Sahti | Goose Island Beer Co.

45 Ratings

Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States

Style: Sahti

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.30%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Amber color, juniper berry aroma, spicy rye flavor, medium body.

Added by CRJMellor on 12-29-2003

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 45 |  Reviews: 27
Photo of Hugonaut13
2.5/5  rDev -31.1%

Photo of Chaney
2.68/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I took a chance on this one because it sounded unique. Served in a tulip glass at the Clybourn location.

BA says this one is 5.6%, but the one I tried at the alehouse was 7.5%.

A: Poured a crystal clear, mild amber color, with about a 1/2 finger head that retained itself. This was visibly low carbonated.

S: I got almost nothing on the nose. No spices, grains, malts, etc. After REALLY trying, and for the purposes of this review, I supposed I got a puff of honey.

T: Disappointing to say the least. The only other beer I've had in this style so far has been DFH's entry "Sah'tea." That one was highly creative due to its colorful and usual spice bill. This one had a bit of honey and MAYBE some berries, but that's it. If you're going to create something like this, my suggestion to GI is to lay it out on the line and really soup it up with over the top spices!

M: The syrupy quality without an interesting spice bill was most unpleasant. Additionally, the carbonation was extremely low as well as the lacing.

O: I'm always pumped to try a beer in an out-of-the-ordinary, out-of-the-everyday style, but this one illustrates why the Sahti style hasn't caught on. GI should go back to the drawing board and make this brew a big FU to the man: "You may not like this beer, but your palate will certainly remember how it was wrecked by our draconian spice bomb!"

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Photo of clvand0
2.86/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to kmpitz2 for bringing me a growler of this one. Pours a golden color with very little head and no lacing on the glass. The aroma is packed with rye notes. Slight juniper aroma as well, but the rye is everywhere on this one. I don't care much for the rye/juniper mix. The flavor was just as the nose described. Lots of rye with hints of juniper. I didn't enjoy this one very much.

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Photo of CRJMellor
2.95/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

(Beer of Finnish and Estonian origin with Juniper berries added)
Pours dark golden with very little head and no lace. Aroma is pale malt, very faint citrus hops notes and a slight hint of the juniper berries. Taste is a bland pale ale with just a hint of the berries. I've had this in past years and it was excellent but the 2003 batch just isn't very tasty. Taste is somewhat dominated by the rye malt used. Very dry finish and low carbonation makes it very dull in the mouth.

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Photo of HungarianCount
3/5  rDev -17.4%

Photo of MBJbeer1
3/5  rDev -17.4%

Photo of pmcadamis
3.2/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Semi-clear light orange with a small white head and little lace.

S - Fruity, apples, melon, peach, berries and vanilla.

T - Mildly fruity, slightly bitter, but mainly sweet. Not as exotic or odd as I thought it would be. Pumpkin spice and sugar are there too.

M - Gentle carbonation, light body, and a slightly woody finish compliment the laid-back mild fruitiness nicely.

D - I was hoping this would be a bizzaro brew, but it really isn't. This could be marketed as a light and slightly fruity beer for the masses.

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Photo of kajerm
3.22/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Clybourn. Pours gold and mostly transparent with a slight amber color and a modest white head of fine lacing carbonation.

The aroma is light malts and some piney notes that smell more like hops than juniper to me. Everyone's been saying there's rye in this beer, but if it's there it's doing a good job hiding from me, especially considering how distinctive a flavor/aroma it has.

Tastes like it smells, opening up with malty sweetness and finishing with a piney/herbal hop flavor and some definite yeast notes. GI house yeast has a pretty characteristic flavor that tends to give a "Goose Island flavor" to all of their brewpub beers under 8% ABV or so, and this one is no exception. There is a slightly different character to the pine flavor in the finish--probably the juniper-- but I thought Sahti was supposed to have no hops at all in it.

Mouthfeel is light and briskly carbonated.

Very drinkable, but I wanted this to be more interesting than it was.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.22/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

In tap at GI into a tasting glass, recommendation by the bar tender...Pours a yellowish gold, pretty clear, watery lacing...The aroma is pretty good, a nice mixture of fruit and tea. Tea does dominate mostly but the pears and lemon help to balance this a little...The balance on the nose is undone the taste as its mostly tea with aloe and other herbal notes. Still some fruity notes just not enough.

To much tea for me to make it drinkable. What some would find refreshing I find as medicinal.

