Improvised brew #3 (stout/porter)

Christmas beer 2015

Here is yet another improvised brew, containing Vikingmalt Sahti malt. Sahti is a traditional Finnis beer like brew, but quite different than beer (read more here). I like Sahti, so let's use those malts everywhere. Oh, and juniper twigs too of course! (see: sahti, koduõlun, gotlandsdrickan, maltølin)

I decided to try methods used in brewing Sahti, to my 2015 Christmas beer. One important part of Sahti brew, is very long mash time, for maximum transformation to get high alcohol content (8-10%) and sweetness.

So I decided to do double mash, using the same wort.

  1. Do first mash 11 hours
  2. Normal sparge
  3. Change in new malts
  4. Do a second mash 1,5 hours
  5. Normal sparge again

First mash 11 hours

In first mash (beta amylase) the goal was to maximize sugar output from Sahti malts. So I did 39  ̊C 0.5 hours, 49  ̊C 0.5 hours and 63  ̊C 10 hours. And then I forgot to measure gravity. Mash water amount 22 litres, against the rules of Grainfather manual..

Second mash 1.5 hours

Second mash (alpha amylase) was pretty much normal, 68  ̊C 1.5 hours to get some nonfermentable sugars and to get some taste out of Pale Ale, Cara Crystal and Black.

Finally I boiled with Irish moss bout 15 minutes, and on the 5 minute mark, I added the juniper twigs, hops, cinnamon, anise and some oak chips soaked in Monnet cognac.


Into boil I added some hops and herbs, on 5 minute mark.
  • 4 g Anise
  • 10 g Brewesr Gold
  • 10 g Zeus
  • 43 g Juniper twigs
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • some lemon peels
  • Monnet soaked oak chips


The result was a dark and thick wort. OG was 1.080. Fermenting produced A LOT of foam, that came out from the airlock. This has not happened with wort's with smaller OG.
Now that the beer has been in a bottle for one week, I'm happy with the final product. Extremely full bodied, sweet and tasty, yet there is noticeable saltiness from the ~2 dl of Monnet cognac put into the boil. OG.08 FG.02 gives about 7.8%

Brewing Sahti (first attempt)

Brewing Sahti using Grainfather (1'st attempt)

So we purchased a Grainfather beer mashing cattle. My firs thought of course was to brew Sahti, the traditional Finnish beer. I could not follow all the right steps in the process, but I think it's the ingredients that make the most of it's flavour and aroma. Basically the only missing step was filtering the mash through juniper twigs, so that will affect the taste.


Grainfather is a small brewing system that is easy to use. Pump is circulating the wort so the temperature stays even from the bottom to the surface, and mash is well wetted all the time. The cooling water hose can be attached thos shower tap using a quick connect adapter.

Good recipe is available on Brewtoad, allthough, none really is like the traditional ones. These recipes work well with Grainfather.

Sahti Malts

I used 5kg of Viking Malt - Sahti Malt and 400g of very dark TUOPPI Rye Malt, ~60g Saaz and 100g Juniper beries while the batch was 19 litres. The Rye Malt is available world-wide from Suomikauppa. Yeast is a baking/bread yeast, that produces banana flavour. The Finnish Rye Malt is an excellent addition to many other dark beers as well.
Sahti must have much more malts used in it than a beer. Average beer has about 160g/l but Sahti has 400g/l malts in it.

I used only little less mals than Sahti requires. The wort in fermentation looked like this.

The results

Allready in the second day the fermentation produced banana flavour sent. My mistake was to add too much yeast in it, and it had a negative effect on the taste. OG was about 1.066 and FG 1.016 after a one week, so that gives it about 6.6% alcohol content by volume. Another mistake was not to use the required 400g/l malts, and the result was just a bad beer, not Sahti.