, resulting in unfiltered sake that is a chunkier version of nigorizake.

E

  • Edaoke (枝桶): a small vat used to begin the mashing process of building up the moromi.

F

  • Fudoki (風土記): the ancient records of culture and geography of different provinces in Japan, compiled after 713 and completed over a 20-year period.
  • Fukuro-tsuri (袋吊り): a method to extract sake from moromi in the joso process, by hanging cotton bags with moromi; it takes more time than pressing but the extracted sake is clearer, called shizuku sake and shizuku tori.
  • Fukuryūsui (伏流水): a river that runs underground.
  • Funaba (槽場): "tank room"; the place in the brewery where the sake mash is pressed.
  • Fune (槽): a device used to press moromi and separate the lees from the fresh sake.
  • Futsūshu (普通酒): “regular sake” or “table sake”; sake that does not qualify as “special designation sake” (such as junmai or ginjō).

G

  • Gaikonainan (外硬内軟): literally "firm on the outside and tender on the inside", referring to the ideal condition of steamed sake rice.
  • Genmai (玄米): unpolished brown rice.
  • Genryōshori (原料処理): “processing the raw materials”; the section of the brewery where the sake rice is washed, soaked and steamed.
  • Genshu (原酒): undiluted sake; usually, sake breweries add water to balance the taste and the alcohol content; genshu is the state of sake before the dilution.
  • Ginjō (吟醸): premium grade sake with a rice polish ratio of 60% or less; usually light and fragrant.
  • Ginjōka (吟醸香): a term used to describe the refined aromas of ginjō.
  • (合): a traditional Japanese unit equivalent to 180ml; common sake bottle contain four (720ml).
  • Gohyakumangoku (五百万石): one of four major renowned shuzo-koutekimai varieties, growing best in the Hokuriku region of Japan (Niigata, Fukui, Toyama and Ishikawa prefectures).
  • Gokosui (御香水): premium spring water from the Fushimi region of Kyōto; very soft, known to produce elegant sake.
  • Guinomi (ぐい呑み): a sake cup slightly larger than a choko.

H

  • Hakkō (発酵): the Japanese term for fermentation.
  • Hanahie (花冷え): "blooming spring flower", referring to a sake temperature of around 10 °C.
  • Haneki Shibori (撥ね木搾り): a historical style of pressing using a long wooden arm that presses down on the sake mash like a lever in the fune press; the other end of the arm is weighed down with rocks on ropes while the fulcrum end of the arm pushes down the board squeezing the mash.
  • Happōshu (発泡酒): a general term referring to sparkling sake.
  • Hatsudori (初どり): another term for arabashiri.
  • Hatsuzoe (初添え): the first day of sandan jikomi, the procedure in whichkōji, water and steamed rice is added to the yeast starter.
  • Hattan nishiki (八反錦): one of four major renowned shuzo-koutekimai varieties, usually grown in Hiroshima Prefecture.
  • Heikōfukuhakkō (並行複発酵): a fermentation process, in which kōji converts rice starches into fermentable glucose, and simultaneously and in the same tank, yeast converts glucose into alcohol.
  • Hi-ire (火入れ): sake pasteurization.
  • Hikikomi (引き込み): the first step in kōji production, in which steamed rice is wrapped for 1-2 hours to adjust the temperature.
  • Hinatakan (日向燗): "out in the sun”, referring to a sake temperature of around 30°C.
  • Hineka (老香): "aged sake” beyond its prime or improperly aged, often with an unpleasant smell.
  • Hinerimochi (ひねり餅): a small rice cake kneaded of freshly steamed sake rice to test its texture, opacity and consistency.
  • Hinoki (檜): the wood of the Japanese cypress tree (Chamaecyparis obtusa) often used to produce masu boxes.
  • Hiochikin (火落菌): a harmful lactic acid bacteria that can cause sake to spoil; spoilage happens occurs because of excessive lactic acid fermentation in the finished sake.
  • Hirezake (ひれ酒): "fin sake”, a sake served warm with a fin of a grilled blowfish soaked in the cup to add flavour to the sake.
  • Hiya (冷や): sake that is served not warm; often used when ordering chilled sake in Japan, but actually referring to room temperature sake.
  • Hiyaoroshi (冷やおろし): sake brewed in early spring and stored during summer; around September, the sake is ready for consumption without pasteurisation; it has a deep-matured aroma and is sold only in September and October as a seasonal sake of limited production.
  • Honjōzō (本醸造): a sake with a minimal amount of pure distilled alcohol added; seimaibuai of less than 70%.
  • Horeiki (放冷機): a machine to cool steamed rice; sometimes steamed rice is cooled on tatami mats, a procedure that is more time-consuming.

