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

  •   My cousin and I went to this 'sake experience' and what an experience! Kotaro is very welcoming and sweet. He simply created a nice and relaxed atmosphere. The 'Kyoto insider sake experince' is both educational and very interesting. Also, it was interesting to learn more...More

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    8/18/2019
  •   Kotaro spoke excellent english. History of area was very interesting. Sake factory tour was informative and detailed. Got to try many different types of sake back at the HQ with excellent food and an informative review and taste description of each sake. Everything I could...More

    thumb bjpw98
    8/15/2019
  •   Kotaro explaind a lot of things and it was really interesting. It was great to test diffrent type of sake and to know what the diffrences were abbout them. With a little bit of excersie you can read the sake bottles without any help. We...More

    thumb Kira95714
    8/12/2019
  •   Had a great time with this tour, it was easy to find, just down the street from the train station we used to get there. From there it was a small walk to the brewery we visited and was an overall great experience and learned...More

    thumb Mark E
    8/07/2019
  •   great experience with Kotaro. came here with friends. he knows his stuff and is extremely passionate and professional. the food pairing with sake was A+++. thanks!

    thumb Paradise397570
    8/01/2019
  •   We were not well versed on Sake. Trying it here and there. Well now I feel like an expert. The process explanation as well as finding your preferred taste with and without food. Thanks Kotaro was lovely to meet you. The small group was also...More

    thumb Nscook13
    7/27/2019
  •   Had a blast learning about Sake with Rieko and Kotaro. Great value for money as we tasted 10 different kinds of Sake. Each sake was unique, and when paired with food was a whole different experience. One pair even tasted like Tiramisu! Great in any...More

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    7/27/2019
  •   A fantastic introduction to the world of sake - the brewery gave us an appreciation of the work and traditions that go into the making of sake. Amazing to find out how long they have been making it and why Kyoto is such an excellent...More

    thumb Clare R
    7/22/2019
  •   We really enjoyed the tour of the brewery in combination with the sake tasting. Not only was the teacher well versed in the material, but he was able to convey the information in a way that we could understand and remember. We used our new...More

    thumb bootop
    7/22/2019
  •   Great way to spend an afternoon in Japan! The class teaches how to interpret, appreciate, and pair different kinds of Sake. An included Sake brewery tour was also a fun way to learn more about the history of the beverage before trying it. Kotaro was...More

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    7/21/2019

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