May 2008

"Ask Beau" May 2008

Posted by admin in 2008, Ask Beau, May, Newsletter

The month of April was a record for the "Ask Beau" email address because I received over 50 questions in 30 days! That's a lot of enquiries from those who want to know. Some questions were superb, and I will probably use them going forward, but I did receive a large portion of the "can you recommend a sake" type questions.

So I decided to bundle them and reply to Karen T. from San Jose who asked:

"For some reason I have been only tasting very clean and subtle sakes. I have been enjoying these lights sakes, but would really like to explore some more full-bodied or heavier sakes. Do you have any rich recommendations?"

Beau Timken

Ahhhh Karen - Go big or go home! Yes, the push to light and extremely clean sakes is alive and kicking. Most restaurants push the more refined and as such "clean" sakes because quite frankly they are more expensive! Push the pricey brews. It's not such a bad idea for those who do not know too much about sake or are being re-introduced to sake. In fact it is smart. Show folks how unbelievably light and clean sake can be, especially if they are used to jet-fuel hot sake.

What is the best way to get you into some full-figured brews! Go Junmai! Or go towards some more semi-sweet brews that have a less than +3 SMV. More than likely dryer brews will be lighter in general. On sake menus in restaurants stay in the Junmai section. In fact ask to see the bottle first if they sell by the bottle. Turn it around and read the back label to see if the exporter/importer wrote some verbage about the brew. If it is rich - they will extol that. Actually it is a very good idea when ordering sake by the glass or otherwise to ask to see the bottle. There is information on the labels - front and back - that can help you determine what's inside.

Old style sakes such as Kimoto and Yamahai can always be counted upon to provide a richness or full-bodied experience. There are only a few examples of really rich Dai Gingos (Kamoizumi, Tenmei, Yuki no Bosha, Senpuku Kura, Taihaizan Tenko). Within the Ginjo team take a look at brews such as Urakasumi Zen, Bishonen, Kamoizumi Shusen, Yuuga, or Kokuryu. And finally within the Junmai category look at the Kimoto and Yamahai brews, or try Chikurin, Gokyo, Daruma, or Urakasumi.

Please send your sake specific questions to askbeau2 @ (This address is not for general questions and I only review the questions once per month. All other correspondence should use info @

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