I

  • Ikkinomi (一気飲み): "bottoms up", drinking sake in one shot; considered ill-mannered in Japan.
  • Ippanmai (一般米): regular rice meant for consumption, both table rice and sake rice.
  • Isshōbin (一升瓶): a sake bottle that holds 1.8 litres.
  • Ittō (一等): means "first grade" and is used in the classification of rice quality; actually, denotes "third-grade" rice. To qualify for ittō grade, 70 per cent of the rice grains must meet the quality standard.
  • Itto daru (一斗樽): a measurement of sake volume equal to 18 litres, common in sake barrels.

J

  • Janome (蛇の目): a blue-ringed design at the bottom of professional sake tasting cups that helps discern the colour and the clarity of sake.
  • Jikagumi (直汲み): sake directly bottled from the press.
  • Jizake (地酒): local sake, often produced by smaller breweries.
  • Jōkan (上燗): slightly hot sake, served around 45°C.
  • Jōmai (蒸米): steamed rice, or the rice steaming process itself.
  • Jōon (常温): sake served at room temperature (20°C).
  • Jōsō (上槽): the process of extracting sake from moromi (醪).
  • Jōzō alcohol (上槽): brewer’s alcohol, referring to the alcohol added to the moromi.
  • Jōzō-yōsui (醸造用水): Water rich in minerals, used for sake production.
  • Juku-sei (熟成): the ageing or maturing of sake.
  • Juku-shu (熟酒): one of the four sake classifications established by the Sake Service Institute, referring to (aged) sake with fragrance and depth.
  • Junmaishu (純米酒): sake made only from rice, kōji, and water.
  • Jun-shu (醇酒): one of the four sake classifications established by the Sake Service Institute, referring to sake with a full body and subtle fragrance (junmai grade and sake produced using traditional kimotokei-shubo).

