'awa' is a work of art
to express 'the beauty of nature’s impermanence'
Our product, ‘awa’, is a limited edition work of art intended to express the beauty of nature’s impermanence - its flavour and, beautiful and delicate bubbles are naturally created from the original ingredients of rice, water and microorganisms. In order to bring the beauty of nature to life, we do not take a homogeneous approach such as adding alcohol or water and using artificial enzymes or injecting additional bubbles (CO2) into the product. We simply bottle the sparkling sake as it is at that very fleeting moment in time. The fermentation world is directly related to changes in nature - weather, temperature, humidity etc. This means every batch, each moment, has its own subtle unique flavour profile and bubbly essence even though it is produced by the same ingredients and brewing process. You can enjoy the beauty of nature’s impermanence through our art - ‘awa’.
The story behind 'awa'
Before we describe the components that make up ‘awa’, let’s outline the base ingredients of sake in order of quantity in the final product : water, rice and microorganisms (koji and yeast). Sake is generally 80% water and 20% rice, helped by the microorganisms. Within the 20% of rice, there is a percentage of plain steamed rice and a percentage of rice which has been cultivated with microorganisms. Our approach is to take the base ingredients of sake develop out our own naturally beautiful style.
Sake is 80% water. As such, the composition and quality of water plays an important role in the final product.
The water in the suburbs of Cambridgeshire, the home of The Sparkling Sake Brewery, is blessed with a robust mineral content. This is perfect for creating beautifully delicate bubbles as well as an elegant still sake with mouth watering acidity, which is the base sake before second fermentation.
The high mineral content requires technical know-how and dedication to strike the balance between the koji, yeast and the abundance of minerals found in the water.The water is a key component in the final ‘awa’ we produce.
We use ‘Hinohikari’ which is a table rice and harvested in Nara, known as the birth place of Sake in Japan. To retain the original taste of the rice it has been polished down to 70%( 70% remains, 30% has been polished away).
Why is it important for us to mention it’s specifically ‘table rice’ and ‘polishing ratio’? For many years it had been said that in order to make clean tasting sake, rice grown specifically as ‘sake rice’ should be used and the rice should be polished as much as possible (e.g. 50% or less polishing ratio). These days the quality of sake made with table rice with a low polishing ratio has gradually increased among Japanese breweries producing organic sake.
In general, sake made with table rice and low polishing ratio rice tends to have a hint of bitterness as well as bright acidity with gentle umami and sweetness. We will endeavour to bring out the natural characteristics of rice with an intention of being able produce sake with a lower polishing rice such as 80% or 90% in the future. (This means we’ll aim to only polish away 20-10% of the original rice)
Microorganisms : Koji + Rice, Yeast
‘awa’ is a sparkling sake uniquely made with 50% koji rice. There is a traditional saying in the sake world that describes the importance of rice koji making.
In general, the ratio of steamed (plain) rice and rice with koji cultivated on it (koji rice) is 80% and 20%, respectively. For ‘awa’, the ratio of koji rice is 50:50 (koji rice : plain rice) working in harmony with acidity and a hint of bitterness from the rice and water with a very light sweet twist created by the bountiful koji.
For the yeast, we chose #9 yeast as we worked through the product development cycle. This is a yeast strain with a history of almost 60 years which is known for producing clean, bright and well balanced sakes.