Discover the Story Behind Aged Sake

4Into the Deeper World of Aged Sake

Last time we have talked about some basic stuff about aged sake, such as aging methods and changes of taste. But what kind of containers do they usually use when they age sake? Let’s take a glimpse of it today.

In the past, lots of breweries used wooden tanks to age sake, especially cedar tanks or cedar barrels. When stored in cedar tanks or barrels, the scent of cedar trees is absorbed by sake, so that people can enjoy the unique wooden freshness when drinking. Among the ingredients they use to make cedar tanks or barrels, Yoshino cedar -from Nara prefecture- is especially famous and often used.
By the way, lots of [sugidama (cedar balls)] are also made from Yoshino cedar.

As Time Went By

However, wooden tanks were not really clean, as a result, sake often spoiled. Therefore, nowadays more and more breweries turn to use metal tanks, such as steel tanks and enamel tanks. No extra cedar taste is involved anymore, but sake has become more stable than before. But if you still want some extra flavor added, you can put some wooden sticks, which are specially produced for sake flavor adding, inside the bottle a couple of days before you start drinking. By the way, my master has tried to do this some times and has had some unique and enjoyable drinking experiences until now.

Besides, sake can also be aged after it’s been bottled. The advantage of storing in a bottle is that the risk of oxidation is lower due to less contact with air compared to tank storage. Also, this means we can age sakes easily by ourselves, just by buying some bottles then forgetting them on the shelf for decades…

Besides these containers, some breweries also use some tanks that have been used to age wine or whisky to age sake, which are what I am really curious about…

During Meiji period, a policy was launched by the government that sake would be taxed since the starting day of aging. It means that the longer sake is aged, the more tax breweries have to pay, the more expensive aged sake is, the less people consume. Therefore, lots of breweries quitted aging sake since that. But from 1950s, the policy was abolished, aging culture has revived. Although aging sakes are still not very popular nowadays, an increasing number of breweries have become willing to try to do that, with different methods, with various containers…

Make a Visit to Sake District in Kyoto

Kyoto is one of the big sake producing area in Japan. In Kyoto there’s lots of sake breweries that you can visit.

At the sake experience you can learn the traditional sake making process that has been running for many years.
In the autumn ~ winter season, you also might be able to see the sight of the sake making process.

Not only learning about the secrets of the sake making process, there are some breweries that you can taste the sakes that are made in the brewery. Why don’t you visit Kyoto’s sake breweries and enjoy sake to the fullest?

If you visit Kyoto, there’s lots of experiences that you can do. Why don’t you join these experience and definitely it will be a great time to spend.

And…
If you have interest in sake tour, or in order to enjoy your trip to Japan more, don’t forget to join our tour Kyoto Insider Sake Experience. You will discover more local sakes and learn differences of categories to find your favourite bottle!

 

Related post

  1. Gekkeikan
  2. sake cedar ball
  3. sake brewery visit
  4. sake tasting bar

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Our Sake Tour Reviews

  •   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 differences among the many types of sake created with different rices, percentages of polishing, pasteurization...More

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    3/14/2020
  •   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. I liked the variety of Sakes we got to taste and especially the food-pairing was...More

    thumb Leonferdinandcorin
    3/11/2020
  •   Very informative tour and tasting. The guide, Kotaro, spoke perfect English and was very knowledgeable. The regular museum was closed (like most of Japan at the moment) but we still managed to visit another brewery instead. The tastings were great - very different styles of...More

    thumb GreenSandwich
    3/10/2020
  •   Highly informative tour with excellent explanations behind the different types of sake. Find out which you like and how to find it in a bottle shop!

    thumb jamesh202020
    3/09/2020
  •   We had a fantastic time during our insider sake experience tour. Kotaro was very knowledgeable and friendly and made the experience very enjoyable for us. We learned the true way to enjoy sake both by itself and with food thanks to Kotaro. I would definitely...More

    thumb MrPedroB
    3/03/2020
  •   Extremely informative to finally understand the various types of sake and choose your favourite and how to combine with food. Highly recommended!

    thumb marcofP4557RC
    3/03/2020
  •   Kotaro was very knowledgeable and described the tour very well. He answered all of my questions and helped out a great deal with my understanding. I would recommend this tour to anyone who is interested in learning about sake

    thumb Sampenna
    3/03/2020
  •   The tour included a visit to a brewery with our guide, Asahi, giving a very informed overview of how Sake is made. He was able to answer any questions we had and made it an easy process to understand. There were tastings of 3 Sakes...More

    thumb GharghurMark
    3/01/2020
  •   The many reviews saying how good this tour is are spot on: this is a very good tour. Kotaro is very knowledgeable, ready to answer questions from all, whether general, technical or historical. The info he provided, particularly with the food pairing (which was a...More

    thumb og646
    2/22/2020
  •   Totally awesome experience. Everything was made clear. Meeting point was easy to find - just a couple of hundred metres from the nearest train station. The tour itself was extremely informative and enjoyable. There was two tastings involved - one at the main Sake brewery...More

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    2/19/2020

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