For those seeking a gluten-free beverage, sake may be an attractive option. Unlike beers and ciders that often contain wheat and barley grains, sake is made from fermented rice, which is gluten-free.
So yes, sake made the traditional Japanese way is gluten-free.
How is sake made?
The process of making sake typically uses koji rice, which has been inoculated with Aspergillus oryzae to help convert the starches into sugars.
During brewing, these sugars ferment into alcohol without the addition of other grains. While it is possible to produce gluten-free sake using brown rice instead of white rice, this type of sake is difficult to find in Europe and North America.
Most commercially produced sake is gluten-free.
If you happen to live in Japan or China, finding a gluten-free sake shouldn’t be too hard. In general, most commercially produced sakes will have no gluten after fermentation since the conversion of starch to sugar occurs via the koji process before any other ingredient is added.
Therefore, for those avoiding gluten in their diet and looking for an alcoholic beverage with no grainy taste, sake can be a good choice as it contains no gluten at all!
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