Kanji, hiragana or katakana
Japanese word
Standard / other expression
Simple definition
秋上がりaki-agari(good) maturation in autumnImprovement in Sake quality through summer ageing in tanks was called "Akiagari" in olden days. "Aki (秋)" means autumn.
アルコール度数alcohol dosualcohol content / alcohol percentage,
ABV (Alcohol by Volume)
甘味amamisweetnessSweeetness is the taste of sugars present in the sake. Most sake has a noticeable level of sugar, providing softness and sweetness.
甘臭ama-shusweet aromaAroma like cooked kōji
アミノ酸度aminosan-doamino acid contentFormol nitrogen expressed as volume (mL) of 0.1 mol/L NaOH
needed for 10 mL of sake. A scale for measuring the level of umami (amino acids) in a sake.
荒走りarabashiriarabashiri, free run sake / first runFirst obtained sake when sake is pressed. The free run liquid that comes out of a filter.
アル添arutenaddition alcoholThe addition of high-strength distilled alcohol.
後味ato-ajiaftertaste, after-
熱燗atsukanwarmed sakeTerm used to describe sake heated to 50℃, 122℉. Literally means, "hot enough to warm body and soul".
bottle pasteurisation-
菩提酛bodai-motobodai motoA fermentation starter method that predates kimoto.
long aged sake
aged sake
中央会chuōkaiJSSThe Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association, abbreviating its full name "Nihon Shuzo Kumiai Chuokai.
大吟醸酒daiginjō-shudaiginjō (-shu)A category of premium sake made using rice with a polishing ratio of 50% or less and the addition of a small amount of high-strength distilled alcohol.
暖気dakia warmer, a hot-water kegA bucket-like tool, tipically made of metal that can be filled with warm or cold water and submerged into a fermentation starter to control the temperature.
出麹dekōjibringing out of finished koji / taking out of finished koji(from a koji room)Sending out. The last stage in koji production.
出羽燦々dewa-sansandewa-sansanThe number 4 variety of sake-specific rice.
濁酒doburoku, dakushuunfiltered sake; similar to a thick nigoriDoburoku is not legally a kind of sake because it has not been passed through a filter.
越後echigocorresponding closely to Niigata PrefectureIt gives its name to a famous toji guild.
含み香fukumikaretronasal aroma,
aroma in mouth
袋吊り酒fukurozuri-shusake made through cloth bag gravity drip process / sake dripped from hanged bags by gravity-

funefune, a traditional press (for sake)The container that holds the cloth bags that are pressed during funa-shibori.
普通酒futsu-shunon-premium sake, ordinary sake / regular sake, standard sake, table sake, mass-market sake, basic sake-
腐造fuzōspoilage of fermentation mash-
限定吸水gentei-kyusuilimited water absorption-
原料米genryō-mairice (for sake making)-
原酒genshugenshu, undiluted sake-
吟醸ginjōginjōA category of premium sake made from rice with a polishing ratio of 60% or less and the addition of a small amount of high-strength distilled alcohol.
吟醸香ginjō-kafruity aroma, fruity flavor, ginjo-aroma / Ginjo-ka(fruit, flower,
floral, blossom)
吟醸麹ginjō-kōjikōji for ginjō making-
吟醸酒ginjō-shuginjō (-shu)Sake made from highly polished rice using special technique. Using a process called Ginjō-zukuri; uses rice that has less than 60% polished.
ginjō sake cake-
吟醸造りginjō-zukurimethod for making ginjō sake, ginjō making-
A traditional sake measurement equivalent to 180ml or 6 US fl. oz.
One go refers to 180 ml (milliliters).
ぐい呑guinomiguinomiTraditional sake cup (larger than an o-choko).
ゴム臭gum-shurubber smell, rubbery-
hakoboxMedium sized trays used in the second half of koji making.
箱麹hako-kōjibox kōjiKōji that was transferred to hako part way through production.
白米hakumaiwhite rice / polished rice, milled rice-
花様hana-yōfloral, blossom-
sparkling sake-
soe, first additionFirst addition, when building the moromi using the "three stage addition" method.
並行複発酵heikō-fukuhakkomultiple parallel fermentationProcess wherein saccharification and fermentation occur
heat sterilization
引き込みhikikomibringing steamed rice into koji -
making room
The first stage in koji production.
