Sahti (Finnish Juniper Ale) -- 1st Place Cat. 23, 2nd place Best in Show
I've posted about this brew before but I felt that I should put it in the recipe database after I found out it won 1st Place in Category 23 and 2nd Place in "Best in Show" at the local Brew Basin Brew-Off competition this weekend.
This is not a traditional Sahti. I've refrained from using Finnish bread yeast and multiple-rest mash. I've also added a tiny amount of hops to make it actual beer.
5# US 2-row
2# Rye Malt
1# Munich Malt
0.75# Crystal 120L
0.5oz Cascade (6.9%) 60min
0.25oz Juniper Berries 60min
0.25oz Juniper Berries 15min
0.25oz Grains of Paradise 5min
1.5L starter of Wyeast 1272 Am. Ale II
- Go to the hills and collect a backpack full of juniper branches
- Boil the majority of the branches with some berries in cheese cloth in your mash liquor... 15-30 minutes is sufficient (VERY IMPORTANT)
- Dough-in with the juniper liquor, mash 60min @ 154* F
- Take a couple extra branches and push them down onto the manifold so you lauter through fresh branches as tradition dictates
- Sparge with juniper liquor
- Follow 60 min boil schedule
Brewing Notes and Advice:
- This year I didn't do salt additions and just let the juniper liquor chemistry dictate the balance. It seemed to work out well.
- If you're collecting juniper be sure you know whether or not they're sprayed with pesticides. Best bet is to get it from the wild.
Appearance: There is no way this guy is going to clear out considering all of the sappy, barky goodness the juniper added to the water. But the orange-brown hue is a nice color.
Aroma: Intense aroma of juniper but with plenty of malty, nutty, breadiness to accompany (man I love Wyeast 1272.) Zero hop aroma.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, no bite from alcohol or CO2 since it's supposed to be low-carb.
Taste: Initially as you're sipping you get the blast of juniper aroma, but then as soon as you take a sip you get a good amount of spiciness from the rye malt and grains of paradise. At mid-palate there is a fantastic chewy malt flavor. And finally, you're refreshed with a bit of juniper at the end. Not at all like drinking a Christmas tree (like people associate with gin and other juniper stuff.)
Backpack full of branches littered with berries
Picked berries, boiling branches in mash liquor
Lautering through fresh branches
Congrats on the awards. This looks great. Thanks for the nice write-up. I'm mostly Finnish and have been thinking of trying this for a while. It will be nice to have a winning recipe to start with.
Thanks for the props!
Give it a shot. Do you live in an area that has juniper? I wonder what different regional subspecies would taste like....
I'm also willing to ship some branches :D :D
I have seen it here and there. I'll have to ask around if there is any close to home.
Nicely done. I made one a while back, but waay overdid the juniper. I do think it's funny that you'll lauter through branches for tradition, but use hops and standard yeast. :D
I'm going to try mine again with a bit less juniper branch and some belgian wit yeast (I understand the Finnish baking yeast has a distinct clove note when used for Sahti).
When I have my own house and have space to hollow out a log of aspen for a lauter tun I'll use the bread yeast :D
I'm gonna give Seppo and Eero (my uncle and uncle's brother) a few of these when I brew it so I want to be able to pronounce it correctly:
You know what I think is funny about my Finnish ties? A relative Matti married a woman a few years back and her name is Sonna. Pronounced like most Americans pronounce Sauna. She doesn't like to be called Sauna! Just thought I'd share...
Huh... my compy is acting weird, can't get the pronunciation thing to play.
I'm assuming it's "Saw-TEA" right?
Also, where do you live? I've found some awesome distribution maps for different juniper species.
It sounds pretty much like its spelled. The "h" is kind of gutteral at least the way that guy says it.
A map would be cool. The last time I saw any was in Keweenaw County way up North.
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