What is Sahti

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Sahti may be a mystery, even for dedicated beer drinkers, but if you have the chance, you should definitely try one of these delicious brews.

What is Sahti?

Sahti is one of the oldest forms of beer and it is still made in certain parts of Europe. A traditional Finnish brew, it is made with both malted and unmalted grains, such as oats, barley, and rye. Many varieties are also flavored with juniper. It is usually fermented with bakers yeast, which gives this brew unique notes of clove, along with the rich fruitiness of juniper.

Sahti is cloudy and full-bodied, and the aroma of it is heavily floral. While it is not available everywhere in Europe and is difficult to find in import or specialty stores, true beer lovers should make an effort to try this ancient brew.

How to Make Sahti?

It is not very difficult to make sahti, let us take a look at its step by step recipe below.

Sahti beer in three glasses

Sahti Beer Recipe

This Finnish beverage is one of the oldest continuously brewed beer in the world. It is a cloudy beer that is brewed with malted grains, juniper seeds, and branches. 
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Course: Alcoholic drink
Cuisine: Finnish
Keyword: Sahti
Fermentation Time: 10 days
Author: Paromita Datta

Ingredients

  • Malted grains, like Pilsner, Munich
  • Caramel rye malts
  • Juniper branches
  • Fresh Yeast

Instructions

  • To brew sahti at home, start with a combination of several malted grains, such as Pilsner, Munich, and caramel rye malts.
  • Mash the grains at 60°C for 45 minutes with water.
  • Add juniper branches to the mash and raise the temperature to 70°C for another 45 minutes, then 80°C for 15 minutes.
  • Chill the mixture to fermentation temperature. Dissolve the fresh yeast in water, and add both to a fermenter for 1-3 days at 18-25°C.
  • Cold condition the mixture for 7-10 days and then bottle.
  • Your ale will be ready in 10-14 days!
    A mug full of beer with chicken wings in a plate next to it

Uses

Sahti should be served in a pint or stein glass.

  • It pairs well with sharp and tangy cheeses, such as blue, cheddar, or feta.
  • It is also served after meals as a digestif.

If you make a larger batch and wish to keep it for the future, it should be stored in a dry cellar away from direct sunlight at 4°C.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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