How to use kveik
Posted in Beer on 2018-06-09 16:11
Dried kveik from Stein Langlo
So. You've gotten hold of a kveik, and now you're wondering: how do I make best use of this thing? You're right to ask, because many people have found when they try it that it doesn't live up to the hype. They pitch it like a normal yeast, and the result doesn't seem that special. That's because this isn't normal yeast, and you have to treat it differently to get the most out of it. Here are some simple guidelines based on what I've been able to figure out so far.
The first thing to realize is that kveik is a type of yeast, not a specific strain. The kveiks are actually quite different from each other, even though there are clear family resemblances. And, there is a difference between kveik (the farmhouse yeasts from western Norway) and farmhouse yeast in general (from Lithuania, Russia, and Latvia). All the kveiks are related to each other, but not to the other yeasts. Whether the others are related to each other we don't know yet.
Our knowledge of the other farmhouse yeasts is not as good as for the kveiks, but we can summarize their properties roughly as follows:
|Property||Kveik||Other farmhouse yeast|
|Can be dried||Yes||No|
|Temperature||Up to 43C||High|
|Fast fermenter||Yes!||Mostly yes?|
|Aroma||Tropical fruit||Variable, but aromatic?|
The table below lists some of the flavours, to give you a clearer picture of the differences. The yeasts in this table are the ones that have been used the most. Of the non-kveiks #16 Simonaitis has become a favourite with many homebrewers.
|#3||Stranda||Yes||Earthy banana and melon|
|#4||Muri||No||Sulphur, rubber, fruit|
|#5||Hornindal||Yes||Milky caramel, tropical fruit|
|#9||Ebbegarden||Yes||Mango and pineapple|
The farmhouse yeast cultures you can buy are usually a single strain only, while the original cultures always have a number of different strains. The originals sometimes have bacteria as well. The commercial cultures that contain more than one strain are (at the time of writing) those from Escarpment Labs and Mainiacal. It's also possible to buy mixed cultures from NCYC.
Propagating kveik at home
There are two main ways that people use kveik. One is to recreate the original styles, or at least make a beer where kveik is one of the key taste elements. In this case, beware of using lots of craft-style hops: the hops will completely dominate the beer and the yeast profile will drown. The other way is to make a normal beer (porter, IPA, etc), but use kveik because you don't have to worry (too much) about temperature control, and because you get a drinkable beer much more quickly. Either way is fine, but you may want to treat the yeast differently.
These yeasts ferment very quickly. If you're pitching healthy yeast (even in dried form) it's not unusual to see lots of activity within 30 minutes, and within a few hours there should be visible life. A completed fermentation within 36 hours is perfectly normal. However, they're also fast in another way: the beer will be drinkable right away. Remember, the custom is to have oppskåke after 48-72 hours. Letting the beer mature for some days or a week usually improves the flavour, but you don't need the maturation times that are common with normal yeast.
Terje Raftevold's kveik, 31 minutes after pitching dried flakes
The key to really bringing out the yeast character is to underpitch. Kveik thrives with being pitched at levels that would be dangerously low for normal yeast, and produces more flavour that way. A good rule of thumb is a teaspoon of slurry for 25 liters of wort. If you do this take care to ensure there is some oxygen in the wort. Old-style splashing by pouring the (cooled) wort from waist height is enough.
Also, for best results you should try to follow the pitch temperatures in the kveik table for your specific yeast. And not just the pitch temperature. Try to prevent the beer from cooling off too much by placing it somewhere warm and wrapping it in clothes or blankets, so that the temperature stays high during fermentation. The kveiks generally have very wide temperature tolerance, but some are more picky than others.
Kveik has very high alcohol tolerance (typically 13-16%), probably because it's used to fermenting very high gravity beers. That also means kveik seems to have lost the ability to produce some of the nutrients it needs on its own. It's used to having lots of it available at all times. So fermentation on low-gravity worts can be quite slow and give low attenuation. The same goes for fermenting cider and mead. Putting in lots of yeast nutrient helps.
Terje Raftevold harvesting kveik after 40 hours
One of the nice things about kveik is that you can safely harvest and reuse it. When you do, you need to remember that this is a mixed culture (unless you're using the commercial ones). The culture is not evenly mixed: some strains have many more cells than other strains, and if you disturb this balance you may change the kveik. The best thing is to harvest exactly like the original owner, which means at the same time (hours after pitching), and from the same place (top or bottom). The table has the details where we know them.
It's not just to preserve the mix that you want to harvest the yeast early. In general, yeast grows faster than bacteria, so the longer you wait, the more time the bacteria get to grow. To keep the level of bacteria down it's good to harvest early. Especially if you intend to be doing this over and over and over again. Another reason is that if you're harvesting from the top you don't want to be too late; if you wait too long the yeast can sink.
If you want to bottle the beer, be aware that some of the kveiks flocculate so hard that they literally stick to the bottom. If there's no yeast left in suspension you won't get any carbonation. So you may want to add another yeast to get the carbonation.
The simplest way to keep the kveik is to just put it in some kind of jar in the refridgerator. Usually they will keep for a year or more like this. If you do this, beware of pressure. If there is enough wort left and enough sugar in the wort the kveiks are perfectly capable of blowing up the whole thing. Some of these yeasts seem to keep fermenting even in the fridge. That said, I've kept 10-20 small glass jars in my fridge for 3-4 years now with no accidents.
Kveik slurry, ready to be dried
The safest way to keep the kveiks is to dry them. A simple way to do that is to first decant as much liquid as possible, then smear the slurry on baking parchment with some paper towels underneath. Set your oven to 30C blowing hot air, and leave the door slightly ajar. The yeast will dry into a hard crust, and by crumpling the parchment you can drop the chips into a ziploc bag. Then you can put them in the freezer where it will keep for 20 years at least. If using the oven feels too risky 3-4 days in a clean room will also work.
