Ultimate Japanese Sake Guide: Dassai Brewery 日本酒蔵元 獺祭ツアー ★ ONLY in JAPAN #41

Japanese sake. Let’s go on an adventure across Japan to learn about the country’s official drink.
How do you make this stuff? How should it taste? Is polish size important? Is it like wine or like beer? How do you drink it?
John Daub got a chance to tour Dassai Brewery with the company’s CEO, the world’s hottest sake brand to get those answers.

Dassai only makes Junmai Daiginjo sake, the highest quality, and if you want to understand sake, start with the best.
The company’s story is significant. In the 1980’s sake (nihonshu) consumption was going down because of competition from more beer, wine, and shochu. CEO Sakurai-san changed the company strategy, started making only Junmai Daiginjo and incorporated technology like centrifuges to make the smoothest drinking experience with sake.

The result:
2005: 120,000 bottles sold
2013: 1,140,000 bottles sold
Nearly a 1000% increase

As the domestic market continues to struggle, internationally, no brand is more popular than Dassai. You see Hollywood stars and celebrities in New York, Paris and London sipping it these days.

So — what makes a good sake and what makes a great one?
1 Yamada Nishiki rice. The best place to grow this is Hyogo prefecture.
2 Polish rate: anything under 50% makes a sake Junmai Daiginjo category. The lower the polish ration, the less impurities, the smoother the taste.
3 The Koji. Dassai uses a very complex one called Tsukihaze koji-kin that penetrates into the rice.

Here is the process that Dassai uses at the brewery:

1 The rice in planted in June. Rice planting is called taue in Japanese.
2 Rice Harvest
3 Polished to either 50% 39% or 23%
4 Wash, rinse and soak
5 Steam
6 Air dry and cooling in a process called Horei
7 Koji is created (as the sugar for the yeast to create alcohol)
8 Shubo yeast starter added to fermentation tanks
9 Moromi (mash) added to 5000L tanks
10 Process is monitored for 35 days.
11 Moromi press / Dassai centrifuge
12 Bottling and Pasteurization
13 Drinking!
Dassai sells 3 main sizes. Here is the price list:
1800ml – 10,000 yen
720ml – 5,000 yen
300ml – 2500 yen
180ml – Japan only

Dassai Sake Website: https://www.asahishuzo.ne.jp/en/

Subtitles / CC credits:
★ DUTCH: GeertvKessel | YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/GeertvKessel

Corncob – Country by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100565
Artist: http://incompetech.com/

Thingamajig by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Artist: http://audionautix.com/

I Like Peanuts by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Artist: http://audionautix.com/

Waltz of the Flowers by Tchaikovsky
This show has been created and produced by John Daub ジョン・ドーブ. He’s been living and working in Japan for over 18 years and regularly reports on TV for Japan’s International Channel.


irpacynot says:

Such a great episode.

fat matt says:

can’t taste dif. between sakes….seems all the same…but prefer it ….heated..
can’t do often but good with apps. once in a while

Jonah Mar says:

Well done, like an NHK World documentary.

sawadikin says:

what so special all alcohol taste almost same bitter and burning.

Nuttada H says:

Hi i just wondering do the brewery open for public? any tasting room? thank you

Esdez says:

John’s videos are always in high quality and full of details love it

Debiru Haato says:

I love your videos.
while it talk about Japan, it also helped me finding material to teach (since I’m assigned to teach my juniors about Japan’s culture and stuffs).

thanks a lot, and keep up a good work!

Azyatic says:


百地三太夫 says:

I came here because “Dassai 23” and its brewery are on Japanese TV right now. It seems “Dassai 23” was served to President Obama at the dinner in US-Japan summit.

Jordan French says:

The problem I’ve been having with my sake is that my sake after 1 week still tastes pretty sour and not very sweet. I got the koji growing on my koji rice ok but my rice as a whole was still fairly stiff and not very sticky after steaming it. The reason I did this was because I was told not to oversteam the rice and NOT to use a rice cooker. Did I just need to steam the rice longer to get more of a sweetness when letting the rice ferment?

Loke Ming Yan says:

what a clean environment~~ love it~!

도댕 만세 says:

wait, if Dassai makes about 20.000 bottles / day, and that cost about $100 / bottle, they makes $2.000.000 / day? wow……..impressive……….

マジカル光彦 says:


Ines Suwarjo says:

can i know what the species of the mold is?

16bitBoomBap says:

I swear..I’m moving to Japan sometime in my life

I love their culture so much..

Azyatic says:

15:26 im surprised they still drive that artiso whatever u call it gs300

William Nessanbaum says:

On Sunday, March 26th, 2017, I found Dassai 23 at the Mitsuwa Marketplace in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. They only had large bottles in stock. $79.99 plus tax… Wow… For that price, that had better be some good rice wine…

retikka says:

great vid. recommend the birth of sake documentary if you crave more sake brewery stuff

Stacey Dekker says:

I love this show.

Retz says:

Wouldn’t it be much more precise and easier to use a machine to put the mold on the rice, or is putting the mold on the rice by hand a tradition?

ZombiePowder says:

I got two bottles of Dassai 23, super expensive. Haven’t tried it yet but i hope it is good!

Last King . says:

oh rock lee …

Go Ham says:

the intro music is the best part

saxokobe says:

no doubt that Dassai has definitely made one hell of a sake but i do think it’s just getting overrated these days after the recognition

Gileo Chan says:

the ceo looks like a japanese walter white. lol

Kong Violan says:

Waitress is cute

the observer says:

the girl is beautiful”nod””nod”

HeavyBreathing says:

the waitress was so cute

Nebula Nikkei Andhara says:

This is a very well-made video!

lalala lilili says:

@12:15 the man on the left side has so many teeth..

Joshua Marsh says:

what about the *golden* sake? (reference)

Frank Wu says:

i believe that japanese sake is becoming very popular in Japan /日本 and Taiwan 台灣 and it has different sweet level and taste . price can range from $30 USD up to $200 USD. The most well known sake location in Japan is Kyoto /日本京都 .

captain_kido says:


Lim Mui Choo says:


DeadyD0right says:

John do you think you could show us the Suntory Whiskey factory? awarded the worlds best whisky i think 5 times, by the international spirits challenge. They do tours too!

Kanashimi Desu says:

If I may ask, how did you learn Japanese? I’m very curious to learn myself but I’m having trouble.

Steve The Lolcreator says:

I think さむい is cold

Mich Rain says:

What do I do to get a job like yours? :3

itsaguinness says:

Excellent work just too many damn commercials. Maybe just three commercials instead of three every two minutes?

Sushi says:

wow great ceo, so patient to explain everything.

Demi-Fox God says:

were born in Japan or somewhere else? if somewhere else how did you learn Japanese?

Victoria Sun says:

Nice video do you guys have fun

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