Sake Meter Value (SMV) is also known as nihonshu-do, and can roughly be translated as Japan Alcohol Degree. Sake Meter Value is the way that people measure the way that sake tastes, and the scale moves from very sweet to very dry, a bit like wine. The scale is not difficult to understand when you are buying sake, but the way that it is calculated is a bit more complicated, using lots of scientific theory.
The first scale of this kind was the Heavy Baume scale, which was created in France in the late 1770s. This is the scale that Sake Meter Value is based on. However, slight changes have been made to the scale when measuring the taste of sake because it is so different from other liquids. Both scales technically measure the amount of sugar that is within the liquid, but the Sake Meter Value also takes into account Specific Gravity. This is a concept that measures density in relation to water. The Sake Meter Value also takes into account many other factors when deciding exactly how to label the sake.
Sake Meter Value (SMV)
As you see, when you delve into the technicalities, the Sake Meter Value can feel very complex. But when you are using it, all you will need to look at is the number. A -4 Sake Meter Value of a sake means that it is quite sweet, whereas on the other hand, a +10 Sake Meter Value would be incredibly dry. This can help you decide what kind of sake you want to buy, and means you can also try out different types of sake to see which you like the best.