Farmhouse Kveik by Yeaster Bunny

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Kveik has gone from being a mostly unknown esoteric yeast to the hottest homebrew ingredient (pun intended) over the past few years. Not all kveik are equal though, and here at KegThat we have our hands on the real deal thanks to our friends at the Yeaster Bunny.

How Do I Use Kveik?

Because kveik developed differently to “regular” brewers’ yeast, it needs to be treated a bit differently. Following these steps will result in a healthy fermentation. Some of these steps might seem counter-intuitive, but trust us, we’ve made many amazing beers this way!

  1. When the kveik arrives, store it in the freezer if possible (yes, the freezer), and take them out at the beginning of the brewday.
  2. During the brewday, add yeast nutrient to your wort 15 mins before the end of the boil. This is an important step! Kveik needs added nutrients otherwise the fermentation will take a long time. In a pinch, a few teaspoons of bread yeast will act as nutrients*.
  3. Boil a kettle and pour 100ml of water into a sanitised container, and cover with sanitised foil until it gets to 30-40°C.
  4. Sprinkle the sachet of kveik into the warm water, recover and wait 5 minutes for it to rehydrate.
  5. Give the mixture a stir, re-cover and wait another 10 minutes. This process is called creating a starter.
  6. Pitch the whole thing into your wort.
  7. Ferment at the temperature range suitable for your strain.

*Bread yeast is saccharomyces cerevisiae, the same as brewers’ yeast. It’s cannibalistic and will eat dead cells for added nutrients.

What is Kveik?

Kveik is Norwegian for “yeast”, but in the brewing world it refers to a type of yeast originating mostly from Norway, but also other areas of Scandinavia, Lithuania and Russia. What makes this type of yeast special is it works incredibly fast in conditions which would cause high stress to regular beer yeast. Whilst each kveik strain is slightly different, it works best with very low pitch rates and at fermentation temperatures from 30°C – 40°C! There are no off flavours and it takes 48-72 hours to fully ferment the beer.

What’s the Difference Between Lab Isolate Kveik and Farmhouse Kveik?

The farmhouse versions of kveik are what’s been used in the Northern European farmhouse breweries for generations. The industrial revolution seemed to pass them by and the yeasts evolved over time to have specific fermentation characteristics. Without microbiology labs to help, it’s meant the yeast has become very resilient, and often there are multiple strains of saccharomyces cerevisiae present in a farmhouse yeast. Some even contain multiple bacteria strains and make amazing sour beers.

The kveiks available from the major yeast labs are almost always an isolate. This means the labs have taken the farmhouse yeasts and extracted one strain of S. cerevisiae. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with this – and there are some great lab versions of kveik – the farmhouse versions which contain their original blend have a really complex flavour not possible with isolates. 

Farmhouse kveik can be quite difficult to get hold of, but we’re really pleased to be offering it to you.