Finnish Sahti
submitted by sjuva 
from finland 
since sahti is traditionally brewed by each household themselves, 
there is no a single accurate recipe for sahti. each brewer has 
his/hers own version, and since the recipe isn't in a written form 
but as a "awareness of the process", the recipe usually varies more 
or less between the brews. 
i would recommend the following process: 
this recipe is for 35-60 liters of sahti, smaller batches can be made 
by using the ingredients in smaller amounts. 
20 kg  sahti malt mix, a mixture of pale barley malt and pilsner malt
  and possibly some dark caramel will do well
2 kg  dark rye malt
  juniper twigs
  yeast (traditionally baking yeast)
put the malts to one or several big enough but not too deep containers, 
two 40 liters containers will do well. add ~5 litres of boiling water, 
stir well. during next ~6 hours: twice an hour add ~2.5 liters of 
boiling water and stir. the amount of water and time are approximate. 
this method will not keep the temperature near the optimal 65-68, 
but i believe that the time will do the thing. a hot place to mash 
would probably raise extract rates, though i don't know if it is worth 
it. insulating the containers would also help. 
the junipers are used for filtering the mash. the filtering device 
should be big enough to fit all of the mash. traditional finnish 
filtering device, "kuurna" is a u-shaped longish device. 
boil the junipers for a while before laying them to the filter. put 
the mash to the juniper filter. allow to filter, rinse with boiling 
water to add to the required volume of the wort. 40-50 liters of wort 
gives fairly good sahti. allow to filter. boil the wort for a while. 
filter the wort again through the juniper-mash filter, rinse with 
boiling water. 
the wort is ready. 
allow the wort to cool to the room temperature. start the yeast 
in a smaller container (e.g. a couple of liters). pour the starter 
to the wort. allow to stay at room temperature overnight to start 
the fermentation properly. transfer the container to a cold place 
(~ 8-12 c) for main fermentation. allow to ferment for 2 weeks. 
after that it is about ready to taste. it can be further cooled 
to lengthen the storing time. sahti will not preserve for a long 
time. a month is about the maximum. this is perhaps the main reason 
why sahti is usually brewed for some parties. notice that sahti is 
kept all the time in a non-sealed container, hence it will not get 
carbonated at all. 
the juniper taste can be strengthened by using juniper's boiling 
water to the mashing. this is quite a usual routine, but it gives 
quite a strong juniper taste and most people will dislike it 
until they get used to it. to remove the juniper taste one can 
use something else as a filter. straws are the traditional 
alternative to juniper twigs. 
the less water in the wort, the stronger sahti. also, the first 
wort to come out of the filter can be used to produce stronger 
sahti, the rest to produce thinner sahti. the more important party 
the stronger sahti, the more important drinkers the stronger sahti. 
a not-so-strong sahti is usually called "naistensahti", women's sahti. 
the amount of rye can be varied. e.g. 20 % instead of the above 10 % 
would give a bit stronger rye taste. 
the yeast used can affect on the taste. the finnish baking yeast 
is quite effective and it will give quite a sour taste. i don't 
know how beer yeasts will do. i believe that those would do well. 
anyway the sourness is quite characteristic for sahti. 
all instructions given above are approximate. i myself would 
consider it dull to make beer or sahti using same recipe (or any 
accurate recipe) every time. perhaps other finnish readers of 
this news-group (or hbd) could give some other sahti recipes. 
i was also asked about suggestions how to use sauna in brewing. 
a warm sauna (60-70 c) is an excellent place to mash since it is 
easy to keep the mash at desired temperature however long you 
want to. besides, sauna has been traditionally considered as the 
cleanest place of a finnish household. 
international recipes online 
on-line culinary discussion at 
(ID: 9157) Mirror: Sun, Jan 11, 2004

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