I’m curious to know if any of you have experiences brewing with one (or multiple) of the different Kveik yeast strains available commercially. According to some sources (MTF, HBT, etc) Kveik strains posses almost magical properties such as being able to produce finished beer within 1 week and imparting anything from smokey to citrus flavors. So far I haven’t really found too much information that I would deem reliable though. Having recently had my first Kveik and having been fairly impressed by its qualities, I am definitely looking forward to brewing one myself.
I have no experience with it but hope someone here does, following
Never used the yeast either, but, as @derA mentioned, there is some great info on Milk the Funk, both on the wiki and if you search the forum.
I recently brewed a beer with Sigmund’s Voss Kveik from The Yeast Bay. I fermented it hottish, over 80 degrees. It didn’t finish out particularly fast, but it was attenuative, it finished out under 1.010. As far as smokey flavors, absolutely not. I used 8lbs beechwood smoked malt in the grain bill for this beer, and barely had any smoke flavor in the finished beer. The yeast flavors I would describe as somewhat citrusy (orange notes specifically). I’m looking forward to doing more brewing with different kveik strains if I can get my hands on them.
Thanks for the insight! How long did it take the yeast to go down to 1.010? And what was your overall grain bill?
Took about two weeks, FG 1.009. Grain bill was (I believe, I don’t have my notes on me) 8lbs beechwood smoked, 2-3lbs Munich, 1lb malted rye. All the water I used was juniper infused (I took about 10 gallons, threw a bunch of juniper branches in there, brought it to a boil, killed the heat, and let it sit). Used a stepped infusion mash (don’t remember the details and don’t have my notes handy), and had juniper branches at the bottom of the mash tun. Boiled 60 minutes, 1oz Hersbrucker 2%AA @60, no more hop additions. Bottled (I don’t keg) with about 3oz priming sugar, low carbonation. Apparently flat is traditional, but I didn’t have the balls for that. Made an excellent beer, only problem is I have very little of it left and need to brew it again. I wanna try a different kveik strain this time. Also, next time I’m probably gonna omit the hops entirely. This is a basic template that they’ve been brewing since before hops were a common flavoring in beer.
For those interested in the traditional ways, Martyn Cornell just released a new article on the topic of Kveik in Norway:
Good article, but like so much you read about kveik, the infuriating part is that it doesn’t tell you where to get any. Fortunately, they talked about a Canadian company called Escarpment Labs that produces a strain, I emailed them to ask if they’ll ship to the US. I’m also considering contacting Wyeast and White Labs to tell them to hop on this bandwagon. I enjoyed the one beer I brewed with kveik, and I would like to explore other strains.
Yes, there seems to be surprisingly little willingness from the big yeast manufacturers to jump onto this but it might also just be nomenclature. I remember seeing a discussion somewhere that some of what White Labs has in their Vault might be the same as some of the Kveik strains just differently labelled. There are a couple of smaller labs that do carry at least some strains of Kveik but they are harder to get in certain areas (central Europe…). So far I have seen Escarpment Labs, Omega Yeast Labs (dubbed HotHead) and NCYC.
There is a registry on Lars’ blog which has link to documentation and manufacturers for some strains: http://www.garshol.priv.no/download/farmhouse/kveik.html
The strain I used was from The Yeast Bay. My understanding is that Omega’s HotHead is the same strain. I recently found out about the Escarpment strain, I’ve been in contact with a Canadian homebrew shop that may be willing to ship to the US, I’m waiting to hear back from the guy. NCYC is something I’ve never heard of before, but I looked it up, and they’re charging £70 for one of the strains, which is absurdly expensive even if they would do transatlantic shipping, which I suspect they wouldn’t. Apparently there’s some facebook group or something which is a good way to source some of these strains, but I refuse to use facebook for any reason, including connecting with my friends from the Marines, and as tempting as it sounds, no beer yeast is enough for that.
UPDATE: Through the Escarpment Labs website, I managed to find a homebrew shop in Canada that will be willing to send me their Hornindal Kveik strain (for an inflated price with shipping). I’m buying two vials of it from the guy. Now I need to learn how to harvest yeast real quick.
Isn’t the tradition to have a wood spiral in eachieving batch and pull it out, dry, save and use to inoculate the next batch?
Yes, this seems to be the case. I have seen some resource which said that Kveik yeast is the only brewer’s yeast capable of surviving dried out on wood as this property has been lost in the selection process of most other yeasts. There are also suspicions that not all strains currently sold as Kveik are actually the same strains people used to make Norwegian farmhouse beer with. It’s possible that some of the wood contained no viable yeast cells from the last fermentation at tie of analysis, so that the yeast labs ended up with wild yeast recently deposited on the wooden pieces by the surroundings.
UPDATE number two: Drank the last of my batch with the Sigmund’s Voss Kveik over Christmas. It had gone sour - in a good way. Lots of lemony/citrusy notes and a distinct mild tartness. I’d heard that these kveik strains could do that, but up until then, mine hadn’t. It was awesome, I’m definitely brewing that recipe again, and this time I’m gonna hang onto it for a couple months before drinking it.