老香hine-kahine-ka, off flavor of aged sake, oxidized or stale odorIt is smilar smell to rotten cabbage, gas, or takuan, a Japanese pickele, and different from matured aroma.
The aroma of an out-of-condition sake.
hinokihinoki cypress, Chamaecyparis obtusaJapanese cypress or hinoki cypress, traditionally used for koji rooms.
火落ちhi-ochibacterial contamination,
spoilage (of sake)
A sake fault that occurs when hi-ochi bacteria spoil unpasteurised sake.
火落ち菌hi-ochi kinhiochi bacteriaA strain of lactic acid bacteria that can spoil unpasteurised sake.
ひやおろしhiyaoroshihiyaoroshiHiyaoroshi is sake made in winter, matured during summer, and bottled in autumn.
本醸造酒honjōzō-shuhonjozo (-shu)A category of premium sake made using rice with a polishing ratio of 70% or less and the addition of a small amount of high-strength distilled alcohol.
一般米ippammaitable rice, eating rice / rice to eat, cooking rice, ordinary riceFor sake making, both cultivars of sake brewing rice and eating rice are used. Both cultivars are non-glutinous japonica rice.
一升瓶isshōbin1.8 L bottleOne sho is 1.8 L or 3.8 US pints.
居酒屋izakayajapanese sake bar-
蛇燗jakanjakanA bulk method of pasteurising sake.
地酒jizakelocal sakeGenerally, it means sake brewed using locally grown rice and water from local sources, or made by local sake brewery.
pressing / filtration (of fermentation mash)Pressing is a process to separate sake cake and sake.
醸造アルコールjōzō alcoholalcohol, brewers alcohol / neutral alcohol, pure alcoholAlcohol produced by distilling a wash that is made by fermenting products of agricultural origin. This is used in non-junmai sakes.
蛇の目猪口janome-chokoa (sake) tasting cup with concentric blue circles on bottomIt helps to see color and clarity of sake.
aging, maturation
aged sake
熟成香jukusei-kōmatured aroma (of long-aged sake)-
純アルコール収得量jun alcohol shutokuryōvolume of produced alcohol (L)
from 1,000 kg of rice
純米junmaijunmai, pure riceA category of premium sake made without the use of high-strength distilled alcohol. There are no polishing ratio requirements for rice used to make junmai.
純米大吟醸junmai daiginjōjunmai daiginjōA category of premium sake made using rice with a polishing ratio of 50% or less and without the use of high-strength distilled alcohol.
純米吟醸junmai ginjōjunmai ginjōA category of premium sake made using rice with a polishing ratio of 60% or less and without the use of high-strength distilled alcohol.
純米酒jummai-shujummai (-shu), pure-rice sakeA sake made only from rice, rice koji and water. (without addition of
brewers alcohol)
樹脂臭jushi-shuplastic smell, resin-
カビ臭kabi-shumoldy smell, mould smell, TCA, mushroomy-
kagami- wari
kagamibiraki, ceremonial opening of sake caskKagami-biraki is a ceremony to crack open a wooden (cedar) sake cask with wooden hammers (at the beginning of a party to toast with this sake).
櫂入れkaiiremixing (stirring) of fermentation mash-
果実様kajitsu-yōfruity, fruity note-
掛米kake-maikake (rice),
sake rice except for koji making
Steamed rice that is directly transferred to a fermentation vessel and not used to make kōji.
神棚kami-danasmall shrineThere are sake gods of sake-making in Japan, therefore this is a small shrine in each sake breweries.
papery/dusty/earthy smell-
燗上がりkan-agarienhancement of flavor by warming, improved taste by warming
燗どうこkan-doukokan-doukoA special type of waterbath used to heat sake carafes.
燗酒kan-zakewarmed sake-
寒造り、寒仕込みkan-zukuri, kan-jikomisake making in winter, sake making in the coldest seasonPreparation which is done in a season of severe cold like from Nov. to May.
