Episode 92 Show Notes
Episode 92. Listen at SakeRevolution.com. Are you ready to get EXTREME? In a new series, Timothy and John explore the fringes of what sake can be, taking on the expressions of sake that really push the envelope. To start things off, we look at a sake that has undergone only a bit of rice polishing – just a scant 10% milled away to leave us with a full 90% seimaibuai remaining. Most premium sakes clock in at 70% or often much less of the rice grain remaining. How will the minimal milling affect the flavor? This extreme brew comes from Terada Honke Sake Brewery located in Chiba Prefecture. They take a “low intervention” approach to brewing using ambient yeast, home grown koji mold, organic rice and the old school kimoto yeast starter. Any natural wine enthusiast would feel right at home with this philosophy. Listen in to see how this extreme sake fares with Timothy and John. Be sure to stay tuned for more extreme sake coming soon! #SakeRevolution
Skip to: 00:19
Welcome to the show from John and Timothy
Terada Honke Sake Brewery
Brewery Website: https://www.teradahonke.co.jp/en/
Essay on Fermentation: https://www.teradahonke.co.jp/en/hakkoudou/
Katori 90 Kimoto Junmai Muroka Nama Genshu
Brewery: Terada Honke
Classification: Genshu, Junmai, Kimoto, Muroka, Nama
Rice Type: Koshihikari
Yeast: Ambient Yeast
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Episode 92 Transcript
John Puma: 0:21
Hello, everybody. And welcome to Sake Revolution. This is America’s first and I’m pretty sure only at this point sake podcast. I am one of your hosts, John Puma from the Sake Notes. Uh, also the administrator at the internet sake discord, your home for sake shenanigans on the internet.
Timothy Sullivan: 0:44
And I’m your host Timothy Sullivan. I’m a Sake Samurai sake educator, as well as the founder of the Urban Sake website. And every week, John and I will be here tasting and chatting about all things sake and doing our best to make it fun and easy to understand.
John Puma: 1:04
That is absolutely right, Tim. So I am, I’m doing good. I am. I’m ready to face the week. Uh, why is it a spoiler look guys right now, it is a Sunday night and we’re recording this and it just kept getting hyped up. I don’t know if anybody else does that when you’re going into workweek, but I’m getting, I’m trying to feel myself a little bit. How about you?
Timothy Sullivan: 1:24
Well, not getting hyped up. I have Jerry duty coming up, so,
John Puma: 1:28
Oh no. Oh, that’s unfortunate. I mean, unless you really want to, you know, do your part, and contributing to the justice system, which case
Timothy Sullivan: 1:39
Yeah, I feel it’s my civic duty. So I’m going to do it. I delayed a couple times, but no more. So here we go.
John Puma: 1:48
Timothy Sullivan: 1:49
It makes me want to throw caution to the wind
John Puma: 1:52
Timothy Sullivan: 1:52
and enjoy my Sunday night.
John Puma: 1:56
okay. And, um, w w what do we have in store for us tonight? This is going to be a doozy.
Timothy Sullivan: 2:02
Well, we have a new series of episodes coming out. Wouldn’t you know it, the never ending series of series, but.
John Puma: 2:11
You know, Tim, I love series. We talked about this at the end of last year. That one of my favorite things that we did on the show in 2021 was, uh, was our series and getting new series rolled out. So I’m glad we have yet another. And, uh, the naming on this one is really, is really going to be fun. So, so why don’t you tell the people at home what we’re doing?
Timothy Sullivan: 2:36
the series we’re going to embark on this week is extreme sake.
John Puma: 2:44
Oh, Tim, the nineties called and, uh, they want their nomenclature back.
Timothy Sullivan: 2:51
We’re going to do a series on extreme sake brews. And this means sake that has extremely high alcohol, extremely low alcohol, extremely low rice milling, extremely robust rice milling, low acidity, high acidity. You get the picture.
John Puma: 3:12
I think so. really quickly for like the avoidance of doubt, uh, is this, X hyphen stream or is it like E X, T R E N E.
Timothy Sullivan: 3:22
we’re going to spell it in the most extreme way we can. all capitals of course. I know that.
