Components Required Of a Sake Brewing Rice
Brown rice for sake brewing defined by the Agricultural Products Inspection Law is commonly referred to as “sake-brewing rice.” Factors required for sake production are large grains (25-30g), “have a proper shape of shimpaku, “be low in proteins and lipids” and “have good water absorption.” Major factors that influence sake brewing are the fact that the hyphae of koji mold can easily reach the center since the shimpaku is soft, that the grain has high absorbency, and is soluble during fermentation. It is also required to steam rice so that the outside is hard and the inside is soft, a state in which hyphae of koji mold can reach the center (a state called gaiko nainan, literally “outside hard, inside soft”). In addition to brown rice for sake brewing (sake-brewing rice), other varieties may be used as a raw material for sake, and in that case the rice is called “general rice for food (cooked rice or general rice).” Furthermore, rice used as a raw material of sake is generically called “sake rice.”
Cultivation Condition Of a Sake Brewing Rice
Sake-brewing rice has a very high height of the rice ear and so there is a risk that it is prone to collapse especially in typhoon season. For example, Koshihikari and Sasanishiki around 1 m 20-30 cm tall, but Yamada-nishiki is more than 1 m 50 cm tall. Therefore, it is essential to grow strong rice, and it is necessary that the soil contains a suitable amount of nutrients, and that the spacing between seedlings be increased to provide a lot of sunshine and air. In addition, the cost is extremely high and yield is low compared to general rice for food because it requires to be grown in a place where there is a temperature difference between morning and evening (such as mountainous areas), and requires skilled farmers with cultivation techniques. Rice stores more nutrients during the warm daytime, but the stored nutrients will be consumed as energy if it is warm at night. Therefore, low temperatures consume less nutrients at night which tends to result in high quality rice. It is said that the incidence of Shimpaku is also increased with the temperature difference
Varieties of sake-brewing rice
The top 10 products by variety of sake-brewing rice in 2015 announced by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries are shown. Although there are about 100 varieties of sake-brewing rice, the first place Yamada-nishiki and second place Gohyakuman-goku alone account for about 60% of total.
Production Varieties of Sake-Brewing Rice
|Origin||Sake-brewing rice||General rice|
|Hokkaido||Gin-puu, Kitashizuku, Suisei||Kirara,Kirara397,Yukihikari|
|Aomori||Hanafubuki, Hanaomoi||Okuhomare, Tsugaruotome, Tsugaruroman|
|Iwate||Ginginga, Ginotome, Yuinoka||Akitakomachi, Akihikari, Kiyonishiki|
|Miyagi||Kuranohana||Sasanishiki, Sasaminori, Satohonami|
|Akita||Akitasake-komachi, Miyama-nishiki||Akitakomachi, Akihikari, Kiyonishiki|
|Yamagata||Dewa-sansan, Miyaman-nishiki, Dewa no-sato||Akitakomachi, Koshihikari, Kiyonishiki|
|Fukushima||Gohyakuman-goku, Yumenokaori, hanafubuki||Akihikari, Kiyonishiki, Koshihikari|
|Ibaraki||Wakamizu, Gohyakuman-goku, Miyama-nishiki||Akitakomachi, Kinuhikari, Koshihikari|
|Tochigi||Gohyakuman-goku, Yamada-nishiki||Ahinishiki, Kunuhikari, Sasanishiki|
|Gunma||Wakamizu, Maikaze||Aoisora, Tsukinohikari|
|Saitama||Sakemusashi||Akinishiki, Kinuhikari, Tsukinohikari|
|Chiba||Fusanomai||Koshihikari, Tdorokiwase, Fusakogane|
|Niigata||Gohyakuman-goku||Akihikari, Koshihikari, Sensyuraku|
|Toyama||Gohyakuman-goku, Oyama-nishiki, Tominokaori||Akihikari, Koshihikari, Sensyuraku|
|Ishikawa||Gohyakuman-goku, Ishikawasake52||Kagahikari, Notohikari, Hounenwase|
|Fukui||Gohyakuman-goku, Koshinoshizuku, Yamada-nishiki||Fukuhikari|
