Kviek Yeast - Some Like it Hot
Some Like it Hot!
You may have seen some Escarpment Labs Kviek Yeast strains on the website and are wondering what they are and how they differ from "traditional" lager or ale yeasts. In celebration of Canadian Homebrewers Day 2023 lets take a look at where kviek comes from, it's impact on brewing culture, and why you might want to give it a shot on your next brew day.
In the world of brewing, yeast plays a vital role in transforming simple ingredients into complex and fun, flavorful beers. While traditional ale and lager yeasts have been the go-to choices for centuries, a revolutionary yeast strain called Kviek has been gaining attention and revolutionizing the brewing industry. Derived from Norwegian farmhouse brewing traditions, Kviek yeast offers unique characteristics that set it apart from normal ale or lager yeasts, enabling brewers to create exceptional beers with remarkable efficiency and versatility,
The story of Kviek yeast begins in the secluded farmhouses of Norway, where brewing has been a cherished tradition for generations. Isolated from modern yeast strains, these farmhouse brewers cultivated their own unique yeast cultures, which eventually became known as Kviek (pronounced "kveek"). This word translates to "yeast" in the local dialect. Thanks to science, we now have access to these time-honored strains.
For centuries, the use of Kviek yeast was confined to Norwegian farm breweries, passing down from one generation to the next. However, in recent years, word of this exceptional yeast spread beyond Norway's borders, captivating the brewing community with its remarkable properties and cultural significance.
One of the most amazing characteristics of Kviek yeast is its ability to ferment at high temperatures, unlike traditional ale or lager yeasts. While typical ale yeasts thrive at temperatures between 15-24°C, Kviek can comfortably ferment at temperatures ranging from 30-40°C and even higher in some cases. This unique heat tolerance drastically reduces fermentation time, allowing brewers to produce beer within days rather than weeks. Additionally, Kviek yeast's ability to withstand elevated temperatures also reduces the risk of off-flavors and unwanted esters, resulting in exceptionally clean and crisp beers.
Unlike traditional yeasts, Kviek yeast produces a wide array of aromatic compounds that contribute to the beer's flavor and aroma profile. Depending on the strain and fermentation conditions, Kviek can produce fruity esters reminiscent of tropical fruits, citrus, and stone fruits. This allows brewers to create vibrant and fruit-forward beers without the need for additional hop additions or fruit extracts. We carry a number of different Escarpment Labs Kviek products for this very reason. If you are looking to brew something new and unique (in record time) we have an option for you.
Additionally, certain Kviek strains can exhibit subtle phenolic characteristics, contributing flavors and aromas akin to cloves, pepper, or even subtle smokiness. This versatility opens up new creative avenues for brewers, as they can experiment with different Kviek strains to produce a diverse range of beer styles.
Thanks to its exceptional fermentation vigor, Kviek yeast completes fermentation at an astonishing pace. Fermentation can be achieved in as little as 24-48 hours, reducing the overall brewing time. This rapid fermentation not only increases brewing efficiency but also minimizes the risk of contamination by other microorganisms.
While Kviek yeast has its roots in Norwegian farmhouse brewing, it is by no means limited to traditional beer styles. This yeast's exceptional versatility allows brewers to experiment with a wide range of beer styles, including hop-forward IPAs (my personal favourite style), crisp lagers, rich stouts, and complex Belgian ales.
We are always here to answer questions or provide help when brewing with all types of ingredients and yeast strains. If you are interested in trying out brewing with Kviek be sure to check out our selection of Escarpment Labs products!
Cheers, & happy brewing!