48 hours later (no oven used, just placed in the cellar)
Note that it's only the kveiks that can be dried. They're used to it and have absolutely no problem with it at all. But the other farmhouse yeasts can't handle it. If you want to keep the others for a long time the trick is to mix the culture with 15-25% glycerol and then put it in the freezer in liquid form. Glycerol works as an anti-freeze when mixed with water, so you may find that it doesn't freeze, but you will still get a preservative effect, and while the yeast may not survive 20 years it should survive some years.
This is what I've picked up so far. If anyone has anything to add from their own experience, please don't hesitate to post comments below.
In 2016 I was contacted by Canadian researcher Richard Preiss
Read | 2017-10-06 10:02
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim started doing research and courses on brewer's yeast a little over a year ago
Read | 2016-09-06 16:30
jan roos - 2018-06-09 18:38:46
A very interesting and informatieve post. I dried my slurrie as you described. Only I have kept it in the freezer was that's a clever idea?
Lars Marius Garshol - 2018-06-10 10:06:08
@Jan: If you've dried the yeast then putting it in the freezer is a very good idea. When you need some you can pick out a couple of chips and do a starter from those. That way you have a stable culture stored for a long time.
Roi K - 2018-06-10 16:39:53
Iv'e done a simonatis kveik beer that stalled for a while because it was fermented at ale temp, and when cranked up finished nice and dry. the thing is that i bottom harvested the slurry after two months, and the beer was tart by then. how would you recommend to proceed with the harvested slurry? should i brew another batch with higher ibu (to inhibit the lacto) and underpitch as your article states?
qq - 2018-06-10 17:32:10
"The commercial cultures that contain more than one strain are (at the time of writing) those from Escarpment Labs and Mainiacal."
What's the story with the Omega OYL-91 version of Hornindal? Retailers still have a version of their description that says "We preserved the original blend of strains to bring the best possible complexity", but the Omega website now makes no mention of anything like that.
Lars Marius Garshol - 2018-06-11 07:26:08
@Roi: Simonaitis contains lactic acid bacteria, so you have to be careful with that one to avoid sour/tart beer. Simonaitis himself uses a lot of (home-grown) hops, probably for that very reason. You can of course reuse the slurry, but as you've guessed the odds are that it will have more lactic acid bacteria than you want. If you do use it again I would definitely use high IBU, yes.
@qq: Well spotted. I don't know the answer, but I'll try to ask them.
James Torr - 2018-06-11 14:35:39
@Lars something DeWayne on MtF mentioned was that the pitching rates in Norwegian farmhouse brewing are often very very low. Voss I found responded very well to extreme underpitching - and often didn't express esters without it.
Lars Marius Garshol - 2018-06-11 15:47:22
@James: Yeah, that seems to be the case in general, at least with the kveiks.
Nado - 2018-06-11 22:17:51
Great entry! I work at a small brewery in the US. We are planning on brewing a pilot batch of Hornindal-type raw ale sometime soon. Few questions if you have the time! Os there any way to source the #5 yeast-and-bacteria mixed culture stateside? Or is NCYC’s mixed yeast culture the only option? If not, is there any indication of what those bacteria are, and what kind of balance exists in the original culture? I know American homebrewers used to try to approximate lambics more or less like that back in the day. The caramel and mushroom flavors you have described sound fascinating!
Lars Marius Garshol - 2018-06-12 13:47:02
@Nado: The full culture is as far as I know not available anywhere. I have a few dried flakes in my freezer, and I must confess I'm not really very tempted to take any up. The few ones remaining are very precious. And Terje has it, of course.
I think NCYC's mixed culture is the best option, but it won't give you the bacteria. Having said that, I think Escarpment's blend will give you something close to the classic character that's common to most of the Hornindal kveiks.
One analysis found acetic acid bacteria, as well as Lactobacillus plantarum and paracasei. However, that isn't necessarily all of the bacteria, and I'm not sure we know what proportion they were present in.
The milky caramel is typical for the Hornindal kveiks (#5 Hornindal, #11 Lida, #21 Tomasgard, #22 Stalljen, etc.) For the full mushroom experience you need the original, but whether you could successfully propagate it to commercial batch size I don't know. I know after 3 brews where we harvested it in a way that was different from what Terje does, the bacteria flavour faded.
So this one is really tricky.
Mark J - 2018-06-14 13:37:59
Excellent write up as usual, thanks Lars.
Just a quick one, you mention a method of harvest is to take the yeast from the top/bottom a few hours after pitching. Do you literally mean going in with a spoon of some sort and scooping it out not long after the yeast has been added? With a commercial pitch (Yeast Bay etc) do you think building a starter and harvesting all the slurry, then pitching the required amount as and when it's needed would also work? Thanks
Lars Marius Garshol - 2018-06-14 17:20:10
@Mark: Not "a few hours", but typically something like 30-40 hours or however long the yeast is usually allowed to ferment. And, yes, just using a spoon or ladle and scooping the stuff up.
You can of course make a starter and then split the starter, but you'll get a lot more yeast if you harvest after fermentation. A benefit of this is you can split up the harvested yeast and have enough for several future fermentations.