John Puma: 3:30
Oh, all right. All capitals. It’s going to look like, oh, look, I got a red bull can. Oh, it’s all done. Okay.
Timothy Sullivan: 3:37
the branding is going to be like, um, what’s that, uh, energy drink, monster energy drink. That’s what the branding is going to be like that.
John Puma: 3:45
Okay. All right. So we’re going to borrow for a little bit from red bull mountain to monster. I got ya.
Timothy Sullivan: 3:51
Yes. So the topic that we’re going to tackle with our first extreme sake situation is going to be extremely minimal rice milling. Now, normally sake rice is milled or polished before you brew your sake. Right? That’s pretty basic. A
John Puma: 4:12
Most of the time.
Timothy Sullivan: 4:13
of people understand that. And the average rice milling is probably below 70% remaining to about 60% remaining. Like that is the zone for most premium sake. And we’re going to get something very much outside of that zone today.
John Puma: 4:34
Outside of that zone. Now, when a, when a brewery is, traversing, this, unknown territory or less worn territory, uh, is it usually like they’ve got a plan, they know what they want to do, or is it like experimental and they want to see what happen.
Timothy Sullivan: 4:52
Well, I would say most breweries if they’re going to do something. Extreme that they have a very set plan. You know, let’s talk about rice milling for a second. If you’re going to make a, sake that has a very, very super fine rice milling. Let’s say 5% remaining or something super extreme like that. That is such an expensive proposition. You’re not going to do that on a whim. I don’t think that would be a plan. And if you’re making something that has a very robust or very unpolished rice, that’s also super unusual. And I think that’s going to got, gotta have a plan behind it as well.
John Puma: 5:36
All right. That’s just
Timothy Sullivan: 5:39
Yeah. Yeah. extremes. So are you excited to try a sake that has very, very minimal polishing.
John Puma: 5:48
I think this will definitely qualify as getting outside of my comfort zone. Uh, and here, when you said that, uh, our episode was going to be extreme sake, I thought we were going to sip sake and listen to more than words. So this is very surprising.
Timothy Sullivan: 6:04
All right. So before we taste anything and talk about the brewery or talk about the specific sake, when we mill the rice, what are we trying to accomplish? What are we getting rid of? When we Polish the rice down to a smaller size.
John Puma: 6:19
Uh, when we’re polishing out the rice, we’re trying to get rid of that extraneous proteins and get to the starchy core, the shinpaku of the rice. And I’m going to say that 90%, you’re kind of just dusting it off a little bit. There’s not a lot of, uh, you’re probably taking off that, that outer shell of the rice at outer bit, but probably not a whole lot more. Right, Tim. So it’d be a lot of proteins left.
Timothy Sullivan: 6:43
Right. So the outer layers contain the fats and the proteins and normally those things get polished away. And as you just mentioned, the sake we’re tasting today is polished to 90% remaining. That is the same as eating rice. So when you have white rice from the grocery store, they Polish about 10% away, 90% remaining. So. What do you think the flavor implications of that are when you have more fats and proteins in the mix with all that starch?
John Puma: 7:18
I’m guessing I’m going to be tasting something very rice
Timothy Sullivan: 7:20
You got it. That is right. Yeah. Those fats and proteins actually give rice it’s flavor. You know, they give that rice-y flavor we know on our palates. So, uh, that’s one thing I’m going to look at.
John Puma: 7:34
so so more rice equals rice forward who
Timothy Sullivan: 7:37
Who knew? We got to talk about this brewery. That’s making this super extreme sake. This is Terada honke sake brewery out of Chiba prefecture.
John Puma: 7:50
Timothy Sullivan: 7:50
And they are very well-known for making Low intervention sake.
John Puma: 7:57
Timothy Sullivan: 7:59
John Puma: 8:00
Huh? Is that like, is anything like natural wine?
Timothy Sullivan: 8:03
yes, yes. Yes. Yes. There’s many. Uh, when I was researching this brand many natural wine stores all over the country carry sakes from Terada Honke, because they have this low intervention.
