Episode 17 Show Notes

Season 1, Episode 17. Often the overlooked step-child of sake production, bottling is a lot more complex that you might think. And a lot depends on the scale of your production. A family run Mom and Pop brewery might bottle and label sake by hand. Whereas a larger brewery might have an multiple automated bottling lines with a clean room. Keeping with this week’s theme, John and Tim challenged themselves to profile two sakes that were sold in bottles! We did it! The two sake selected not only came in bottles but are both would could be described as sturdy… or some might go so far as to say indestructible. Either way, they are absolutely delicious. So, to quote Laverne and Shirley, “Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!” …and we are off to the bottling line!

Skip to: 00:19 Hosts Welcome and Introduction
Welcome to the show from John and Timothy

Skip to: 05:36 Sake Education Corner: Bottling

Looking into a bottling line clean room

Skip to: 18:50 Sake Tasting Introductions

Skip to: 21:24 Sake Tasting: Tamagawa “Ice Breaker” Muroka Nama Genshu Junmai Ginjo

Tamagawa “Ice Breaker” Muroka Nama Genshu Junmai Ginjo

Alcohol: 17.5%
Brewery: Kinoshita Shuzo
Classification: Genshu, Junmai Ginjo, Muroka, Nama
Prefecture: Kyoto
Rice Type: Nihonbare
Seimaibuai: 60%
Brand: Tamagawa (玉川)
Sake Name English: Ice Breaker

View On UrbanSake.com

Skip to: 29:25 Sake Tasting: Onda 88 Junmai

Onda 88 Junmai

Alcohol: 18.5%
Brewery: Onda Shuzo
Classification: Junmai
Prefecture: Niigata
Rice Type: Ipponjime
Seimaibuai: 60%
Brand: Onda
SMV: -1.0
Acidity: 1.5
Importer: Niigata Sake Selections, Skurnik

View On UrbanSake.com

Skip to: 36:01 Show Closing

This is it! Join us next time for another episode of Sake Revolution!

Episode 17 Transcript

John Puma 0:22
Hello and welcome to Sake Revolution. This is America’s first sake podcast. I am one of your host John Puma, founder of TheSakeNotes.com, admin at the Internet Sake Discord and all around sake nerd.

Timothy Sullivan 0:37
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 together John and I will be tasting and chatting about all things sake, and doing our best to make it fun and easy to understand.

John Puma 0:54
That’s right, Tim.

Timothy Sullivan 0:54
So John, what’s going on with you? How’s it going?

John Puma 0:59
I’m a little bummed. I got some bad news today We’re going yeah, we’re going for a walk in the neighborhood. And we stopped in at our local favorite Japanese place. We were going to pick up a couple of one cups of sake. And we found out that they’re going to be closing down really soon and it’s a real bummer because they had the best sake selection in my neighborhood and it’s really unfortunate.

Timothy Sullivan 1:23
Oh, man that sucks. Well, I guess you’re just gonna have to move then.

John Puma 1:29
Well, I’m not sure about moving just yet. But I mean, things are really hard in restaurants right now. Well, you know, I guess we’ll see how things pan out. But things are a little weird right now.

Timothy Sullivan 1:41
There’s a lot of difficult stuff happening. A lot of things changing. I mean, I just had my first outdoor sushi Omakase experience last night. Can you imagine eating a high end one Michelin star sushi dinner sitting out on the street? It was a really unique experience for sure.

John Puma 2:02
Okay, well, well first off, I’ve never had a one Michelin star sushi dinner, indoors or outdoors. But I believe it started out a little further. However, having said that I have had omakase before, and if you’re listening and you’re and you’re not familiar, I’m a kossei. is. Tim, you want to give a quick little rundown?

Yeah, “omakase” it just means like Chef’s Choice. So it’s a dinner and you leave all the selections up to the chef and they pick all the foods you’re going to eat. And it’s a wonderful way to eat and it’s very common in high end sushi restaurants to have the chef’s just pick everything and you just sit there and enjoy it piece by piece.

Right now, if that’s the way it works, and generally speaking, you’re at a counter and the chef when the fish is prepared and ready for you to eat. He’s gonna pick it up and bring it over and reach over the counter and place it on your plate. How’s that working in the street? Well, that’s the burning question.

