Greetings sake lovers,
Perhaps you have ordered, purchased or someone has gifted you with sake labelled with the term ‘Enshin Bunriki’ and although you noticed something different in the flavour of that sake, perhaps you didn’t realize that what you were tasting was a little sake revolution — no pun intended. That is because Enshin Bunriki translates to centrifuge in English. So in other words, the sake might have been for a little spin and that’s why it tastes so different. Read on, to learn more.
What is a Centrifuge
Wikipedia explanation of Centrifuge
A machine with a rapidly rotating container that applies centrifugal force to its contents, typically to separate fluids of different densities (e.g. cream from milk) or liquids from solids.
And that’s essentially how brewers use it in sake brewing, to press the sake; the liquid in this case being sake and the solids being the lees.
History of the Lesser Known Revolution
The first sake centrifuge was a joint development project between the Fermentation Test Labs of the Food Research Institute in Akita, Japan and Tokyo-based centrifuge maker, Kokusan (Est 1919). It was patented in 2005 and was called the “Ginjo Moromi Press System” and is still the only one in production for sale in the industry today. Two versions were released: “H-130G1H(S)” with a 35 litre capacity and “H-130I1H(S)” with a larger 60 litre capacity. Only 10 breweries own a centrifuge, but with a 20 million Japanese yen price tag, it’s perhaps not surprising that more have not yet made the investment.
How the Sake Centrifuge Works
・The machine spins the ginjo moromi approximately 3000 times per minute
・The machine is fitted with a cooling system and the inside of the press is airtight
・The mixture is automatically divided up into sake, koji, yeast and sake kasu
The Merits of the Centrifuge Press
・Pressing sake using centrifugal forces instead of pressure places less of a burden on the sake itself producing much clearer sake. It’s the same logic as that behind the Fukuro Shibori (drip-drip) method, a technique that leverages gravity dating all the way back to the early days of brewing. (read more in this article)
・As the machine is stainless steel the press itself does not impart any aromas into the sake.
・The airtight seal keeps all ginjo aromas inside the press and makes sure they make it into the end sake.
・As the sake is pressed under the same conditions every time, the end result is always consistently the same.
The demerits of using the Centrifuge Press.
・As the press is expensive, the end sake often ends up being as well.
・It is not possible to output the different fractions: Arabashiri, Nakadori & Seme of the moromi using a Centrifuge press.
A list of Breweries that have Implemented the Centrifuge and their Products
|Product Name||Brewery Name||Location|
|Yamato Shizuku Tornado||Akita Seishu||Daisen City, Akita Prefecture|
|Katsuyama Akatsuki||Katsuyama Shuzo||Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture|
|Hokusetsu YK35 Shin||Hokusetsu Shuzo||Sadogashima, Niigata Prefecture|
|Chiyo no Hikari Sasanigori Nama Tangetsu||Chiyo no Hikari Shuzo||Myoko City, Niigata|
|Kaika Junmai Ginjo Centrifuge Nama||Daiichi Shuzo||Sano City, Tochigi Prefecture|
|Dassai Centrifuge 23||Asahi Shuzo||Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi Prefecture|
To sum up, sake pressed with a centrifuge is more aromatic, more elegant with a more stable flavour profile. Those breweries that use the centrifuge often release a version of the product pressed using it and a version pressed the conventional way so you might be able to directly compare and see the difference in flavour and aroma. It’s just another element of modern brewing that adds a whole new dimension to the experience. While we can’t promise you will find any at KURAND, there are plenty of other things to explore in our lineup. Perhaps one of these days, we will team up with a partner brewery and have a go at making sake this way ourselves.
Note: In Japanese, Enshin Bunriki is written using 4 Chinese characters as shown below.