Historical Beer: Sahti Sahti (Finnish Juniper Ale) -- 1st Place Cat. 23, 2nd place Best in Show - Page 8 - Home Brew Forums

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Old 04-16-2013, 10:29 PM   #71
BottleItUp
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I had to use dried juniper berries and Nottingham, but I did clip some fresh juniper branches.

The boil and fermentation smells were odd to me.

Now it is in a chilled secondary in an effort to clear, the smell is great.

I almost skipped on making this, but I'm glad I didn't. I'll report back when bottled and cracked open.

 
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Old 11-07-2013, 09:19 PM   #72
strangegreenman
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I have a couple questions!
When making this, is Juniperus virginiana safe to use? most of the available juniper around here is J. savina, which is toxic.

Also, what character do the boughs add to this that the berries don't? Could I get away with using black tea and juniper berries and spruce essence instead?

Thank you so much for your help!
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Bottled: Redcurrant wine, Brewer's Gold Single-hopped Best Bitter, Apfelwein, Yule Gruit, Sahti.
Secondary: Six Gallons of Fresh Air
Primary: Local honey mead, Anglo-German Golden Ale (Spalt/Saaz/Fuggle)
Ingredients: None

 
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Old 11-08-2013, 08:59 AM   #73
podz
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The Finnish bread yeast is fresh, not dry. It's sold in every food store, even the small ones. It's in the cold cabinets, often right next to the milk. It's pretty small and only costs about 20 cents for a package.

It looks like this:



Easiest way to get some to the North American homebrewing crowd is for someone on a business trip to Finland to pick up a pack and bring it back, start to culture it and share it with others. It probably wouldn't make it past customs in the mail since it's fresh and not dry, but in personal luggage I doubt that it would be an issue.

By the way, "sahti" is prounced with a non-silent H (it's made by forcing your exhale to produce a sound against the top back of your upper palate). This sound doesn't belong to the native english speaker's tongue. And in finnish, the first syllable always receives the stress.
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Old 11-09-2013, 06:53 PM   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strangegreenman View Post
I have a couple questions!
When making this, is Juniperus virginiana safe to use? most of the available juniper around here is J. savina, which is toxic.

Also, what character do the boughs add to this that the berries don't? Could I get away with using black tea and juniper berries and spruce essence instead?

Thank you so much for your help!
When you boil the boughs in your mash liquor you end up with a ton of sap that adds great piney, slightly sweet, and mildly bitter characters. I've tried brewing this with and without the boughs and it's definitely better with.
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Old 12-02-2013, 04:35 AM   #75
forcenc
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Originally Posted by Arska View Post
Remember to drink it young and keep it cold, it goes infected very, very easy.
Oh and don't forget to build your own "kuurna", here's some pictures (yes it's finnish I know) http://sahti.vuodatus.net/blog/category/KUURINA+MALLEJA
I read the Kalevala last year and have been interested in brewing sahti since then. I don't think I understand why it would be more susceptible to infection than any other beer. Because there aren't any hops?

Thanks!

 
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Old 12-04-2013, 03:29 AM   #76
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There are multiple reasons traditional sahti would be more susceptible to infection:

- No hops, as you mentioned (though I include a tiny bit so I can call it a real beer)
- Traditional Finnish bread yeast might not be as fast acting as beer yeast. If I'm correct in that assumption, the longer lag phase could welcome infection
- Again, traditionally sahti is supposed to be no-boil

But if you do it traditionally (there's that word again!), you shouldn't even need to worry about infection. If I remember correctly, sahti was usually served young and right out of the fermentation vessel.
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Old 12-04-2013, 11:23 AM   #77
podz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reno_eNVy View Post
- Traditional Finnish bread yeast might not be as fast acting as beer yeast. If I'm correct in that assumption, the longer lag phase could welcome infection
My wife uses the bread yeast I posted above when she makes sima. That is the "traditional" Finnish bread yeast. It starts fermentation within 24 hours, just like any other yeast.

Here in Finland, sahti is only sold retail in Alko because it's above 4.7% ABV. The sahti in Alko is between 7.5 and 10% ABV (there are a few different strengths) and it's kept inside a refrigerator, not out on the shelf. It can also be found in brewpubs around the country.

Here are the varieties available in Alko:

http://www.alko.fi/haku/?q=sahti
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Old 12-11-2013, 01:57 AM   #78
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Certainly. I'm in no rush. I've been thinking about this brew for a few years and with no juniper here, could not pull it off without some help. I really appreciate your time and effort. If there is anything I can ship out to you from the UP, let me know.
Ischiavo-
Why wouldn't you just go for a hike and pick some up? At least you should be able to hit a coast and snag it.
Juniperus Communis is pretty common in Michigan; I've seen it all over the LP and I'll bet dollars to donuts it's at least on the coasts of the UP in a readily findable level.

Check this:
http://michiganflora.net/species.aspx?id=887
Plus the wiki page has good info on identification if this doesn't cut it. I'm not sure if I can grab some in Livingston County, but I know it's along the coasts of north LP (Huron shore) and I'm almost positive I've seen it along the Michigan shore, too.

Just a thought: you may be sitting on a treasure trove....

(I'll combine hobbies: geocaching and brewing so I can go out in the woods and get the juniper I'd love to try this with!)

Nate

 
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Old 01-10-2014, 05:12 PM   #79
strangegreenman
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Hi again! Thanks for the information about using the boughs. I am a bit concerned about using my local species, J. virginiana, since a lot of websites suggest the branches may be poisonous/irritating (and a lot of others say nothing or suggest they're usable). Has anyone on here brewed with them? Are they safe or did they give you a stomachache?

Not sure what I am going to use for my brew today, spruce twigs or the redcedar twigs I cut yesterday...

Thanks for your help!
SGM

UPDATE: I used blue spruce branches for the mash liquor and to lauter through instead of juniper. Wow, did that smell good! It gave an amber, piney, sappy strike water like you decribed, Reno. It's got Wyeast Weihenstephan Weizen working on it right now (admittedly I'm using my own recipe, but I borrowed heavily on yours) and I can't wait to taste this beer. Also, I don't think I've ever tasted or smelled anything like paradise seeds before in my life. Thanks for posting this recipe and information!
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Bottled: Redcurrant wine, Brewer's Gold Single-hopped Best Bitter, Apfelwein, Yule Gruit, Sahti.
Secondary: Six Gallons of Fresh Air
Primary: Local honey mead, Anglo-German Golden Ale (Spalt/Saaz/Fuggle)
Ingredients: None

 
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Old 02-20-2014, 09:24 PM   #80
strangegreenman
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One more update, since I love this thread to pieces.
J. Virginiana probably contains a safe level of thujone to brew with. That said...

My batch of Sahti is fully mature now. Malty, spicy beer, graham-cracker taste, with banana and pine in the back of the nose. The sap bittered the beer very well, too.
It's a different beer than yours, half rye, half pilsner malt and fermented on a weizen yeast, but I wanted to say brewing with spruce/juniper sap and juniper berries is just lovely. Thank you for teaching me how to do it properly!
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Bottled: Redcurrant wine, Brewer's Gold Single-hopped Best Bitter, Apfelwein, Yule Gruit, Sahti.
Secondary: Six Gallons of Fresh Air
Primary: Local honey mead, Anglo-German Golden Ale (Spalt/Saaz/Fuggle)
Ingredients: None

 
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