Joe Vienneau - 2018-06-25 18:15:09
Thank you so much for this information! I've started doing 1L starters so that I can dry them for future use. https://photos.app.goo.gl/ozf71U99Emb6gb7A6
Duncan Johannessen - 2018-06-28 19:50:59
Hi Lars, Excellent post, just one thing I wondered. I have found in the past with yeasts that work fast, the resulting beer often has a shorter shelf life before off flavours start to develop. Has anyone kept some bottled Kveik-fermented beer around for say a year or more and if so, was it better/worse? Probably the answer will vary based on the individual Kveik blend but thought I would ask in case this is a consistent attribute.
Lars Marius Garshol - 2018-06-28 19:54:20
@Duncan: It varies. Beer made with the Sigmund kveik does seem to have a short shelf-life, at least in the version that's not been in a lab. But many of the others have no such problems at all. So I don't think the problem, whatever it is, is related to the heat tolerance. It could be the yeast itself, or it could be other microorganisms living with it that consume the desirable flavour products.
Nils Van Geele - 2018-07-02 21:50:44
@Lars: Hey Lars, I received some Hornindal kveik and I'm looking forward to start my own Kveik adventure after reading so much about it on your blog. I just have one question you might be able to answer. I'm planning on top cropping yeast after 30-40 hours, as described here, but I've never done so before. I've read how many people recommend to do a "first" top crop after about 24 hours, which is discarded to get rid off protein and hop trub. The "second" top crop (at 40 hours) is then guaranteed to be a lot cleaner. Do the original farmhouse brewers do this as well, or do they simply skip this step?
Lars Marius Garshol - 2018-07-03 07:28:17
@Nils: It's not common for the farmhouse brewers to do a first crop and discard it. In fact, with kveik I'd be careful about doing that at 24 hours, because at that point the kveik will be working at full steam, and what you crop will not just be protein and trub.
Terje cleans his kveik before freezing it, but many of the brewers don't bother with that.
Nils Van Geele - 2018-07-03 10:29:17
@Lars: Thanks for the quick reply! I'll just be doing a single crop around 40 hours then.
Nado - 2018-07-04 19:30:06
Thanks! I appreciate the advice. NYCY is unfortunately outside our budget for a very experimental pilot, and after some back and forth learned that Escarpment does not export to the United States yet. Omega Labs has shipped us their isolate, and we’re very excited to see what it does! We’ll be brewing a modified version of Terje’s beer, probably with our house two row or local malts, and whatever hops are on hand. Seems to the spirit! We plan on top cropping to the best of our ability from the modified half-barrel keg fermenter. Have you noticed any effects on the yeasts behavior based on how strong the juniper infusion is though? I imagine it doesn’t affect the yeast, just the general balance in the finished beer. Thanks very much for your assistance!
Meester Fogg - 2018-07-12 00:08:19
I got an envelope of dried slurry flakes from Ivar in Oslo. I pitched a very small amount into four gallons of 1055 parti gyle wort from 2 row, flaked barley and irish oats. First wort hopped with an ounce of ctz and boiled for about 5 minutes. Aerated during transfer as O2 went out earlier that day. Anyway, I was really impressed with the speed of fermentation. Looking forward to a gravity reading and tasting after a week.
Geoff Edney - 2018-07-17 21:44:53
Great blog, just spent a couple of hours learning heaps, thanks. I have been lucky enough to get two varieties of Kveik recently and am looking forward to the tasting the beer, still can't believe the 39C fermentation temperature. One vial (Saure’s kveik) is quite small and somewhat old, I am going to make a starter first, should this be at the 39C temp? And is a standard (1l to 100g DME - Dried Malt Extract) starter wort OK?
Lars Marius Garshol - 2018-07-19 14:43:23
@Geoff: It's important to check the registry: http://www.garshol.priv.no/download/farmhouse/kveik.html
You'll see that Saure should be pitched at 30C. It may work at 39C, but the owners pitch it at 30C, so the higher you go above that, the greater the chances that something will not turn out as you wish.
Kristian - 2018-08-08 12:20:32
@Duncan and @Lars: This month I had a 2,5 year old christmas beer, 8 % strong, fermentet at 40 degrees C with Sigmunds original kveik, and found it to be excellent! Could not detect any off flavours.
Joe Vienneau - 2018-08-16 19:48:55
Is it possible to dry the Simonaitis using the same process for drying kveik?
I managed to successfully dry Voss, Ebbegarden, and Hornindal batches and now keep them in the freezer. Incredibly convenient for sharing with fellow homebrewers!
A friend gave me 15 ml vial of slurry that I'm trying to build up right now :)
Lars Marius Garshol - 2018-08-19 18:17:05
@Joe: As far as we know, Simonaitis cannot be dried. The villagers store it wet, in jars in the well. The Norwegian ones can all be dried, but as far as we know none of the Baltic or Russian ones.
Rafael - 2018-08-28 17:24:18
Lars is it possible to just split like 100 billions extra cells in a starter and dry them up instead of taking the yeast from the top bottom few hours of fermentation? or how much aprox yeast cells it is good to harvest?
Lars Marius Garshol - 2018-08-28 19:41:10
@Rafael: I'm not sure exactly what you mean, but in general you can definitely make a starter and then use yeast from that. Of course, if you do it many times in a row that will be different from brewing, so it's best to brew with the yeast now and then.
Usually you harvest as much as you can get. There's no point in wasting yeast, really.
Rafael - 2018-08-28 20:10:37
Thanks!, yeah what i meant i overbuild my starters and save some extra yeast for future brews, some calculators you can add how much extra cells you would like to grow.
James Hofer - 2018-10-05 00:27:51
Appreciate the information. You mention that you should harvest at the same time as the traditional brewers, but I didn't see that listed anywhere for the various strains.
Top seems easy enough to guess - grab it after 18 - 24 hours while fermentation should be high.
When and how do you bottom crop? Although I have a conical and could extract that way, it seems like traditionally this would not be how it was done.