Timothy Sullivan 3:03
The menu was super limited. And actually, interestingly, for the sake selection, it just said Junmai, Junmai Ginjo, Junmai Daiginjo. They had like three sake selections, and it was no name. And which one did you select? Well, I picked I first I asked like, what are the brand names and they had some really good brands. I mean, it’s a one Michelin star restaurant. So the sakes were top notch, but they just they didn’t even list the names of the sakes. And it was the way they did it was they had five cooked courses and then five pieces of sushi.

John Puma 3:35
Ah, cooked courses.

Timothy Sullivan 3:07
And the cooked course came out a couple at a time. And then the sushi all came out at once on like a little slate plate, so little plate of five pieces of sushi. And it was all prepared at once and now it’s different. I prefer it a piece at a time. You can really study and enjoys pieces of sushi, but it was it was interesting and given the circumstances. I think it’s amazing. That they’re keeping things up and you know, getting things going. And I really admire that so much that people are trying to keep these good experiences going in these super, super challenging times.

I think that in these times, you know, a lot of restaurants are going to make changes so they can you know, keep up.

John Puma 4:18
Yeah, it’s a really tough time for a lot of restaurants and working in sake, we get a glimpse into that world, but we got to just hope for the best keep going and keep drinking sake, right.

I mean, that’s, that’s, that’s what I did. Yeah,

that’s our motto. Every every episode we say keep drinking sake. I think that’s one thing we can do to help support the sake economy.

Sake economy. I like that. So, Tim, Is this really the final episode in our long series about sake production.

Timothy Sullivan 4:59
You know, Is it ever the final episode John? It’s never gonna be the final episode.

John Puma 5:04
Never. No, no. In fact, we can do a couple more on rice washing it’s really like

Timothy Sullivan 5:09
what do we say? 10,000 ways there’s 10,000 ways to make sake You and I are gonna be in their retirement home when we get to that final episode.

John Puma 5:18
I thought you were gonna say I had to watch the sake a 10,000 times but I was gonna be like I’ve had it. I’ve had it here I’ve done with this.

Timothy Sullivan 5:24
No but but for the for the abbreviated, beginner introduction to sake production that we’ve been doing. This is the last episode in that series.

John Puma 5:36
All right, and we are back. What are we what are we talking about?

Timothy Sullivan 5:38
We are going to get our sake in the bottle. We’re talking about bottling.

John Puma 5:44
What? Okay,

We’re doing a whole episode on bottling?

Timothy Sullivan 5:48
A whole episode on bottling. A lot of people leave this out but it’s a really important step and when I did my internship at the brewery, I spent an entire month in the bottling facility. So

John Puma 6:02
Oh, really?

Timothy Sullivan 6:03
It is incredibly important to the brewery. It’s a major part of production. And you have to take it really seriously when you’re producing something that you know people consume. And the bottling is a big, big part of it. So let’s talk about it.

John Puma 6:17
Alright, let’s talk about it. We are now going to enter the sake education corner. And we’re going to talk bottling. Tim, what do I need to know about bottling sake?

Timothy Sullivan 6:19
What we talked about last week was pasteurization. And very often that happens a second time we mentioned there’s usually two pasteurizationss, you have pressing, pasteurization storage, usually about six months, another pasteurization and then you put the sake in the bottle. So there’s usually a pasteurization right before or while the sake is going into the bottle. And that is one step you can take to keep things safe and sanitary. The other thing is I’ve seen several breweries have a clean room In their bottling plant, so the spot where the actual liquid goes from the tank hose into the bottle, that machine that actually puts the liquid in is inside an enclosed cleanroom.

John Puma 6:30
An honest to God cleanroom?

Timothy Sullivan 7:16
Yes, like you could not enter without head to toe coverage and it is very, very hygienic and very sanitary. Smaller breweries don’t have might not have that. And you could just have a machine in front of you with four spouts on it, and you push the bottle up, and the pressure against the nozzle makes the sake go in the bottle, and everything’s done by hand and judged by eye and that’s a totally different experience. So depending on the size of the size of the brewery, you could have this like really hardcore cleanroom experience or you could have something much more hand done. Much smaller scale. bottling can be on a wide variety of scales based on the size of the brewery.

John Puma 8:00
interesting interesting now if our listeners are not aware of what a cleanroom is, that is most of the time I hear about clean rooms they’re in reference to like technology so for example like microprocessor made a clean room because any sort of dust contamination can can completely you know, destroy these like really delicate components. So hearing a sake breweries will sometimes use these these really incredibly ultra sanitary environments and to just to transfer the liquid into the bottles is really interesting.

