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Fascinating Yet Confusing Sake Question on Twitter

Other Beverage


If you aren’t part of the phenomenon that is Twitter, you might as well bury your head in the sand and pray that somehow you’ll stay connected in this futuristic world of web networking. If you are a “tweet” as they are called, and you follow the Wine Mutineer’s twitter feed, you probably saw that I posed the following question: Is sake a wine, beer, or spirit?

Below are the answers, and I’d love to hear your thoughts via a comment. Ron of HoseMaster, I expect your comment to be so epically witty that I actually have no idea what you are talking about.

Please note: Twitter is all about short posts, requiring creative wording to supersede proper grammar, so pay attention to the ideas rather than the technical writing.

LindySez: “I consider Sake to be wine”

RichardPF: (spread over several posts) “I had this discussion with ryanopaz a short time ago. I see Sake as its own unique drink, though more wine-like than anything. Though it is made from a grain like a beer, it has no hops. Most definitions of “beer” require it to have hops or carbonation. But Sake undergoes multiple fermentations like neither wine or beer does. Its taste and general styles seems more like wine, especially the more subtle and delicate daiginjos. If a person had a blind tasting of Sake, I bet nearly all would assume it was a wine not a beer.”

Scwinegirl: “I should consider it a wine but I view it as a spirit”

Kirrhilll: “It’s not a wine, spirit or beer – but is closes to beer in the way that it’s made i.e. fermented or so I’m told…”

Winewanker: “Beer! A spirit needs to be distilled, wine is fermented fruit & beer is fermented grain. Since rice is a grain sake is a beer.”

Winegeeknz: “spirit”


  1. Ron Washam, HMW | Thursday, November 20, 2008

    Twitter haiku:

    Cleansing your hair
    with sake, a shampoo,
    trying to kill the head rice

  2. Michael Bottigliero | Thursday, November 20, 2008

    I see sake as more beer-like, though it has no carbonation. It is made from a grain and undergoes multiple fermentations. It is not distilled, so cannot be called a spirit. Some aspects of production can be wine-like: barrel aging, resting on lees, or spirit added (ala Port). Creation, history, flavors and aromas, and pairings set it apart from all else.

  3. ryan | Thursday, November 20, 2008

    it’s beer. simple. No matter what it’s like, or what it’s similar to it’s a beer. Lot’s of beers don’t have hops, or carbonation, but they are made with grain so they are beer. How you treat the beverage is irrelevant. Lot’s of great beers age well, are full of volitale esters, and are basicallly wine in style, but they are still beers. Think of the Guezes
    Otherwise, why aren’t apple wines considered wine? They are wine! Or orange wines, they too are “wine”, but we treat them differently.
    Definitions can’t be changed based on how we perceive something.

  4. RichardA | Thursday, November 20, 2008

    the problem is that there is no standard definition of what constitutes “beer.”

    It may simple if you use avery broad definition of what constitutes beer, i.e. anything brewed from a grain. But if you use a different definition to define “beer”, then it is an entire different story. By most dictionary definitions, sake would not be considered beer.

  5. JJ Bagley | Thursday, November 20, 2008

    I wouldn’t pigeon-hole it into any category though it is most closely related to beer.

  6. Voltron | Thursday, November 20, 2008

    It’s delicious.. Nuff Said..

    Bomb it or Vomit!

  7. David J | Friday, November 21, 2008

    Maybe some marketing genius could make a sales killing inventing a category like ‘bine’, weer’… ‘bwine’…’brine’…?

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