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getting_started_with_kveik

Getting started with kveik

In general, kveik has a fruity profile, but each one has its own characteristics. Its worth spending some time to become familiar with them.

Using starters / mini-batches

Once you’ve gotten your hands on some kveik the first thing you should really do is make a starter. While it’s perfectly alright to pitch it into some wort and make some beer, you might as well create a starter so that you can prove the yeast is viable. You can (overbuild and) save some for later, and you can use the starter beer for some experiments. The starter beer will give you a sense of what kind of aromas and flavours you’ll get, and you can dry hop the “beer” in little mason jars to get a feel for what hop/Kveik combinations appeal to you.

Pitching rates

Believe it or not, “A good rule of thumb is a teaspoon [5 ml] of slurry for 25 liters of wort” . This will produce a lot of the kveik (ester) character with many of the strains, but some don’t have this characteristic So, I’ll often use about 10ml of slurry to make a starter about 5% of the size of the batch (1L for a ~20L batch). But you’ll figure out after a few batches what pitching rate provides the flavor profile and fermentation speed that you’re after. Whichever approach you take, it’s important to remember to add yeast nutrients (0.5 tsp per 20L batch) and “properly” aerate the wort. This can be as simple as using a whisk, or pouring back and forth between a few buckets.

Top-cropping

Many of the Kveik strains are good for top-cropping. The registry will tell you whether you should harvest from the top or bottom and when to do it. Lately I’ve been using Årset and will harvest after 36 hours. From a 12L batch I can harvest the yeast and some beer (about 250ml) from the top and use that to fill 4 x 50ml vials. With a healthy ferment each of those vials will provide plenty of yeast! It’s worth pointing out that you can grab all the yeast from the top, there will be plenty left to soldier on. Since getting my hands on some Oslo, I’ve started top cropping at 24 hours and grabbing 500 ml. That nets me about 100 ml of yeast solids.

Storing slurry

I like to keep several 50 ml vials ready to go in the fridge. If I’m collecting from the bottom, I try and keep a few jars available (125ml or 250ml). These can be pitched directly if need be. When ever I run out I’ll make a starter from dehydrated flakes stored in my freezer.

Dehydrating

Dehydrating can provide a lot of dried yeast for future batches. The process itself is quite simple:

  1. Make a large starter, or use the yeast from a good healthy ferment, and transfer into one or several (wide mouth) mason jars
  2. Place the jars in the fridge and allow the yeast to flocculate (overnight)
  3. Pour off the starter wort (use it for some dry hop experiments!)
  4. Use a spatula to spread the yeast onto some parchment paper
  5. Proceed to dehydrate in the oven or in a dehydrator. Aim for 30°C to 40°C
  6. Once dry, collect in a mason jar (or vial) and place in the fridge for a few hours
  7. Then finally, move it to its long-term home in the freezer

Strains and styles

Here are some notes on the ones that I’ve managed to play around with:

Kveik Strain Flavor Profile Recommended Styles
Oslo (single strain) Very neutral Blondes, and any other beer you need a clean profile
Hornindal or Årset Tropical fruit, (mild) caramel APA, IPA, Brown Ales, English styles, general use
Ebbegarden Pineapple, mango, guava APA, IPA, sours, general use
Voss Orange, some spice APA, IPA, Winter Ale
Granvin Like Voss but milder Blonde Ales, “clean” beers

Figure 4 Kveik flavor, styles, and attenuation

Kveik and temperature

The main reason I started looking into Kveik is because I’d heard that it thrived at high temperatures without creating fusel alcohols, phenolic esters (like a Saison yeast), or banana flavors. Each strain has a specific “best” temp, but all of them seem to work well in the 28C-30C range. If you’re anything like me, room temperature is ~23C; which is fine for Kveik. But to provide optimal temperatures you may want to use a heat source:

  • temp controller plus heat-belt or heat lamp
  • a floor heater directed at the fermentor
  • aquarium heater (or sous-vide unit) plus water bath
  • ferment in a temp controlled vessel

I ferment in kegs, so prefer using a heat-wrap and a temp controller.

Brewing quickly with Kveik

Kveik will ferment your beer in 2-5 days depending on temperature, nutrients, and gravity. A good safe strategy is:

  • 3 days in a fermentor at 28-30C
  • 1 more day with the heat off (to encourage flocculation)
  • Verify final gravity and then package (bottle or keg)

Once you get more familiar with how quickly things work you can work on shortening this process Brewing quickly and bottling Bottling works well, and carbonation is achieved quickly. I recently made an American Blonde ale with Simcoe where I did the following:

  1. pitched two dried Voss flakes (about the size of quarters) at 30°C into a 3L mini-batch
  2. dry-hopped after 24 hours
  3. bottled after a total of 4 days
  4. waited 3 days to carbonate (at 23°C)
  5. beer was at it’s prime after one week in the fridge

One week after brewing I was enjoying this tasty beverage. It should be noted, that of course this beer was better after about a week of “conditioning” in the fridge.

Brewing quickly with keg gear

Kegging is a bit simpler in some ways. After verifying final gravity, you can transfer to a keg and then force carbonate/condition in your kegerator or keezer. 24 hours at 30 PSI will get you damn close to the standard you’d expect from a north American beer (remember to draw a beer to release the pressure and dial it back down to serving pressure). This is my preferred approach with Oslo, which gives yeast the best chance to flocculate out completely. If you have a counter-pressure bottle filler, then another interesting option is to naturally carbonate (described below) and fill from the keg.