|Yamanashi||Yumesansui, Hitogokochi, Tamasakae||Sasanishiki, Toyonishiki|
|Nagano||Miyama-nishiki, Hitogokochi||Shinanokogane, Todorokiwase, Fukuhikari|
|Gifu||Hidahomare||Shirayukihime, Toyonishiki, Hatsushimo|
|Shizuoka||Yamada-nishiki, Homarefuji, Gohyakuman-goku||Ginomi, Koganenishiki, Harebare|
|Aichi||Yumesansui, Yumeginga, Wakamizu||Chiyonishiki, Hatsushimo, Yamahikari|
|Mie||Yamada-nishiki, Kaminoho||Ukonnishiki, Ozora, Yamahikari|
|Shiga||Ginfubuki, Tamasakae||Kinuhikari, Ginomi, Sasanishiki|
|Kyoto||Iwai, Gohyakuman-goku||Kinuhikari, Ginomi, Sassanishiki|
|Osaka||Omachi, Gohyakuman-goku, Yamada-nishiki||Koganemasari, Harebare|
|Hyogo||Yamada-nishiki, Gohyakuman-goku, Hyogo-yumenishiki||Akihikari, Kinmaze, Nakateshinsembon|
|Nara||Yamada-nishiki, Tsuyubakaze||Akitsuho, Tsukinohikari, Hourei|
|Wakayama||Ghyakuman-goku, Tamasakae, Yamada-nishiki|
|Tottori||Yamada-nishiki, Tamasakae, Goriki||Koganehikari, Yamadahikari, Yamabiko|
|Shimane||Gohyakuman-goku, Yamada-nishiki, Sakanishiki||Chidori, Hayaozeki, Nipponbare|
|Okayama||Yamada-nishiki, Omachi||Asahi, Akihikari, Akebono|
|Hiroshima||Hattan-nishiki NO.1, Yamada-nishiki, Hattan NO.35||Akitsuho, Koimomiji, Nakateshinsembon|
|Yamaguchi||Yamada-nishiki, Seitonoshizuku, Hakutsurunishiki||Nakateshinsembon, Harebare, Yamahikari|
|Tokushima||Yamada-nishiki||Koganemasari, Nipponbare, Minenishiki|
|Kagawa||Yamadan-nishiki, Omachi||Oseto, Koganemasari, Sanukiyoimai|
|Ehime||Shizukuhime, Yamada-nishiki||Aikoku, Akitakiomachi, Koganemasari|
|Kochi||Ginnoyume, Yamada-nishiki||Akitsuho, Koganemasari, Tsukushihomare|
|Fukuoka||Yamada-nishiki||Kinuhikari, Koganebare, Tsukushihomare|
|Saga||Yamada-nishiki, Saganohana||Sagabiyori, Hinohikari, Yumeshizuku|
|Kumamoto||Yamada-nishiki, Hananishiki||Shinrei, Hinohikari, Reiho|
|Oita||Yamda-nishiki, Gohyakuman-goku, Wakamizu||Koganebare|
Characteristics of each of the top 20 varieties of sake-brewing rice by production quantity
“Yamadaho” and “Tankanwataribune” were cross-fertilized in Hyogo Prefecture in 1923, and a superior line was named as Yamada-nishiki in 1936. It was designated as a recommended breed in Hyogo Prefecture (late ripening). As the shimpaku is filamentous and a little small, it is possible to polish to ahigh quality, and it became famous during the Ginjo-shu boom (around 1980-90). In addition, the rice is soft and easy to make high quality koji with, has low proteins content, has high quality conditions, and is considered to be useful for a traditional sake brewery as a variety that van be easily used to create the intended sake quality. It is also said that it is easy to become a beautiful flavor, as well as rich and soft flavor. In 2001, it surpassed Gohyakuman-goku in terms of production quantities and became the first place sake-brewing rice by area planted. However, it is prone to falling over and their disease resistance is low.
In 1938, “Kikusui” and “Shin No.200” were cross-fertilized and developed in Niigata Prefecture. In 1957, it was named to commemorate that amount of rice produced in Niigata Prefecture had topped about 750,000 tons, that is equivalent to 5 milion (Gohyakuman) koku. A koku is an old unit of measurement equivalent to about 159kg, and the name of the variety of rice means 5 million koku.
It was in the most produced rice by area planted for nearly 40 years until it was overtaken by Yamada-nishiki in 2001. This is because compared with other sake-brewing rice it is an early ripening variety with a relatively early harvest time, and cultivation was possible in various parts of the country (especially in East Japan). It is difficult to polish to high quality and not suitable for ginjo-shu or daiginjo-shu due to its large sticky when rice is steamed and for koji to be formed it is said to have light flavor because it is slightly less soluble.