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Photo of taylorhamrick
3.32/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on tap @ GI-Clybourn

Pours a kind of clear straw yellow color, a very thin head, leaving almost no lacing on the glass. According to the style description - this isn't very accurate, as far as the clarity goes. But otherwise, just looks like a pale lager or something. I think some kind of spiced ketchup was interfering with my sense of smell, because I was smelling pumpkin pie spice on and off, I think I'll write it off as something in the room because when I tried, I could only smell the beer. I mostly get a kind of herbal smell, with quite a big pilsener malt backbone, but also a bit of caramel smell, or toffee, like little suckers, whichever kind they are - a big sugary if you ask me. Almost not tartness is detected here, which I would expect, and very little juniper, apart from the kind of light herbal, woody, floral smells mentioned. This isn't too spicy in the taste, but I get it as I pull the glass from my lips, a kind of sticky, woody, kind of spicy taste. The malt has a pilsener taste, no hops, no bitterness, just sweetness. There is really nothing exiting about this, and I can only hope that it isn't an accurate representation of the style - I mean, it doesn't need to be exiting, but it shouldn't taste like some kind of an imperial lite beer (which it kind of reminds me of). The mouthfeel is pretty nice, kind of a good balance between thin and full, like a more syrupy verison of some very light adjunct type lager. There's a nice bite of carbonation, which may be about the most interesting part of this. And it drinks kind of refreshing and light, but there is very little of interest in here. I was exited to try a new style, but I highly doubt that this is accurate. I wouldn't try it unless it's your only shot. It's like a summer beer without any wings - not a sahti, according to what I've learned about it, at all.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.35/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a slight reddish-brown body that was hazy. The light tan head was creamy with a soapy bubble layer on top. The head stays for most of the glass.

S- The aroma of green fresh hops was balanced by a faint gin note that had a slight tart character to it. The tart flavor might have been a slightly old cask but it really gave the aroma more depth and appeared to fit nicely, so I will assume it was intentional.

T- The soft note of gin or pine is faint but gives more depth to the green hops flavor. The hops appear to come before the light caramel malt flavor, which is unique. The finish is a kind of sweet/tart note that is soft but interesting.

M- This beer has a medium light mouthfeel with a slight watery texture.

D- This beer is unique and interesting but that is what I would expect from a traditional Sahti, not that I have had very many. The pine and juniper flavors had an interesting quality that comes through more in the cask than in the keg. It is possible that the sweet and tart notes were off flavors but I think they gave more depth and interest to this mysterious style and I think they were designed in the beer.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
3.35/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Serving in a tulip glass from on-tap. Leaves not much of a head and no retention, and no lacing. Body is a clear gold.

Smell - toasty malt, sour rye, black pepper and a hint of tart berries.

Taste - rye sourness with toasty malt sweetness washed through with black peppery spiciness, and a surprising amount of berry-like sweetness on the finish. Sort of a weak pale ale taste with a little bit of non-hop-associated spiciness, and with some berry tartness on the finish.

Mouthfeel - thin bodied, low carbonation.

Drinkability - this is good, but not great, which holds down sesssionability for me, but I'll visit this from time to time.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Served on-draught at Goose Island Clybourn over Paddy's Day Weekend. 8.3% ABV confirmed. Reviewed from notes. Served into a 12 oz tulip. This was my first Sahti.

A: Pours a white floater - no head whatsoever. Body colour is a rich auburn. Nontransparent. Semitranslucent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Understated yet appealing.

Sm: Red wine. Heavy berries. Cherry. Bright fruit skin. Luscious and appealing. Maybe light raisin? A refined aroma of mild strength.

T: Cherry and berries. Definitely berry-dominant. Light acidity. Fruit skin. Light red wine notes. No hop character at all. Grapeskin. A bit of vine. Balanced and enjoyable. Certainly a different flavour profile from what I'm used to. Still, there's not a lot of depth of flavour here. Earthy. No yeast or alcohol comes through.

Mf: Slightly dry and coarse. Lightly vinous, even a bit scratchy. Good thickness. Complements the flavour profile well.

Dr: Fairly drinkable, but it's something of a sipper. Hides its ABV well. I need to spend more time with the style, but tentatively I'd say that I wouldn't get this one again; it doesn't stand out.


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Photo of Gonzoillini
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of gtermi
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of EJLinneman
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Brew33
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of kmpitz2
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Grabbed a growler of this for clvand0 and he's sharing. The beer pours a very slightly goldened yellow color with minimal head. The nose is full of rye spiceyness and juniper. We made a homebrew over the summer that had juniper in it, so I've been exposed to it. The flavor is definately different from anything I have ever had. Definately a lot of rye flavor going on in there, it has a slight sweetness on the swallow, and the juniper hits on the finish. Hmmm. Interesting. Never having had a Sahti before, I'm not sure what to expect or how this stacks up. The feel is shy of moderate. I think the flavors keep it from being highly drinkable. This would be a good beer served in 10 oz glasses. Definately not a beer if you don't appreciate the rye.

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Photo of emerge077
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft at Goose Clybourn.

Pale orange hue, bright clarity that almost sparkled in the light. Thin cap of creamy foam across the top. Minimal lacing, average retention. Head fades into a broken skim that clings to the edges.

Husky grain in the aroma, simple and clean, oats and apparently rye are used in this Sahti. The lack of any defining juniper/herbals didn't bode well.

