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Yamahai

Orthodox brewing without stirring

The yamahai brewing method was developed in the early 1900s. Short for “yamaoroshi-haishi-moto,” it literally means stopping the use of the labor-intensive “yamaoroshi” mashing method used in kimoto brewing. But yamahai still relies on the natural development of lactic acid, which yields sake with bolder flavors, umami and acidity.


Like kimoto, yamahai is a subcategory, so various types of sake can be yamahai, and aroma, taste and price vary accordingly. Generally, though, yamahai sake’s ample umami and acidity compliment aged and funky cheeses, as well as cured meats. Warming the sake up will bring out more of its sweetness.

The workers at Suehiro Brewing Company learned the yamahai method directly from the man who discovered it, Kinichiro Kagi. So naturally, Suehiro “Densho” Yamahai Junmai, with its creamy texture and balanced acidity, is a great bottle to try! Nutty, buttery and dry, Tengumai “Junmai” by Shata Brewing Company is another yamahai staple. And gold-winner Tedorigawa “Silver Mountain” is made by Yoshida Sake Brewery, the brewery featured in the movie “The Birth of Sake” (2015)!

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