It is a mutated species (medium ripening) developed by radiation treatment of “Takanenishiki” in Nagano Prefecture in 1978. Because of its high cool weather resistance and its ability to grow in cold climates, it is widely grown in the Tohoku region as well as Nagano Prefecture. It is said to have light flavor.
Based on the rice ear Jinzo Kishimoto of Takashimamuraomashi-town in Okayama Prefecture brought back on a return from worship to Hokinokuni Daisen, it has been cultivated for over 100 years, after being selected and improved in 1866.
However, what is currently being grown is the reselected cultivar at the Okayama agricultural experimental station in 1921 (late ripening), which makes it the ancestors of Yamada-nishiki and Gohyakuman-goku (About two thirds of existing sake-brewing rice is said to take over the line of Omachi).
It was highly evaluated as sake rice and grown mainly in Okayama Prefecture around the Thisho era, but the number of cultivators has decreased gradually due to low resistance to falling over, disease resistance and low yield. In the 1970s, the cultivated area was reduced to about 3ha, but after that, cultivation revival was recommended in Okayama Prefecture, and it started to increase. It has a large grain size. The incidence rate of a large shimpaku tends to be high and it has an eye shape, so it is not suitable for a high quality polished rice. In addition, it is easy to have a thick flavor because it is soft and soluble.
Omachi has varieties that have the names of places of Okayama Prefecture, such as “Bizen-omachi” and “Akaiwa-omachi,” names of other areas, such as “Hiba-omachi” and “Hyogo-omachi,” and names of cross-fertilized species, such as “Kairyo-Omachi” and “Koi-omachi.”
“Akikei sake 251” and “Akikei sake 306” were cross-fertilized and developed in Akita Prefecture in 2001 (medium ripening). It was developed with the aim of becoming a sake-brewing rice from Akita Prefecture, which is not inferior to Yamada-nishiki, and it was designated as a recommended variety in Akita Prefecture in 2003. It has a large grain size with slightly high incidence of shimpaku. Although it is eye-shaped, it can be polished to ahigh quality as it is not too big. It is said to have light flavor with its distinct sweetness and flavor.
“Miyama-nishiki” and “Hanafubuki” were cross-fertilized and developed in Yamagata Prefecture in 1995 (medium ripening). It was developed with the aim of becoming a high quality and unique sake-brewing rice from Yamagata Prefecture, and it was designated as a recommended variety in Yamagata Prefecture in the same year. It has a large grain size with a high incidence of shimpaku. Because it is soft and soluble, it easily gives a slightly strong flavor.
In order to display a certificate “DEWA 33” (Pure Yamagata Sake Committee Certificate) established by the Yamagata Prefecture Sake Manufacturers’ Assciation, the rice used should be 100% Dewasansan, it should meet the jummai-ginjo-shu standard with 55% or less of rice-polishing rate, it should use the Yamagata sake yeast and Olize Yamagata, which is a koji mold developed originally by Yamagata Prefecture.
“Shirotaenishiki” and “Shinko No.444” were cross-fertilized and developed in Nagano Prefecture in 1994 (early ripening). It was developed with the aim of becoming a sake-brewing rice from Nagano Prefecture as a replacement for Miyama-nishiki. Compared with Miyama-nishiki, it has high cold weather resistance, resistance to falling over, and high yield. The incidence rate of a large shimpaku tends to be high and it has an eye shape, so it is not suitable for high quality polished rice.
“Hattan No.35 (Hiroshima hattan)” and “Akitsuho” were cross-fertilized and developed in Hiroshima Prefecture in 1983 (early ripening). It has a large grain size and a large shimpaku. It is said to have a number of varieties that have the name Hattan, such as the sister variety “Hattan-nishiki No.2,” but all of them have their roots in the “Hattan-so,” which is considered almost an illusion now.
“Okuhomare” and “Fu-kei No.103” were cross-fertilized and developed in Aomori Prefecture in 1985(medium ripening). It was developed with the aim of becoming a sake-brewing rice from Aomori Prefecture with high cold weather resistance and disease resistance. It has a large grain size and the shimpaku has an eye shape. It is not suitable for high quality polished rice, and is often used for products that mees the jummai-shu standard for the same prefecture.
