Sake Grade Classifications

Hakutsuru2The terms Junmai Dai-Ginjyo, Junmai Ginjyo, and Junmai are used to classify sake by the milling rate implemented to produce the respective sake. Here they are listed from best to lesser quality.

BEST: Junmai Dai-Ginjyo

Typically denotes highly refined sake where at least 50% of the original rice grain is milled. Junmai Dai-Ginjyo is the highest grade of sake.

GOOD: Junmai Ginjyo

Denotes that no more than 60% of the original rice grain is used.

GOOD: Tokubetsu Junmai

Literally translates to “Special Junmai” and technically qualifies as Junmai Ginjyo.  Denotes the implementation of some distinct method or ingredient in the production process.

FINE: Junmai

Junmai-shu means “Pure Sake,” made only from rice, water and koji.  Only the alcohol resulting from fermentation is present.  In contrast, Honjozo indicates the addition of pure distilled alcohol to the rice, water and koji.