Lars Marius Garshol - 2018-10-05 08:44:40
@James: Yes, that's a known shortcoming of the registry. I will try to correct that when I can.
The traditional fermentor looks like a barrel with no lid on top, and a tap on the side a little above the bottom. So for bottom harvesting you would just draw off the beer through the tap, then take the remaining slurry. So I think doing it via the cylindro-conical tank probably wouldn't be that different.
Robert - 2018-11-06 03:33:47
Hi Lars, apologies if I have missed this info. A teaspoon of slurry is good. If the Kveik has been dried, would it be a teaspoon also?
Lars Marius Garshol - 2018-11-06 07:33:02
@Robert: A teaspoon of dried kveik should also work fine.
Gibson Gillespie - 2018-11-14 14:51:07
Lars, would you recommend rehydrating dried flakes before pitching or just pitch directly? I'm specifically asking about this for Ebbegarden and Skare Kveik if that helps.
Lars Marius - 2018-11-14 14:53:25
@Gibson: If you have very old flakes, like older than 5 years, I would rehydrate in weak wort. Something like 1.010. But with newer flakes you can just pitch them in the wort.
One farmhouse brewer even pitches them while still frozen.
Jon Doe - 2018-11-26 08:06:25
Hey Lars, I'm doing a orange american wheat beer soon, and I ordered Sigmund Voss Kveik, I'm not looking to go traditional in any way, I just think that the yeast would give it some real flavor. Anyways, I think it's really awesome that you helped to bring these yeasts to light, I really like the idea of using somebody's heirloom yeast. I think this will be my family's heirloom as well now. I'm a first generation brewer. Anyways, just wanted to tell you "thank you" for your work here. Your an awesome guy. Happy brewing brother!
Monxo - 2018-11-26 20:47:46
Lars: Hi. You have probably addressed this somewhere, and perhaps you want to reply to my email privately. Can you use/preserve the Omega kveik the same way that they do in Norway? If not, where can I get some traditional kveik? Thanks. Monxo, the South Bronx.
Lars Marius - 2018-11-27 13:18:59
@Jon: Thank you!
@Monxo: You can preserve and use the lab yeast (from all of the labs) the same way that the traditional brewers do. The reason is that the behaviour is dictated by the genetics, and those are the same no matter where you get the yeast.
Of course, a single strain from a commercial lab is not the same as the full culture from the original brewer. How much the two differ in practice varies. For the Voss kveik, probably not that much. For the northern kveiks: probably more.
Andy H - 2018-11-30 15:51:11
Last Friday, I used the Omega kveik for the first time. Pale ale with Citra and Nelson Sauvin. I did a yeast starter for a 1.052 beer. The yeast starter was super active and blew the top off a couple times.
Then when I pitched the wort, I probably had activity within a couple hours. I was out of town for a few days, and I came back to a huge mess. I thought I had enough headspace that I didn't need a blow-off, but I was wrong. Truly one of the most explosive and active yeasts I've ever used.
Your comment about under-pitching is interesting. According to beersmith, my cell count was pretty high for the gravity which is attributed to the starter. I don't feel like I'm getting as much of the tropical fruit aromas, and coincidentally, my thermometer broke, so I'm fermenting around 18 or 19 C. I'm still seeing a lot of activity in the airlock. Should I ramp up my temp to get some more of that fruity, estery aroma and flavor?
Just discovered your sight thanks to Dangerous Man in Minneapolis. Enjoying your work and the comments from everyone. Thank you!
Lars Marius - 2018-12-01 12:31:16
@Andy: Higher temperature than 18-19C will give more pronounced aromas, but kveik produces very stable aromas across a huge temperature range, so underpitching has a bigger effect. Beware that if you up the temperature it will ferment faster. If you increase the OG it will also ferment faster.
Karl - 2018-12-03 23:14:22
Is it known what bacteria is found in the Ebbegarden #9 culture? Will it sour a dry hopped beer?
Lars Marius - 2018-12-04 07:42:34
@Karl: It's not known as far as I'm aware. The owner does not actually boil the hops for his beer, because Ebbegarden makes the bitterness come out so strongly. He only dry-hops. So I wouldn't worry about the bacteria.
Mike - 2018-12-06 20:53:57
When pitching a slurry, what kind of cell count should I be targeting?
Chris - 2018-12-07 15:06:23
Hi Lars, I noticed on your farmhouse yeast registry that the Simonaitis yeast can be dried like kveik. I was wondering if the tips you provided above (underpitching, nutrient requirements, etc.) also apply to Simonaitis even though it's not a kveik strain? Thanks!
Lars Marius - 2018-12-07 15:27:35
@Chris: I don't actually know. Sorry! So many yeasts and so much to learn.
Lars Marius - 2018-12-07 15:29:17
@Mike: Aim for 1-2 billion cells per liter of beer. You can ignore the strength of the wort.
Dan - 2018-12-23 21:58:24
I have some questions about traditional brewing and how it was done in the houses they had back then. After yeast had been added to the wort, the fermentation tub needs to be situated in a warm room I suppose, so that the fermentation doesn't stop. This was probably not a problem in the summer, but what about the winter? How did they keep the tub warm in a unisolated house? I've heard a story about a girl that had washed her hair during the winter in one of this houses (open hearth house). While sitting in front of the hearth she was warm on the front of her body, but her wet hair froze on the back of her body. So at the coldest, the only warm place in such a house was straight in front of the fire. I also wonder if they did all the malting in the summer. It must be much easier to sprout the grains at that time compared to the winter. Have you read something about this?