(麹の)枯らしkarashicooling of kōji,
cooling and drying of kōji
(酒母の)枯らしkarashistorage of a starter culture, conditioning of a starter culturePeriod between completion of a starter culture and use of it
(白米の)枯らし期間karashi-kikancooling period,
conditioning period (after rice polishing)
Since rice grains are dried during polishing, the polished rice gains moisture to the equilibrium during this period.
活性清酒kassei-seishusparkling cloudy sake-
粕歩合kasu-buaipercentage of sake cake to total rice weight-
粕臭kasu-shusake cake smell-
木香kigacedar like aroma, aroma of cut wood, woody-
貴醸酒kijōshukijō-shu, aged and sweet specialty sakeKijō-shu is a special kind of sake with sweet and rich taste and often well aged.
きき猪口kiki-chokokikichoko, a (sake) tasting cup-
唎酒、利酒、きき酒kiki-zakesake tastingTotal evaluating of the sake quality such as appearance, nose, palate and style.
きめkimetexture, flavor weave-
きめの細かいkime-no-komakaisilky, fine, creamy-
生もとkimotokimoto starter culture, kimoto / kimoto seed mashA traditional starter culture (with (natural) lactic acid fermentation). The process of kimoto making has a step of motosuri, grinding of rice and kōji.
生もと系酒母kimotokei-shubokimoto -style starter culture,
kimoto and yamahai
A traditional starter cultures (with (natural) lactic acid fermentation).
金属味kinzoku-mimetallic taste-
re-breaking up (of koji)
After 10-12 hr of the inoculation of koji spores, the pile of koji is spread and piled up again to keep the even temperature. This step is often taken place just before transferring koji into shallow trays.
酵母kōboyeastA microorganism which converts sugar to alcohol. It makes the aroma and flavour of sake.
酵母様koubo-yōyeasty / doughy, bread dough-
kōjikōjiKoji is aspergillus oryzae propagate on steamed rice. It has a major part to convert in the starch of rice to sugar.
麹歩合kōji-buaipercentage of koji rice to total rice weight-
麹菌kōji-kinkoji moldAspergillus oryzae
麹米kōji-mai(white) rice for making koji, (white) rice to make koji, koji rice-
麹室kōji-murokōji -making room, kōji room-
穀類様kokurui-yōgrainy / cereal, wheaty, rice-
米麹kome-kōji(rice) kojiA kind of mold grown on rice. It is often called simply as koji in sake making.
koshikia traditional rice steamer,
a steaming vat
口中感kouchu-kantexture, mouthfeel-
汲み掛けkumikakekumikake, recirculation of liquid in a starter culture, pouring (of starter liquid) / pumping over (for sake making)Taking out and pouring of starter culture liquid during early stage of starter making to enhance the absorption of liquid by koji and steamed rice. Liquid in starter culture is full of released enzyme from Koji .
Pouring this liquid to the rice enhances saccharification.
汲水歩合kumimizu-buaipercentage of water to total rice weight-
蔵人kurabitoa sake brewery worker-
蔵元kuramotoa sake brewery, sake brewery owner, sake brewery family-
草様・青臭kusa-yo, ao-shugrassy, green / herbaceous-
協会酵母Kyōkai-kōboKyōkai yeast, association yeast / BSJ (Brewing Society of Japan) yeastSake yeast distributed by Brewing Society of Japan.
まるいmaruimellow, rounded / well-rounded, round-
升、枡、桝masuwooden (box-shaped) sake cup-
moritransfer of koji into shallow trays, moundingAfter first day, koji is transferred into shallow trays for the second day of the process.
もろみmoromifermentation mash, ferment,
main fermentation / main fermentation mash, (sake) mash, main mash
A material that is alcohol fermented by mixing steamed rice, water, shubo and kōji.
moromi shibori-ki
a filter press (for sake)It is sometimes referred as
Yabuta , a brand name.
酛摺りmoto-surimotosuri / grinding process (of
starter culture)
Grinding of rice and koji in starter culture.
蒸米mushimaisteamed rice-
無ろ過(酒)muroka(-shu)non-charcoal fined (sake)-
(米を)蒸すmususteamRice is steamed so that the rice starch will be easily decomposed by koji enzymes.
