There is no clear expiration date or indication for sake.
Most foods and beverages have a best-by date or expiration date, but sake does not have a best-by date label.
Due to the bactericidal action of alcohol, corrosion does not proceed immediately and the sake can be stored for a long period of time. Instead of the best-by date, the label of sake always states “date of manufacture” as an indication.
The Food Labeling Law exempts not only sake but also alcoholic beverages from being labeled with the best-by date. For the same reason, wine, whiskey, shochu, etc. generally do not have an expiration date as well.
What is the production date of sake?
The “manufacturing date” on the sake literally indicates the year and month when the sake was manufactured, but it is not the day when the sake was squeezed.
Sake is squeezed, filtered, burned, stored and aged before being bottled. The date of manufacture of sake refers to the date when it is packed in a container.
How long can you enjoy sake before opening (unopened)?
Although sake has no expiration date, does it keep the same taste after 5 or 10 years?
Sake that has been manufactured a long time ago can often be drunk without any health problems before it is opened, but the taste will change.
The period during which sake can be enjoyed varies depending on the manufacturing method.
For normal “Ordinary” sake commonly seen in stores is good for about one year from the date of manufacture.
Normal sake is sake that has been heat-treated by going through the “burning” process twice, after squeezing the sake and before bottling.
For Nama Sake or “Fresh” sake, it is a good idea to drink it for about 9 months, which is a little earlier than regular sake.
This is because the sake is not put through the burning process before storage, but only once before shipping.
Please note that these periods are just a guide and may change depending on the storage conditions. The recommended period may vary depending on the brewer and brand, so be sure to check when purchasing.
Another helpful tip when opening a bottle of sake is drink sake as soon as possible after opening it to maintain the flavor. After opening the bottle, try to drink sake as soon as possible. When the cap is opened, the taste will deteriorate. The taste does not change much in a few days, but after a week or so, it may feel like a different liquor. Sake that has changed in taste can still be used as cooking sake.
If it is difficult to drink all at once, keep the cap and bottle mouth clean and store in a cool and dark place.
In the case of nama sake (“Fresh” sake), store them in the refrigerator.
In addition, sake whose taste has changed can also be used as cooking sake.
“Old sake”, which has been aged for 3 years, 5 years or more, and even 10 years or more, is a popular sake because of its depth and mellowness, but it is different from deteriorated sake. Delicious old sake can be made because it is properly managed and stored by professionals at breweries and liquor stores. If you want to enjoy it at home, buy sake that is labeled and sold as “old sake”.
Sake usually does not have an expiration date, but there is a recommended drinking window. Regular sake (liquor that has been fired twice) has a different period, so it is recommended that you check the label when purchasing.
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