Before bottling and shipping, pure water is usually added to sake to adjust the alcohol content from the typical 20% or so, down to about 16%.
But not in the case of genshu, where water has not been added to the sake.
In most instances (including where there has been an addition of brewer’s alcohol), genshu has an alcohol content of 18%-21%.
An alcohol content of about 20% is often a bit too strong to sense the finer flavours and nuances of a sake. That is why some people drink genshu on the rocks, as this takes the bite out of it and also slightly waters down the sake.
However, some varieties of sake have the characteristics to actually be enhanced by a higher alcohol content, which gives them a greater impact.
A point to keep in mind is that not all genshu is 20% alcohol. Some types of genshu sake have about 16%-18% alcohol. This is accomplished through different methods, including fermenting at lower temperature, using special types of yeast that cease functioning at lower alcohol levels, or simply stopping the fermentation process before the alcohol content rises too high.
Interestingly, sake that has had water added within a range that reduces the alcohol content by less than 1% is also considered genshu.
Genshu tends to be rich and powerful in flavour and aroma.
It used to be available only in sake breweries, largely in the state in which it was brewed.
However, in recent years, products with names like “unfiltered genshu” (muroka genshu, 無濾過原酒) and kura dashi genshu (蔵出し原酒) have come on sale.
As genshu has a high level of alcohol, it is often consumed cold or with ice.
To make conventional sake products, genshu is diluted to around 15% alcohol content.
Now that you know more about genshu sake, time to try it - especially when we have a super value Saito Junmai Ginjo Genshu deal. Hurry, as this promotion ends on Nov 30, 2020!