仲仕事naka-shigotointermediate mixing (of koji), middle-workThese operations are carried out to control the temperature, moisture and growth of koji. (=shimai-shigoto)
naka, second addition (day 3), middle addition-
生貯蔵(酒)nama-chozō(-shu)namachozō(-shu)A sake that has been stored without pasteurization but is pasteurized at the time of shipment. (Pasteurized only once at bottling.)
生老香namahine-kanama hine-ka, off flavor of unpasteurized sakeThe aromas of an out-of-condition nama-zake.
生熟nama-jukunama-jukuAn unpasteurised sake that has been deliberately matured.
nama-zake, unpasteurised sake / sake without heat sterilizationIt gives the taste of new sake which has been just squeezed.
生詰(酒)namazume(-shu)namazume(-shu )A sake that has been pasteurised once before bulk storage.
なめらかnamerakasmooth / velvety, silky-
南部nanbunanbu clanA samurai clan that once ruled part of what is now Iwate Prefecture, and gives its name to a famous toji guild.
苦味nigamibitternessBitterness is rarely found in sake and is generally undesirable.
にごり酒nigori-zakenigorizake, cloudy sakeA sake that has been roughly filtered and therefore remains cloudy.
sake meter value (SMV)
An indicator of sweetness of sake.
It is a specific gravity converted into sake meter scale which indicates sweet or dry. + means dry and - means sweet.
A measurement of the density of sake compared with water.
日光臭nikkō-shulight-struck smell-
濃醇nōjunrich and full taste,
full body
農協nōkyōJapan Agriculture, JAA national network of local farming co-operatives.
濃淡nōtanrich/light, heavy/light,
nukarice bran, rice bran powderThe rice dust generated by rice polishing.
塗り破精nuri-hazeuneven mould growthUneven mould growth in kōji making.
温燗、ぬる燗nuru-kanwarm sakeTerm used to describe sake heated to 40℃, 104°F. Literally means, "the warmth of a relaxing hot spring bath".
traditional sake cup-
踊、踊りodoriodori, the next day after soe, day 2 -resting day after 1st addition / rest period, resting stageThe second day of the four taken to build a main fermentation during which nothing is added to enhance the growth of yeast.
澱引きoribikiremoval of sediment,
decantation, racking
澱下げorisagefining (clarification) of pressed sake-
濾過、ろ過rokacharcoal finingCharcoal fining used to remove color from filtered sake.
硫化物様ryukabutsu-shusulfur smell / eggy smell-
sakabayashi, sugidama, a cedar ballA sphere-shaped ornament made with cedar leaves.
酒袋sakabukurocloth bags used at pressing stage-
酒蔵sakagurasake brewery-
酒粕sake-kasusake kasu, (pressed) sake cakeThe solid cake of rice particles left over after filtration.
酒造り唄sake-zukuri-utasake making songs, sake-brewing folksong / sake brewers work song-
three-step preparation of fermentation mash / three-stage mashing process,
mashing in three stages
To prepare the fermentation mash of sake, koji, steamed rice and water are divided into three portions and added over four days. This method is effective to prevent microbial contamination.
酸度san-doacidity, titratable acidity / total acidA scale for measuring the level of amino acid in a sake.
Tartaric acid (g/100 mL) =0.075 x acidity (mL)
酸味sanmiacid, sourness, acidityAcidity gives sake its freshness. The main acids present in sake are lactic, succininc glutamic and malic.
酸臭san-shuacetic smell, vinaigrette / volatile acids (VA)-
ささ濁りsasa-nigorisasa-nigoriA nigori with a small amount of sake lees remaining.
製麹するseikiku-surumake koji / propagate koji mold-
精米seimairice polishing, rice millingRice polishing is a process that scrapes off the outer layer of brown rice to reduce the contents of lipid, protein, etc.
精米歩合seimai-buairice-polishing rate, rice-polishing ratio / percentage of rice polishing,
degree of rice polishing
Rice-polishing rate is the weight percentage of white rice to
brown rice.
sake / sakéOne of the two official names for sake in Japanese.
sake brewing, sake making-
清酒酵母seishu-kobo(sake) yeast-
責めsemesemeThe final filtration fraction.
洗米semmaiwashing rice-
しぼりたてshiboritatefreshly pressed sake,
fresh sake
A just squeezed sake.
