Archive for the ‘japan’ Category

Figure 1. Asahi Black

Introduction

Asahi Breweries control Japanese beer consumption with a staggering 40% of the market share (Wikipedia, 2010).  Asahi have been producing beer for well over 100 years and have recently started dabbling in beer styles beyond their usual Super Dry offering (Asahi products, 2010).  One member of this diversifying range of beverages is Asahi Black (黒生, Kuronama), a 5% alc. vol. “Munich-Type” black lager (Asahi kuronama, 2010).

The English version of the website contains useful information, however, it is the Japanese language website which provides a host of information for the bored imbiber.  Aside from the usual downloadable wallpapers, there are additional delights such as “after 9 stories”, history of black lager and black lager cocktail recipes (Asahi kuronama, 2010).

Aim

This experiment was designed to investigate numerous characteristics of Asahi Black including, but not limited to, aroma, flavour, colour, satisfaction and vessel design.

Method

A 350 ml can of Asahi Black was obtained from a specialist Japanese bottle store for NZ$3.80.  The can was refrigerated to 4oC before the integrity of the can was breached under controlled conditions using the supplied puncturing device.  The contents of the can were decanted into a clean glass vessel.  Aroma was evaluated by smelling the beer.  Flavour was analysed by tasting the beer and discussing it with a research collaborator at great length and, subsequently, satisfaction was assessed.  The glass was held up to a standardised light to evaluate the colour and aesthetic aspects of the vessel were considered.

Results

Results for Asahi Black are shown in table 1 below.

Table 1. Characteristics of Asahi Black

Characteristic Result
Aroma Presents a strong roasted malty nose with a chocolatey undercurrent mixed with buckwheat groats and Kiwi brand shoe polish.  A slight hint of sweet smoke hides in the background
Flavour First taste is overpowered by considerable fizziness.  Once prepared for the carbonation onslaught, the flavour is low on the tongue with bitterness reminiscent of coffee or dark chocolate.  A remainder of burnt caramel lingers long after the liquor has been swallowed
Colour Deep shade of brown resembling an iced long black (Americano) coffee with the ice removed, or even a globally renowned cola beverage
Satisfaction Surprisingly drinkable, however the excessive carbonation guarantees that bloatation would determine the final quantity the drinker is able to consume
Vessel Design A gold, black and red can with an interesting crossover of English and Japanese informing of the beverage’s German origins (see figure 1)
Head A fizzy cream-coloured head dissipated within 54 seconds
Drinkability 5

 

Conclusion

The overriding carbonation of Asahi Black tainted the drinking experience and resulted in an uncomfortable, distended-stomach feeling for over 90 minutes after the single can had been finished.  It is beyond the scope of the current study to evaluate the performance of Asahi Black when incorporated into the suggested cocktails such as “Fruit Original” or “Moon Stone” (Asahi kuronama, 2010).

Finally, the researchers were left with a nagging question about the paradox which arises from the naming of the product.  Asahi translates to rising sun, but when coupled with ‘black’ an uncomfortable illogicality of the rising sun delivering blackness occurs.  However, rumination surrounding this troublesome absurdity was frequently interrupted by severe bouts of eructation.

References

http://asahibeer.co.jp/

http://www.asahibeer.co.jp/english/index.html

http://asahibeer.co.jp/kuronama/

http://asahibeer.co.jp/products/beer/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asahi_Breweries

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Figure 1. Ozeki Nama Chozou

Introduction

Japan, home of cherry blossom, sumo, bizarre animation characters and raw fish, has also perfected the production of rice wine, or sake.  The production of sake dates back at least 1500 years in its modern form and possibly a further 2000 years before that as kuchikami no sake (“mouth-chewed sake”) (Wikipedia, 2010) and it is often used in spiritual rituals (eHow, 2010).  The production of sake is distinct from that of wine or beer in that a mold is utilised to break down the starch into fermentable sugars (Wikipedia, 2010).  Sake is basically categorised by the amount that the rice is polished before fermenting (sake-world, 2010).  The polishing process removes proteins and oils from the outside of the grain leaving fewer impurities (Wikipedia, 2010).

Ozeki have been producing sake since 1711 and has come a long way to their current “24-hour unmanned operation of any process is fully automated, streamlined with a lot of manpower and time significantly” (Ozeki, 2010).  Ozeki products can be seen in convenience stores throughout Japan, including the ubiquitous, but ever so handy ワンカップ (Wankappu or One Cup) which is a convenient cup of sake without the inconvenience of a bottle shaped vessel (Ozeki One Cup, 2010).  Two Ozeki products available in New Zealand are Nama Chozou (13.5% alc. vol.) and Junmai Tatewaki Samurai Sake (13% alc. vol.).

Aim

This experiment was designed to investigate numerous characteristics of Ozeki Nama Chozou and Ozeki Junmai Tatewaki Samurai Sake including, but not limited to, aroma, flavor, colour, satisfaction and vessel design.