Lars Marius - 2018-12-23 22:23:26
The open hearth houses were abandoned as dwellings by the 17th century, usually being turned into "eldhus" or other types of functional houses. How people brewed back then we know almost nothing about, except what we can guess by extrapolation from later evidence.
In general, most accounts say the fermentor was covered up in woolen blankets or other thick cloths. Some say it was placed in a warm room. A typical fermentor would be around 150 liters, and made in wood, which insulates fairly well. So the thermal mass is huge, and the yeast would ferment very strongly for 24-48 hours. Probably the temperature inside the fermentor would rise, or at least not drop much.
The times for malting seem to have varied greatly, but the middle of summer does not seem to have been popular. Most people seem to have done it in spring or autumn. People do say the grain sprouted faster in warm temperatures, but nobody seems to indicate that having the grain sprout slowly was necessarily a problem. Also, the sprouting would generally happen in some warmed room, anyway.
Joe Vienneau - 2018-12-25 21:21:10
I checked for myself and Simonaitis can survive drying; well at least it did this time. I dehydrated and put some in the freezer for 24 hours and it came back to life in a starter. There was a bit of a lag, but I think that is because I did it at room temperature. https://photos.app.goo.gl/cuv1aUn6JF2TDFBN9
Dan - 2018-12-25 22:41:21
Thanks for your answer! These houses were still common in the countryside in the 18th century as living houses (see the book Røykstova by Lærum og Brekke) . In Setesdal they survived well into the 19th century as living houses, so I think there should be some information about brewing in such houses but I'm not sure. You say that they were coverted into eldhus, which I agree, but wasn't the eldhus were they most often brewed their beer, and therefore also were they fermented it?
I think the arguments that they brewed big volumes, that they covered it and that they had a quick fermentation are a good ones. Would be an interesting experiment to brew under such conditions. I live in a 19th century log built house with panels both on the outside and inside and saw dust insulation in the ceiling (and no electric heating, only firewood in an old stove). Even in this house it gets down to 5 degrees in the morning in the winter when we don't use the stove for 8 hours (when it's cold outside). In a more primitive house without panels or any insulation (typical 19th century) it must have got minus degrees in the morning if nobody stoked the fire. But of course they could have stoked the fire during the night for these days that the malting or fermentation happened. And if it was cold an they brewed in an open hearth house they could probably insulate the fermenter with loose wool ore other things.
Lars Marius - 2018-12-27 11:53:57
@Joe: You're right. Simonaitis can be dried. Other people have tried it, too, and gotten it to work.
@Dan: Other sources say they were mostly abandoned in the 17th century. I've never read anything specifically about brewing in that type of house, but usually the accounts don't say anything about where the brewing took place. The documentation we have of the brewing is mostly written 1890s to 1950s.
Where they fermented the beer seems to have varied. Some would put it in the main house. I think letting it ferment where they brewed was the most common. It's possible that it would get really cold inside the brewhouse when it was -30 to -40C outside. It may even be that this is why the farmhouse yeasts can ferment down to 4-5C. We don't really know.
That they stoked the fire during the night when necessary doesn't seem unlikely at all. Even today some farmhouse maltsters do that.
Mateus Dias - 2019-01-12 17:52:39
I read a lot about how hot kveik fermentation can undergo but I'm struggling to find information about how well they perform with big temp swings.
I'm in Brazil and it's damn hot by this time of the year around here. I think kveik could be fabulous for fermenting without temp control but I'm not sure if a difference in 10C would lead to a poor fermentation performance (off flavors).
I know the farmers brew and ferment in a way that heat loss is not a big concern (thermal mass [150L] and wood for insulation) but do you have any experience with smaller volumes and big temp swings?
pamacri - 2019-01-14 02:45:09
you can use kveik to make IPA or Red ale??
Lars Marius - 2019-01-14 10:27:20
@Mateus: I don't know that anyone has experimented with wide temperature swings, but in general kveik can ferment across a very wide range of temperatures without the aroma changing much. The aroma gets a little more subdued at lower temperatures, but that's all. So I would think that this should work just fine.
@pamacri: Yes, that works perfectly fine. The tropical aromas from the kveik tends to go well with the hoppy aromas.
Todd W Clarke - 2019-01-26 15:29:20
I've got some Hornindal Kveik (lovely flavour profile) that I harvested from my first batch sitting in the fridge. Does it work okay doing a starter at room temperature or do I need to maybe put it in a closet with a space heater and jack the temperature up? Was thinking of doing a larger starter, using some in a batch, and then drying out the rest and sticking it in the freezer for 20 year ;D.
Thanks for the great post.
Martin Mæhle - 2019-02-01 07:46:06
you can probably do that but it would take a lot longer than if you had the proper temperature. and you wouldnt get as much yeast as if you harvested from the fermenting wort
Matthew O'Donnell - 2019-02-04 18:15:19
Does anyone know where I can buy dried Kveik yeast? Thanks.
Lars Marius Garshol - 2019-02-04 18:59:43
@Matthew: As far as I know dried kveik is not sold commercially at the moment at all.
Nick - 2019-02-05 16:07:30
Hi, Is there a source for FY 51? My wife's has extended family in Mosjøen where this yeast was found. I'd be interested in making a beer from yeast found where her family's ancestors are from.
Thanks for all the information! I recently brewed a farmhouse ale using Hornindal and I love the aroma! - Nick
Lars Marius - 2019-02-05 16:12:41
@Nick: I'm still working on getting closer to the source of that one. Ultimately it's not from Mosjøen, but we don't know where from. We also don't have any permissions yet, unfortunately. Working on it!
