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Old 09-13-2011, 03:09 AM   #1
shanecb
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Default The Sahti Saga: Brewing a Finnish Traditional Beer

I had a few requests from people to share how we recently brewed Sahti. It was really fun and an interesting project. We really wanted to take a stab at replicating an ancient style of beer. Our goal was to do half traditional (as reasonably close as we could), and half with a somewhat more modern approach. You can read the full write up on our blog here: http://www.thebrewguys.com/2011/09/b...itional-sahti/ which I do recommend you do so you can get the full picture. But here's the recipe and the technique we used for easy reference.

Estimated OG: 1.086 at 65% efficiency
Final Gravity: No idea, we’ll find out soon!
Color: 6.2 SRM
Batch Size: 5 US gallons

Grain Bill
14 lbs Pilsner (77.8%)
2 lbs Light Munich (11.1%)
2 lbs Rye Malt (11.1%)

Misc. Ingredients
- Enough juniper to line the bottom of your tun
- 1 oz of a low alpha acid hop for the modern half (we used Williamette)

Yeast : Finnish baking yeast. We used 12 g of yeast for each version

- Mash in at about 122F, and hold it for 20 minutes. Raise mash temperature to about 150F, and hold for 35min, then raise to about 162F and hold for 30min. We mashed in our kettle to hit the temps via direct fire.
- Line the bottom of your mash tun with juniper about 4 inches thick (berries, branches and all). Ladle the mash into the tun to filter through the juniper. If you have a 5 gal tun like us, you’ll need to drain the tun before you have the full mash in to be able to get it all through. If you have a 10 gal tun I’m sure you could fit the whole mash before you sparge. Warning: I don’t know if it was just us or not, but you may have a stuck or very slow sparge. At one point we had to redo the juniper bed to be able to sparge, but that may have been just bad luck on our part.
- At this point you should have collected 5 gallons of wort, strained through the juniper. Check your gravity at this point, and now we diverge for the traditional and modern versions.

Traditional – Take 2.5 gallons of the wort that you just collected and put it into a carboy. That’s it! No boil, no hops, nothing else but yeast. Oxygenate the wort, rehydrate and pitch your yeast appropriately, and you’re done! For fermentation, we let it go on it’s own for about four days until it was done fermenting, then cooled it to cellar temp of 55F for one week. It’s not unusual for traditional sahti to have been stored in the cellar for awhile before being drank.

Modern – Take the other 2.5 gallons of the wort, transfer back to your now clean boil kettle, and do a short 10min boil with one ounce of low alpha acid hops. Cool, then transfer into a carboy of its own. Oxygenate and pitch your yeast. Now that one is done! Like the traditional version, we did not control fermentation temperature and let it go wild. This one did not have a period at cellar temperature.

So we have Sahti brewed, now what?! The traditional you’ll want to drink very young. The only preservative quality it has going for it is the somewhat high alcohol content and, while that will help, it is eventually going to spoil. Do not bottle or carbonate the traditional version! Transfer to a secondary before drinking if you want to get it off the majority of the lees. Drink it like our Scandinavian brethren of old: cloudy as hell, flat, and directly from the fermentation vessel! Drinking horns are optional but strongly recommended! The modern we are going to sit on for a couple of weeks then bottle and carbonate to about 2.5volumes.


So.. that's about it! Feel free to ask away with any questions you might have. The sample we stole to taste was interesting and pretty tasty. Really exciting to see how they turn out. The traditional we're going to be drinking within the next few days, and the modern is going to be another couple of weeks. I'll definitely be posting here with results once I have them for you.

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Old 09-13-2011, 07:15 AM   #2
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Cool man! Been waiting for you to post this recipe for a while now.

Where did you get the Finnish baking yeast? That was something that I couldn't find when I went to brew a sahti. My understanding was that it adds clove, so I used a hefe yeast instead.

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Old 09-13-2011, 02:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwarven_stout View Post
Where did you get the Finnish baking yeast? That was something that I couldn't find when I went to brew a sahti. My understanding was that it adds clove, so I used a hefe yeast instead.
I just found a random kind soul in Finland who sent me a few packs. I just posted on Reddit and as luck would have it, someone shipped me some.

The hefe yeast is a decent substitute, though. From the smell and taste of where the batch is right now, I would describe the yeast character as somewhat between a hefe and saison strain. It has some banana and cloves, but it has a bit more spice to it.

I do have some extra Finnish baking yeast (the guy sent me more than I needed), so if you were interested in giving sahti another attempt soon, I could send a packet to you.
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Old 09-29-2011, 05:33 AM   #4
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Soooo...how did it go? Have you had a chance to try the modern sahti? How did the traditional come out? Also I may be interested in your extra bakers yeast if you have a few lying around. I would totally compensate you for them.

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Old 09-29-2011, 05:40 AM   #5
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Whoops kind of forgot to update this thread. I have my notes lying around, so I'll get them posted up after I get home from work tomorrow. Would do it right now but I gotta hit the hay.

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Old 09-29-2011, 06:16 AM   #6
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Did you get your rocks off?

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Old 10-07-2011, 05:18 PM   #7
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This project is going to be put on hold for awhile. Life is.. messed up right now. I'll get things put up here when I can.

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