K

  • Kagami biraki (鏡開き): the breaking of a sake barrel in a ceremony like weddings, festivals, movie premieres or shop openings.
  • Ka-ire (櫂入れ): the procedure of mixing the sake mash with a kaidama pole.
  • Kakemai (掛け米): the rice used to produce moromi.
  • Kanzamashi (燗冷まし): the intentional or unintentional cooling down of sake that was heated.
  • Kanzen-muroka (完全無濾過): sake made without any filtration; kanzen-muroka doesn't use filtration machines or activated carbon and thereby conserves characteristics that are lost in regular filtration. It has a yellowish hue.
  • Karakuchi (辛口): sake of dry character.
  • Karashi (枯らし): the process of drying and cooling down polished rice for 14 to 30 days (depending on the kind of rice and the milling rate) to restore its moisture.
  • Kassei-nigori (活性濁り): "active nigorizake", coarsely filtered sake that has not been pasteurised and is allowed to ferment further in the bottle resulting in a cloudy sparkling sake.
  • Kassei-seishu (活性清酒): sparkling sake produced either by secondary fermentation (similar to champagne) or by injecting carbon dioxide; slightly cloudy and with a sweet finish, it has gained popularity in recent years. Also known as happōsei-seishu (発泡性清酒).
  • Kasu (粕): lees, the residue remaining after the fermented sake has been pressed.
  • Kasubuai (粕歩合): the percentage of sake kasu left after pressing the sake mash compared to the weight of the original rice used; the higher the kasubuai percentage, the higher the volume of leftover kasu which means that the mash was not squeezed as intensely, indicating a sake of higher quality.
  • Katakuchi (片口): a bowl-shaped vessel to serve sake with a single spout on one side; having a larger surface area, it exposes the sake to more oxygen.
  • Ki-ippon (生一本): junmai sake brewed in a single brewery without any additional distilled alcohol.
  • Ki-kōji (生一本): aspergillus orzae or yellow kōji mould, one of three kōji types; used for sake production but also soy sauce and miso.
  • Kijōshu (貴醸酒): sake to which in the final stage of sandan jikomi full-bodied sake instead of water or distilled alcohol is added; it is characterized by sweetness and amber colour and is comparable to dessert wine.
  • Kikichoko (きき猪口): a white sake tasting cup made of porcelain and with a standard size of ichigō (180ml).
  • Kikizake (きき酒): a sake tasting event.
  • Kikizakeshi (きき酒師): a sake sommelier.
  • Kimoto (生酛): a starter made in a labour-intensive procedure called yamaoroshi, in which rice and kōji are mixed to encourage the conversion of starches to sugars; nowadays, this method is scarce.
  • Kimōtokei-shubo (生酛系酒母): traditional starter cultures with natural lactic acid fermentation.
  • Kiokejikomi (木桶仕込み): wooden barrels traditionally used for making sake.
  • Kirikaeshi (切り返し): the third step in kōji production, in which clumps of rice are spread and piled to retaining moisture and to keep the temperature even.
  • Kōbo (きき酒): the Japanese term for yeast (Saccharomyces Cerevisiae).
  • Kōbo jikomi (酵母仕込): a method of making the moromi mash bypassing shubo making; yeast and lactic acid are directly added to the moromi.
  • Kōji (麹): a fungus used to make rice malt (kome kōji); also used to produce soy source and miso.
  • Kōjibuta (麹蓋): a shallow rectangular wooden tray-like box used for kōji-making.
  • Kōjikin (麹菌): pores of the mould (scientific name: Aspergillus Oryzae); these spores are propagated onto steamed sake rice grains to create kōji rice (kojimai, see below).
  • Kōjimai (麹米): the rice used to produce komekōji.
  • Kōontōka-shubo (高温糖化酒母): one example of sokujo-moto and the latest in shubo-making technology; the shubo is kept at a high temperature (around 50-60 degrees Celsius) to remove unwanted microorganisms and quickly saccharify the rice before yeast is added.
  • Koku (石): a unit of measurement; one koku is the equivalent of 180 litres of rice.
  • Komekōji (米麹): steamed rice inoculated with the kōji mould that produces the enzymes necessary for breaking down rice starches into fermentable glucose.
  • Koshiki (甑): rice steaming vat.
  • Koshu (古酒): aged sake.
  • Kuchikami-no sake (口噛みノ酒): mouth-chewed sake, an ancient form of sake produced by humans chewing rice and spitting it out into a pot, where naturally occurring enzymes in the saliva took its course to convert rice starches into fermentable glucose.
  • Kun-shu (薫酒): one of the four classification types established by the Sake Service Institute, referring to highly fragrant and light sake (daiginjō and ginjō).
  • Kura (蔵): a sake brewery, also known as sakagura (酒蔵).
  • Kurabito (蔵人): brewery workers, often seasonal, who work at breweries from autumn to spring.
  • Kuramoto (蔵元): the proprietor of a sake brewery, often hereditary.
  • Kuro-kōji (蔵元): aspergillus awamori or black kōji mould, used to produce awamori, a distilled spirit unique to Okinawa.
  • Kyūbetsu-seido (級別制度): the traditional sake grading system of Japan used between 1943 to 1992.

