Sake Brewing Supplies, Information and Forum

Home Brew Sake


Akibare (秋晴れ):

Akibare means "the clear autumn sky" in Japanese, and refers to how sake mellows with time. This is in contrast to Otokozake.

Amakuchi (甘口):

Amakuchi means sweet flavor.

Amazake (甘酒):

Amazake is a drink made with koji. It is sweet and generally has a small amount of alcohol.

Amino sando (アミノ酸度):

Amino acids in sake.

Arabashiri ( あらばしり ):

Arabashiri is roughly the first third of sake to come from pressing the moromi in a fune. This portion is collected with little or no pressure applied to force out the sake (i.e., gravity alone forces the sake out of the bags of moromi).

Arukoru bun (アルコール度数):

Arukoru bun is the alcohol percentage.

Assaku-ki (圧搾 機):

Assaku-ki is a machine that squeezes moromi to press the sake from the lees.

Atsu-kan (熱燗):

Atsu-kan, a term for sake temperature, is "hot hot" (50°C / 122°F).

Awamori (泡盛):

Awamori is the shochu of Okinawa. It is usually made with an Indica rice (long grain) and black koji.

Bodai-moto (菩提酛):

Bodai-moto is a moto or yeast mash that is made using the method developed at the Bodai temple in Nara. It is the method that evolved as Sake changed from Bodaisen to what we know today using the San-Dan-Jikomi method (three step brewing method) of brewing.

Choko (猪口):

Choko is a sake cup.

Chu ginjo shu (中吟醸酒):

Chuginjo shu is middle Ginjo sake. Sake from the middle of the ginjo grade.

Dai (大):

Dai is "great."

Dai-shi (代師):

See Koji-shi.

Daiginjō-shu (大吟醸酒):

Daiginjo-shu or Daiginjo for short is brewed with rice milled down to 50% or less of the original grain.

Do (度):

Do means degree or measure or value. This is used as the degrees in a circle or the degrees in temperature. In the term Nihonshudo, the do on the end is where meter value in sake meter value comes from.

Doburoku (濁酒):

Doburoku is a farm house or home brew style of alcoholic beverage made with the same ingredients as sake but does not qualify as Seishu (清酒) the official Japanese name for sake.

Fukurozuri (袋吊り):

Fukurozuri is a method to separate the sake from the lees where by the sake is left to drip from bags of of lees with no pressur applied. Letting gravity do all the work. This method is used for only the best sake.

Fune ( 槽 ):

Fune is a box used to press the moromi to separate the sake from the kasu (lees). This kanji character can also be pronounced as "So."

Futa (蓋):

Futa means lid but in the koji making context it is used to refer to the small boxes koji is incubated in during the second half of the koji making process.

Futakojiho (蓋麹法):

Futakojiho is the traditional method of mixing koji in a box or futa and rotating the position of the boxes in the stack to equalize the temperature of the koji.

Futsu-shu (普通酒 ):

Normal sake with no special grade or moniker.

Genryomai (原料米):

Genryomai is the rice variety used to make the sake.

Genshu (原酒):

Genshu sake is sake that has not been diluted by adding water as most sakes are. Genshu sakes can be from 18%-21% alcohol.

Genzairyo (原材料):

Genzairyo is "ingredients" on labels.

Ginjo-shu (吟醸酒 ):

Ginjo-shu or Ginjo for short is sake brewed with rice milled down to 60% or less of the original grain.

Go (合):

Go is a unit of volumetric measure that is equal to 180ml. It is also the standard size for the amount a Masu (枡) will hold.

Hana-bie (花冷え):

Hana-bie, a term for sake temperature, is "Flower chilled" (10°C / 50°F).

Hangiri (半切):

Hangiri is the half cut barrel used for making kimoto. It is a wide container with a flat bottom which helps with yama-oroshi or the mashing of the mixture between the bottom of the hangiri and the kai paddle.

Hatsuzoe (初添):

This is the first addition of koji, rice and water at the beginning of Moromi the main ferment.

Heikou Fukuhakkou (並行複醗酵):

Heikou fukuhakkou is multiple parallel fermentation. It consists of koji enzymes converting rice starches to sugar (mostly glucose) and yeast converting the sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide all at the same time.

