Beer Profile: Bare Bear Sahti

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Profiled by Maria Devan

pgaprofileCheers everyone. This is my first sahti. Sahti is an old Finnish style of beer that is traditionally made with juniper berries and no hops to boil. It can range form 7 to 11 percent and the word farmhouse is used in descriptions. However, it is far from the saison or what you think of as a farmhouse ale in flavor although it was brewed in two strengths the weaker of which was given to the village workers. Also served at harvest or festival time I thought this would be a nice beer to try now.

It’s a gusher. It’s clear copper colored, like a dark honey brown with no head and a few surviving bubbles to rise. Nose is spicy and has an undertone of caramel or nuts. Juniper smells sharp and there is a touch of sour quality. Malt is rich and 14332952_1898303257064012_9159599855204295384_nspicy with rye. The nose has a delicate balance between earth and sky. The perfume from the juniper is not at all hop like and the malt shows hints of nectar like honey.

The drink has a woody quality from the juniper that is very light and almost nutty. The drink is pleasant and very hearty. Lots of spice and the sharp flavor of the juniper made soft by malt. Rye is crisp and the little touch of sour quality to the mouthfeel is welcome in the finish against these richer flavors. Mine has lost much carbonation and would have been much lighter with a few more bubbles. It finishes a bit heavy and with some syrupy sweetness. It’s a sipper because of the abv which is 7% but also because of the flavors which are earthy and mellow.

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Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”

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mdMaria Devan lives in Ithaca, NY and is a great beer writer. That’s Maria in the middle. The other two are not, but they are lucky to have her as a friend.