2016.11.01

Things You Need to Know About Brewery Rice First of All

 BAMRestaurant

As you may know, sake is basically produced with only rice and water.
To differentiate the taste and express the uniqueness, the choice of ingredients gives very large effect to the result.
That is why there are about 90 kinds of brewery rice.
Each of them has own special characteristic.
By learning more about brewery rice, you can increase the chance to meet your favorite taste.

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Difference between eating and brewery rice

1. Size
The grain of brewery rice is basically larger than that of eating rice.
This is simply why the surface of brewery rice should be milled for brewing.
Small grain of rice is very easy to break in the middle of milling.

2. Core
Good brewery rice has white dot in the middle of grain.
This dot consists of starch. Rice contains starch, protein, fat, and some vitamins.
However, besides starch, those are not necessary for brewing sake.
And, this cluster of starch is very easy to melt in sake barrels, so that brewers mill the surface of rice and bare this white dot.
Recently, there are some sake produced with non-polished rice.
I mentioned that protein and fat is not necessary for brewing, but it’s also true those component gives the complexity to sake’s taste.
Sake produced with high-polished rice is clean and smooth, but sometimes it’s too simple.
To enjoy different taste, sake produced with less-polished rice is one of the great choice.

3. Less protein and fat
As mentioned the previous paragraph, protein and fat are not necessary for brewing.
Less protein and fat is the condition of good brewery rice.
If you have chance, please try to eat brewery rice. As evidence of this, it’s very undelicious.

4. Hard outside, soft inside
To hold the pressure from the rice mill, the surface of grain has to be hard enough.
Contrary to the surface, center of rice has to be soft.
It has to be easy to melt in the sake barrels.

5. Absorb water
Brewery rice should absorb water a lot. Otherwise, it’s very difficult to make good steamed rice.
Without good steamed rice, the quality of koji rice should be very poor.
Koji rice is the very basic of sake brewing, so that absorbing water is very important characteristic against brewery rice.

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6 Major brewery rice good to know


Yamadanishiki|山田錦
It’s called the kind of brewery rice. Production quantity is the largest in all brewery rice.
Because of its 2 features such as easy to brew and well-balanced taste, lots of breweries were attracted by this excellent brand.
However, some highly experienced brewers started to get bored with brewing sake with this rice, since it’s too honour.
The result of brewing can’t deviate human’s expectation.

Production center:Hyogo

Gohyakumangoku|五百万石
It was invented in Niigata and stands its brewing. Its production quantity is 2nd largest.
Most of brewery in Niigata, Toyama, Ishikawa and Fukui use this brand.
The taste produced with this rice tends to be drier and cleaner.
Due to its cleanness, the aroma is distinguished and more fruity.
It’s difficult to bring the richness and mildness out.

Production center:Niigata


Miyamanishiki|美山錦
This is originally produced in Nagano but mainly produced in Tohoku area such as Akita, Yamagata and Iwate.
The sake produced with this brand is similar to the one of Gohyakumangoku, however, it’s milder, sweeter but less aromatic.
We can enjoy the gentle umami influenced by rice.

Production center:Nagano


Omachi|雄町
It is said that the root of brewery rice. About 40 kinds of brewery rice is native to Omachi.
It is a troublesome rice to farmers, since it’s very easy to fall down due to its height can reach 160cm,
which is one of the highest rice, and heavy ears. Farmers need tremendous time to sustain its stem.
That is why the price is super expensive and it is sometimes called “Visionary brewery rice”.
It’s also troublesome for brewers. Owing to it characteristic such as very soft and absorbing water so fast,
sophisticated skill and concentration must be necessary. The sake produced with Omachi tends to have 4 characteristic.

1)Full-body
2)Complex umami
3)Long lasting after taste
4)Transformation in matured.

A few breweries use Omachi recently, so that you should try it when you find it in bottle shops or restaurants.

Production center:Okayama


Hattennishiki|八反錦
This brand represents the brewing of Hiroshima and its mild and rich taste is the key characteristic. Aroma is gentle.

Production center:Hiroshima


Kamenoo|亀の尾
It used to be extinct because it was very difficult to grow.
Improvement of agricultural technology enables this brand to revive in this century.
The taste is rich but the after taste is dry and sour.
Complexity of taste is higher than the other brewery rice.

Production center:Yamagata

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Dried Rice Plants