Do as the Vikings did. Or at least close to it! Today Im brewing sahti, the Viking brew of choice. No hops, baker's yeast, no boil and a 6 hour mash! This is going to be fun.

UPDATE: Aight, I decided to just update this post as I go. Before I did anything, I made sure to fire up my new Nordic style pipe, hand carved by mister Tom Leedy, and to make sure I had my weapon of choice ready for battle...

Aw yea, ready for action.



So, in its purest form, sahti is traditionally brewed by the household. Therefore, there isn't just one recipe. In general, there is:

-Malted barley (60-70%)
-Malted Rye (10-20%)
-Crystal malt (0-20%)
-Juniper branches

I really wish I could have gotten my mits on some juniper branches, but alas, I could find none. Usually the mash is strained through a bed of branches, and I really wanted to do that. O well. Here is the recipe I came up with for the Leavelle house sahti.

-2 lb Pilsen
-2 lb Pale
-1 lb Rye
-8 oz Crystal 120
-8 oz Crystal 80
-.5 oz juniper berries


Since I could not get juniper branches, I had to settle for berries. I decided that the best way to utilize them would be to crush them up and add them to the mash. So I stuck em on a plate
Crushed them up and dumped them into my grains and mixed them up really well.


Next I got a lot of boiling water started. The idea is to make a very thick mash at first, then continue to add water twice an hour over the course of 6 hours.

Put the grains in the mash tun, and add enough boiling water to get it up to 150.
Its a VERY thick mash. I wish I had a big enough pot, I would have rather mashed in that, because I know Im going to have to boil the whole mash at the end. Still have not figured out how Im going to do this. Maybe a beer or two will get my gears turning...

Im gonna grab a pint while I wait. Thats all for now!

UPDATE: My cooler holds heat too well. I took the lid off to try and lose some degrees on the mash. Havnt been able to add any water yet, and its been an hour!!!

UPDATE: Minor fail. After almost 2 hours of mashing at 150-155, I realized I added WAY too much boiling water at the beginning. Soooo, Im moving on to boiling the mash/sparging. More updates while the wort is cooling.

UPDATE: DONE. Here's the rest of what I did.


There are a few major differences between how beer is brewed and how sahti is brewed. Heres a quick rundown.

-Generally there are no hops
-Usually the wort is not boiled after sparging
-The mash is sparged with boiling water instead of 170 degree water
-Usually the mash itself is actually boiled

*I have to use words like "usually" and "generally" all the time because... there are a million ways to brew this stuff. I looked at many recipes and basically used what I saw as the most common practices.*

So, this final difference is just what I did in this step. I dumped the entirety of the mash into my kettle (actually, some of it got on the floor...)
and let it boil while stirring for about 10 minutes.

As I was boiling the mash, I filled two pots with water and started to boil those as well for my sparging water.
As the mash got to the end of its boil, I boiled a small saucer pan to sanitize it for transfering the mash back into my mash tun from the kettle.

Once the mash was done boiling, I put it back in my mash tun for sparging.

By now both pots of water were raging. So I rinsed out my boil kettle, dumped about 2 gallons of sparge water in, opened the valve and... O NO. Stuck sparge. Just as I was about to dump everything out to find out what the FFFFF I did, a miracle happened... WORT STARTED FLOWING! What a beautiful site. It was slow, but better than nothing!
At this point I snaked a small portion of the wort, put it in the little pot I was using as a scoop, and threw in my yeast. BREAD YEAST.
I also tasted the wort and noticed there was barely any juniper taste at all. So I crushed up another .5 oz of berries and put them in with the yeast to add later in the fermenter.


Chill the wort, sanitize the fermenter, pitch the yeast, aerate. Blah blah blah...


Today was a fun brew day. Very hectic compared to my recent brews! The process was so much more different than usual, my flow was always interupted. Reminded me of when I first started brewing... just as you go to sit down, a little alarm goes off with a jolt of adrenaline, and you think "O shit! I forgot ____!!!"

I learned a few things about brewing sahti that I will incorporate in my future sahti brews. 

-Mash in a pot. Transferring the mash twice was a headache.
-MOAR JUNIPER. I could barely taste any at all from the wort. We will see if my additional "dry junipering" will help. I have a feeling Ill have to dry juniper that beotch again.
-Start the mash lower in temperature. I need to think of it like a step mash, I think, with multiple rests.

Thats all, methinks. This will be my last brew for a few weeks... heading out on the road for work starting Saturday, and seeing as my pipeline is completely full as of today, it may even be a month before I bust out the mash tun again. Bummer.



I cracked open the keg holding my tripel to see how much I had left (I bottled a sixer to see how this baby ages), and... it was empty! Totally weird.

Anyways, thats all. No idea what to brew next, so if you have any ideas...


Spring is starting to show itself here in Denver. We have had a week of absolutely beautiful weather, and I couldn't be happier. Yesterday I blew a keg, which means I had a free fermenter, which means BREW DAY! Huzzah! So I busted out Beer Smith and worked up this little number.