Brewing quickly with natural carbonation

Putting everything together and taking advantage of natural carbonation allows us to brew incredibly quickly. Once you’ve done a few batches with Kveik, you’ll probably figure out a timeframe when most of the fermentation is complete in your setup (with 1° Plato or 5 gravity points left). For me that ends up being 36-48 hours. To take advantage of that here’s what I like to do (borrowing some ideas from Low Oxygen Brewing ):

  1. Use a keg or a fermentor that can handle pressure, and get your heating equipment setup
  2. Once the wort is at the desired temperature pitch a healthy starter into the wort (~5% of size of the wort)
  3. Seal the kegs, hook up a jumper from the gas-in post of the fermentor to the beverage-out post of the receiving keg (so that the CO2 is fed into the bottom).
  4. And then hook up a blow-off tube from the gas-in post of the receiving keg to jar of water plus a small amount of alcohol or sanitizer
  5. Give the yeast 36-48 hours to complete most of the fermentation – CAUTION: please take samples and experiment on your own to find the amount of time that works for you
  6. Disconnect the blow-off tube from the serving keg
  7. Using a spunding-valve to monitor the pressure of the serving keg. You don’t need to leave this on if you have a leaky one
  8. After a day turn off the heat to encourage flocculation (and consider putting the keg into your kegerator for a cold-crash)
  9. And then pressure transfer to your serving keg

Further details and discussion see our Five Tone Brewing page about low oxygen brewing

No-chill / hot-packing

Since this process is so fast, you should seriously consider doing no-chill. You can make a starter using dehydrated flakes with real wort while the main volume of wort safely chills in your fermentor! For a 10L to 20L batch this will only set you back 12-18 hours; if you brew on Sunday, you’ll still be able to serve beer Friday night.

Brewing sour beers: co-pitching

Kveik happens to love the same ideal temperature range for L. Plantarum. This makes co-pitching Kveik and Lacto bacteria very attractive. There is are a lot of details about Lacto ferments on the Milk the Funk Wiki that are a bit out of scope here. Suffice it to say, that co-pitching Ebbegarden (or another Kveik) and L Plantarum at 28-30°C will get you to a nice pH and a good ferment very quickly.

Other topics

Simonaitis

Simonaitis is a related yeast that loves high temperatures, but unlike Kveik it produces some phenols (pepper). It will give somewhere between 75-80% attenuation; since it doesn’t have the STA1 gene, it is more like a Belgian/Trappist ale yeast than a traditional Saison yeast.

Jovaru

Jovaru is Lithuanian (Saison) yeast that also loves high temperatures, is a Saison yeast (lemon & pepper). It has the STA1 gene, so it’ll give you very high attenuation. I co-pitched Jovaru with some brett and Lacto dregs from a few of my favorite beers and it performed well. After two weeks it achieved 93% attenuation (in a sour beer).

Recipes

I’ve included a few sample “recipes” to help give you a few ideas about the kind of things that work. In general, kveik is going to give you some citrus/tropical-flavors that you’ll either want to harness or overpower. Hornindal and Årset will produce an almost caramel flavor, so you may want to reduce the amount of Caramalt/Crystal used in a recipe to match your desired target.

(North American) Pale Ale

Keeping in mind the typical flavors that Kveik produces citrus, tropical fruit, in some cases a bit of caramel; it should be obvious that Kveik is a natural fit for North American Pale Ales and IPAs. Here’s a sample “recipe”. I used crowd-favorite Citra, but almost any new herbal/piney/spicy hop will work well. Use recipe software and the ratios below to target an OG of about 1.050. Assume about 75-80% attenuation (depending on your specific yeast choice)

  • 77-88% 2-row (or pale ale malt)
  • 5-10% Vienna (or light Munich)
  • 5-10% Flaked Wheat (and/or Oats)
  • 2-3% Medium Caramalt/Crystal (or other accent: Honey, Melanoidin, Biscuit …)
  • 30-35 IBU of Citra (bittering)
  • 4-5 g/L of Citra as a co-pitched “dry-hop” when the yeast is added

Oslo “Blonde”

Want something lager-like grain-to-glass in 6 days? Look no further

Use recipe software and the ratios below to target an OG of about 1.046. Assume about 80-85% attenuation

  • 100% 2-row (or pilsner) malt
  • 20-25 IBU of your favorite noble hop @60 min for bittering
  • 1 g/L of your favorite noble hop @ flameout

A quick-sour mini-batch (~3.5% ABV)

Taking advantage of kveik and L Plantarum’s shared affinity for ~30C, in this recipe we co-pitch and accept that we’ll have live Lacto. The tropical fruit flavors that come out of Ebbegarden match wonderfully with a tart sour and can be bolstered with a zesty dry-hop (think Simcoe or even a combination of Citra and Columbus). Ingredients:

  • 3L of water
  • 150g of Light DME
  • 150g of “Wheat” DME (usually about 50% wheat)
  • 1/8 tsp of yeast nutrients
  • 2 flakes of Ebbegarden (or other kveik)
  • 1 or 2 pro-biotic pills (L Plantarum)

Process:

  1. Boil the 3L of water (use Campden powder to get rid of chlorine)
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the DME (remember, don't add hops!)
  3. Cover and cool in the sink (30 to 40 min)
  4. Pour into fermentor (mason jar or a flask) pitch at 30°C and hold for 3 or 4 days
  5. (Optional) dry-hop with something zesty (think tropical fruit + pine/resin)!
  6. Bottle on day 5 or later

Other ideas

  • APA/IPAs are a natural fit; take your favorite recipe and enjoy!
  • American or English Brown Ales (or other dark beers) with Hornindal or Årset (fruit and caramel)
  • “Wit” beer with Voss (orange spice)
  • Trappist Single, or “Belgian Blonde” with Simonaitis

Resources

getting_started_with_kveik.txt · Last modified: 2020/02/04 13:16 by okibaw