hist-brewing: Sahti and Gottland Drinka - smoking and yeasts

Tue Oct 17 08:49:44 PDT 2000

Thanks to Adam for his reply about Sahti. I have corresponded with him a few times since then off-list and wanted to summarize the conclusion.  First, I mis-typed, my intention was to ask about Gottland Drinka not Sahti.  These are the conclusions

1)  Wood Chips for Smoking.

Adam recomended Alder as the best option for Sahti.  This is obtainable in the US as the tree is common in the NW and Alaska and the chips are used for smoking Salmon.  Look at you local barbeque store or online to find the chips.  I found them for about $6 for 2lbs.   For Gottland Drinka he recomends Baltic Birch or a mixture of Birch and Alder if Birch chips are to expensive.  I did some looking, in general a "Baltic" birch tree comes from the "Baltic" regions and being a colder climate the trees grow much slower there.  When the trees grow slower they grow stronger with much tighter grain.  There are also over 13 varieties of birch.  I have failed miserably in finding commercial birch chips so my only option would be to call someone that has birch in there area, have them hack of a limb, send it to me, and let it dry.  So, does anyone know of commerically available birch chips, and Adam, what is the variety of birch that grows in the Nordic countries.  Paper Birch is what is usualy found in the states.  I did find one barbecue site that claimed that Paper Birch was good for smoking, so I assume what is good for meat is good for grain. 

2)  Yeast

For Sahti, we really didnt get into this much before I corrected my self, but Adam recomended a yest high in phenols and esters as "Sahti is quite phenolic and ester rich drink with a dry finish."  He also advised that the strongest versions of  the beverage are in 7-8% alcohol range with the typical traditional versions running around 5-6%.  

For Gotland Drinka he stated "I would recommend that the yeast be somewhat fruity, able to handle 8-10% alcohol content, have a dry characteristic to it's finish and only minor phenolic attributes.  Off hand, i'd say that perhaps one of the English or Scottish high gravity verities used for Old Ales or Barley Wine would be the best although i know of nothing commercially that is particularly close to Sorenson's family strain. "

Based on this, I was thinking either the new Wyeast Thames Valley, which is complex and estery, a great yeast, I highly recommend it for brittish bitters, but I am not sure how if would go to 10% easily and it really dosnt finish that dry.  The other option I was thinking about was Wyeast 1388 Belgian Strong Ale yeast, "Robust flavor yeast with moderate to high alcohol tolerance. Fruity nose and palate, dry, tart finish."  This is the one I am leaning too, it is a good yeast, and without the extreme belgian flavors found in some of the trappist yeasts.

Nate aka Nathi

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