27A - Sahti

BJCP Style: 27A (Historical) - Sahti

More information on Sahti: Article 1, Article 2 
Brewing with Olavi the champion

This was the absolute worst brewday I've had yet. I had the idea that I would recirculate the mash at the step temperatures and be able to let it go for the allotted time. This was not the case. Because of the fine mesh of my brew bag it would not allow the pump to pull wort through consistently without running out of liquid at the bottom before more could drain through the bag. 

This was 100% an equipment "failure" - or rather not having the necessary flow rate to do a constant recirculating step mash. How did this translate to a shitty brewday? Well I had to sit there and babysit the damn thing for about 2.5hrs. Running the pump, stopping the pump, stirring mash, checking temp so it didn't get too hot at the bottom and cool at the top. Turning on pump again, etc. On top of it all, the cheap clamps I bought off Amazon a while ago turned out to be hugely irritating pieces of shit that compounded the frustration of an already hectic brew. 

After all the chaos and annoyance of doing the step mash with a not-very-flowy brew bag, I did end up hitting the expected OG of 17.6°P right on so there's that. Pitching Voss Kveik yeast for the first time at 37°C was fun in a weird way - especially how it started kicking out bubbles in about 30 minutes. 

NOTE: The Brew Bag has an option for a 400 micron bag for recirculating wort. Yes I ordered one. 

Full Recipe is on BrewersFriend but here's the TL;DR

  • 2021-7-14: brewday
  • Malts: Pilsner, Munich, CaraRye
  • Other: 20g of crushed Juniper berries 
  • Hop: Whole leaf Cascade in a short hop stand <75°C
  • Yeast: Lallemand Voss Kveik
  • OG: 17.6°P; FG: 4°P; ABV: 7.4%
  • 2021-7-20 (+6): racked to keg-secondary
  • 2021-7-21 (+7): tapped
I didn't have any branches so Juniper Berries it is 

Weighed out 20g of Juniper Berries

All milled up

There was some back and forth on which false bottom to use

I went with the full coverage option, but did use some shorter feet to maximize the liquid to grain ratio.

Heating up for the first step in the mash process. Grains ready to go.

Brew session beer: Dry-hopped pilsner from Cannonball Creek

Pils/Munich and CaraRye malts

All the milled things: grains and juniper berries

Giving the Kveik a go. Nice to be able to pitch at up to 40°C!

Not typically a hopped or hoppy beer, but in the Brewing with Olavi post, the brewer did throw in a handful of hops at the end of the process as a dry-hop. These local Cascade hops will go in as a hop stand below 75°C just before chilling down to 40°C.

Floor Manager Steve napping on the job

Grains in, so far so good (until the pump runs out of liquid at the bottom)

Clamps everywhere. Bag is a mess. Wort not flowing through the 200 micron fabric fast enough for the pump to do its thing. 

Mash step temp #1: 60°C for 45 min.

Flowing ok here. I spent some time moving the tube around for even distribution of the heated wort over the cooler liquid at the top. 

Moving on to step #2: 70°C for 45 min (I ended up cutting this short and ramping up to 80)

Crushed juniper is in

These. Clamps. Suck. Donkey. Balls. Do not buy. Ever. You have been warned. 

Sucky clamps pic 2. The orange 'feet' will flip out then pop off when the pressure is released. Seriously, don't ever buy these. 

The temperature of the Beast. Ramping up to 70°C

There it is.

I kept pulling the bag away from the kettle to check the water level. Once it got too low the pump would stop circulating and just suck air. which... sucked. Also here I am attempting to keep the lower liquid up by running the output on the same side as the pump is pulling. This helped a bit, but wasn't reliable enough to walk away. 

Ok let's end this. Kicking up to 80°C. Actually the temp here is turned up to 90 as it was taking a while to get up to 80. 

Almost... there..

Pulling the bag up and getting ready to transfer to the cooling vessel (which is usually the mash tun). 

More slow flow from the bag during transfer. I have ordered a new bag with 400 micron mesh that is better suited for recirculation. Or as I would say: better for basically everything. 200 micron is ridiculously small and unnecessary. 

Fuck these clamps. Smashing these gave me a small bit of gratification. 

Hop stand with 60g of Cascade harvested from a neighbor's yard a few years ago. 

Sometimes wort looks like brains.

Finally: into the fermenter. 

Hit the expected volume. 

And expected OG of 17.6°P

Away we go. Kveik yeast started fast and I was seeing airlock activity after 30 minutes

2021-7-20 (+6): Transferred to keg-secondary and SG check which is looking like 1.016 or 4°P. High but not out of range for the style (BJCP range is 7-11% ABV). Taste is... not bad at all. Cleaner than expected and not too Junipery. We'll see how it does once chilled and rested a bit, but Sahti is served young and this should be ready to go in a couple of days.  

2021-7-22 (+8): Sample pour from keg. Taste is clean. There's a bit of fruit character that reminds me of muscadine grapes which is not a bad thing. Very little yeast coming through in the flavor. 

There is still some yeast sediment in the sample pour so this needs to rest a bit longer. 

2021-8-25 (+42): well it's been well over the 2 weeks recommended ideal serving time for sahti. But this has been hanging out in the fridge since packaging and is tasting really good. It has not developed anything weird or gone sour. The jug has cleared a bit faster than the keg, but otherwise they are tasting the same.