Lightly tart with mild astringency that suggested apple, very crisp with ample carbonation. Vague spice that seems derived more from rye than juniper. Nice and crisp feel, the overall simplicity and easy drinkability begs for warmer weather. It would have been better with more noticeable juniper or some level of herbal presence.

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Photo of Viggo
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This incarnation was 6.2%, served in a tulip. Pours a hazy golden, medium white head forms, good retention and some lacing. Smell is sweet, lots of rye and berries, wheat, pretty mild but neat. Taste is nice and malty, rye has a strong presence, grainy, with citrus and juniper berry in the finish, finish is slightly bitter and has a bit of sourness. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, with medium carbonation, very dry beer. I enjoyed this, on the lighter side tastewise but an interesting and tasty brew, would try again.

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Photo of rtepiak
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a golden yellow color with a mild head of white. an odor of a very large amount of protein. yeast. almost like burn hair but obviously not on that scale... or that displeasing. palate is quite yeasty and a juniper fruit sweet. the beer is also earthy as well. a musky twig quality... something i find quite interesting. but the protein make the earthy seems like biting fingernails. this is a very interesting beer. something i have to drink up on a bit more. the protein doesn't seems to make for a hardier beer but something more biological in this case. i will have this again in a few month in the face of another of this version.

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Photo of KBomb
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sahti is a hazy dark gold with a generous fluffy head. Aroma is marked by yeast, fruity sweetness, and a little bit of "breadiness". It has a light wheaty taste that has a unique tiny bit of spiciness (the juniper I would guess?). Crisp and fruity all the way through with a little bit of tanginess. High carbonation, very dry. Almost like a champagne.

Sahti is fine. Nothing really bad about it, but its not entirely interesting either. I can't say that I'll be looking for it again, even though there is nothing to complain about.

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Photo of robbyc1
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Light hazy and fizzy pale gold looking with a neat white head.

Pale malts on the nose with a freshness and spicyness unidentified. The juniper is detectable as well, not hard to find.

Taste is very much like the nose, pale with dominant juniper, a spicy note as well. Very refreshing. No hops for the finish according to the brewer, just for the floral notes. Dry nonetheless.

Mouthfeel is light and silky.

Very drinkable, a session beer at the 6% limit I would favor.

Update: June 2009 - new brew, the nose is still fresh and spicy, with the juniper still there. But the taste of this one is quite sour, not as balanced this time. Lower the taste score by 1/2, some less drinkability as well.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A solid pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip with a frothy, initially fat-one-finger thick, pale tan colored head. The beer is a murky, pale amber color that shows an opaque, bright, straw gold color when held up to the light. The aroma is interesting, with an herbal, almost pine like character that must be juniper. Other aromas of grassy grain, fresh crushed malt, perhaps a hint of soapiness and even a hint of light tartness in the finish. An interesting, somewhat, hearty aroma. I definitely like the mix of hearty grain aromatics, light spiciness and hint of tartness that is found in the aroma.

The taste is lightly malty up front, but then picks up a definite tartness that is lactic in character. This lactic tartness makes this quite thirst quenching. There is a touch of a woody note and astringency to the finish. Grassy malt notes and some savory grain character are noticeable up front and a cracker-like grain note tends to linger on in the finish. This beer is quite dry, but still has quite a bit of body to it; it has a certain viscous character to it and a palate fullness, neither of which keep this from being quite quaffable. The juniper spicing is more subtle in the flavor than it is in the aroma (and it is fairly subtle there too), in the flavor it sort of adds a subtle spiciness that is just barely evocative of pine and some sort of berries.

My wife just tried some of this and reminded me that I have had this on tap at Goose Island Clyborne 6 to 7 or so years ago; the juniper character was more fresh then, and there wasn't any real tartness to that beer (if my memory isn't failing me). Still I like the extra tartness in this beer, it is a nice, clean sourness and it goes well with the rest of the beers character. Perhaps not the most complex of beers, but it is certainly tasty enough; this would definitely be a great hot weather beer.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.71/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From 01/21/13 notes. Had this on tap at the Clybourn brewpub. Haven't had a lot of beers in this style so was interested to try a new one.

a - Pours a somewhat hazy reddish brown color with one inch of off white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of spices, fruity malts, apples, spice sticky sweet dark fruits, and some earthy notes. Little bit spicier than I was expecting, but the fruit is nice.

t - Tastes of fruity malts, sweet strawberries, sticky dark fruits, sugar, spices, pepper, yeast, bready malts. More fruit than the nose here and the strawberries are quite nice. A step up from the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate to high carbonation. Slightly overcarbonated but pretty easy to drink.

o - Overall a pretty solid, interesting beer. I don't think this is my favorite style, but out of the 4 Sahti's I have tried so far this one is probably my favorite; I liked it much better than the DFH one. Lots of sweet fruits and spices, it is an interesting beer worth checking out.

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Sahti from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 3.63 out of 5 with 45 ratings
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