A question commonly asked by sake enthusiasts and beginners alike is "How can you tell if a sake is dryer or sweeter?". The answer is usually found on the label at the back of the bottle, via the sake meter value
The sake meter value (nihonshu-do) is a numerical value simply indicating both, the amount of sugar, and the density of the sake compared to that of pure water. The density of pure water has a numerical value of '0', with dryer sake having a value of '+10' or higher, and for a sweeter sake, a value '-10' or lower. It is difficult to judge whether is a sake is dryer or sweeter in between -10 and +10 and would need experience in tasting sake.
(photo of the nihonshu-do on the back label of a sake bottle)
In the above photo, the sake meter value is indicated by using the Japanese Kanji/Chinese characters '日本酒度', these characters are used often so it'll be beneficial to memorise them the next time you decide on which sake you'd like to buy. With a value of +8.4, expect a dryer sake since it's closer to +10 value.
If you're not sure which sake you prefer, try our 'Dry vs. Sweet Sake Set'!