Hi-ire (火入れ):

Hi-ire or pasteurization is the process by which we kill off most of the bacteria, yeasts and such that are a live in whatever we are pasteurizing. I pasteurize my sake by putting it in a bath of water and bringing the sake up to a temperature of 140F and intermediately removing it from the heat. However, times and temperatures vary.

Hi-ochi (火落ち):

Hi-ochi is the sweet, yeasty, funky, unpleasant way namazake gets when it has gone bad.

Hinata-kan (日向燗):

Hinata-kan, a term for sake temperature, is "Out in the sun hot" (30°C / 86°F).

Hitohada-kan (人肌燗):

Hitohada-kan, a term for sake temperature, is "A person's skin hot" (35°C / 95°F).

Hiya Oroshi (ひやおろし):

Hiya Oroshi is sake that is pasteurized before storage and not at bottling. So it is only pasteurized once. In contrast regular sake is pasteurized twice and Namazake is unpasteurized.

Ho (法):

Ho means method.

Honjozo (本醸造):

Honjozo is sake that is at least Junmai grade (made with rice milled at least to no more than 70% remaining) and has a small amount of brewers alcohol added to open up the flavor and aroma.

Honkaku (本格) shochu:

Honkaku means authentic or "classical method" shōchū. Honkaku is the new term for otsurui shōchū, which means "second rank", but because this legal designation is confusing Honkaku is used.

Ichi koji, ni moto, san tsukuri (一麹二もと三造り):

Ichi koji, ni moto, san tsukuri is a common saying of many sake brewers. It means first koji, second moto, third moromi. This is the order of importance of their impact on the quality of sake.

Imo (芋):

Imo is a potato.

Imojōchū (芋焼酎):

Imo (potato) shochu or shochu made with potatos.

Iwa-awa (岩泡):

Iwa-awa is "rock foam," a description of the foam of the moromi that follows the mizu-awa stage. See: Moromi Foam.

Izakaya (居酒屋):

Izakaya is a small tapas pub. That is a pub that serves food tapas style.

Ji (地):

Ji is "land," a description of the final foam stage of the moromi that follows the tama-awa stage. See: Moromi Foam.

Jizake (地酒):

Jizake is sake from small, local kura.

Jo (上):

Jo is on top or or above. It is also read / spoken as "Ue." Jo (上) is the first syllable Joso.

Jo (醸):

Jo is brew or ferment.

Jo-kan (上燗):

Jo-kan, is a term for sake temperature, is "upper hot" (45°C / 113°F).

Jo-on (常温):

Jo-on, a term for sake temperature, is "normal room temperature" (20°C / 68°F).

Joso ( 上槽 ):

Joso is to press the moromi to extract the sake from the lees. The two kanji mean "above" and "fune."

Jozo (醸造):

Jozo means brewing or to brew.

Junmai-shu (純米酒):

Junmai-shu is sake made with only rice, koji, yeast and water. Specifically no brewers alcohol is added.

Kaburagai (蕪櫂):

Kaburagai is a tool used for mashing and grinding the rice and koji while making a moto in the kimoto style. It has a long handle and a flattish bottom to smash the rice and koji between itself and the bottom.

Kai (櫂):

Kai is a paddle used to stir the moto and / or moromi.

Kai-ire (櫂入れ):

Kai-ire is the process of stirring the mash with a kai (paddle).

Kakemai (掛米):

Kakemai is the adjunct rice added to both the moto and the moromi along with the koji. The combination of koji and kakemai make up the total rice volume for the sake brew.

Kan-zukuri (寒作り):

This is the traditional method of sake brewing in which the sake is fermented cold, in the range of 45F to 55F. It is the dominate, maybe exclusive method for brewing sake today.

Kanzake (燗酒):

Kanzake is warmed sake.

Karakuchi (辛口):

Karakuchi means dry seeming or dry flavor.

Kasu (粕):

The lees remaining after the sake has been removed from a sake ferment.

Ki (黄):

Ki is yellow.

Ki-kōjikin (黄麹):

Ki-koji-kin is yellow koji-kin or Aspergillus Oryzae. This is the koji-kin used almost exclusively for sake.

Kijoshu (貴醸酒):

Kijoshu is sake made with sake. That is about half of the water normally used for a batch of sake is replaced with sake. This results in a sweat sake, usually aged for a few years before use.