Well, it’s not a cleanroom like at Intel or at NASA, where you know one speck of dust on the microchip can ruin it. It’s it’s not that level of cleanroom but it is an enclosed room with glass walls. And it has a filtration system air filtration system and it’s you can’t go in there. without special protective gear on it is a cleanroom. But I think it’s more of a food grade cleanroom versus a technology grade cleanroom.

Got it. All right, I guess most of my interactions with it have been in technology. That helps me to know that there’s not quite that that crazy.

If you check out the show notes, I’ll post a picture of a sake cleanroom in a bottling facility. But the other thing that happens, you get pasteurization happening, you get the sake going into the bottle, and then the bottle gets a label on it. So you have to put it in some type of process where the bottle is going to get a label. And that’s really one of the final steps in getting the sake to market is getting the label on the bottle correctly. And if you have a large scale production, usually it’s a machine driven process where the bottle is going to go down the machine and it’s going to get a label little glue on the label slapped on all the time. happens by machine. And if you can imagine that being complicated is pretty complicated. So it is a huge pain in the butt whenever this process goes awry. And you know, a label gets stuck. I mean, imagine your printer at home, you know, you have an inkjet printer, how often does that thing get jammed up or the printer comes out? It’s like that type of problem happens when you’re doing bottling and you know, you’re trying to put a label on a bottle and it just starts coming crooked. You have to stop the line and fix the machine. And that stuff happens all the time. And it’s, you know,

that sounds that sounds like it’s not a lot of fun.

Timothy Sullivan 10:38
No, no. And the brewery where I worked, the team was separate. There was one team that worked in the bottling plant, and that was their specialty. So they knew all the machines, they knew all the processes. And then the team that did the actual sake production, the brewing and the pressing, that was a different team of people at a smaller brewery, again, maybe three or four People working at a brewery, they’re all going to be the same person in the people who’s making the sake, they have to have that expertise in labeling. And very often they might be putting those labels on by hand.

John Puma 11:11
So I was about to ask you that if that’s still a thing, because I imagine at some point, there must have been at some point, yeah, that was the norm was everybody was just using it by doing it by hand. But I guess it’s still the case sometimes?

Absolutely. For the smaller breweries, they can’t afford a true bottling line. And I think that’s one of the points that kind of your brewery might change from a small scale production to a larger scale production when you can afford to put in a bottling line in your in your bottling facility. That just ramps up the amount of production you can handle when you when you get that line put in. I’ve been I’ve been to many breweries where they showed me where they did their bottling and it was, you know, some ladies sitting there filling the bottles one by one. They would put them on another machine that seals the cap shut. And then they would pass it down and another person would be putting the labels on. And it’s just amazing to see that really handcrafted side of things and other breweries do it in a very automated way.

So Tim, what you’re telling me that unlike Koji, making, the machines could be coming to take our bottling and labeling jobs.

Timothy Sullivan 12:24
Well, I think that if, again, if you think about that inkjet printer you have in your home office, there’s all you’re going to need somebody to come and fix the machine.

John Puma 12:39
As long as the machine is complex enough, people will always have a place because it’ll break.

Yeah, but I really do think that bottlings kind of the overlooked step in sake production. And, you know, John, you and I both know that bottles do not come in just one shape and size right. There’s a lot of…

They come in quite a few that there’s

Timothy Sullivan 13:01
a lot of unique shapes out there. And I also learned working at the bottling facility, that the more unique or different the bottle shape, the more labor is involved in getting a label on there.

John Puma 13:15
I mean, if that makes a certain amount of sense, because, you know, if you, if you’re using the same thing as everybody else, and the machines that you’re using, can be the same as everybody else’s, it doesn’t have to be specialized. But as soon as you deviate from that, now, it’s like, Oh, we got to make a new, we gotta make a roller that’s set for this thing, and we have to have bla bla bla, or you have to just do it by hand because there isn’t a machine that that does that one.

Timothy Sullivan 13:37

John Puma 13:38
Make sense.

Timothy Sullivan 13:39
The only other thing I wanted to talk about related to bottling was the bottling date. dum dum, dum.

John Puma 13:46
That’s a this is a this is a topic we can do an episode on this .