John Puma: 8:15
Timothy Sullivan: 8:16
Ideology about their sake. So low intervention, what does that mean? Well, it means that they take a very traditional approach to their production. They have, extended use of the Kimoto yeast starter method, and they also do very minimal rice polishing. And this sake we’re tasting today is milled to 90%. So very minimal. Involvement there and they don’t add any alcohol to their sakes at all. So it’s a hundred percent Junmai sake, and this is also unpasteurized undiluted with water and no charcoal filtering. And on top of that, there’s more, they also, they use a hundred percent organic rice and they also have their own. In-house yeast. So ambient yeast and they also make their own Koji spores. So that is extremely unusual. Most other brewers are going to purchase Koji mold spores to make their rice Koji. They’re going to purchase it from a supplier and there’s major suppliers in Japan, but this brewery propagates their own mold.
John Puma: 9:32
Huh. they are really kicking it old school.
Timothy Sullivan: 9:34
they, they are kicking it old school. So The label for the sake. We’re going to taste, which we’ll introduce in just a second. It says this is similar to a taste you may have experienced a hundred years ago.
John Puma: 9:47
So old school for certain.
Timothy Sullivan: 9:49
All right. Do you want to walk us through the stats for this extreme sake ex stream?
John Puma: 9:59
Absolutely. All right. So our very extreme Terada Honke. Low intervention. sake is the Tarada Honke Katori 90, 90, I imagine is their versions of that polishing ratio. Kimoto my goodness. Um, Junmai Nama genshu sake. Wow. Okay. This is a lot. This is going to be a lot. Um, the rice type is koshihikari. And as mentioned several times 90%, uh, speaking of extreme, the alcohol percentage is 20.5. Tim, what are you doing here? The sake meter value is a plus five. That’s not very extreme. The acidity is 3.5,
Timothy Sullivan: 10:53
John Puma: 10:57
Oh my goodness. Everything in this is extreme.
Timothy Sullivan: 11:00
yeah, this is not our extreme. acidity episode, but, uh, the acidity is pretty high.
John Puma: 11:07
It might as well be my goodness.
Timothy Sullivan: 11:08
Yeah. So of all those things you mentioned, I want to call your attention to the rice type as well. So you said it’s, koshihikari, That’s an eating rice.
John Puma: 11:18
That does not surprise me at
Timothy Sullivan: 11:19
So this is not a special designation, sake rice. This is an eating rice that you can, you know, it’s, it’s a high quality, expensive type of eating rice, but they, they grow organic. koshihikari. So it’s, it’s amazing.
John Puma: 11:39
Timothy Sullivan: 11:40
Yeah. Now the owner and the master brewer of Tarada Honke is Mr. Masaru. Terada he’s the 24th generation president. And this brewery started in 1673. And they’ve been making sake for 349 years.
John Puma: 12:07
I always love it when we have like something with some kind of ridiculous history to it. That’s lovely.
Timothy Sullivan: 12:12
So they, they know medieval sake cause they were actually around.
John Puma: 12:16
they were there. They’ve got notes.
Timothy Sullivan: 12:19
Yes. And I read an interesting story on their website. They have a great website, which we’ll link to in the show notes. and Terada san wrote this very beautiful kind of essay about his views on fermentation. And he felt that when he first took over the brewery, when his father, father-in-law was the previous president and he married the daughter of the brewery and he, when he took over, he wanted to clean things up and make it very antiseptic and a little bit more hospital. Like, and it didn’t, it w the sake wasn’t coming out the way they wanted. And. Really engaged with what fermentation is and how fermentation is an ongoing process. It’s a live process and he really arrived at a point where he said, I’m going to embrace everything about fermentation. And this brought them to a point where fermentation is coming first. And how fermentation is an ongoing evolving process. And this led them to use airborne yeast and propagate their own Koji and arrive at a point where they’re doing this extremely low intervention style of completely natural sake. So it a process for him to discover this path and he even ties his own health into it, where he discovered how fermentations. Influence your own bodily health. And it was really interesting. So, um, we’ll link to that information. If you want to learn more about this brewer and about kind of the background of how this brewery adopted this really interesting and really old-school style of brewing.
