Does sake need to be refrigerated?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “Does sake need to be refrigerated?” and tell you how to properly store sake. We will discuss the shelf life of sake and tell you how to spot spoiled sake. We will also discuss why sake is pasteurized and why the sake bottles are colored.

Does sake need to be refrigerated?

An unopened bottle of sake does not need to be refrigerated. If you have bought the sake that is unpasteurized or was kept in the refrigerator in the grocery store where you bought it from, then you should also keep it in the fridge.

After opening, any type of sake should be refrigerated to maintain its flavor.

How to store sake?

Sake should be stored in a cool, dry and dark place in your pantry or your wine cellar. It should be kept in a temperature controlled place to avoid any temperature fluctuations. Sunlight should not directly fall onto the bottle of sake.

If you bought your bottle of sake from the refrigerated section of the grocery store then you should also store it in the fridge even if it is unopened.

Opened bottles of sake should be stored in the fridge at temperatures lower than 40 degrees to keep sake in a good quality. Always remember to tightly seal the bottle before putting it in the fridge.

This is especially true for unpasteurized sake because any microorganisms present in it will not be able to function at temperatures lower than 40 degrees so the sake will retain its flavor and quality.

What is the shelf life of sake?

Unopened bottles of sake will last for a year or two from the date it was manufactured when stored properly. Sake usually has the date of manufacture on it rather than the best before date. So you can keep an eye out for that.

Unpasteurized sake will not last as long because the microorganisms present in it will keep altering its taste over time.

Once opened, refrigerated sake should be consumed within 3 days in order to fully enjoy it but it will generally last for upto a week. 

How to tell if sake has gone bad?

Sake usually does not spoil easily but it oxidizes overtime which can deteriorate its taste. Look for the following signs when deciding whether to consume the sake or toss it out.

  • Look at the color of sake. Normally sake appears clear but if it appears yellowish then it means it has gone bad.
  • Look for any suspended particles floating inside the bottle of sake.
  • Give it a sniff test and see if it smells fine. Sake that has gone bad will have an off odor.
  • You can also taste some of it and see if it tastes fine. Although different tastes would not always mean it has gone bad, if you like the taste you can drink it. If it is not enjoyable then you can toss it out.

Why is sake pasteurized?

Pasteurization is a process during which the sake is exposed to very high temperatures in order to kill off any microorganisms present in it such as yeast. It also denatures some of the enzymes that contribute to the aging process of sake. This process also increases the shelf life of sake and prevents it from spoiling too soon.

However, some people prefer unpasteurized sake which has not been treated due to the flavor that it offers but this kind of sake would not last as long. 

Read more about sake here.

Why are sake bottles colored and not transparent?

Sake bottles are green or brown in color to protect it against sunlight which can cause it to spoil and deteriorate. Sake is very vulnerable to spoilage when it comes in contact with moisture, air, or sunlight.

Other FAQs about Sake that you may be interested in.

How much alcohol is in sake?

What is the difference between sake and soju?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “Does sake need to be refrigerated?” and told you how to properly store sake. We discussed the shelf life of sake and told you how to spot spoiled sake. We also discussed why sake is pasteurized and why the sake bottles are colored.

Citations

https://sakesensei.com/does-sake-need-to-be-refrigerated/

https://www.mtcsake.com/sake-education/2015/5/5/how-should-one-properly-store-sake-what-is-the-average-shelf-life-of-sake-why-are-the-sake-bottles-colored

https://eatdelights.com/sake-expire/

https://www.sakeshop.com.au/pages/how-long-does-sake-last#:~:text=Once%20opened%2C%20sake%20oxidizes%20but,kept%20in%20cool%20storage%2Frefrigerated.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.