Nigori Sake or Nigorizake is white or grey colored, cloudy Sake. It literally means cloudy Sake.
Why is Nigori Sake Cloudy?
Nigori Sake is roughly filtered through coarse cloth during the brewing process, instead of being finely filtered and pressed. Thus, It contains Sake lees, the rice solids that have not fermented, and that make it cloudy.
Is Nigori Sake ‘Unfiltered Sake’?
Often translated as ‘unfiltered’ Sake in English, It is actually roughly filtered through coarse cloth. So, technically It is NOT ‘unfiltered’ Sake, but it’s rather roughly filtered Sake. Completely unfiltered Sake is called Doburoku (どぶろく), which is not categorized as Sake under the Sake tax regulations.
How does Nigori Sake Taste?
Although there is a wide range of Nigori Zakes – even sparkling ones -, most Nigori Zake has rich and sweet flavors. Many not being pasteurized and containing higher alcohol percentage than normal Sake, Nigori Zake also comes full-bodied. With its rich and sweet taste, Nigori Zake has gained great popularity in recent years. Especially the sparkling type of Nigori Zake is quite light bodied, and thus is very popular with women and Sake beginners in Japan who are not used to the typical, distinctive taste of normal Sake.
As Nigori Zake contains Sake lees (rice solids that have not fermented), the Sake may be divided into two layers – the clear part on top and the cloudy bottom layer which contains Sake lees. If that is the case, you should tilt the bottle very slowly and gently once or twice so that the divided layers mix up well.