Kikizake (利き酒):

Kikizake is sake tasting.

Kimoto (生酛):

Kimoto the original method for creating a sake yeast mash or starter. This method was the only method up until 1909. It is different from more modern methods in that it required the mixing of the mash until the rice was completely pureed.

Ko-on toka (高温 糖化) moto:

Ko-on (high temperature) toka (conversion to sugar) moto is a modification of Sokujo moto where steamed rice and koji are initially combined and held at 130F to convert starch to sugar before adding lactic acid and yeast.

Kobo (酵母):

Kobo is the "mother of fermentation" i.e., yeast.

Koji (麹):

Koji or Kome-koji is steamed rice that has been used as the base for culturing Aspergillus Oryzae. A. Oryzae covers the rice as a white fuzzy mold and produces enzymes which break down the starch and proteans in the rice.

Koji Muro (麹室):

Koji Muro is the room for making koji or koji making room.

Koji-kin (麹菌):

Koji-kin is koji that has gone to spore. It is also know as Aspergillus Oryzae.

Koji-shi (麹師):

Koji-shi is the chief koji maker in a kura. Dai-shi (代師) is another name for this. The koji-shi in a kura is commonly called Koji-ya-san (麹屋さん)

Koji-ya-san (麹屋さん):

See Koji-shi.

Koku ( 石 ):

A Koku is equal to 180 liters. This is a standard volumetric unit for rice and sake. It is equivalent to 10 To ( 斗 ). A To is 18 liters. A To is equal to 100 Go ( 合 ) which is 180ml. So, one Koku is equal to 1000 Go. (Personal note: I used to be confused about the definitions of the koku and go because the koku was supposed to be the amount of rice needed to feed one person for a year and a masu was the box used to measure the amount of rice needed to feed a person for a day. That meant that a koku should be about 365 masu and a masu is now equal to one Go. This seemed too little to feed someone for a day or year. Neither should 365 masu be the same as 1000 Go which would be implied by the above volumetric definitions. However, my confusion was at least partially cleared up once I saw that prior to 1891, according to, a koku was equal to 278.3 liters. This works out to close to ¾ liter of rice per day per person which seems a little more reasonable. How this relates to the masu and go prior to 1891, I do not know.)

Kome (米):

Rice that has not been cooked.

Komejōchū (米焼酎):

Komejochu is rice shochu or shochu made from rice.

Korui (甲類) shōchū:

This is a shochu that is distilled several times and is most like vodka. Sometimes it is simply called kōshu (甲酎).

Koshiki (甑):

Koshiki is a large steaming vessel for rice steaming.

Koshu (古酒):

Koshu is sake that has been aged no less than two to three years.

Kuchikami no sake (口噛みの酒):

Kuchikami no sake is literally "mouth-chewed sake." A very old alcoholic beverage that uses the enzymes in saliva to convert starch into sugar. Once sugar is present yeast can act on it to make alcohol.

Kura (蔵):

Kura or Sakagura is a sake brewery.

Kurabito (蔵人):

Kurabito is literally 'brewery-people.' Those who work in the kura.

Kuramoto (蔵元):

Kuramoto is the head of the kura. Kuramoto is seldom the Toji.

Kuro (黒):

Kuro is black or dark.

Kurokōjikin (黒麹菌):

Kuro-kōji-kin it the Black Koji-kin or Aspergillus Awamori.

Kuroshu (黒酒):

Kuroshu is sake using unpolished (brown) rice.

Masu (枡):

Masu is the square measuring box which holds 1 go (180ml) that is also used for serving and drinking sake.

Meigara (銘柄):

Meigara is the brand name of a sake.

Miyamizu (宮水):

This is the heavenly water from the Nada area used to make sake.

Mizu-awa (水泡):

Mizu-awa is "water foam," a description of the foam of the moromi that follows the suji-awa stage. See: Moromi Foam.

Mizu-Moto (水もと):

Mizu-moto is another name for bodai-moto. It refers to the water (Mizu) that results from the process having gained a sufficient amount of lactic acid to control the population of other bugs in the moto and prevent them from harming the moto.

Moromi (諸味):

Moromi is the main fermentation of a sake batch.