Well, the during the bottling line, the bottling date gets put on the label in most cases, and that indicates the bottling month. Through the bottling day, some breweries have the actual day printed on the label. And one of the big problems that some people have us have selling sake is that a lot of people see this date and think it’s an expiration date. Instead of a born-on date, you know, like the sake was released on this date versus, you know, oh, you. So that’s something we have to do when we educate people is really tell them like the date you see on the label is the bottling date or this is the date it was considered the birth date of the sake and give yourself a year or so to drink it.

And even with that, though, that date is not always something their average consumer is going to have any idea how to understand because it may not be a Roman calendar day. Tim, what else what else could that date mean?

Timothy Sullivan 14:55
It could be the Emperor’s year. there’s a there’s a calendar in Japan that is different from the Western Roman calendar. And that is the Emperor’s year calendar. So we just, this is usually a once in a lifetime thing, but we just last year we had the changing of the Emperor. So the previous emperor was called the Heisei Emperor, and they calendar was he would say, Heisei Year 22, Heisei Year 23. And starting from the year he became emperor was one. And we just had a switch of Emperor which you know, very rarely happens. And the current the previous Emperor kind of retired and he’s known as the Emperor Emeritus. And the new emperor was his son, the Crown Prince, he became the new Emperor and his era name is Reiwa. And this year is Reiwa 1 or Reiwa 2?

John Puma 15:55
something like that

Timothy Sullivan 15:56
something like that. So that was last year that happened.

John Puma 16:01
And so if you do come across a sake with a date on it that says B.Y., and then some numbers that don’t really make sense. In the Roman calendar, it’s probably the Emperor’s date.

Timothy Sullivan 16:15
And what does BY stand for John? Brewing year? Oh in English.

John Puma 16:22
I Oh, it does mean that. Yes.

Timothy Sullivan 16:24
So they use B.Y. for brewing. Yeah, even though it’s an English term, they use those.

John Puma 16:29
And then they give you the Emperor’s Year?

Timothy Sullivan 16:31
Yes, they can. Yeah,

John Puma 16:32
I How am I supposed to know that?

Timothy Sullivan 16:34
Well, you just have to know the difference between like a 20 or 21. You think oh, that might be the Roman Calendar. Or if you see a 01 or something like 32 Oh, that could be the Emperor’s year. So the final year of Heisei was 31. So if you see a 31 that would be 2019 and Reiwa 1 is also 2019. So when they shift that, that year when you have to transition from one Emperor to another, it’s a little bit fuzzy math there but once you get going then they kind of line it up with the calendar year. So when you have a new year, it’s going to be this is I guess would be Reiwa 2. So this is the second year of the Reiwa Emperor. So that’s another thing that gets involved with bottling and you want to know another crazy thing? If the bottles…

John Puma 17:33
There’s more crazy things?

Timothy Sullivan 17:35
If the bottles that the brewery is bottling, they know that they’re destined for the United States or a foreign country. They do not by law have to put that date on there. So you can get…

John Puma 17:51
and and I’ve noticed that they frequently don’t.

Timothy Sullivan 17:53
So you can get bottles that don’t have the date on it because they were bottled and they knew it was going overseas, if it’s going to sake that’s going to be sold in Japan that that date is required.

John Puma 18:09
So it is required in Japan.

Timothy Sullivan 18:11
It is Yeah.

John Puma 18:12
Ah, that’s interesting. Yeah. But it’s very much not required to export it.

Yeah. So, you know, some brewers just have that date on the label for domestic and exported sake. And some make a conscious choice to have the label be totally different for the export market, and be very different for the domestic market.

Well, Tim, that was all really interesting and not confusing at all. But

Timothy Sullivan 18:40
I told you 10,000 ways.

John Puma 18:43
When I realized that that 900 of them were going to be related to the way the date is printed on the back. Now, having said all that, we’re going to be now tasting some sake and my understanding is that both of the sake is that we’re tasting today…. came in bottles.

Timothy Sullivan 18:59
That’s right.

John Puma 19:00
That was our mission for this episode

keeping the theme alive.

Timothy Sullivan 19:05
We had to find those rare sake’s that were not shipped in wooden barrels. All right. Did you find one, John?

John Puma 19:13
Yes, Tim I did. Strangely enough.

Timothy Sullivan 19:16
All right.

John Puma 19:19
So Tim, what bottled sake did you bring to the talk about?

Timothy Sullivan 19:23
Well, I brought a sake from a smaller brewery.