Type: All Grain
Date: 3/27/2011
Batch Size: 3.00 gal
Brewer: bryan Boil Size: 3.43 gal Asst Brewer: Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: My Equipment Taste Rating(out of 50): 35.0 Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 Taste Notes:  
Amount Item Type % or IBU
4 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 63.49 %
1 lbs Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM) Grain 15.87 %
8.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM) Grain 7.94 %
8.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM) Grain 7.94 %
4.8 oz Carapils (1.6 SRM) Grain 4.76 %
0.30 oz Amarillo Gold [8.60 %] (60 min) Hops 14.9 IBU
0.20 oz Amarillo Gold [11.20 %] (45 min) Hops 11.8 IBU
0.30 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] (15 min) Hops 7.3 IBU
0.30 oz Williamette [4.80 %] (10 min) Hops 3.0 IBU
0.50 oz Williamette [4.80 %] (5 min) Hops 2.8 IBU

Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.057 SG
Measured Original Gravity: 1.010 SG Est Final Gravity: 1.015 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.005 SG Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.47 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 0.65 % Bitterness: 39.8 IBU Calories: 43 cal/pint Est Color: 14.4 SRM Color:

I was aiming for an amber ale. No real reason why, except that I had a terrible amber from Breckenridge Brewery the other day called Avalanche Amber. Think amber colored Pabst. Ugh. I guess I did have a reason why... to prove that I can do it better.

I'm not really one to stick to specific style restrictions, but... it will be amber colored, and it sure as  hell won't taste like Pabst! I used Amarillo for bittering mainly because it was in the fridge. I have always loved Williamette, and figured this might be a good opportunity to use the two together.

The brew day was very smooth, and I ended up with this beauty
Come to think of it, all my brews have been exceedingly smooth lately (knock on wood). I didn't even take a gravity reading... in my mind I performed the process of brewing pretty much as good as can be expected, so why bother fussing with the hydrometer and turkey baster? Ill still be making beer, even if I missed my target gravity by a couple of points.

O yea, and good news... 15 bucks til I get a free batch from my LHBS! I feel pretty lucky to not only have a homebrew shop nearby, but to have one that has a kick ass rewards program. Spend x amount and get 15 bucks in beer shiz for free. My batches usually run around $12-14, unless its an IPA, so hell ya. Free beer is good beer.



Today I raised a half empty glass of Munich dunkel as I bid the beer farewell. It was a great brew, and I was sad to see it go. Malty, smooth, low ABV easy drinker... I was damn proud of that one. O well, out with the old, in with the new! My Chinook black ale is now occupying the very same keg, and judging from the swig I took when I started the siphon, this recipe is gonna be a keeper! Its an original, basically colored with loads of medium crystal and a tiny hint of chocolate malt. Its dark as night, and the subtle roastieness of the chocolate work VERY well with the loads of pine notes from the Chinook. Very pumped about this one.

Also, I have been researching more and more about malting and roasting my own malt in the last few days, and I am committed. As soon as I have a place big enough, I am going to be the total master of my entire brew, from malting to kilning to mashing to boiling to fermenting. I am super pumped about it, and at 30 cents a pound for unmalted grain, it will be a good choice as far as my bank account is concerned.

Last, I want to raise yet another mug to my friend Mitch Dubey. He was shot and killed two days ago. A senseless tragedy and a big loss for the whole world. He oozed positivity, and he will be sorely missed. We love you, Mitch. Hope you are having a good time, wherever you are.


So today I spent a good 3 hours fine tuning my itemization spread sheet for the cost for my brewery and the keg/tap system that I will be using in the actual tasting room. The grand total?


Not too bad, especially considering that I ditched my super punk rock brewery set up and decided to actually go with nice brewing equipment built by the dudes over at Stout Tanks and Kettles. Their prices are awesome, especially when you see all of the gadgets and gizmos built into all their pieces. I will still be fermenting in giant plastic barrels that I will stick into refrigerators so... PUNX POINTS FOR ME!

I'm pretty pumped about this. I know that there are still things I need to account for (decoration, furnishing, building an actual bar), and I still haven't considered the costs of licenses and such, but damn, it feels good to be able to slap a price on the vast majority of the stuff I need to buy.


And his terrible home brewing videos. He makes it look like rocket science, and it isn't. This guy is going to do more harm to home brewing than good in two ways:

1. He makes us all look like douche bags.
2. He is going to SCARE more people than he helps.

I hope he chokes on the next Cooper's kit he messes up.


Having a full pipeline all the time makes for scarce homebrewing adventures, but Im not really complaining. Its nice not to have to worry about brewing every couple o days, to be honest. And by the time I blow a keg and its time to brew again, I already know exactly what I want to brew! Good times.

In other news, I went to REVOLUTION BREWING! Some friends and rented a cabin and made the 5 hour trek out to Paonia. We spent the weekend eating, smoking, and drinking beers from Revolution. It was a great time.

One thing I really liked about their beer was that it honestly tasted like really good home brew. The beers were not crystal clear, with the exception of their pilsner. Sitting in the modest backyard area, drinking their good brew, eating free peanuts... gave me the best vibe. Such a great place. I wish it was down the street from my house, I would be there every night. O, and their pints are priced very nicely... 3.50 a pop. I can't even get a Pabst for that cheap in some bars.

Im hoping to make another visit this weekend, my buddy Andrew is there for work, and frick, any reason to go to Revolution is a good reason!



Great day today... besides me being sick. I was a busy boy. Got taxes done with the ol' ball n chain, and then hit up the homebrew shop for my first brew day in a couple weeks! I was going to do my tried and true hefeweizen, but I decided to take that recipe to turn it into more of a witbeer. No fancy spices, just good old hops, water, and barley... the way the Germans like it.

I also kegged my tripel, which tastes great! Harvested the yeast from that beast as well, like a pro. I get better at it all the time. Looking forward to that one being carbed up. Hopefully its good enough for everyone going up to Paonia with me next week, I guess we will know if the keg comes back empty!

Im liking this whole "full pipeline" thing. It makes days like these that much more relaxing and enjoyable. Hopefully when I move to a bigger place, I keep the same process... but I have a feeling that I will be buying a few more kegs and carboys if that ever happens. O well, MORE BEER IS GOOD BEER

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