Since Sam Adams launched its Single Batch Series last year, it's been a bit of a mad scientist's lab for craft beer crossbreeds, producing one-off creations like blonde barleywine, Baltic IPA, and rauch bock. They grabbed our attention with their latest releases in the series by dusting off a couple of seriously old and almost-forgotten styles: Gose and Sahti. Sam Adams isn't the only brewery to produce modern versions of these obscure ales, but they're certainly the largest.
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perhaps the most distinctive aspect of sahti brewing was its use of juniper. Traditionally made using a hollowed-out log known as a kuurna (in modern brewing parlance, this would equate to a lauter tun, where the grain would be separated out from the liquid wort resulting from the mashing process), the wort would be strained through juniper twigs or boughs, imparting a green, herbal flavor. The addition of hops was usually skipped in favor of this step, although some formulations contained both hops and juniper. Another peculiarity was that baker's yeast was typically used instead of a more common brewer's yeast, often imparting something of a sour flavor.