M

  • Masu (升): a small wooden box traditionally used for measuring rice and sake; the modern-day ichigōmasu is the equivalent of 1 gō (180ml).
  • Miyamizu (宮水): premium spring water from the Nada region of Hyōgo Prefecture, renowned for producing "masculine character sake" (男酒 otoko-zake).
  • Mizokiri (溝切り): a rice cultivation technique, using trenches in rice paddies to distribute water evenly.
  • Mizorezake (みぞれ酒): "sleety sake", served below freezing temperature and consumed as a slush.
  • Mori (盛り): the fourth step in kōji production, in which rice is spread and filed into small boxes to control its temperature.
  • Moromi (醪): the fermented sake mash consisting of shubo (sake starter), kōji, rice and water.
  • Moto (酛): another term for shubo.
  • Motoba (元場): the place in a brewery where moto (shubo, fermentation starter) is produced.
  • Mushimai (蒸し米): another word for jōmai.
  • Mutoka (無濾過): clear sake not been filtered with activated carbon.

N

  • Nakaboshi (中干し): a process in sake rice cultivation, where water weeds are removed from rice paddies to strengthen the rice plants.
  • Nakadori (中取り): the "middle" pressing or yield when alcohol is separated from the unfermented rice solids of the moromi mash; often considered of the highest quality.
  • Nakashigoto (仲仕事): the fifth step in kōji production, in which rice is tossed to dissipate naturally occurring heat created by the growing kōji mould.
  • Nakazoe (仲添え): the third day of sandan jikomi in moromi production, when kōji, steamed rice and water are added; also known as naka-jikomi (仲仕込み).
  • Namachozō (生貯蔵): sake that is pasteurised before being bottled but not before being cellared.
  • Namazake (生酒): nama means “raw” in Japanese; usually, sake is pasteurised by heating it once after filtration and then after ageing just before bottling. Namazake, however, is not pasteurised at all. Nakachozō-shu (生貯蔵) is heat-pasteurized only once, after ageing before being bottled, and known for its fresh flavour. Namazume-shu (生詰め) is heat-pasteurised only once, after the filtration process and before ageing.
  • Namizake (並酒): a historical term referring to "regular grade sake" that used genmai (unmilled, unpolished brown rice) for both kojimai and kakemai (starch component rice).
  • Nigorizake (濁り酒): coarsely pressed sake mash that retains much of the rice solids in the moromi, resulting in sake with a cloudy or milky colour. Nigori means "turpid' or "unclear".
  • Nihonshu (日本酒): Japanese sake.
  • Nihonshudo (日本酒度): also known as the Sake Meter Value (SMV), a numerical expression of the degree of dryness or sweetness based on a specific gravity system that measures the gravity of sugar content. Water is zero, and sweet sake with a heavier specific gravity is expressed as a negative number (-), while a lighter specific gravity is expressed as a positive number (+). Therefore, a sake with a negative SMV of -5 will be much sweeter than a sake with a positive SMV of +5.
  • Nitō (二等): nitō is “second-grade” rice but actually ranks fourth in terms of rice quality; tokujō (特上, top grade), and tokutō (特等, second-grade) and ittō (一等, first-grade) are considered higher in quality than nittō.
  • Nomikiri (呑切り): breaking open a sake storage tank to taste and evaluate the stored sake.
  • Nuka (糠): the powder or rice flour generated when the outer portion of rice kernels is polished; this powder is often collected and re-sold sake breweries.
  • Nurukan (ぬる燗): "gently warmed sake", served with a temperature of around 40°C.

