Introducing Namazake! Coming Soon to Our Stores

07 Nov 2019

What is Namazake?

Nama is a Japanese word that has a few meanings, like raw, live (as in live broadcast), natural state, etc. When the word nama is applied to sake, it means that sake has not gone through the pasteurizing process, in which the sake is momentarily heated to about 65°C or so to kill off enzymes and stabilize the sake.

Namazake skips the sterilization in favor of fresh, spring tastes. Nothing could be more pleasantly refreshing in Spring than a glass of namazake. It somehow conveys the essence of Spring, the newness and youth of all of nature. It is available all year round to some extent. But in Spring, just after the traditional sake brewing season has ended, is when it is most commonly seen.

Namazake is usually quite noticeably different from pasteurized sake. It is young and bold, with contrasting flavors and sharper edges, similar to a young wine. Namazake has fresher taste and fruitier aroma, whereas normal pasteurized sake is more subtle with  softer flavor and usually more suited with food. A half year or so of aging would mellow these edges out, and tie the various flavor components together, but young namazake has its own special appeal.

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Role of Pasteurization in Sake

Hiire literally translates to ‘heat treatment’ and that is pretty much what happens to the sake. The sake is not actually exposed to a naked flame, it is immersed in hot water heated to between 60-65°C for about 30 minutes. The purpose of this heat treatment is to kill off all the remaining enzymes and stop the fermentation, thus stabilising the sake. Not doing so risks leaving behind bacteria that negatively impact the aroma and flavour of the final product.

Hiire is usually performed once before storage and once before bottling.  Namazake skips both pasteurization steps, and the surviving enzymes in namazake impart a freshness, but they also alter the sake’s flavour over time. That is why a quick consumption along with refrigerated storage before and after opening is recommended. Once opened, namazake should be refrigerated and is optimal for two weeks or so. If unopened, you are good for around six months for optimal flavor.Glossary_top_namazake

Namazake Will Be Arriving to Our Stores Very Soon!

We have selected some of the best namazake and it will soon be in our store shelves! Stay tuned for more information.