I’m not sure how soured it went in the 36 hours or so that it sat there–I could taste a touch of tartness, but not a lot–but I figured 36 hours was long enough to let the wort sit, so I boiled up the Pseudo-Sahti on Wednesday morning, with the following “hop schedule”:
- 10 grams Amarillo
- 5 grams Cascade (because I didn’t have enough Amarillo)
- 40 grams crushed Juniper berries
- 15 grams uncrushed Juniper berries
- 2 grams Laurel Leaves
3 Minutes before Flameout:
- Irish Moss (oops, should have been earlier… been forgetting the Irish moss a lot lately!)
- 2 grams Cloves
- 2 grams scorched Juniper Berries, uncrushed
- 10 grams Cassia (Cinnamon), stick form
After cooling, I pitched the Cry Havoc yeast. And then I discovered that I probably should have pitched a Bavarian Weizen yeast, since according to some sources I ran across after pitching, sahti often has a banana ester character. Ah well… I’ll let it start bubbling a bit more vigorously, and then stress the yeast by moving the fermentation bucket to the (very hot) kitchen floor for a few days. If it doesn’t develop banana, it may develop some other weird estery flavor, but I can live with it… this is, after all, an experiment. (If it were Bubblegum, I’d be very pleased, in fact, but I can’t find any mention anywhere of what qualities stressed Cry Havoc supposedly produces. Ah well… I’ll find out and post it myself!)
Oh, one more thing: the Original Gravity was a fair bit higher on this wort than I expected or wanted, and the volume was lower than it should have been, because of a stuck sparge. However, I calculated that by adding about a gallon of sterile water to the bucket, I’d hit both my desired starting gravity and my (approximate) desired volume. I wasn’t worried about the hop utilization so much, since hops are a minor element of this style, but I didn’t want to dilute the Juniper and other flavors, so I eyeballed approximately proportionate amounts of the spices and added them to the gallon of water, which I boiled for an hour before cooling and adding.
In the process, though, I managed to get my first brewing injury. I had swapped hoses for the wort chiller, and the piece I’d swapped in was longer than the original. Miss Jiwaku happened to be in the bathroom when I set up the hose, and I asked her to run the cold water for me. But the hose was badly placed in the sink–my fault!– and the jet of hot water that shot out of the hose sent the whole damned hose flying; in the process, boiling hot water sprayed onto my leg for a quarter-second or so. The burn mostly isn’t serious, but later on, after I’d taken a shower, I forgot about it and while toweling myself off in a hurry, I ripped some skin from the burn, and that hurt like hell.
So now I have a quarter-sized, angry red spot to sterilize and apply gauze to for the next week or two. (If the angry redness doesn’t go away, I’ll go to the hospital, of course, but I’d rather not go straight there if this can sort itself out.)
All in all, I can say I’m just grateful it was where it was–on my calf–instead of my face or some other, more delicate area.
19 Dec. 2010: I transferred this to a carboy to place outside, and let it clear for a few days. From the gravity reading I took just before racking it to glass, it has fermented down to 1.004, which is the lowest I’ve seen any of my beers ferment, and it has a nice crisp sourness, though the juniper flavor was not very strong. I’m hoping it comes out in the bottle conditioning. This gives me great hope for the sourness of my Berliner Weisse, which is sitting and souring in the brew pot on the hot kitchen floor as I write this.
I am considering trying another sahti later, with some rye malt, some of it smoked, and more berries. We’ll have to see if there’s enough time.
24 Dec. 2010: This is nicely carbed up, but still quite green. The lack of hops is quite apparent, and while the juniper fills the space, I can’t say I find it balances the sweetness. I think probably smokiness would do, so there’s a strike in favor of using smoked malt in a sahti, as Mosher’s recipe specifies; however, this might mellow with age. We’ll have to see, I suppose. I should also note that there’s a surprising amount of particulate matter floating in the bottle I opened. This, despite the fact that the yeast had (when I chilled one bottle overnight) flocculated like crazy, leaving an opaque cake of yeast at the bottom of the bottle.
I’m not overall too happy with it, but I’m going to let it age and see if it improves in a few weeks or a month. However, I think it might simply be underhopped, and I’m not sure what, if anything, I can do for that. (I suppose I could boil up some hopped water and blend it, but that sounds a little, well, not so cool.) It is drinkable, but I think it’s going to be better paired with a rich, salty food than it is alone.