WJ - 2019-02-11 02:22:40
Sleight Beer Lab is currently taking pre-orders for a couple dried kveik strains. It makes more sense to me to sell these yeasts in a dried form than a liquid form considering that they are traditionally dried between uses. Hopefully other kveik strains will become readily available in dried forms in the near future.
Lars Marius Garshol - 2019-02-11 07:53:47
@WJ: It definitely makes more sense to distribute these yeasts dried, but the problem is most yeast labs don't have the equipment for it, because they can't use it on any of the other yeasts they work with. I think that's why dried kveik is so rare commercially.
Wayne Burns - 2019-02-12 22:13:19
Hello Lars and thanks very much for your research and fascinating information. I'm a longtime professional brewer looking to use a commercially produced culture (Omega Hornindal) for producing a high ABV and fruity fermentation. I am paying close attention to your experience and recommendations as I decide on various parameters: size of cell count for my pitch and starting temperature for the ferment. I understand and intend to allow it to rise freely into the 90s (F) temperature-wise, but would you recommend that I pitch it at a lower temperature (say in the 70s for example?) and allow the free rise into the 90s, or would it be better to simply pitch it in the 90s and keep it at that temp during the ferment? All these questions would be in service to achieving a very distinctive and fruity fermentation that would be as I understand it classic for the yeast. Along with that, you suggest underpitching to achieve a more intense and traditional fruity character, which makes sense to me, but given the high target ABV (at least by normal brewing yeast standards) how low dare I go on the pitching rate before encountering challenges with the fermentation? I understand answers to these questions may not be clear but any input of your experience would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
Will Emero II - 2019-02-13 02:49:29
For those of you looking for dried kviek, Mainiacal Yeast labs is sporadically offering a range of dried kveiks on their site at https://www.mainiacalyeast.com/online-shop/
I've purchased - but not yet pitched - Voss, Hornindal and Framgarden from Mainiacal and have been pleased with the service so far. The kveiks have been the full cultures, not isolates, too.
Pablo Cuneo - 2019-02-13 04:00:04
@ Matthew O'Donnell: you can try with Mainiacal, they send to me dried kveik.
@ Lars: Thanks for the excellent information. Some questions about the Laerdal strain: do you know what profile of aromas and flavors does she have? How many hours should I harvest? If I use the ambient temperature I usually have of 26/27 ºC, will it develop properly or is it preferable that it ferment at 30ºC?
Guna - 2019-02-21 13:59:14
Thank you Lars for the excellent and invaluable information on this unique and interesting yeast. I got my hands on a vial just yesterday from a craft brewer here in Singapore. We enjoy a tropical climate here and ambient temps are always in the high 20s and low 30s Celscius. This makes Kveik a god-send. I’ve been advised to pitch between 32 and 34C. @Wayne Burns that might give you some idea on pitching teams. This advice was passed to by the pro brewers who have used Kveik to brew a couple of excellent brews recently: an IPA and a pale ale. @Lars I was wondering if you’d think there’d be any adverse effects if I pitch at the recommended temps but ferment down at my ambient temp of 28C? Thanks in advance and keep up the great job!
Guna - 2019-02-21 18:45:23
Hi U have provided such great advice. I’m truly in gratitude for your blog. I just saw your recipe fornShati beer on Brewer’s Friend. Would just like to confirm that all mash and sparse water be booed with juniper on the branch and that u also recommend booking only about 20% of the wort before blending and pitching Kveik? How about the diacetyl ion the unboiled wort? Won’t that affect the beer? Thank you.
Rysz - 2019-03-02 19:25:51
Thanks for this article my knowledge about kveiks is much better and I really love them. Just one more question if you don't mind. I'm planning to brew Imperial Stout OG about 1.134. I know that kveiks like high gravity, but is 30°C or more still ok. I'm afraid about some fuzels or aldehyde. I'll be grateful for any answer Regards Rysz
Lars Marius - 2019-03-04 07:09:45
@Rysz: At 1.134 you're at the higher end of what kveik can tolerate, I think, so it's possible you'll see low attenuation. The temperature doesn't affect the flavour from kveik much, and there's no indication that high temperature stresses kveik. Kveik produces very little fusel, so I would not worry about that. I don't think acetaldehyde (which I assume you mean) is a concern, either.
Would be interesting if you came back and posted what you did and what the results were.
Domas - 2019-03-06 19:50:02
Hi Lars, I'd like to ask you a couple questions about Kveik.
1. I've made a starter from "Fermentum Mobile" Voss Kveik liquid yeast (vial with 25-30 billion cells). I will decant the starter after ⁓48h and pitch the slurry to 30 liters of wort. My question - as Kveik should be underpitched, how much of the starter slurry would you recommend to pitch? (maybe I shouldn't have made the starter at all and just pitch the 25-30 billion vial?)
2. When top-cropping, the yeast has foam-like consistency - would it be ok to just smear that foam on baking parchment and dry? Or should I mix the foam-yeast with sterile water, wait for the yeast to fall, decand, and only then dry the slurry?
Thanks for the wonderful info/article about Kveiks!
Lars Marius Garshol - 2019-03-06 19:57:13
1. The number of cells to use does vary a bit with OG, but let's say 1 billion cells/l is a good number. So, yes, the best would have been to just pitch the vial directly.
2. Sigmund usually bottom-crops, so you might be better off waiting and harvesting from the bottom. After 4 days! I wouldn't bother with the water. Simply harvest the yeast (top or bottom), let it settle to a thick slurry, decant liquid, smear and dry.
Pedro Menezes - 2019-03-11 15:39:50
I had never heard about this kind of yeast and I am very interested in it and will read your blog for further information.
For now, I have a question. I live in Brazil and, to date, have not seen Kveik around here. Would it be possible to get samples with you (or someone else) when I travel to Europe?