Moromi Foam (諸味泡):

Moromi foam refers to the different types of foam that occur and show progress through the stages of moromi the main fermentation. They include: suji-awa (筋泡) Muscle Foam day 2-3 of Moromi, mizu-awa (水泡) Water Foam, iwa-awa (岩泡) Rock Foam, taka-awa (高泡) High Foam About day 10 of Moromi, ochi-awa (落泡) Falling Foam, tama-awa (玉泡) Ball Foam, and ji (地) Land or Ground.

Moto (元):

Moto is the yeast starter or yeast mash for a batch of sake. Also called shubo.

Moyashi (もやし):

Moyashi on a signboards with the three Japanese characters vertically listed indicates a supplier of koji for sake brewers.

Mugi (麦):

Mugi is a broad term for cereal grains.

Mugijōchū (麦焼酎):

Mugijocho is Mugi shochu or shochu made with Mugi.

Muroka (無濾過):

Muroka is sake that has not gone through charcoal filtering. This is sake that has been pressed clear (unlike Nigori, does not have kasu is left in the sake) but will show some material dropping out of solution over time.

Nakazoe (仲添):

Nakazoe is the second or middle addition of koji, rice and water to the Moromi, the main ferment.

Nama (生):

Nama sake is unpasteurized sake, also written as namazake. Nama sake contains live yeast, bacteria and active enzymes that continue to operate on the sake and change its characteristics.

Nama Chozo (生貯蔵):

Nama Chozo is sake that has only been pasteurized once at bottling. This is in contrast with both Nama which is unpasteurized and regular sake which is usually pasteurized twice.

Namazake (生酒):

Namazake is unpasteurized sake. Also known as nama sake.

Nigorizake (濁り酒):

Nigorizake or simply nigori is a lightly filtered sake that remains cloudy and sweet. The bottle is usually shaken to incorporate the sediments before pouring a glass.

Nihonshu (日本酒):

Japanese Sake [pronounced 'sak-ay'] is broadly Japanese alcohol or narrowly the refined Japanese alcoholic drink made with Rice, Koji, Yeast and Water. This first two letters are for Japan i.e., Nihon (日本) and the last letter is for alcoholic drink i.e., Shu (酒). Shu is also pronouned Saké.

Nihonshu no Hi (日本酒の日):

Nihonshu no Hi is Sake day, October 1.

Nihonshu-do (日本酒度):

This is the same as the Sake Meter Value (SMV) and relates to the specific gravity of the sake. A value of zero equals the specific gravity of 1.0. The greater value, the lower the specific gravity and the dryer the sake. The more negative the value, the higher the specific gravity and the sweeter the sake. For example a -4 is a pretty sweet sake while a +10 is an extremely dry sake.

Nomi-dachi (飲達):

Nomi-dachi is drinking friends. I don't know the original source but Sake-Nomi (A Sake only store in Seattle) uses this term liberally :-).

Nuka (糠):

Nuka is the rice bran that is removed during rice milling or polishing.

Nuru-kan (ぬる燗):

Nuru-kan, a term for sake temperature, is "warm hot" (40°C / 104°F).

Ochi-awa (落泡):

Ochi-awa is "falling foam," a description of the foam of a stage of the moromi that follows the taka-awa stage. See: Moromi Foam.

Odori (踊):

"The dancing ferment." Odori is the most active phase of Moromi.

Otokozake (男酒):

Otokozake means "men's sake" referring to the strong bite and deep flavor. This name was given to fresh sake from Nada.

Otsurui (乙類) shōchū:

This is "second rank" shochu meaning that it has not gone through as many distillations as Korui "first rank" shōchū. Because of confusion of ranks with quality this is now mostly called Honkaku shochu.


Pasteurization is the process by which we kill off most of the bacteria, yeasts and such that are a live in whatever we are pasteurizing. I pasteurize my sake by putting it in a bath of water and bringing the sake up to a temperature of 140F and intermediately removing it from the heat. However, times and temperatures vary.

Reishu (冷酒):

Reishu is child sake.

Sakagura (酒蔵):

Sakagura or kura is a sake brewery.

Sakamai (酒米):

Sakamai is rice specifically developed or used for making sake. Shokumai is rice for eating.

Sakazuki (杯):

Sakazuki is a sake cup.

Saké (酒):

See Nihonshu.

