Akashi-Tai Honjozu Genshu Tokubetsu Gohyakumangoku Sake is a traditional Japanese Sake. It is made using high quality rice – 100% Gohyakumangoku rice from the Hyogo prefecture. The term Genshu denotes that this is an undiluted sake, hence the higher alcohol of 19% ABV.
The Akashi Sake Brewery (ASB) began sake production in 1886 in the town of Akashi, one of the major fishing ports in the west of Japan. It is named Akashi after the town and Tai after the sea bream for which the region is famous and which features on the labels. The local soils are fertile and perfect for rice growing whilst there is a plentiful supply of clean spring water which is essential for the production of quality sake. Over the years the brewery has modernised and expanded into other products (the distilled spirit, shochu etc.) but it remains a small artisanal brewery or “kura”. The current president of ASB is Kimio Yonezawa who aims to make the best possible sake by using the best rice and puts great emphasis on sensory analysis controlling the quality and consistency of his sake rather than using hi-tech wizardry. Akashi-Tai sake is brewed using traditional equipment and methods, always by hand and in small batches, the way it has been for centuries. That is not to say that that they do not embrace modern techonology, fermentation is now temperature controlled for example.
Sake is made from rice. Essentially rice is milled, soaked, steamed, fermented with a mould fungus called “koji”, filtered, water added and then bottled. Milling (Seimai-Buai) removes proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins from the rice grains leaving only the white starch heart. Removing more of the outer of the rice by more thorough milling results in fewer congeners, therefore producing a cleaner brew and a finer, more elegant sake. Depending on the type of sake, distiller’s alcohol (grain alcohol) can sometimes also be added to the fermenting sake mash which adds vibrancy and to the aromas and flavours.
As mentioned above Akashi-Tai Honjozu Genshu Tokubetsu Gohyakumangoku Sake is made from high quality rice, 100% Gohyakumangoku rice from the Hyogo prefecture. For the Honjozu Genshu Tokubetsu the rice is milled to remove 40% of the outer (bran), i.e. the Rice Milling rate is 60%. Tokubetsu (special) sake is a special or limited production of sake from a brewery. The Honjozu Genshu Tokubetsu is different from their “standard” Honjozo – normally this means that there is a higher degree of rice milling or a special method of production has been employed. A Genshu sake is an undiluted sake, this means that it they tend to be fuller in body and more concentrated than a standard Honjozo Sake. This is the drink that the brewmasters reach for at the end of the working day!
Bottled at 19% ABV.