Doburoku – cloudy alcoholic beverage with lees
There is an alcoholic beverage called “Doburoku”. It has a porridge-like texture in a white colour. The ingredients are equivalent to those of Sake, namely rice, koji and water. Precisely speaking Doburoku cannot be categorised under a genre of Sake, but considered as ‘other fermented alcohol’ (その他醸造酒) according to Japanese taxation regulations. This article analyses the differences in characters between Sake and Doburoku, and examines how Doburoku tastes like.
Simple difference between Doburoku and Sake, filtered or not filtered
The simplest explanation of how to obtain Sake is : “filtering the fermented composition of rice, koji and water”. Mixture of rice, koji and water become fermented to form moromi which becomes a base for Sake. When moromi is filtered, the filtered liquid is called Sake. Here, if the unfiltered drink is bottled, it is called Doburoku. In other words, Doburoku is an alcoholic drink at the equivalent stage as moromi. Simple difference between Sake and Doburoku is, therefore, whether it passes the process of filtering or not.
Taxation laws define that Sake is a product acquired by filtering moromi. For this regulation, Doburoku does not fall into Sake, but into the general fermented alcohol.
Doburoku and Nigori Sake
Among the genres of Sake, there is a type of Sake called Nigori-Sake which is cloudy and white in colour. From its looks, Doburoku and Nigori-Sake are often confused. Nigori-Sake is filtered with a rough filter so the composition of rice, koji and kobo is likely to remain in the liquid even after the filtering process. As mentioned earlier, the presence of filtering process is critical to be categorized under Sake. Both Doburoku and Nigori-Sake are cloudy having a white colour however, they fall into different categories.
Flavours of Doburoku
The Doburoku has particular muddy texture and there are rich, thick and sweet tastes of rice resulted from non-filtration, which is largely different from the characteristics of Sake. There exist enzymes of moromi and amino acid inside Doburoku, therefore it draws attention as a supplemented drink. The beverage has a rich prominent taste of rice to be accompanied well with grilled fish, mixed steamed rice and Japanese side dishes such as flavored vegetables.
In Nihombashi, Tokyo, Heiwashuzo from Wakayama opens a Doburoku Kabutocho Brewery in April 2022. Heiwashuzo is well known for its Sake, Kid, and it has won the prize of Brewery of the Year in the Sake department of International Wine Challenge. Popularity of Doburoku is on the rise in Japan. If you have a chance to find Doburoku overseas, take the opportunity to taste and compare the differences from other types of Sake!
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