San-Dan-Jikomi (三段仕込み):

San-Dan-Jikomi is the three step brewing method. Also, written and pronounced as san-dan-shikomi. It refers to adding koji, rice and water in three separate steps to convert the moto into the moromi.

Sando ( 酸度 ):

Sando is the acidity level. For sake the sando tends to be between 0.8 and 1.7. This value represents the number of ml of a base liquid added to 10ml of sake to make the resulting liquid pH neutral.

Sanzoshu (三増酒):

Sanzoshu is triple sake or sake that has been tripled in quantity by adding brewers alcohol. This practice started in the 1940s in Manchuria which had dire shortages. Sanzoshu makes up most the volume of sake produced.

Seimai (精米):

Seimai is rice polishing or rice milling. This is the process polishing, milling or grinding away the outer surface of the rice.

Seimai-buai (精米歩合):

The degree to which the rice is polished. For example, a 60% Seimai-buai is rice polished down to where 60% of the original rice remains.

Seimaijo (精米所):

Seimaijo is a small automated rice mill where farmers with small rice harvests can mill their own rice. A site with really nice pictures of a seimaijo is: <a href="">Seimaijo Picture</a>

Seishu (清酒):

The official Japanese name for sake.

Seizo nengetsu (製造年月):

Seizo nengetsu is the bottling date for the sake.

Shibori (搾り):

Shibori is to press or squeeze. This is the stage where the lees are pressed from the moromi or main ferment. It is also called Joso.

Shiboritate (搾立て):

Shiboritate is freshly pressed sake that is shipped without the normal conditioning period of around six months.

Shinpaku (心白):

Shinpaku, "White Heart," is the soft white opaque center of a sakemai or rice specifically for making sake. This rice tends to be larger and softer than shokumai or rice specifically for eating.

Shinseki (浸漬):

Shinseki is steeping, a process of soaking the rice to ready it for steaming.

Shinshu (新酒):

Shinshu is new sake that generally has not been aged like regular sake (i.e., aged for 3-6 months).

Shiro (白):

Shiro is white.

Shirokōjikin (白麹菌):

Shiro-koji-kin is the white koji-kin, Aspergillus Kawachi, named after the man who noticed and separated this mutation from kuro-kōji-kin or black koji-kin in the 1920s.

Shirozake (白酒):

Shirozake is a sweet white sake like drink made by combining rice, koji and shochu to form a liquor. To make shirozake the rice is steamed and mixed with koji and shochu and then left to age for a month. Once aged the mixture is puréed into a consistently smooth drink about 45% rice extracts and having 8-9% alcohol.

Shiyo kobo (使用酵母):

Shiyo kobi is the yeast variety used in the sake.

Shizukazake (雫酒):

Shizukazake is sake made by letting the sake drip from bags of moromi kasu (the fermentation lees) rather than pressing bags to filter the sake from the lees. This method is mostly used for the highest quality sake.

Shizuku ( 雫 ):

Shizuku is sake that was collected from hanging bags of moromi dripping their contents.

Shochu (焼酎):

Shochu (meaning "burning sake") is a traditional Japanese distilled drink. Shochu can be made with any of a variety of starches. Koji is used to convert the starch into sugars that can be fermented. Popular starches include: rice, sweet potato and buckwheat.

Shokumai (食米):

Shokumai is rice made for eating. This is not Sakemai (or rice make for sake making).

Shu (酒):

Shu and Sake are two different pronunciations for the same Chinese character 酒.

Shubo (酒母):

Shubo is the yeast starter or yeast mash for a batch of sake. Also called the moto.

Shuzo (酒造):

Shuzo is brewing or sometimes brewery. It is often used in the name of companies to indicate they are breweries.

Soba (蕎麦):

Soba is the Japanese word for buckwheat.

Sobajōchu (そば焼酎):

Sobajochu is shochu made from soba. For some reason そば焼酎 is common while 蕎麦焼酎 is not despite the former mixing hiragana and kanji.

Soju (소주):

Soju is a Korean distilled drink.

Sokujō (速醸):

Sokujo is the most modern method for a yeast mash or starter. Sokujo is the successor to the yamahai method. Lactic acid is added at the start of the mash to protect it from bacteria. This also halves the time needed for the mash. Earlier methods, kimoto and yamahai, naturally cultured lactobacillus bacteria to provide the needed lactic acid.

