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Asahi vs Sapporo

Asahi and Sapporo are two of the most popular Japanese beers in the world. Both are well-known for their unique flavors and high-quality ingredients. While both beers are similar in many ways, there are also some key differences that set them apart.

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Bottle-of-Asahi-and-Sapporo-with-Ice

One of the main differences between Asahi and Sapporo is the color and alcohol content. Asahi has a deeper amber color that ranges from pale yellow to dark brown, depending on the variety.

It also has an ABV of 5-6% and an IBU of 15-20. On the other hand, Sapporo is light golden with 4.9% ABV and 18-25 IBU. Despite these differences, both beers are known for their crisp, clean taste and are enjoyed by beer enthusiasts all over the world.

If you’re a beer lover, you may be wondering which of these two Japanese beers is the best. While there is no clear winner, there are some factors that may influence your decision.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the differences between Asahi and Sapporo, including their taste, ingredients, and popularity. Whether you’re a fan of light, refreshing beers or prefer something with a bit more depth and complexity, there is sure to be a Japanese beer that suits your taste preferences.

History of Asahi and Sapporo

Asahi and Sapporo are two of Japan’s most recognizable beer brands, with a rich history of brewing that spans over a century.

Bottle-of-Asahi-Japanese-Beer

Both companies have played a significant role in shaping the country’s brewing industry and are known for producing high-quality beers that are enjoyed both locally and internationally.

Sapporo Brewery was established in 1876 and is one of the oldest beer breweries in Japan. The company’s founder, Seibei Nakagawa, was a German-trained brewer who introduced modern brewing techniques to Japan. Sapporo’s first beer, Sapporo Lager, was a hit among the locals and quickly became one of the country’s most popular beers.

Asahi Brewery, on the other hand, was founded in 1889 by a group of businessmen who were inspired by the success of Sapporo Brewery. Asahi’s first beer, Asahi Beer, was a German-style lager that was also well-received by the public. The company continued to grow and expand its operations, eventually becoming one of the largest beer producers in the country.

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In 1906, Sapporo Brewery merged with Osaka and Japan Beer Brewing Company to form the Dai-Nippon Beer Company. The merger allowed the companies to pool their resources and expand their operations. However, the company eventually split up in 1949, with Sapporo continuing to be brewed under Nippon Breweries until 1956 when the company became known as Sapporo Breweries again.

Over the years, both Asahi and Sapporo have continued to innovate and expand their product offerings. Asahi’s most popular beer, Asahi Super Dry, was introduced in 1987 and is now one of the best-selling beers in Japan. Sapporo, on the other hand, has opened the Sapporo Beer Museum, which showcases the company’s brewing history and offers visitors a chance to sample its beers.

Today, Asahi and Sapporo remain two of the most popular beer brands in Japan, with a loyal following both locally and internationally. While both companies have a rich history of brewing, they continue to compete fiercely in the market, with each trying to outdo the other in terms of quality and innovation.

Brewing Process

When it comes to brewing Asahi and Sapporo, both follow a similar process.

Bottle-can-of-Sapporo-Japanese-Beer-with-Ice

The brewing process involves four main steps: malting, mashing, boiling and fermentation. Here are the sub-sections that explain the brewing process in detail.

Malted Barley and Rice

Both Asahi and Sapporo use malted barley and rice as their main ingredients. The malted barley is first soaked in water to start the germination process. The germinated barley is then dried, which stops the germination process, and the resulting malt is roasted to develop its flavor. Rice is used to lighten the body of the beer and give it a crisp taste.

Hops and Yeast

Hops are used to give beer its bitterness and aroma. Asahi and Sapporo use different types of hops. Asahi uses a blend of hops from around the world, while Sapporo uses hops from the famous Hallertau region in Germany. Yeast is used to convert the sugar from the malted barley and rice into alcohol during fermentation.