O

  • Odori (踊り): on the second day of sandan jikomi the moromi will rest to allow for a better propagation of the yeast.
  • Okan (お燗): warm or hot sake in general; can be used to order warm sake in general without specifying a temperature.
  • Omachi (雄町): one of the four major shuzo-kotekimai varieties, grown mainly in Okayama Prefecture.
  • Oribiki (滓引き): the process of removing ori.
  • Ori (滓): sediments of fresh-pressed sake that settle at the bottom of the ageing tank.
  • Onna-zake (女酒): "feminine sake", usually made with mineral-light soft water, undergoing a gentler, slower-fermenting moromi, that results in sweeter, smoother sake with lower levels of acidity. Sake from the Fushimi (灘) region is considered feminine.
  • Origarami (滓がらみ): sake made with lees from the bottom of the ageing tank; lees consist of dead yeast which releases umami (amino acids). This rare type of sake is called orizake (滓酒) and contains more umami than regular sake.
  • Oshaku (お酌): the ritual of pouring sake for others while not pouring for yourself that is deeply ingrained in Japanese drinking culture and applies to all social events in which alcohol is consumed (see our article on Japanese manners and etiquette). Tejaku (手酌) describes the impropriety of pouring your own drink.
  • Otoko-zake (男酒): "masculine sake", used to describe sake brewed with hard water that contains large quantities of magnesium, calcium ions and other minerals); otoko-zake undergoes a strong, dynamic and shorter fermentation that results in a dry sake with slightly higher acidity. Sake from the Nada (灘) region is considered masculine.

R

  • Reishu (冷酒): a general term for sake served cold or chilled.
  • Renzoku jōmaiki (連続蒸米機): a continuous rice steaming machine.
  • Roka (濾過): the process of filtering sake, nowadays using activated carbon and paper filters in a filtering machine.

