Sahti of Louhisaari in 1780


Sahti is a type of farmhouse ale from Finland. Brewing techniques of sahti have varied over the centuries and here we present one recipe from Louhisaari Estate dating back to the end of 1700s.

Louhisaari Estate itself is a manor built in mid-1600s and, after various phases, converted to a museum in 1960s. The manor archives, currently held by Finnish National Museum, contain, among other items, a collection of recipes from different eras. While the actual source of the recipe collection is unknown, it is believed to originate from the Mannerheim family, the owner’s of the estate between 1795-1903. The recipes are documented in a book published in 2008.

Based on analysis of handwriting, the recipes have nine or ten “authors” (some texts are copied from other sources), whose identities are mostly unknown. From “Handwriting B”, comes a recipe titled “Kaljan eli sahdin kuvaus” (“Description of beer ie. sahti”, pp. 60-62), estimated to be written in 1770-1780s. The translated text reads as follows:

“Take 1/8 barrels [16 L] of good malts and grind them. Put the ground malt into a half-barrel [ie.] 24 jug vessel. Then take boiling water, boiled down to a third of its volume and then pour it onto the ground malt. Finally heat a few gray stones glowing hot. The stones are placed in the vessel and the liquid is mixed well with a new birch broom. Uniformly mix as long as the gray stones keep the liquid boiling and until the liquid cools down enough that the yeast can be added. A container, to which this is to be put, is prepared so that after it is cleaned, the insides are rubbed with an egg-size piece of bread or sourdough lump. The prepared drink is sifted to the barrel through a fabric of linen. Then take some black currant branches, some field mint, a little dill, five generous spoonfuls of good yeast, which are added to the barrel, which is then carefully bunged and taken to the cellar. Note. While this is boiled with the stones, a tankard-full [1,3 L] of rye flour is whisked or mixed into it. Then when the liquid has been in the barrel for four days, it is ready to drink.”


Louhisaaren linnan talousreseptit [Louhisaari Estate Household Recipes] (n. 1770 – 1850) (2008). Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seuran Toimituksia 1197, Tieto, Helsinki

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Unit conversions: Wikipedia

Sahti of Finlandia

Sahti is the traditional brew of Finland. Here we have some Finlandia Sahti, of deep mahogany color, with somewhat sweet and definitely refreshing notes of banana and vanilla, among others. This brew packs an 8 % abv (there’s also a 10% abv “strong” version), and while you won’t necessarily taste the strength, so well its hidden under the full body, you’ll definitely feel the potency after a glass or two. Why not serve sahti with russian-style sour pickles, for example.