It is called Onda. Onda 88

John Puma 19:34
interesting and whereas on located?

Timothy Sullivan 19:37
It’s in Niigata.

John Puma 19:37

Timothy Sullivan 19:39
And it is a Junmai sake. And the 88 refers to the rice milling percentage. So this is out to 88 remaining, which is very robust and very bold. Yeah. So I’m really excited to give this sake a taste

John Puma 19:55

Timothy Sullivan 19:56
And John, what do you have for us, I have

John Puma 19:58
a Summer sake you know since it is summertime and it’s very very very hot out these days I brought along a sake from a brand called Tamagawa and this is their summer sake called icebreaker and icebreaker is is interesting and a little unique in that it is kind of made with the intent of being served on the rocks. It’s undiluted, unpasteurized and unfiltered and a Junmai Ginjo.

Timothy Sullivan 20:30
Hmm So ice and icebreaker refers to on the rocks.

John Puma 20:35
Yeah, exactly.

Timothy Sullivan 20:37
And when you say unfiltered you mean not charcoal filter right?

John Puma 20:40
It’s a it’s a Muroka.

Timothy Sullivan 20:42
Muroka. That’s right.

So no charcoal filter. So we don’t want people thinking this is a cloudy sake.

John Puma 20:47
Oh, definitely not it is not cloudy. Yes, it is not the quote unquote, unfiltered sake. It is yes. It’s not charcoal filter and I should have specified I know how you get about that. You were

Timothy Sullivan 21:02
Good, I’m glad we’re all on the same page.

John Puma 21:05
Gotta be very respectful of your friends quirks.

Timothy Sullivan 21:08
Yes. And another thing we have to mention about your sake is that the toji is not a Japanese person.

John Puma 21:15
He is not.

Timothy Sullivan 21:15
It is Philip Harper.

John Puma 21:16
He is a British man.

Timothy Sullivan 21:18
Yes. From Cornwall.

John Puma 21:19
He’s from Cornwall? I did not know that.

Yeah. So John, I cannot wait to hear about your so why don’t you go first. Alright, and let’s get into your icebreaker.


So I actually am going to do something a little bit different today. I have a glass and then I also have a glass with some ice in it. And I’m going to taste this sake twice.

Timothy Sullivan 21:42
Oh, Twist! plot twist!

John Puma 21:45
Yes, sudden plot twist. So by the way, the the name of this brewery is actually Kinoshita. It’s in Kyoto. And the interesting thing about Mr. Harper’s sake is in some circles, they call it indestructible, which I find interesting. You can have his sake and a lot of cases chilled, on ice, room temperature, warmed and it’s going to be fine. It’s going to be just fine. It’s not like a it’s not a very delicate he never makes delicate sakes that you need to be very careful about whatever you want to do with it. It’s gonna be alright with that. It’s gonna change but it’s gonna be not gonna be bad.

Timothy Sullivan 22:23
It is indestructible.

John Puma 21:41
Indestructible, yes. So I am taking a sniff of this and the aroma is a little bit of alcohol on it but mostly it just it smells really, really fresh and almost smells light. Now I I know from tasting this sort of thing before that, that’s it’s almost impossible for this to be light. But it does. It does give that little bit of a kind of a “outdoor freshness” aroma to it very nice. And then tasting it. This is without the ice. It’s it’s a little spicy, it’s got… spicy it’s kind of a lot going on with it. This is not your your fragrant, delicate fruity junmai that John usually drinks on the show. This is much more deep flavor and it’s got a little bit of a zing to it. And it is spicy,

What kind of spicy. peppery or nutmeg or what what kind of spice Are you getting?

A little bit peppery? Mostly especially on the finish.

mean it is

you know it does still come across very balanced. It doesn’t feel you know, it’s not like messing it’s not it’s not not good.

Timothy Sullivan 24:03
How is it reading from sweet to dry?

John Puma 24:09
Kinda right in the middle it is not it is not too sweet and it’s not sweet at all actually, but it’s not dry. It’s not crisp. Really it is much richer, much more kind of going on in the middle. I’m going to transition this over to the ice.

I hope that came across good.

Timothy Sullivan 24:32
I love sake on the rocks. I think it’s wonderful.

John Puma 24:36
I very rarely do this.