Method

300 ml bottles of Ozeki Nama Chozou and Ozeki Samurai Sake were obtained from a specialist Japanese liquor store for NZ$9.80 and NZ$10.20 respectively.  The bottles were refrigerated to 4oC before the caps of the bottles were removed under controlled conditions.  Approximately 20 ml of each sample were decanted into sake cups.  Aroma was evaluated by smelling the sake.  Flavour was analysed by tasting the beer and discussing it with a research collaborator at great length and, subsequently, satisfaction was assessed.  Colour was assessed by looking at the liquor and aesthetic aspects of the vessels were considered.

Results

Results for Ozeki Nama Chozou and Ozeki Samurai Sake are shown in table 1 below.

Table 1.  Characteristics of Ozeki Nama Chozou and Ozeki Samurai Sake.

Characteristic Nama Chozou-shu Junmai Tatewaki – Samurai Sake
Aroma Sweet, creamy scent with an insinuation of rhubarb, calling to mind memories of rhubarb and custard flavoured boiled sweets which have been delicately rubbed with Cheshire cheese Fainter bouquet of yoghurt which has been liberally sprinkled with vanilla-infused crumble topping
Flavour A complex mash-up of fresh figs, marzipan, fresh almonds, custard apple (cherimoya) and raisins Offers freshly cut persimmons, sunflower seeds and green melons draped over cold rice pudding
Colour Clear, colourless liquor Clear, colourless liquor
Satisfaction An easy-drinking, smooth beverage which could easily accompany light meals A drier sake which would compliment heavier meals but would also be at home alongside sushi, sashimi or salad
Vessel Design A frosted-look label with loads of kanji characters adorns a plain, colourless bottle (see figure 1) A deep blue label with white and gold kanji characters and a black and white image of a samurai warrior (see figure 2)
Drinkability 6.5 6

 

Figure 2. Ozeki Junmai Tatewaki Samurai Sake

Conclusion

Sake is a poorly understood beverage in the western world, and it can present flavour profiles as complex as wine.  Hangovers are often reported by inexperienced sake drinkers, however with alcohol levels similar to wine and being served in small cups, these reports may be based on myth, however, it is beyond the scope of the current study to corroborate these claims.

During the sampling of the beverages, no far-eastern experiences were noted by either the researcher or the research assistant.  No Zen moments were detected, no flashbacks to riding the shinkansen (bullet train) were noted and no windswept moments on Mount Fuji while purchasing a hot can of coffee from a vending machine were perceived.  However, both of the beverages did make a nice accompaniment to soba noodle soup.

It may or may not be true that “20 years after becoming drunk. Delicious drink is an appropriate amount”, and the researchers suspect this may contain a hidden code, which is yet to be cracked (Ozeki, 2010).

References

http://www.ehow.com/how_2170630_make-sake.html

http://www.ozeki.co.jp/about/mill/index.html

http://www.ozeki.co.jp/product/seishu/onecup.html

http://www.sake-world.com/html/types-of-sake.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sake

Figure 1. Indo no Aooni

Introduction

Although Nagano prefecture’s Yahou Brewing company adeptly touts its wares through a contemporary and trendy website, its expertly crafted ales need no advertisement – they should sell on taste alone. “Indo no Aooni” (インドの青鬼) (Indian Blue Demon) is an IPA sold only in finer liquor shops and upscale Tokyo supermarkets at 280yen per 350ml can. This high-alcohol undertaking (7.0%ABV) is made of only two ingredients (malt and hops) and claims to be same recipe controversial London brewer George Hodgson invented in the late 18th century.

Aim

This experiment attempted to discern various aspects of Indo no Aooni including aroma, flavor, color, satisfaction, vessel design and drinkability.

Method

Materials collected for experiment included: one can of said product for testing, one thirsty researcher, one iPhone for record keeping as well as one room temperature pint-sized glass. Product was kept at approx. 6 degrees Celsius in refrigerator then allowed to sit and warm up to 8 degrees just before tasting. Entire contents were poured into glass and head was measured. Researcher used own larger-than-average proboscis to determine qualities of aroma. Notes were recorded using iPhone Speed Text application. Product was tasted, notes recorded, then remains were quickly disposed of via researcher’s gullet. Can was rinsed and kept on researcher’s desk as reminder to buy more upon leaving laboratory.

Results

The results for Indo no Aooni are shown in table 1 below (italicized portions were taken directly from researcher’s notes and unedited).

