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Kveik “Lagers”

Written by Kat Rogers-Hern

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Posted on March 22 2020

Hi, I’m Matt (Founder of Reverence Barrel Works) #plug.
Rob asked me to write a little something about kveik and “lagers,” so here it goes:

Way back at the tail end of 2016, the beer geek world was hearing a new word. Kveik, a magical, super fast and super powerful farmhouse yeast from Norway. Cool! I thought to myself. I was big into brewing saisons/"farmhouse" ales, so I messaged the fine folks at Escarpment Laboratories #plug. Richard got back to me rather quickly and gave me some for free! An amount equal to the amount of yeast found in bottle-conditioned beers came in a handwritten Escarpment bottle reading “Hornidal III”. I quickly propagated a 1L starter, brewed a Saison wort, pitched my yeast, and let it rip. Two weeks later I packaged it and, when packaging, I noticed something:

Kveik LagerThis doesn’t taste like “Farmhouse” (whatever that means…) beer. It tastes like a lukewarm lager. So, I carbed it and chilled it. Not what I thought “Farmhouse” beers taste like at all. Lager. Very lagery. Like, so lagery my old roommate asked me when I gave him some: “Wait you’re making lagers now? Cool!”. So lagery that a few BJCP certified judges (and some National BJCP) all said the same thing: “Munich Helles?” So, I just kept at it and worked on refining my process.

Flash Forward to late 2018. After many iterations, lots of reading/podcast browsing and listening to the exalted Charlie Bamforth, I had a product that I was very, very happy with. A beer so clear your grandmother can read her bible through it. So clean and crisp that your politically incorrect uncle with a jacked-up pickup truck says he prefers it over his regular Busch Lite #notplug. Gorgeous, long-lasting head that can be whipped like meringue. And to boot, only 7 days grain to glass? This, if I do say so myself, is perfection. Subtle and nuanced but full of flavour. Now that I’ve got your mouth watering, feel free to take a gander at the recipe and process below: 

MUNICH HELLES

Grist:
  • 80% pils (floor malted, if possible)
  • 10% munich
  • 10% cane sugar (added to boil to help dry the beer out)
Water Profile:
  • Balanced SO4:CL
  • Mash pH of 5.1 (mashing under 5.2 helps to precipitate polyphenols resulting in less chill haze)
  • Sparge pH of 5.1
Mash: 
  • Mash in at 52C and hold for 30 min
  • Raise to 65C for 60 min (stir as little as possible)
  • Raise to 76C and recirclate/vorlauf until that wort is as clear as macro lager ~20 min
  • Sparge at 76C and transfer to your BK
The Boil:
  • I like to FWH cause I’m lazy, but you do you
  • 90 min boil and boil hard
  • Magnum up front for ~20IBU
  • Once the hot break hits use some kettle defoamer. This is something Bamforth claims helps precipitate polyphenols
  • 10 min add 3-5IBU of your favourite noble hop. I prefer Hallertau Mittelfruh. 
  • 10 min add whirlfloc
  • Flamout
  • Chill to room temp
  • Whirlpool and allow to rest for 20 min
Fermentation Schedule: 

Real tricky. Pitch Escarpment Hornindal at regular ale pitching rates and ferment for 6-8 days at room temperature.

Follow these easy steps and you’ll be drinking some A+ Self Quarantine crispy beer in no time.

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