Best regards! Cheers!
Lars Marius Garshol - 2019-03-11 17:13:49
@Pedro: I have given up on sending people yeast, unfortunately. It would take far too much time. One option is to ask in this Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/174036689779170/
Garth - 2019-03-16 00:55:22
Hi Lars Very interesting reading.I am about to make a Cider and pitch at 32 degrees a Voss Kveik dried yeast,Unfortunately I only have 1.7gram and want to make a 20ltr batch.Would this be possible?
Lars Marius Garshol - 2019-03-16 08:30:18
@Garth: Should work fine, but I would add some yeast nutrient.
Garth - 2019-03-16 12:44:50
Thank you Lars,keep up the good work.
Sergio - 2019-04-09 17:19:42
Just get some Kveiks so... any good advice for grain bill and misc? Thank you big time. Greetings from Serbia.
Tim - 2019-04-11 05:43:46
I love the blog! I used Hornindal for an IIPA. I dry hopped it in the first 18 hrs when it was 60% done and then waited for 6 more days to crash. After 28 hrs at 1C I went to harvest the yeast and there was no yeast to harvest. Should I have harvested before my dry hop? Does it need more time to drop out of suspension? Trying to get my timing right so I can reuse this great yeast for a couple of generations. Thank you for your help!
Lars Marius Garshol - 2019-04-11 06:01:07
@Sergio: Well, it depends what style you want to brew, I guess?
@Tim: Hornindal should be harvested from the top after 40 hours. Terje says if you wait 48 hours (which is when he usually racks the beer) then the yeast has often dropped out. 6 days is a long time to ferment if you're going to reuse the yeast. It increases the chances of getting bacteria in the harvested yeast.
Yehy - 2019-04-14 04:55:41
Hi Lars! What about wort aeration/oxygenation? Do you think that it’s essentials for Kveik fermentation?
Mateus - 2019-04-22 21:09:10
Hi, loved to read about kveik and I would love to brew with it but I cannot find it in Portugal, can you help me? Tks
Lars Marius Garshol - 2019-04-22 21:15:28
@Mateus: There are quite a few yeast labs that sell kveik strains, like Fermentum Mobile, Omega, The Yeast Bay, Imperial, Mainiacal, and so on. If you want the original mixed cultures you can go here, where there are people who will send them to you at low cost: https://www.facebook.com/groups/174036689779170/
Lars Marius Garshol - 2019-04-22 21:18:09
@Yehy: Well, if you underpitch, obviously oxygen is crucial in order to allow the yeast to grow. But the farmhouse brewers do nothing more than splash the wort into the fermentor. So that's what the yeast is used to, and that works very well. Of course, most of them use open fermentors, so a little more oxygen than what you get by splashing may be necessary, but not much more.
Jack Jacobsen - 2019-04-28 15:57:43
Hi Lars, sorry if this has already been answered elsewhere but I haven't been able to find the info. I have a question about pitching rates with slurry and flakes that have been stored. About to brew my first kveik batch and will keep some slurry and dehydrate some as well. You say that 1 teaspoon of slurry should be good for 25 liters. Does this rate change over time? For instance, if you keep it in your fridge for 1.5 years, do you need to pitch more due to lower viability? Also, what is a general rule of thumb for pitching dehydrated flakes? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!
Lars Marius - 2019-05-01 08:15:56
@Jack: We don't know the details of how the amount of yeast you need to pitch changes over time, but the amount does increase. Once the stored yeast is older than 6 months I recommend doing a starter before pitching. For dried yeast, 2-3 grams is enough for 25 liters.
Jon Clark - 2019-05-11 00:45:30
You mention on the page that #8 Saure is Funky - have you or anyone else had much experience brewing with this I'm interested to see what sort of outcomes to expect. Cheers
Mike brew - 2019-05-15 13:51:30
Hi Lars. I am excited about these Kneik strains and appreciate your knowledge. I purchased 1 packet of OYL-061 Voss Kveik from Omega and it says it has it has a Cell Count of 150 Billion. I am wondering how would I underpitch that for a 5 gallon batch of beer with a 1.080 OG? Or should I pitch the whole packet? And should I skip doing a starter? Also you state to top harvest the yeast at 40 hours of fermentation and if I am unable to harvest it at that time, will harvesting from the bottom make for a lower cell count and possibly cause the yeast to be less viable and or be tainted?
Lars Marius Garshol - 2019-05-17 10:15:39
@Jon: I haven't tried brewing with it, unfortunately. I had a porter that Sigurd Johan Saure made with it, and that was nicely fruity, but it wasn't really an occasion where I could taste it properly.
@Mike: The normal is 1 billion cells/liter, regardless of OG. So you can convert that into gallons. You probably don't need a starter, no. This kveik should be bottom harvested after 3-4 days, but when you have a purified strain like the one from Omega it doesn't matter that much. The issue is with mixed cultures where you might end up changing the balance of the strains. (See here to see how to use the various kveiks http://www.garshol.priv.no/download/farmhouse/kveik.html )
Ruben - 2019-05-26 01:05:59
Hi, Im originally from Barcelona and spent 20 years living in Scandinavia & Baltic states, brewing lots of farmhouse ales, some of them in open fermentation vessels, I moved to western Panama 3 years ago where I opened a craft brewery & distillery, but the only yeasts I can get here are from Safale. I was about to order from Omega, but as they only sell liquid yeast, the shipping from USA to here takes about a week, plus once inside Panama the risk of not keeping the package in the right temp would be very high and so the yeast will be affected. That’s why I decided to look for other brewers who could be so nice to send to my freight forward in Miami dry Kveik yeast (back in Europe I only tried types of Voss & Hornindal, I liked both). Do you happen to know anybody in USA willing to sell dry Kveik? Kindly, Ruben.