S

  • Sakagura (酒蔵): another Japanese term for "sake brewery".
  • Sakabayashi (酒林): a ball of Japanese cedar branches hung outside of a sake brewery at the start of the brewing season; the needles change colour from green to brown as the brewing season progresses, which symbolises the progression of sake production.
  • Sakamai (酒米): a general term for rice grown exclusively for sake production.
  • Sakaya (酒屋): a liqueur store.
  • Sakazuki (盃): a shallow, footed type of sake cup often used for ceremonial purposes, often made from wood with a lacquer finish but sometimes made of metal. They often contain just a sip or two of sake.
  • Sakekasu (酒粕): sake lees separated from the liquid after pressing the moromi; often used in Japanese dishes.
  • Sandan jikomi (三段仕込): “three-step preparation”, referring to the brewing method and the practice of adding three additions of ingredients to the main moromi tank, over the first four days of the moromi fermentation period; the steps are hatsuzoe, odori, nakazoe, and tomozoe.
  • Sando (酸度): a numerical expression of acid levels in sake (tartaric acid expressed in gram/100ml); sake contains lactic acid, malic acid and succinic acid. Sake with high acid levels tastes rich and dry, while sake with low acid tastes light and sweet.
  • Santō (三等): santō is the known as “third grade” in the rice classification system, but it actually ranks fifth in terms of quality.
  • Seimai (精米): rice polishing, the process or removing the outer layer of brown rice to reduce the contents of lipid, protein, etc.
  • Seimaibuai (精米歩合): represents the percentage of the remaining rice grain after milling. The seimaibuai is calculated by comparing the original weight of the rice to the weight after polishing (weight of remaining rice divided by original weight × 100 = seimaibuai; the rice polish ratio is the basis of the sake classification since 1992.
  • Seishu (清酒): literally "clear sake", it is the legal term for sake in Japan.
  • Seme (責め): the last procedure of the sake pressing, when the mash is subjected to the highest pressure; it is regarded as the least desirable.
  • Senmai (洗米): refers to the washing of rice after milling to remove the rice powder.
  • Senryūju (千粒重): literally "thousand‐kernel weight", the weight of 1,000 grains of particular sake rice; different species of rice will have different weights measured in senryūju.
  • Shibori (搾り): refers to the pressing stage of sake production; the sake mash is pressed to separate the rice solids from the alcohol.
  • Shikomigura (仕込蔵): the place in the brewery housing the moromi fermentation tanks.
  • Shimaishigoto (仕舞い仕事): the sixth step involved in kōji production, in which rice is tossed to release the built-up heat, and is spread out into boxes with grooves to reduce moisture.
  • Shinpaku (真白): the white and opaque core of a rice grain, consisting mostly of starch (protein, lipid, and minerals); shinpaku is necessary as the hypha of the kōji mould can reach the core and induce saccharification.
  • Shinseki (浸漬): refers to the production step of soaking the sake rice after washing (senmai) but before steaming (mushi) to introduces moisture into the grain and prepare the rice for steaming (this process requires extreme precision, and brewers use stopwatches to time the soaking).
  • Shinshu (新酒): new sake ("sake nouveau"), also known as shiboritate (しぼりたて).
  • Shiro-kōji (白麹菌): aspergillus Kawachi or white kōji mould, a mutant form of black kōji, used to produce shochu (Japanese distilled alcohol).
  • Shizuku (雫): “drip sake”, a type of sake that not typically pressed to separate the sake lees from the alcohol, instead, the mash is hung in bags and suspended over a vat, with the sake dripping out by the force of gravity.
  • Shizuku sake (雫酒): another term for shizuku tori and fukuro tsuri (see above).
  • Shizuku tori (雫取り): another term for shizuku sake and fukuro tsuri.
  • Shō (升): a unit of measurement equivalent to 1.8 litres.
  • Shubo (酒母): the sake starter, also known as moto (酛); made of kōji, rice, water and yeast.
  • Shuboyōmai (酒母用米): the steamed sake rice intended for use in making shubo.
  • Shuzō (酒造): sake brewing or brewery; breweries usually add this term to their company name.
  • Shuzō-kōtekimai (酒造好適米): the official name of rice used exclusively for sake brewing as opposed to rice that is eaten.
  • Shuzō-yosui (酒造用水): water used for sake production, which comes in two categories; jōzō-yōsui (醸造用水, "brewing water") and shikomisui (仕込水, "mashing water").
  • SMV (Sake Meter Value): see nihonshudo.
  • Sō-shu (爽酒): one of four classification types established by the Sake Service Institute, referring to light and smooth sake (honjozo and nama).
  • Sokujō-moto (速醸酛): abbreviation for sokujokei-shubo.
  • Sokujōkei-shubo (速醸系酒母): "quick fermentation", a modern technique to produce the yeast starter (by using commercially available lactic acid).
  • Sōhaze-gata (総破精型): a permeable type of kōji that allows the kōji fungus to quickly reach the rice kernel.
  • Sugi (杉): a fragrant type of wood from the Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria Japonica); commonly used in the Japanese sake industry for sake barrels called taru, masu boxes, sugidama. etc.
  • Sugidama (杉玉): a ball of Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria Japonica) hung outside of a sake brewery at the start of the brewing season; the needles change colour from green to brown as the brewing season progresses symbolising the progression of sake production.
  • Sumisake (澄み酒): clear sake produced in the Edo period.
  • Suppon jikomi (すっぽん仕込み): a brewing method where the shubo/moto and moromi mash are fermented in the same tank.
  • Su-roka (素濾過): sake filtered without activated carbon.
  • Suzuhie (涼冷え): "slightly chilled sake" with a temperature of around 15°C.

