日本酒を語る

Talk about sake

2017.08.21

Term system

A rice polishing ratio is not the only requirement for brewing ginjo-shu (ginjo-zukuri). Then what is the ginjo-zukuri method?

As you can find the classification of “specially designated sake” or ”Premium Sake” at the explanatory tables. It is the rice polishing rate of lower than 60% , And Necessary to use over 15% koji rice and ginjo zukuri. They describe about that as below, “Ginjo zukuri means the process of using low seimai-buai rice and fermenting at a low temperature to create the characteristic fragrance.” Ginjo-shu is made at a rice polishing ratio below 60%, so more than 40% of the rice outer layer is removed. After the rice is carefully washed not to be damaged, it is soaked to attain a certain water content and the time is measured by using a stop watch (this process is called gentei-kyusui (limited water absorption)). For koji making, it seems that kojibuta (shallow tray-like boxes ) is often used to make koji carefully. In the shikomi process of junmai-shu and futsu-shu (non-premium sake) made from a sokujo starter culture, moromi is maintained at temperatures between 15C and17C degrees, and becomes sake in 20-25 days. As for ginjo-shu brewing, saccharification and fermentation are done very slowly at a lower temperature of about 10C degrees, which is the lowest temperature at which yeast come alive and activate. This is why ginjo-shu is brewed in the coldest season of the year from the end of January until February. Also, a less-stressful pressing is often adopted for ginjo-shu brewing, such as a bag-hanging style or so-called fune-shibori.

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Recently the number of less fragrant ginjo-shu is increasing, though one of the features of ginjo-shu is a fruity fragrance called ginjo-ka. Depending on the type and alcohol content, some people like the fragrance and others do not. However, this fragrance from rice grains is said to be beyond the imagination for those who first experienced the fragrance, and this seems to be a big reason why sake is a bit of a mystery for some people.

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