Table 1. Characteristics of Indo no Aooni

Characteristic Result
Aroma You are pulled through space and time to rural Flanders in the mid 1500’s. Wandering across a soft landscape of bright green fields of ripening hops, there stands a moss-covered stone monastery whose great oaken doors are unclosed, welcoming visitors. As you pass into the bright courtyard, there is a jolly abbot stirring an enormous vat of wort. You salivate as a light breeze delivers the yeasty smell of rising bread from a nearby window in the monks’ bakery. You feel the warmth of the oven on your face and the sun’s rays on your back.
Flavor Round as the rear-end of a Bavarian grandmother. It mercilessly bites and gallops up into the nose. A sweet reward and a slap of yeast, but a clean bitterness that slides to the sides and back of tongue. Leaves the palate refreshed and begging for more! The foam yields to the lips a delightful stickiness likened to a honeycomb kiss.
Color Rooibos tea steeped for 3 mintues.
Satisfaction All aspects top quality. “Magical” ingredients led to researcher being in danger of losing objectivity nearly jeopardizing experiment.

Researcher recorded a “Buzz” (slight intoxication) and “general well-being feelt [sic]” after ingesting only 150ml of product. High-alcohol content and an unfilled digestive system are ostensibly cause of said reaction.

Vessel design Indigo background with text and image in bone-white (see figure 1). A demon’s fanged grin stands out, expertly configured to be curious balance of both totemic and “manga” design.
Head Upon pouring, reached a towering 4.4cm forming large bubbles at bottom and small thick ones at top. Within 45 seconds reduced to 2.1cm and began to resemble cream. Still had 0.8cm after two minutes and at 3 minutes, one small dollop of foam (0.1cm) remained on side of glass.
Drinkability 8

Conclusion

Virtues of this IPA are not wholly doubted, however, researcher’s unorthodox recordings and accelerated inebriation led vetting team to doubt specifications of experiment. An immediate repeat experiment to confirm findings is proposed as soon as additional supplies of Indo no Aooni are located and purchased.

References

http://www.yonasato.com/main.html

http://www.craftbeers.jp/Aooni-India.html

http://www.craftbeers.jp/Yahhorbluing.html

http://zythophile.wordpress.com/false-ale-quotes/myth-4-george-hodgson-invented-ipa-to-survive-the-long-trip-to-india/

http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/cgi-bin/wwwjdic.cgi?1C

Figure 1. Horoyoi Shiroi Sawaa

Introduction

Suntory, a Japanese beverage company known for its gritty whiskey and premium malt beer, introduced its first “liqueur” to the domestic market on March 9th (Tuesday), 2010. Christened “Horoyoi Shiroi Sawaa” (ほろよい白いサワー) (literal translation: Slightly tipsy white sour), this mildly alcoholic beverage (3.0%ABV) is advertised as “horo-amai, horo-umai” (slightly sweet, slightly delicious). It is currently being sold in supermarkets and convenience stores in 350ml recyclable aluminum cans for 141 yen (tax included). Television commercials (as seen on website) lead researchers to believe this product is marketed to melancholy women and effeminate men who wish to drink alone without the inconvenience of inebriation.

Aim

This experiment attempted to discern various aspects of Horoyoi Shiroi Sawaa including aroma, flavor, color, satisfaction, vessel design and drinkability and to perhaps discover the elusive appeal of low-alcohol, fizzy, sour-milk drinks.

Method

Materials collected for experiment included: one can of said product (see figure 1) for testing, one effeminate man as researcher, one pencil and two scraps of paper for record keeping as well as one sake cup made of faux Edo-style hand-blown glass for receptacle. The liqueur was kept in the coldest part of refrigerator (approx. 4 degrees Celsius) until just before tasting. About 30ml of liquid was poured into glass cup. Researcher wafted the emanation with his left hand breathing in twice. Notes on aroma were recorded. Product was then tasted, notes recorded, tasted again, more notes recorded, then remains were poured down drain. Can was rinsed and disposed of properly with other recyclables.

Results

Results for Horoyoi Shiroi Sawaa are shown in table 1 below.

Table 1. Characteristics for Horoyoi Shiroi Sawaa

Characteristic Result
Aroma First whiff was sharp and quite nearly reached a level of piney citrus not unlike that of some better-known toilet cleaners. The second, deeper inhalation brought promises of fresh cream, white cake-icing and meringue.
Flavor Subtle yet surprisingly complex. Upon first acquaintance, a striking saccharinity jarred the palate, but quickly gave way to a pleasant yoghurty twang. Aftertaste, however, left entire tongue wrecked – likened to gargling a chemical peel. Slight build-up of phlegm at back of throat, possibly caused by allergic reaction, dissipated soon after researcher drank 200ml of water.
Color One part lassi, ten parts soda.
Satisfaction Blend of chemical sweeteners annihilate potentially refreshing libation. No effect from alcohol was observed.
Vessel design White background with text and image in soothing shades of blue. A smattering of polka dots invoke the drink’s slight fizziness. Six type faces and four scripts will addle any reader long before the alcohol will.
Drinkability 2

Conclusion

Although intoxication is guaranteed to be averted, this experiment shows Suntory’s failure in providing a low-alcohol liquid refreshment that pleases effeminate men. Further research is necessary to conclude whether despondent females find it palatable.

References

http://www.suntory.co.jp/news/2010/10639.html

http://www.suntory.co.jp/rtd/horoyoi/

http://www.suntory.com/