John Puma: 14:08
Okay. That’s uh, that’s going to be interesting. I
Timothy Sullivan: 14:11
Yeah. So I don’t think. I can wait any longer.
John Puma: 14:17
No, no, let’s let’s do. Let’s get extreme to him. Well, that was, uh, when I popped mine, there was, there was some resistance.
Timothy Sullivan: 14:43
All right. What are we seeing in the glass?
John Puma: 14:45
Well, the first thing I’m noticing Tim is that this sake is quite not clear.
Timothy Sullivan: 14:51
Yeah, it has some golden haze to it.
John Puma: 14:54
Timothy Sullivan: 14:55
I mean, it’s transparent, but it’s not clear in color. It’s a yellowish straw color.
John Puma: 15:03
Timothy Sullivan: 15:03
Right. Let’s give it a smell. I think the aroma is a little more delicate than I would’ve imagined, but it is rice forward for sure.
John Puma: 15:16
Definitely definitely rice forward. Um, got a lot of rice and and that, that, you know, that, that sweetness that you talked about
Timothy Sullivan: 15:30
Um, you know, when you take, if you, if you were to tell. Raw rice, whole grain rice, and soak it in water for overnight. And then give that a smell. It’s kind of like this that’s the aroma I’m getting, it smells like rice. That’s been soaked in water, sprouting, rice kind of aroma.
John Puma: 15:54
Timothy Sullivan: 15:56
Yeah. Very kind of grain forwardrice-y in aroma.
John Puma: 16:00
Timothy Sullivan: 16:01
John Puma: 16:03
grain is, that’s the word I’m trying to, like, I’m not used to getting the aroma of grain sake, like ever. It’s very, very different.
Timothy Sullivan: 16:15
And I mean, the other kind of thing that pops to my mind, again, just smelling this sake is the word umami, like I’m getting kind of hints of savory -ness, not necessarily. Soy sauce or anything like that, but just hints around the edges of this, like kind of more umami driven aroma savoriness, and that grain rice forward and robust rice aroma.
John Puma: 16:41
Timothy Sullivan: 16:42
All right, let’s give it a.
John Puma: 16:44
Timothy Sullivan: 16:45
John Puma: 16:46
Wow. Tim Mrs. Lola
Timothy Sullivan: 16:50
this is extreme.
John Puma: 16:55
This is really, uh, this is interesting. And like, I hate to put it this way, but, um, I want to say like this more than I expected to, I was very trepidatious going into him. I had concerns.
Timothy Sullivan: 17:10
Well, for me, sipping on the sake, the first thing that jumps out to me is the acidity. I mean, it is, there’s a sharpness, especially more towards the finish of the sake that really brings out the acidity. So that, that comes across loud and clear. And the. The flavor is very, again, very rice focused and kind of has a savory overall complexion to it. So if you think about soy sauce, miso, mushroom kind of flavors that hint it hints in that direction of having that umami kind of edge to it. But very rice driven and the finish comes off as a dry. Like, there’s not a lot of lingering funkiness on the palate, the finishes relative for, for how funky the sake really is the finishes relatively dry, which is interesting to me.
John Puma: 18:15
I agree. Uh, it is, it’s not cloying usually when you have something that’s this big,
Timothy Sullivan: 18:22
John Puma: 18:23
that lingers, and here it is kind of just kind of dropping off when it’s done. It’s it’s, it’s doing its thing. It’s doing its business
Timothy Sullivan: 18:30
Yeah, I think We should also mention that we’re both drinking this sake, a chilled to like a white wine, to like a white wine temperature. So I have a feeling, I have a sneaking sake suspicion. My sake spidey senses are. telling me that if this, if this warms up to room temperature or even more, it’s going to bring out a whole different. Side of the sake. So we can continue to sip on this, as we chat about extreme sake and see, see how it changes. But I think we’re getting it in it’s chilled state kind of, a little bit tighter. And I think that as it warms up the savoriness and the richness is going to blossom a little bit. Yeah.
John Puma: 19:18
Timothy Sullivan: 19:19
And again, playing with temperatures is one of the fun things about sake. You gotta love It
John Puma: 19:24
it does lend itself to the idea of, of, of letting it warm up a little bit. I just, that feels right to me. When I, when I, um, take a sniff at this.
