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Hiraizumi sake bottles

Sake Review: Hiraizumi

Mar. 21. 2022
by Namazake Paul

My favorite brewing region is Akita. They grow great rice, have a strong history of collaboration amongst breweries, produce many sake with lactic fermentations (Kimoto and Yamahai) and have a good mix of soft and hard water sources so breweries can choose the best water for the style they are pursuing. One of my favorites is Hiraizumi founded in 1487(!). They are masters of Yamahai, making almost exclusively this unique style. Legend has it the name comes from a local painter sending some of the Sake to a famous Monk/Poet/Calligrapher named Ryōkan. He said it was “jumping, good, white water”. 

From L to R:

Hiraizumi “Maruhi No. 77" Yamahai Junmai

This experimental Sake pushes the boundaries of what we expect. I worked closely with the brewery and Japan Prestige, a trade organization to bring this to the US.

Brewed with yeast no. 77 which is a polyacidic yeast producing very high levels of malic acid. 4.2% total acidity! that’s 3x your average sake. It’s got a sweetness (-22 SMV) to balance that acid including lush fruit notes. And of course it’s a Yamahai too so expect loads of umami. Try it with blue cheese!

Hiraizumi “Splashing Water” Yamahai Tokubetsu Junmai Muroka

Pours a clear lemon. On the complex nose there’s cold granite, fresh green flowers and toasted rice bran. On the palate, first fennel and cilantro then as you aerate the umami builds to clove, juniper and fresh hazelnut. Immediately the elevated acidity is obvious. It dances on the roof of your mouth. Great warmed too.

Hiraizumi “No. 1801" Junmai Daiginjo

This is a nice counter point to their two Yamahai pictured. Instead of umami, here we get pure elegance. A beautiful Daiginjo made with fruity ester producing 1801 yeast and Akita Sake Komachi rice polished 50%. They work very closely with the local farmers to produce this super premium rice.

Pours clear. Beautiful aromas of pear and melon. Soft texture and pretty finish. Everyone will like this.