“Hattan-nishiki No.2,” “Joiku No.404” and “Kirara 397” were cross-fertilized and developed in Hokkaido in 1998 (medium ripening). This is the second developed sake-brewing rice in Hokkaido next to Hatsushizuku. It has a slightly large grainsize with a high incidence of shimpaku.
“Yamada-nishiki” and “Gohyokuman-goku” were cross-fertilized and developed in Niigata Prefecture in 2004 (late ripening). Since the Gohyakuman-goku is not suitable for high quality polished rice, it was developed with the aim of becoming a sake-brewing rice from Niigata Prefecture for exhibition liquor in National New Sake Awards. The yield is lower than Gohyakuman-goku, but higher than Yamada-nishiki. It has a large grain size and contains less proteins. Also, it possesses a small filamentous shimpaku. It is said to have a soft and rich flavor. It has a low resistance to falling over, and therefore it is difficult to cultivate.
12.Yume no kaori
“Hattan-nishiki No.1” and “Dewa-sansan” were cross-fertilized and developed in Fukushima Prefecture in 2000 (medium ripening). It was developed with the aim of becoming an alternative variety to Gohyakuman-goku. Shimpaku is large, and the incidence is higher than Gohyakuman-goku. Resistance to falling over is said to be high.
“Hidaminori,” “Fukunohana” and “Fukunishiki” were cross-fertilized and developed in Gifu Prefecture in 1981 (early riening). It has been developed as a variety suitable for cultivation even in the cold Hida district. It has a large grain size with the high incidence of shimpaku.
14.Kura no hana
“Yamada-nishiki,” and “Tohoku No.140” were cross-fertilized, and then “Tohoku No.140” was cross-fertilized and developed in Miyagi Prefecture in 1997 (medium ripening). It was developed with the aim of becoming an alternative variety to Miyanma-nishiki. Senryuju is nearly same as Miyama-nishiki ormore, but the incidence of shimpaku is lower. It contains less proteins. Cold weather resistance and resistance to falling over are both high.
“Dewa-sansan” and “Akitasake No.49” were cross-fertilized and developed in Iwate Prefecture in 1999 (medium ripening). It was developed with the aim of becoming an alternative variety to Miyama-nishiki. The incidence of shimpaku is higher than Miyama-nishiki and cold weather resistance is also high.
“Hokuriku No.12” and “Norin No.17” were cross-fertilized and developed in Nagano Prefecture in 1952 (early ripening). It was developed with the aim of becoming suitable for cultivation in cold region. It has a slightly small grain size, and the incidence of shimpaku is low. It contains a lot of proteins. The production quantity decreased with the appearance of Miyama-nishiki.
“Yamasakae” and “Shiragiku” were cross-fertilized and developed in Aichi Prefecture in 1965 (medium ripening). It has a large grain size, the incidence of shimpaku is slightly low, and the yield is high. Although it is not suitable for ginjo-shu, it is said to have a unique flavor if ripened.
“Kikusakae,” “Yamada-nishiki” and “Hyo-kei No.23” were cross-fertilized and developed in Hyogo Prefecture in 1993 (early ripening). It is a suitable species for the West Harima area in Hyogo Prefecture. A lot of this has been produced as a variety superior to Nadanishiki, which was cultivated in the area before. It as a larger grain size than Nadanishiki, and the incidence of shimpaku is high. The shape of shimpaku is filamentous and slightly large.
“Aifune 117” and “Yamao 67” were cross-fertilized and developed in Hyogo Prefecture in 1949 (late ripening). It was named after taking one character from both species. Although the grandparents are Yamada-nishiki and Omachi, it has a bigger grain size than Yamada-nishiki, large shimpaku and high incidence, so it is not suitable for high quality polished rice. It has a property of being easy to dissolve and it requires a high technology for production, but the product is said to have a unique flavor. It is cultivated mainly in the special A area of Yamada-nishiki in Hyogo Prefecture.
20.Dewa no sato
“Ginfubuki” and “Dewa-sansan” were cross-fertilized and developed in Yamagata Prefecture in 2004 (medium ripening). It was developed with the aim of becoming varieties with higher quality than Miyama-nishiki and Dewa-sansan. Cold weather resistance is extremely high. It has a large grain size, a large shimpaku, and high incidence, so it is not suitable for high quality polished rice.