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.


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