My latest book Viking Age Brew: The Craft of Brewing Sahti Farmhouse Ale published by Chicago Review Press in 2019, is now available worldwide.

Viking Age Brew: The Craft of Brewing Sahti Farmhouse Ale

Author: Mika Laitinen
Publisher: Chicago Review Press (2019)

Viking Age Brew book cover

Viking Age Brew brings beer history alive and takes readers on a lavishly illustrated tour of rustic brewhouses fueled by wood and passion. Sahti is a Nordic farmhouse ale that is still crafted in accordance with ancient traditions dating back to early medieval times and the Viking Age. Sahti is often thought of as a freak among beer styles, but this book demonstrates that a thousand years ago such ales were the norm in northern Europe, before the modern-style hopped beer we drink today reached the masses. Viking Age Brew is the first English-language book to describe the tradition, history, and hands-on brewing of this ale. Whether you are a brewing virgin or an experienced brewer, the book unlocks the doors to brewing sahti and other ancient ales from medieval times and the Viking Age.

The book is available wherever English-language books are sold and online for example at Chicago Review Press, Indiebound, Amazon, B&N. In the Nordic countries the book is available for example from Adlibris.


Foreword by Randy Mosher
Part I: Tradition, Culture, and History

1 An Introduction to Farmhouse Ales: A Few Sips and the Bigger Picture
2 Brew Day with a Master: Learning the Craft the Traditional Way
3 The Landscape of European Farmhouse Ales: A Family Tree of Folk Beers
4 History of Farmhouse Ales: What Beer Was Like a Thousand Years Ago
5 Drinking Sahti: Is It a Beer Style?
6 Commercial Production: Like Homemade?
7 Low-Alcohol Farmhouse Ales: Nourishment for Work
Part II: The Craft of a Farmhouse Brewer
8 Grain and Malt: Once Brewers Did It All Themselves
9 Yeast: That Mysterious Touch in Liquid Lore
10 Brewing Herbs: Preserving, Filtering, and Flavoring Too
11 The Brewing Process: How Sahti Is Born
Part III: In Your Kitchen or Brewery
12 Doing It Ourselves: Tips for Brewing
13 Re-creating Medieval and Viking Ales: Brew Like a Viking
14 Recipes: Examples and Starting Points
A Review of References and Bibliography


Mika Laitinen has provided an invaluable resource not only on brewing traditional Finnish sahti, but on techniques and ingredients for those of us interested in brewing authentic, traditional Northern European and Nordic farmhouse ales. Viking Age Brew fills an unfortunate gap in modern homebrewing and beer literature, encouraging us to return to the brewing traditions of our ancestors while moving those traditions forward into the future. Mika’s exhaustive research and experimentation has resulted in a fascinating, highly readable and eminently accessible guidebook for brewing like a Viking.

Jereme Zimmerman, author of Make Mead Like a Viking and Brew Beer Like a Yeti

This is an important book on the unjustly neglected topic of farmhouse brewing. It’s an excellent guide to the practicalities of actually brewing this very unusual style of beer, very clearly explained by an expert sahti brewer. Together with the insights into the history and culture of sahti and farmhouse brewing that makes for a book that is a must-read for anyone with an interest in farmhouse brewing.

Lars Marius Garshol, Farmhouse ale researcher and author of Larsblog

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Books in Finnish

I have co-authored two beer books in Finnish. My first book, Sahti: Elävä Muinaisolut (Sahti: Ancient Ale with a Living Tradition, 2015) written with Johannes Silvennoinen and Hannu Nikulainen describes the history, culture, and brewing traditions of sahti. The second, Rakkaudella Pantua: Kotioluen Uusi Tuleminen (Brewed with Passion: The Revival of the Homebrew, 2016), in my view the best homebrewing guidebook ever written in Finnish, is a fruitful collaboration with journalist and beer sommelier Maria Markus. Available wherever Finnish books are sold, for example on Adlibris. For more information, see my Finnish-language beer blog Maltainen.

The books Sahti: Elävä muinaisolut ja Rakkaudella pantua
These books in Finnish are two sides for the same coin: Sahti deals with ancient home-brews while Rakkaudella Pantua teaches how to brew today’s beer.