脂肪酸臭shibōsan-shufatty acid smell
渋味shibumiastringencyA Japanese word for astringency (textural dryness). This can be a pleasant grippiness when it occurs at a low level.
新酒shinshunew sake, sake nouveauAn unpasteurised sake that is released in the early summer.
仕込水shikomi-suiwater (for sake making)-
仕舞仕事shimai-shigotofinal mixing (of koji),
The sixth stage in kōji production.
These operations are carried out to control the temperature, moisture and growth of koji. (=naka-shigoto)
心白shimpakushimpaku, white core, opaque white center (of rice) / pearl of riceA well-defined starch core at the centre of grains of sake-specific rice which makes easy for kōji to grow into it. It is visually appeared white.
塩味shioaji, emmisaltiness-
雫酒shizuku-zakedrop sakeSake made using the drip method of filtration.
shōtraditional sake measurementIt can be equivalent to 1.8L or 3.8US pints.
焼酎shōchūtraditional Japanese distilled spiritIt can be made from from barley, sweet potatoes, rice, buckwheat and other ingredients.
starter culture, fermentation starter / seed mash, yeast starter, starter-
独立行政法人 酒類総合研究所shurui-sougou-kenkyujoNRIBNational Research Institute of Brewing
酒造shuzōsake brewery, brewery, brewing-
酒造技能者shuzō-ginōshaa skilled sake brewer, a skilled sake artisan / a sake craftsperson-
shuzō-kōtekimai /
sake-specific rice,
sake-brewing rice/
sake rice, sake-making rice
Sake-brewing rice means rice cultivars suitable for sake making.
sokujō starter culture, sokujō / sokujō seed mashA modern method to make sake starter (with addition of food grade lactic acid)
種切りtanekiriinoculate kōji spores-
spores of kōji mold, kōji spores-
淡麗、端麗tanreilight and delicate taste, light body / elegant, dry, subtle, fine, very clean-
炭酸ガスtansan gasCO2, gassy(natural/artificial) carbonation
炭素濾過、炭濾過tanso-roka, sumi-rokacharcoal filtration-
樽酒taruzaketaruzake, cask sakeCask sake has a specific flavour of cedar and is not aimed at maturing.
杜氏tōjitōji, a chief sake maker / a brew master, a master sake brewer-
糖化酵素tōka-kōsodiastatic enzyme, amylasesEnzymes for saccharification, enzyme to digest starch into sugar.
徳利tokkurisake bottle, a small serving flask, a small (porcelain) carafeAccording to tradditional approach, pour sake from a "tokkuri" into a small "ochoko".
床もみtokomomimixing (of kōji rice)After inoculation of kōji spores, kōji rice is kneaded and mixed well to put kōji spores evenly onto rice.
(清酒の)特殊製品tokushu-seihinspecialty sake-
特定名称酒tokutei-meishō-shupremium sakeJunmai daiginjō, Junmai ginjō, Junmai, Tokubetsu junmai, Daiginjō, Ginjō, Honjōzō and Tokubetsu Honjōzō.
tome; third addition (day 4), final addition-
積み替えtsumikaerestacking of koji traysTo control koji temperatures.
うま味umamiumami, savory tasteUmami is a primary sensation triggered by the presence of some amino acids.
上立香uwadachikaorthonasal aroma,
aroma in glass
分けwakecooling down of a starter culture-
沸き付きwakitsukicommencement of fermentation (of a starter culture)-
沸き付き休みwakitsuki-yasumiresting period of starter culture, cease warming (since spontaneous fermentation is achieved) / break time of warmingContinuous fermenting period of a starter culture.
割水warimizuwater added to sake before bottling (to adjust alcohol content)Undiluted sake contains up to 20% of alcohol and is usually diluted to 14-16 alcohol before bottling. These alcohol contents are easy to drink.
yamahai starter culture, yamahai / yamahai seed mashA traditional sake starter.
和らぎ水yawaragi-mizuwater (served with sake)Chaser; the action of gulping water from time to time while drinking sake. Let's try not to drink too much!
ざらつくzaratsukuharsh / granular-
雑味zatsumiunpleasant roughnessA Japanese term for an unpleasant roughness and lack of harmony.
Annual Japan Sake AwardsSake contest held by the National Research Institute of Brewing.
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