In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long does sake last” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of sake. Moreover, we are going to discuss different ways to spot bad sake, factors affecting the quality of sake, and the proper way to store sake.
So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.
How long does sake last?
The shelf life of sake depends upon several factors like whether it is pasteurized or unpasteurized and the way it is stored.
The unopened sake bottle lasts for about 12 months if kept in a cold, dry, and dark place away from direct sunlight and heat. Moreover, if the unopened sake bottle is refrigerated then it lasts for about 2 years. Thus you can store an unopened bottle of sake in the refrigerator for almost 2 years from the “bottling date”.
The opened pasteurized sake lasts for about 2-4 weeks in the fridge at or below 40 °F. But we recommend you to consume the sake within the first week to enjoy its peak taste and quality. For how long can you consume opened sake also depends upon your taste preference
The unpasteurized sake has a shorter shelf life as compared to the pasteurized sake and it is advised to store it in the fridge.
The unopened bottle of sake lasts for about 6 months when stored in the refrigerator at or below 40 °F while the opened bottle of unpasteurized sake lasts for only about 1-2 weeks (drink within 3 days for best quality and flavor).
Moreover, you should always keep in view the fact that the process of maturation of sake is faster in the warm/hot temperature as compared to the cold temperature. Therefore it is advised to refrigerate sake for preserving its quality and flavor for a long time.
It is worth mentioning that these are the estimated shelf lives of sake.
What is the alcoholic content of sake?
Sake container 15 to 16% ABW (Alcohol by volume) in its formulation.
How to spot bad sake?
You can tell if the sake has gone bad by considering its appearance, color, smell, and taste.
- If you see particles floating in your bottle of sake or if there are some particles present in the bottom of the sake bottle, then it is the indication that your sake has gone bad.
- In normal conditions, the fresh sake is transparent but if you see hues of yellow in it, then it means that the sake has gone bad due to the oxidation reaction taking place in it.
- If you notice a pungent, rotten, or any other odd smell while taking a sniff test then it is an indication of a bad sake and you should get rid of it.
- Take a small sip of the sake and if you feel any off-flavor or something that does not quite taste like the sake itself then it means that your sake has gone bad.
What are the factors that affect the quality of sake once it gets opened?
Once you open your bottle of sake, you will notice that its flavor starts to fade slowly with time. The two factors that are responsible for this gradual change are oxygen and the volatility of alcohol.
There are many volatile compounds present in the formulation of sake and each time you open your sake bottle, they evaporate a bit.
Moreover, each time you open your sake bottle air (oxygen) enters your sake that can initiate oxidation reactions in it, thereby decreasing the quality of sake. So the more oxygen that finds its way to your sake bottle, the more will be the change in flavor that you will notice.
Tips to store sake properly
- You should always store sake at 40 °F or below as the colder the temperature the slower is the rate of oxidation and maturation.
- It is recommended to wrap a newspaper around your sake bottle and store it in the fridge.
- Unpasteurized sake should always be stored in the fridge.
- It is not recommended to freeze sake.
- Unopened sake bottles can be stored in a cool, dry, and dark place away from direct sunlight and heat.
- It is better to store the sake on one of the shelves of the refrigerator rather than the door as there is a lot of temperature fluctuation at the door of the fridge.
- You should store the sake the same way as it was stored in the market. For instance, if it was stored in the refrigerator in the market then you should also refrigerate it as the temperature fluctuations can negatively impact the quality of the sake.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long does sake last” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of sake. Moreover, we discussed different ways to spot bad sake, factors affecting the quality of sake, and the proper way to store sake.