Timothy Sullivan 24:38
Well. It’s like so hot outside today. This is a perfect day to do it. For relaxing times, make it Tamagawa

John Puma 24:51
Tamagawa times? Okay, so now having this over the over the rocks over the ice It is so much lighter and cleaner now. And the spice has mostly subsided. I mean, it’s still, you know, there’s still, a lot of flavor here. But it’s not, you know, that that spiciness that a little bit of pepper is kind of quelled by the probably a little bit of water cut in there when the ice melted. And it just it shifted really nicely to something a lot more refreshing. And this is this now having had some ice on it is a wonderful hot weather sake, whereas I think it started off as something that’s very food pairing friendly with the spiciness.

Timothy Sullivan 25:48
You know, I often think of drinking sake on the rocks with sake that are higher alcohol. And I don’t know if we mentioned yet but what what is the alcohol percentage on that ice breaker?

John Puma 25:59
Well, this is a Genshu. It is on diluted and it comes across at 17 to 18 is what they’re saying. 17 to 18%

Timothy Sullivan 26:07
Thats up there.

John Puma 26:10
Yeah, definitely. He’s done. He’s done higher. Has Mr. Harper. I think I’ve had psyche from him. That was 21%. I think we’ve mentioned a sake from him on the show before that was 21%.

But yeah, this is this becomes just a really nice sipping sake after you introduce the ice. Yeah.

Timothy Sullivan 26:33
And so people at home can picture the bottle, there’s actually a penguin on the bottle.

John Puma 26:39
There is a penguin. And also, I didn’t kind of dwell on this too much when I was sipping on it, but the mouthfeel here is very, very luxurious, even though it’s this like kind of untamed genshu it really just Just kind of coats your mouth and even though it was a little spicy before the ice, it’s it’s welcoming. It’s still very nice. It’s still very fun to drink. And then once you introduce the ice to it, it does change the mouthfeel a little bit becomes a little more watery, but at that point it’s welcome.

Timothy Sullivan 27:17

Wow. So I know it’s kind of a bolder sake but it sounds like it has really good balance to any thoughts on what you want to eat with that or is it something you’re just gonna sip on the rocks?

John Puma 27:34
Well, I think that you’re gonna have it on the rocks. It’s perfect for sipping. But if you’re going to have it without ice, this is your Western dish friendly Sokka you can have this with spicy foods and it’s going to be fine. You want to want to have some sake with your curry. This is a good sake to help with your curry. Maybe some tacos. This will be fine with tacos. This is gonna love fajitas

Timothy Sullivan 28:06
Who doesn’t love fajitas?

John Puma 28:09
I don’t know. But taco this sucker will love fajitas I have a feeling

Timothy Sullivan 28:14

John Puma 28:14
And maybe I’ve tried it once or twice. But yeah, it’s it’s gonna stand up to those big, bold flavors. This is great for that sort of thing. But again, if you’re having it on the rocks, just sip on it. It’s wonderful. It just changed the complexion of the sake in a big way.

Timothy Sullivan 28:29
Well, I did have the opportunity to actually visit tamagawa years ago.

John Puma 28:34
Yes. Did you? Oh, I’m jealous

Timothy Sullivan 28:37
wonderful experience. They were so welcoming to us. And we we tasted a variety of sake there. But the one thing I will say is that it is kind of on the edge of the earth like it is really hard to get to. You say it’s a Kyoto prefecture and you think oh, it must be right by Kyoto city. But no, it’s like a long trip away. And it’s a little hard to get to very remote but Philip Harper’s an amazing person and the sake is it is indestructible and absolutely delicious

John Puma 29:08
that’s wonderful. So

Timothy Sullivan 29:15
We didn’t plan it but the the theme of our sake this week is indestructible sake because my sock is indestructible as well. Yeah

John Puma 29:24

Timothy Sullivan 29:25
So this is Onda 88 This is a Junmai sake and the brewery is called Onda Shuzo. It’s from Nagaoka city in Niigata. So not too far from where I lived. The sake rice is called ipponjime sake rice and it’s milled to 88% remaining. Now most premium sake is milled to 70 remaining or less. So this is more robust, more rustic, not as refined. So before I taste This I’m thinking this is going to be a little bolder but let’s get it in the glass and see what’s going on with this. Okay, right away I haven’t even smelled it yet and it is yellowish in color.

