Sahti is a Finnish ale brewed using juniper
branches. Buhner writes that "juniper is the most ancient herb
in use in traditional beer making in... the Scandinavian
countries, and its antiseptic or preserving properties predate
the advent of hops." To make juniper beer in the traditional
manner, a crosswork of straw and juniper branches is laid at the
bottom of a lauter tun. In another kettle, barley is mashed for
anywhere from 1 hour to several days, depending on the brewer.
Once the wort is drawn off the mash, the remaining grains are
transferred to the juniper-filled lauter tun. The wort is added
to some more water then poured very slowly over the
grain-covered juniper branches. The juniper acts to not only
strain the wort of excess particles but also add flavor and
color to the wort. The final wort is the fermented, bottled and
conditioned before being enjoyed. Different brewers have
different practices as far whether the mash water or wort should
be boiled or not. Practices differ by region. This process can
be adapted to modern homebrewing set-ups as seen below.
11 pounds malted barley
1 pound malted rye
8 gallons water
juniper branches (with or without berries)
Submerse malts in cold water, mix the malts
then cover all to rest overnight.
Boil the remainder of the water.
Slowly add the boiled water mixing well
until the mash reaches a consistency similar to that of
Add the remainder of the water and allow the
mash to rest for 1 hour.
Pour off the clear wort and bring it to a
boil, then add the porridge, mix well and allow the grains
Pour off the clear wort and repeat the above
step 4 more times.
During the final boil, place a layer of rye
straw (cleaned with boiling water) on the bottom of a lauter
Also during the final boil, prepare juniper
extract by boiling the juniper branches.
Once the final boil is complete, dump the
porridge on the straw in the lauter tun.
Pour the boiled wort on top of the porridge
allowing it to flow through and directly into a fermenter.
Pour the juniper extract through the lauter
tun as well into the fermenter.
When the wort has cooled, pitch the yeast
and allow to ferment for 1 week.
Rack to a secondary and continue
fermentation until complete.
Prime, bottle and allow to condition before