Soyashi (そやし) process:

Soyashi process is the process used to make soyashimizu, the special water used in bodai-moto. The process consists of combining a small amount of cooked rice with raw rice and water and left for several days to develop an adequate amount of lactic acid and sometimes yeast.

Soyashimizu (そやし水):

Soyashimizu is the water (mizu) created in the soyashi process. This is the process used to create the special water for bodai-moto.

Suji-awa (筋泡):

Suji-awa is "muscle foam," a description of the foam of the moromi after a few days. See: Moromi Foam.

Suzu-bie (涼冷え):

Suzu-bie, a term for sake temperature, is ""cool chilled" (15°C / 59°F).

Taka-awa (高泡):

Taka-awa is "high foam," a description of the foam of the moromi that follows the iwa-awa stage. See: Moromi Foam.

Tama-awa (玉泡):

Tama-awa is "ball foam," a description of the foam of a stage of the moromi that follows the ochi-awa stage. See: Moromi Foam.

Taru (樽):

Taru is a wood cast for storing sake. Kind of like a small barrel or keg.


Taruzake is sake that has been aged in casts so it takes on the fragrance of the wood.

Taue (田植):

Taue is rice planting. Rice is first grown in a green house or such and then planted / transplanted into a rice paddy.

Tei-seihaku-shu (低精白酒):

Tei-seihaku-shu is sake with a high seimai buai (rice milling ratio), for example 80%. One reason for using such lightly milled rice is to preserve the pure rice flavors and aromas.

To ( 斗 ):

A To is 18 liters. It is equal to 100 Go ( 合 ) which are 180ml each.

Tobikiri-kan (飛び切り燗):

Tobikiri-kan, a term for sake temperature, is "fly away for good" hot sake. (55°C / 131°F)

Tobin (斗瓶):

Tobin is a bottle which holds 1 To, 100 go or the equivalent of 18 liters.

Tobingakoi (斗瓶囲い):

Tobingakoi is sake that is pressed into tobin (bottles holding 1 To = 18 liter). The Toji can then select from the tobin the best of the best sake with the best tobin being roughly from the middle of the pressing.

Toji (杜氏):

The head brewer at a kura (sake brewery). A master sake brewer.

Toji Mei (杜氏名):

Toji Mei is the name of the toji and used on bottles to indicate where the Toji's name should be.

Tokubetsu (特別):

Tokubetsu is a special designation that indicates the sake is somehow special and applies to the Honjozo and Junmai class of sake. It is sometimes used for Ginjo class sake but has no official meaning when used in this context.

Tokutei meishō-shu (特定名称酒):

Tokutei meishō-shu is "special designation sake," which is premium sakes distinguished by the degree to which the rice is polished and whether brewer's alcohol has been added or not.

Tomezoe (留添):

Tomezoe is the third and final addition of koji, rice and water to the Moromi, the main ferment.

Tomo-dachi (友達):

Tomo-dachi mean a friend or friends. Dachi itself means friend but is very informal.

Tsubodai (壷代):

Tsubodai is a small tank used for the moto.

Yamahai (山廃):

Yamahai is a refinement of the kimoto method for creating a yeast mash or starter. The yamahai method does not puree the mash but adds a little more liquid and takes a little more time to complete.

Yamaoroshi (山卸):

Yamaoroshi is the process used to pulverize rice and koji into a paste while performing a kimoto style moto.

Yamaoroshi haishi (山卸 廃止):

Yama-oroshi haishi is to discontinue the yama-oroshi process. That is not to pulverize the moto mash into a paste. This is the original, long, phrase for the Yamahai method. Notice that Yamahai just takes the first character from each word; 山 and 廃.

Yeast (酵母).:

Yeast is a micro organism that metabolizes sugars, producing equal parts alcohol and carbon dioxide. Yeast also produces many other compounds, flavors and esters.

Yodan (四段):

Yodan is the stabilizing addition. This is after Moromi. Water, koji or sugar may be added to adjust the sake.

Yon-gō bin ( 四合瓶 ):

Yon-go bin literally means 4 Go Bottle. A bottle that holds 4 go or 4*180ml. A 720ml bottle.

Yuki-bie (雪冷え):

Yuki-bie, a term for sake temperature, is "snow chilled" (5°C / 41°F).