John Puma 30:14
Oh yeah, that is very yellow//

Timothy Sullivan 30:20
It almost looks like a white wine color. You know it is a nice straw color. I’m going to give it a smell. Okay. Yep, it has mushroomy notes on the nose, rice. Some umami but you know not not bashing you over the head with it. It’s restrained. I’ve had this out of the fridge for a few minutes. So I know it’s not because it’s too cold but it has a kind of earthy ricey mushroomy smell but very restrained like not not too bold not trying to be too overt about it. Let’s give it a taste.

Oh wow. So this is also very– a lot of grain on the on the palate grain you know think of, of course rice but also barley and things like that different grain notes are on the palate, and it’s also continues to be mushroomy as well. Little bit salty, savory, you know mushroomy Umami-driven for sure. So this is like kind of a very focused umami flavor, that savory flavor. And the components in a grain of rice that give you that umami flavor are actually more towards the outer layers of the grain. So if you have a grain that isn’t as finely polished like some some sake we’ve had have been polished down to 40% or less. But this is only milled to 88% remaining. So there’s a lot of those compounds those amino acids in the outer layers that are going to give us that more direct umami or savory flavor and that’s really coming through with this sake. So this is kind of indestructible as well. This is the kind of sake I could leave out of the refrigerator. Even if the bottles been opened, come back to it in six months and it’s not gonna miss a beat. It will be solid and structured. And I have no worries about the sake. So that was the theme of our tasting and we didn’t even know it. We both brought indestructable really bold sakes.

John Puma 32:49
and and there’s a there’s a funny thing I noticed about my sake while while I was taking a look at the bottle in that is a so it says 2018 B.Y. so it’s using the Roman calendar by using the B.Y. phrasing.

Timothy Sullivan 33:09
Yes, terminology, why is not necessarily tied to the Emperor’s calendar. B.Y. is a term that brewers use to refer to the brewing year, but it can be Western calendar or it can be the Emperor’s calendar. So that adds another layer of complication to it.

John Puma 33:32
That’s good because this was way too easy, and I’m really glad we have some complexity.

Timothy Sullivan 33:38
And back to my sake for a second, a couple points, the SMV. So that’s the sake meter value. That’s a measurement of how sweet or dry the sake is. When something is really ricey very savory, some people think it might read as dryer but this actually has an SMV of minus one. So it is not a super dry, more earthy sake. I wouldn’t say this is a sweet sake by any means, but I just wanted to highlight that this wasn’t a super dry taste. And the other thing, this sake is 18.5% alcohol. So it doesn’t say Genshu on here anywhere that I can see

John Puma 34:25
That is Genshu territory for sure.

Timothy Sullivan 34:28
Yeah. And so we both have brought some really funky interesting, really unique sake.

John Puma 34:36
And speaking of funky and interesting, I had left a little bit of sake in the in the wineglass and it has warmed up as we’ve been talking a little bit and I just had a sip and now a couple of degrees higher. It is wildly peppery like the spice has taken over. So now I guess now it’s a lot closer room temperature. And it’s almost a completely different sake. So chilled. We had, you know, we had it being kind of, you know, spicy but food friendly and very, you know, somewhat pleasant, chilled, very relaxing, very comforting sake- sipping sake. Okay, and now at room temperature, just really big, bold spice bomb. Really interesting how sake changes as you might have had,

Timothy Sullivan 35:32
really, it’s actually one of the charms, one of the delights of sake is playing with temperature. And I think people think in these black and white terms where it has to be hot or it has to be cold, but there’s a whole range of temperatures in there. And I think what you’ve just experienced is for me, one of the joys of drinking sake is that you can play around with the temperature and the serving glass and if it’s on the rocks or not, and just you have to let yourself have that freedom to experiment and you’re going to be rewarded and now You probably have different pairing ideas for the peppery room temperature version of the sake. I think that’s wonderful. Fantastic. All right. Well, thank you everyone so much for tuning in. If you can, please take a moment and rate our show on Apple podcasts. that’ll really help us out a lot. Appreciate it.

John Puma 36:18
And make sure that you subscribe wherever you download your podcast, so you do not miss a single episode.

Timothy Sullivan 36:24
And as always, to learn more about any of the topics or any of the sake that we talked about in today’s episode, be sure to visit our website SakeRevolution.com for all the detailed show notes.

John Puma 36:36
and we really like hearing from you guys so if you have a sake question that you need answered, please reach out to [email protected]. And we’ll answer your question on the air. Until next time, please remember, stay cool. keep drinking sake and Kanpai!