Timothy Sullivan: 19:39
Yeah. The other thing I’ll comment on just having had a couple of sips is that I also feel the full presence of the 20.5% alcohol, which is also extreme. So that is also, there’s a lot of extreme, this, this, this sake has extreme edges all over the place.
John Puma: 20:18
that’s extreme edges. It’s qualifies for your, uh, for the extreme sake award. so where does extreme sake cross paths with crazy style?
Timothy Sullivan: 20:33
I think they’re very closely related.
John Puma: 20:36
Aha. Okay. That makes sense. I could see that.
Timothy Sullivan: 20:40
Do you think Myshell lover of crazy style would enjoy this sake?
John Puma: 20:44
I think that she would, uh, she would enjoy this a good deal. Uh, we’ll find out in a little bit when I told her that we were sipping something that was only milled to, 90% tonight and the first thing out of her mouth was save some for me. And so she definitely wants to, uh, to see how this goes.
Timothy Sullivan: 21:03
Well, I do want to tell you one other thing, this brewery, believe it or not Terada Honke, they make a sake that is even more extreme than this.
John Puma: 21:14
Tim, what is more extreme than 20% alcohol, 90% milled sake and all of that acidity,
Timothy Sullivan: 21:22
Try no milling. They have a sake made with brown rice.
John Puma: 21:29
Wow. That is, that is I, I just imagined like them being like what? You don’t think it will do it. Come on. We’ll do it. Like it’s a dare.
Timothy Sullivan: 21:42
John Puma: 21:43
That’s kind of a, that’s kind of
Timothy Sullivan: 21:46
Yes. I believe they have, this un-milled sake. They actually sprout the grains. So that’s what you actually do in beer. When you have barley and you’re making beer, we don’t Polish the barley and put Koji on it. And no, what they do is they sprout the grains. When you’re making beer, that’s called malting in the world of beer. And when you sprout the grain. It becomes malt. And then the grain itself produces enzymes that break down starch into sugar. So in the world of beer, that’s how we get the sugars out of the grain. But in sake, we almost always Polish the rice. So we can’t sprout it to get the enzymes. We put the Koji on it and we use the Koji to get enzymes, to break down starch into sugar. But this sake, this other sake made by Terada Honke they actually. What would be the beer approach, which is where they get a whole grain of rice. And then they sprout that grain to get enzymes. It’s really super funky, but we couldn’t get our hands on that sake. So we wanted to feature something that was available to consumers in the U S so this Katori 90 Nama Genshu is imported and available. Anyone who’s interested can get this sake. And it’s about just around 30, $30.
John Puma: 23:11
I love how we, oh, we couldn’t get the, the sake that’s completely unmilled. So hit the settle for 90% milled or 90% umilled. I think at that point, it just makes more sense to say
Timothy Sullivan: 23:22
unmilled. Yes. So This but for me, I don’t know about how you feel, John, but for me, this is plenty extreme for our to kick off our
John Puma: 23:32
extreme enough for me. Yes. I’m a very pleased with this, today.
Timothy Sullivan: 23:38
Now I have to ask you. Yeah, I have to ask you tasting this super extreme sake. Where does this fit in your game plan for enjoying sake? Is this something you get out of your sake fridge when your natural wine loving friends come over? Or is this something you’re going to enjoy with your funkiest meals? Or how do you think you would implement a sake like this in your life?
John Puma: 24:07
Oh, this is a tough one too. This is a very, a kind of a new style of Sunday for me. So. Uh, I’m not sure exactly where this would fit for me. How about we say This will come out when I have the, the sake nerd, friends who want to try something a little different and by a little, I mean, very different and perhaps extreme.
Timothy Sullivan: 24:39
By a little, you mean extremely a lot.
John Puma: 24:42
Yes, very seriously. Uh, not, not a little different. This is a whole lot of different,
Timothy Sullivan: 24:49
Yeah. Well, I would say that I would be unafraid to put this in the back of my sake fridge and let it hang out and age.