T

  • Tameshi oke (試し桶): a plastic or metal bucket used in sake breweries for collecting or moving liquids.
  • Tanrei karakuchi (淡麗辛口): crisp and dry sake.
  • Tanso-roka (炭素濾過): carbon filtration of sake, using activated carbon, which effectively boosts the filtering process by absorbing unwanted elements.
  • Taru (樽): refers to taru-zake (see below) or sake barrels; barrels are usually measured in units of to (18 liters), itto-daru refers to a barrel containing one to, yonto-daru hold 4 to, the equivalent of 72 litres.
  • Taru-zake (樽酒): sake aged in wooden barrels, usually made of Japanese cedar; gives the sake a distinctive aroma.
  • Tei-arukorushu (低アルコール酒): sake with low alcohol content. (below 12%).
  • Temi (手箕): a large hand-held scoop resembling a snow shovel used to transport rice around the kōji room.
  • Tobikirikan (飛び切り燗): very hot sake with a temperature of 55 °C.
  • Tobin gakoi (斗瓶囲い): "bottle-collected sake"; sake droplets are collected in glass jugs in the fukuro-tsuri pressing method (see shizuku-zake).
  • Tōgaimai (等外米): un-graded rice used to produce futsūshu.
  • Tōji (杜氏): the brew-master in charge of the entire staff and the sake brewing process.
  • Tokomomi (杜氏): the second step of the kōji production, in which rice is evenly spread out on a large table and inoculated with a sprinkling of kōji fungus spores; the rice is then rolled to assure an even distribution of kōji, then covered in cloth to retain the moisture and equal temperature distribution.
  • Tomezoe (留添え): the fourth day of sandan jikomi in moromi production, whern kōji, steamed rice, and water are added; also known as tome-jikomi (留仕込み).
  • Tōka (糖化): saccharification, the chemical process of converting carbohydrates or starches into fermentable glucose.
  • Tokkuri (徳利): a small flask or carafe made of ceramic or earthenware and used to serve or heat sake.
  • Tokubetsu (特別): means "special" and refers to junmai or honjōzo sake to which a special production process, like a lower milling rate than required, was applied.
  • Tokujō (特上): the highest quality grade of sake rice (“above special” grade) in the rice classification system.
  • Tokutei meishōshu (特定名称酒): "special designation sake", such as honjōzo , junmai , ginjō , dainginjō , junmai ginjō and junmai daiginjō sake.
  • Tokutō (特等): the “second best” quality grade of sake rice in the rice classification system.
  • Tomezoe (留添): the fourth day of creating the moromi mash where the third and final addition of ingredients are added: water, sake rice (kakemai) and kōji rice (kōjimai).
  • Tsukihaze-gata (突き破精型): a type of kōji, where less kōji fungus penetrates the rice kernel, resulting in milder sake.

U

  • Umami (旨味): a taste usually translated as "savoury", characteristic of broths, soups, shellfish, fish, tomatoes, mushrooms, meat extract, yeast extract, cheeses, and soy sauce.
  • Uwadachika (上立ち香): the first smell of sake when poured, when the most volatile aromatic compounds are clearly distinguishable.

W

  • Wagama (和釜): a large metal cauldron filled with water to create steam; it sits beneath the koshiki rice steaming vat and was traditionally heated by using a wood fire; modern wagama use heating coils.
  • Warimizu (割水): the watering down of genshu raw sake.

Y

  • Yamadanishiki (山田錦): one of four major shuzo-kotekimai varieties, growing in Hyōgo, Okayama, Saga and Kumamoto prefectures; Yamadanishiki is widely accepted as the leading sake rice.
  • Yamahai (山廃): one of the two traditional kimotokei-shubo production methods, avoiding the labour-intensive yamaoroshi step of hand mashing rice. Also known as yamaoroshi-haishi-moto (山卸し廃止酛).
  • Yamaoroshi (山卸し): the traditional and labour-intensive method of producing the starter by mixing rice and kōji with oar-like poles for many hours; replaced by the yamahai method.
  • Yodan jikomi (四段仕込): a brewing method with "four steps of preparation", involving a fourth addition of sake rice (or sometimes sweet mochi rice) into the moromi mash to adjust the sweetness of the moromi.
  • Yongōbin (四合瓶): a standard sake bottle containing 720ml or four servings of 180ml each.
  • Yukihie (雪冷え): "snow-chilled sake", served at a temperature of around 5°C.
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