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Fermentation Process

After boiling, the wort is cooled and yeast is added. The mixture is then transferred to a fermentation tank where the yeast consumes the sugar and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Asahi and Sapporo both use a bottom-fermenting yeast, which means that the yeast sinks to the bottom of the tank during fermentation. This process takes about two weeks, after which the beer is transferred to a conditioning tank where it is aged for several weeks to develop its flavor.

Beer Composition

Alcohol Content and IBU

Asahi and Sapporo are both lagers, but they have different alcohol contents and IBU (International Bitterness Units) levels.

Bottle-cans-of-Asahi-Japanese-Beer

Asahi Super Dry has an ABV (Alcohol by Volume) of 5% and an IBU of 18, while Sapporo Premium has an ABV of 4.9% and an IBU of 20. This means that Sapporo Premium is slightly less alcoholic and slightly more bitter than Asahi Super Dry.

Appearance and Aroma

When it comes to appearance and aroma, Asahi and Sapporo have some differences. Asahi Super Dry has a pale gold color and a clean, crisp aroma with hints of hops and malt. Sapporo Premium, on the other hand, has a slightly darker gold color and a slightly sweeter aroma with hints of corn and grain.

Flavor Profile

Asahi Super Dry and Sapporo Premium have distinct flavor profiles. Asahi Super Dry is known for its dry and crisp taste, with a slight bitterness that lingers on the tongue. Sapporo Premium, on the other hand, has a slightly sweeter taste with a hint of bitterness and a clean finish.

When it comes to mouthfeel, Asahi Super Dry is lighter and crisper, while Sapporo Premium is slightly heavier and smoother. Both beers have moderate carbonation and a refreshing taste that makes them popular choices for pairing with Japanese cuisine.

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Brand Variants

When it comes to beer, Asahi and Sapporo offer a range of variants to cater to different tastes.

Bottle-of-Sapporo-Japanese-Beer-with-foods

In this section, we will take a look at the different brand variants that Asahi and Sapporo offer.

Asahi Brand Variants

Asahi beer is known for its crisp, dry taste, which is achieved through a unique brewing process. The brand offers several variants, including:

  • Asahi Super Dry: This is Asahi’s flagship beer and is the most popular beer in Japan. It has a light, crisp taste and is brewed using rice, which gives it a clean finish.
  • Asahi Gold: This is a premium beer that has a rich, full-bodied taste. It is brewed using carefully selected hops and malt, which gives it a deep golden color.
  • Asahi Draft: This is a refreshing beer that has a smooth, mild taste. It is brewed using high-quality barley and hops, which gives it a clean, crisp finish.
  • Asahi Black: This is a dark beer that has a rich, full-bodied taste. It is brewed using roasted malt, which gives it a deep, complex flavor.
  • Asahi Prime Time: This is a low-alcohol beer that has a light, refreshing taste. It is perfect for those who want to enjoy a beer without getting too drunk.

Sapporo Brand Variants

Sapporo beer is known for its rich, full-bodied taste, which is achieved through a traditional brewing process. The brand offers several variants, including:

  • Sapporo Premium Beer: This is Sapporo’s flagship beer and is the most popular beer in Japan after Asahi Super Dry. It has a rich, full-bodied taste and is brewed using carefully selected hops and malt.
  • Sapporo Draft: This is a refreshing beer that has a light, crisp taste. It is brewed using high-quality barley and hops, which gives it a clean, refreshing finish.
  • Sapporo Premium Black: This is a dark beer that has a rich, full-bodied taste. It is brewed using roasted malt, which gives it a deep, complex flavor.
  • Sapporo Yebisu: This is a premium beer that has a rich, full-bodied taste. It is brewed using carefully selected hops and malt, which gives it a deep, golden color.
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Paul Kushner

Written by Paul Kushner

Founder and CEO of MyBartender. Graduated from Penn State University. He always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. His restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time he turned 17 he was serving tables, and by 19 he was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, Paul opened his first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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