Historical Beer (Sahti) ()


Style Characteristics

SRM Range:3 - 4
IBU Range:5 - 12
OG Range:1.076 - 1.120
FG Range:1.016 - 1.020
ABV Range:7.0% - 11.00%

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Impression:

A sweet, heavy, strong traditional Finnish beer with a rye, juniper, and juniper berry flavor and a strong banana-clove yeast character.

Style History:

An indigenous traditional style from Finland; a farmhouse tradition for at least 500 years, often brewed for festive occasions like summer weddings, and consumed within a week or two of brewing. A similar tradition exists in Estonia, where the beer is known as *koduolu*.

Flavor:

Strong banana and moderate to moderately-high clove yeast character. Moderate grainy rye flavor. Low bitterness. Fairly sweet finish. Juniper can add a pine-like flavor; juniper berries can add a gin-like flavor; both should be complementary, not dominant. No noticeable hop flavor. Moderate caramel flavor but no roast. Multi-layered and complex, with kind of a wortiness that is unusual in other beer styles. Not sour.

Aroma:

High banana esters with moderate to moderately-high clove-like phenolics. Not sour. May have a low to moderate juniper character. Grainy malt, caramel, and rye in background. Light alcohol aroma. Sweet malt impression.

Appearance:

Pale yellow to dark brown color; most are medium to dark amber. Generally quite cloudy (unfiltered). Little head, due to low carbonation.

Comments:

The use of rye doesn't mean that it should taste like caraway (a dominant flavor in rye bread). The use of juniper berries will give a flavor like gin (similarly flavored with juniper berries). The juniper acts a bit like hops in the balance and flavor, providing some counterpoint to the sweet malt.

Ingredients:

Malted barley along with malted and unmalted grains, often rye. Low hops. Juniper boughs used for lautering (traditionally in a hollowed-out log), but often producing a juniper/berry character. Often uses top-fermenting baker's yeast in a fast, warm fermentation (German Weizen yeast is a good substitute). Not boiled; a long mash steep is used, with a separately added hop tea.

Comparison:

Strong resemblance to Weizenbocks, but sweet and thick with a rye and juniper character.

Commercial Styles:

Anderson Valley Gose