All about Pasteurization in Sake Making Process

  
sake tasting
Try Raw Sake!

We know that Japanese like raw things, such as raw fish, raw beef, raw eggs, etc. —-As well as raw sake. So there is a kind of special sake called Namasake, which has a sharper aroma and fresher taste than normal sakes, because it is unpasteurized. However, most regular kinds of sake have been pasteurized, to kill a kind of lactic acid bacteria so that sake can be preserved longer. So today let’s take a glimpse of the PASTEURIZATION.

How Did Pasteurization Started and How You Do it?

Pasteurization is named after a French biochemist called Louis Pasteur, who invented this method in 1866. But it is said that long before 1866, brewers in Japan were deactivating enzymes and killing unwanted bacteria in a sake making process, just without realizing it.
Nowadays, pasteurization process has been much more developed, it can be done with modern facilities, more easily and more precisely. Generally, brewers do by passing the sake through a coiled metal pipe that sits in a vat of heated water and then moving it to a tank, or by simply immersing bottled sake in hot water. And pasteurization is achieved by heating the sake for about 30 minutes at about 65°C (150 °F).

Usually this process is done twice, ① once after filtration, and ② once before bottling. Sakes can be categorized differently according to how many times it’s pasteurized ——
Normal sake — both ① and ②
Namatsume — only ①
Namatyozo — only ②
Namasake — not pasteurized at all

Pasteurization Method of Sake Continues to Evolve

Recently, another a little special pasteurization is used by some sake breweries. For example, Gekkeikan has produced a new sake recently, called Densyo (hyakunenkoubosikomi). During the pasteurization of Densyo, they pass the sake through the pipe to heat it to 65°C, but right after that they cool it down to a low temperature. So the pasteurization is only done for 1 or 2 seconds, instead of 30 minutes as usual. This very short period pasteurization helps to keep more original aroma and flavors left inside the sake so that you can enjoy it more exquisitely. By the way, the yeast used for this bottle is also very special. It is a traditional yeast mostly used 100 years ago, and revived recently for a 100-year celebration. Definitely a must try sake!

Join Our Sake Tour!

sake tasting

Do you also want to try great local sake produced in Kyoto while visiting the city? Join our sake tour on a Kyoto Insider Sake Experience tour. You’ll get to taste and learn about a variety of sake. It’s the best way to discover the secrets of sake and Kyoto culture!

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Our Sake Tour Reviews

  • star rating  Hashimoto-san showed me around in the old traditional Sake making district Fushimi and explained me a lot about the Sake making process. I could also visit a bar where I... read more

    miclsc
    4/13/2021
  • star rating  This is a must-do experience in Kyoto. The best part of the tour is that while there is tasting, there is also so much history and knowledge you acquire along... read more

    Crystal M
    4/05/2021
  • star rating  This is the must-do-tour in your life if you are interested in Japanese sake and culture. I am Japanese. And always I wonder about Japanese sake cuz I’ve never met... read more

    Kwbtars
    7/17/2020
  • star rating  Had a blast! Would absolutely recommend to people looking for a Sake Tasting experience in Kyoto (Kyoto Fushimi Sake District - the traditional Sake brewery district). Kotaro and the staff... read more

    KrisDanielUdang
    4/19/2020
  • star rating  I recommend this tour for those that skeptical about sake. Our guide, Kotaro, was a great host and he was very professional and knowledgeable. We had a great evening and... read more

    660joseantonioo
    4/05/2020
  • star rating  I booked this tour during their slow season and the beginning stages of Covid-19 so I ended up being the only person on the tour. It was fantastic! My guide... read more

    NiecyyNastyy
    4/01/2020
  • star rating  Awesome tour! I'm not a sake drinker (always thought I hate it), but I couldn't leave Japan without tasting some of it, obviously and I'm so glad I joined this... read more

    103anickf
    3/24/2020
  • star rating  Kotaro and Mayo were very informative about the processes of making sake and the different types of sake. It was very interesting to do the tasting session and see how... read more

    Laurab0567
    3/24/2020
  • star rating  So very glad I chose this tour. I had no knowledge of the creative process required for sake production. Kotaro painstakingly walked us through the entire “brewing” procedure and the... read more

    maggie44113
    3/14/2020
  • star rating  The Sake experience in Kyoto gave us the perfect Chance to learn everything we wanted to know about Sake. Our Host Kotaro was very friendly, answering all of our questions.... read more

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    3/11/2020

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