John Puma: 24:59
Timothy Sullivan: 25:00
would love to experiment with aging. This bottle, let it sit for six months. Let it sit for a year or. Because it is high in alcohol, it is high in acidity and these things are going to, you know, protect the sake as it continues to mature. So I’d be very interested to age the sake as well. What do you think about that?
John Puma: 25:23
This style of sake is traditionally extremely aging-friendly. So that totally is tracks for me.
Timothy Sullivan: 25:29
John Puma: 25:32
I didn’t mean to do that. Uh, even when you don’t mean to do the puns, Tim finds the
Timothy Sullivan: 25:43
They are there. They’re just right there.
John Puma: 25:46
right. For the
Timothy Sullivan: 25:46
John Puma: 25:48
Yeah. So yeah, this was a very interesting, and I have to say, um, Again, I did. I have never tasted this before going into today. And it surprised me. I thought that with all these crazy numbers, it was going to be much more, outside of my comfort zone. I’ll say, then I expect it. This is actually pretty tasty. It does, it does need a little something. This is not something I’m just going to be on a Tuesday night on the couch. This is definitely outside of the sipping zone, Tim,
Timothy Sullivan: 26:22
John Puma: 26:23
yeah, but I do think that with the right dish, uh, and the right company, I think that, you know, you have some people who are really going to get a kick out of how interesting and different this is. You, you have a, you’ll have a good time.
Timothy Sullivan: 26:36
Yeah, I think so too. I read one tasting note about this sake that said it is liquid rice in a bottle.
John Puma: 26:46
I can, I can get down with that.
Timothy Sullivan: 26:48
I thought that was really great. Uh, I would, as I said, would love to try and age this sake, continue to drink it over time. And I definitely want to experiment with temperature with this sake as well. If I break it out again, I think I would want to try warming it up and see what that does. As the sake matures, but just opens a whole world of possibilities because it’s so powerful and so strong in many different factors that just is indestructible in that way. So would be really fun to experiment with
John Puma: 27:24
indestructable. That should be our big takeaway.
Timothy Sullivan: 27:27
John Puma: 27:29
Uh, and I’m looking forward to some more of these, uh, extreme episodes.
Timothy Sullivan: 27:36
Yes. Another one on the horizon for us is extremely low alcohol,
John Puma: 27:40
Timothy Sullivan: 27:41
may not be your favorite, John, but we’re going to try,
John Puma: 27:46
I honestly haven’t experienced too many, extremely low alcohol sakes, so
Timothy Sullivan: 27:52
well, stay tuned. That’s all I can say. right. Yeah. Well, I hope you enjoyed our first. Of many extreme sake adventures to come and great to taste with you as always John.
John Puma: 28:09
as always Tim.
Timothy Sullivan: 28:12
And I’d like to thank our listeners as well for tuning in. We really do hope that you’re enjoying Sake Revolution. Now, if you would like to show your support for our show, the best way to help us would be to join our community on patreon. We’re a listener supported show. And if you’re able, we would love to have you join our community and all your support goes to the costs of producing, editing and hosting the show each And every week.
John Puma: 28:38
And if you want to support us on our patreon, you can go to SakeRevolution.com is a link there. Or you can go to Patreon.com/SakeRevolution. We have a bunch of different tiers there. You guys can find the one that suits you best and support your favorite sake podcast. Also, please be sure to subscribe wherever you download your podcasts. Be it a Stitcher Spotify. Apple podcasts and leave a review. Leaving review really goes a long way towards getting awareness out there for the show. We love hearing what you guys think about the show. We do read these reviews On top of all that though, please, uh, tell a friend and have them tell a friend and get them to subscribe. And it really does again, help drive that needle.
Timothy Sullivan: 29:25
And as always, if you would like to learn more about any of the topics or any of the sakes we talked about in today’s episode, be sure to visit our website, SakeRevolution.com and there you can check out our detailed show notes.
John Puma: 29:40
And if you have a sake question that you need answered, if you have an extreme sake, uh, that we might have missed, we want to hear from you. Please reach out to us. The email address is [email protected] So until next time, please remember to keep drinking sake and
Timothy Sullivan: 30:02
John Puma: 30:05