Crafting Sake with Flower Kobo Yeast (Monday, July 1st, 2013)
Amabuki Shuzo Co., Ltd.
Although quite new to the U.S. market, the sake from Amabuki Shuzo has been enjoyed in Japan for centuries. The brewery’s foundation dates back to 300 years ago in the fertile Saga plain, located in the Western part of Kyushu Island. They are also blessed with great undercurrent water originating from the Sefuri Mountains, which is optimal for brewing sake with a soft, mild taste profile. The warm climate contributes to the production of flavorful sake. But they are not just dependant on the local produce and bound by industry traditions, rather they are quite enthusiastic about using ingredients from other areas and trying new techniques.
One good example of their challenging spirit is reflected in their sake series, which uses flower kobo yeast. Finding and introducing flower kobo yeast is relatively new in the sake brewing history, and Amabuki Shuzo is one of the pioneers of making use of this type of kobo. The brewery has tried a number of different kinds, and currently they employ 9 kinds of flower kobos to obtain a variety of characteristics such as aromatic, flavorful, crisp and refreshing.
Five sakes from Amabuki’s flower kobo series are available in the U.S. Made with sunflower kobo, Junmai Ginjo Himawarikoubo Nama is a dry and refreshing sake that goes very well with vegetables. Its sharp aftertaste is perfect as a summer drink. Junmai Ginjo Ichigokoubo Nama highlights strawberry kobo’s fruitiness. Wonderful with dishes using olive oil such as carpaccio and Caprese, it naturally fits the Western palate. Yamahai Junmai Omachi boasts a full body and sharp aftertaste coming from the traditional “yamahai” brewing method and marigold kobo’s reserved aroma. Ginnokurenai made use of the kobo of pink flower and has an impressive rose color from red rice. Daiginjo Yamadanishiki is made from the highest grade sake rice, Yamadanishiki, and abelia flower kobo. Fragrant, with a rich rice flavor, it is ideal as an aperitif.
It is almost a year since Amabuki’s sake was introduced to the U.S., but the flavors reminiscent of flowers have already created a buzz. Crafted with a unique concept, Amabuki’s flower kobo sake has something irresistible for wine lovers.
Amabuki Shuzo Co., Ltd.
3 things you should know about AMABUKI SHUZO
Amabuki Shuzo cherishes traditions and cultures handed down for centuries. Their 100-year-old, wooden brewing cellar is still in use, where brewers handcraft sake. The cellar’s façade has a relief of “Fuujin” (God of Winds) pattern created by a skilled dauber with trowels, symbolizing the image of Amabuki, meaning winds blowing from heaven.
In order to pull out the feature of naturally obtained flower kobo, they brew sake in smaller tanks than usual. By doing so, they can control the production process frequently and carefully and ultimately improve the quality.
Koji, an important agent in breaking down rice starch into sugar, can be manufactured by machine. However, Amabuki Shuzo is particular about making koji using craftspeople’s hands, giving a human touch to the flavor.