Mike - 2019-06-04 17:57:40
I brew 2.6 gallon batches and plan to use Voss from Omega for the first time this weekend. Can I really use less than a teaspoon of the mix I get for the entire batch if I’m going for fruity?
Lars Marius - 2019-06-06 16:04:08
@Mike: Yes, absolutely. This has been tested many, many times.
Alkis Agathokleous - 2019-06-06 16:52:56
Thanks for the info Lars, Im brewing tomorrow with Hornindal and all these are very helpful.
Rolf - 2019-06-22 23:54:51
Can you use kveik to make sourdough bread or Ethiopian injera bread?
Lars Marius Garshol - 2019-07-10 14:10:29
@Rolf: Sure. It's basically normal yeast, so it will happily ferment the sugar in the dough like other yeast. Whether it makes any difference to the bread I'm not sure.
MerlinWerks - 2019-07-24 19:31:17
Thanks for your great contributions to our hobby, much appreciated.
I am curious, when you mention yeast nutrient in relation to kveik yeast, do you mean actual yeast nutrient of the type available in a tube from Wyeast or the greater amount of "nutrient" available from a larger grain bill used in higher gravity beers?
Lars Marius - 2019-07-25 07:37:45
@MerlinWerks: Thank you. If there is enough nutrient from the grain bill (OG above 1.050) then you should be OK. Especially if you don't boil the wort. But if there might not be enough from the grain bill, then I really am talking about normal yeast nutrient, yes.
Livio Pinto - 2019-07-26 10:30:21
Dear Sir, I want to use Kveik Yeast in my beer. It is possible to acquire? Or buy one. Thanks, Livio
Lars Marius Garshol - 2019-07-27 09:09:28
@Livio: There are several commercial suppliers of kveik. You can find some links here: http://www.garshol.priv.no/download/farmhouse/kveik.html
In addition, there is also this Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/174036689779170/
Tristan - 2019-07-29 01:43:17
Hi Lars, I'm wondering if you could tell me more about adding additional yeast for bottling? I'm using Voss at the moment, should I add some more of that before bottling, or another type of yeast? How long before bottling? And will I need any other sugars in the FV as I normally add carbonation drops to the bottles.
Thanks in advance.
Lars Marius Garshol - 2019-08-07 19:52:05
@Tristan: It's probably a good idea to either add more yeast (when bottling, not before) when using Voss. Or, you can try shaking the bottles to dislodge the yeast from the bottom. Some people say that works. Carbonation drops work just fine.
Paul Watts - 2019-08-24 02:40:47
When I tried to room dry kveik slurry, I ended up with mould growing on it (Western Sydney, Australia, mid-autumn). Maybe my area is too humid. Insects are a problem too, they are attracted. I had success with the oven method, though.
Tyler Wilson - 2019-09-19 23:28:51
Hi Lars, I wanted to say thanks for your blog and I just preordered your book! Can't wait for April now!
My question is about how Terje Raftevold cleans his Hornindal kveik. Is it just a rinse in clean water and then decant? Or something more complex?
Pete Revington - 2019-10-18 03:45:48
Hi Lars, great blog, super informative thank you so much. I have some slurry of sigmunds voss that i harvested from a previous batch. Do i need to make a starter with this (which is what i would typically do) or can i just repitch say a teaspoon directly from the harvested slurry? Thanks very much.
Lars Marius Garshol - 2019-10-18 06:03:03
@Tyler: He just rinses and decants. You don't really need to do that, though. Nobody else in the area does it, as far as I know.
@Pete: Depends how old it is. Until it's say 6 months you can just repitch. After that it depends. A starter is always safer, though.
Wagner - 2019-11-13 19:16:04
Lars, To use slurry, how much ml of slurry do I need for 25 liters? We Brazilians thank you
Brian P - 2019-11-22 06:25:58
Lars, Thanks for the amazing write-up. As a lapsed home-brewer who hasn’t brewed in 10+ years, I am suddenly feeling compelled to brew. This yeast seems to defy everything I know about brewing.
My question: of the commercially available strains, which one(s) would flocculate best and result in the clearest finished beer? I’ve always preferred West Coast IPAs and am tired of the hazy trend. Cheers, and thanks again.
Lars Marius Garshol - 2019-11-22 12:20:15
@Wagner: A good rule of thumb is 1-2 million cells for 1 milliliter of wort. Everything will depend on your slurry, but 0.05liters should be good.
Lars Marius Garshol - 2019-11-22 12:20:43
@Brian: I don't know. I've never brewed with any of the commercial versions.
Javier kuzuk - 2019-11-25 13:11:51
Hola. . muy buen blog, felicitaciones por la convocatoria. Quiero hacer una consulta. Ayer hice una Irirsh Red y use por primera vez kveik voss (acá en argentina la comercializa kimera yeast con nombre summer.) Inocule a 40°C y esta fermentando a 35°C controlado. Que resultados debería esperar? así los comparo con lo que obtenga. Cuál sería el mejor método de recolección .. de arriba.. de abajo? ..a que tiempos? Gracias Levantaré algún comentario de los resultados proximamente.
Jeno - 2019-12-03 06:54:24
Hi, thanks for the great article!
1. If I do not know how was the original yeast being harvested, can I mix the top cropping and bottom-crop together if I want to harvest it myself?
2. Am I correct to assume that clearing/fining agent such as whirlfloc, irish moss, gelatin will have negative impact on the kveik?
2. Will dry hopping or any other last additions (fruits, vanilla bean, coffee...etc) have any impact on the harvested kveik?