A Quick Tutorial of the Sake World

Sake is a unique Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented, polished rice. The process of making sake is similar to beer, yet more complex and subtle. Momona only serves what is classified as premium sakes. However premium sakes only amount to about 20% of the entire sake market.

A Few Helpful Terms (Quickly) Defined:

  • Ginjo: Premium, high quality
  • Junmai: Pure rice sake (no distilled alcohol added)
  • Nigori: Coarsely filtered sake
  • Taru: Aged in cedar barrels
  • Yamahai: Different yeast starter resulting in more wild yeast
  • Honjozo: A small amount of distilled alcohol added.
  • Example: Taru Junmai is a pure rice sake aged in cedar barrels.

Sake Differs Based Upon:

  • Polishing rate
  • Brewery processes
  • Yeast type and method
  • Variety of rice
  • Regionality
  • Craftsmanship (automated vs. handmade)

So What’s with the Polishing Rate?

Rice grains are “polished” during the brewing process because the outer layer of a rice kernel contains more fat and protein than the inner portion of the grain. This can produce undesireable flavors and aromas. The more the rice kernel is polished, the more pure starch remains, providing a cleaner and more refined taste. The polishing rate in Japanese is called the Seimaibuai (say-my-boo-eye). So, if the Seimaibuai is 60%, that means 40% of the original rice grain was polished away.

Why is Sake So Expensive?

Momona chooses to serve only premium, high-end sake. We love hot sake, but wanted to bring Chico more than the average sake. Just like wine, the better the bottle, the higher the price. Furthermore, the majority of our sakes are imported from Japan, also raising the price.

We have tried to narrow down the overwhelmingly expansive list of sakes by handselecting an array that is both fairly priced and provides the highest quality product. We truly hope you enjoy.