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BJCP 2015 Guideline

Historical Beer Sahti

BJCP 27A

BJCP 2015 27A Sahti example
27A - Sahti

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.

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.

Mouth Feel

Thick, viscous, and heavy with protein (no boil means no hot break). Nearly still to medium-low carbonation. Strongly warming from the alcohol level and young age, but often masked by sweetness.

Overall Impression

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

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.;

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.

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.

Commercial Examples

Now made year-round by several breweries in Finland.

Style Comparison

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

VITAL

  • OG:  1076 - 1120
  • FG:  1016 - 1020
  • ABV: 7 - 11
  • IBU: 7 - 15
  • SRM: 4 - 22
BJCP 2015 27A - Sahti Commercial Example
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