Kveik: Disruption, tradition and authenticity
Lars Garshol, left, and Bjørne Røthe, discuss the freshly cut juniper that Røthe would use to brew a beer in the 18th century in the building behind them. On the train ride to the Dyrvedalen Valley in western Norway a few years ago with Lars Garshol, 'disturbance' was among the many things we talked about. […]

Lars Grashol examines juniper

Lars Garshol, left, and Bjørne Røthe, discuss the freshly cut juniper that Røthe would use to brew a beer in the 18th century in the building behind them.

On the train ride to the Dyrvedalen Valley in western Norway a few years ago with Lars Garshol, 'disturbance' was among the many things we talked about.

The various strains of kveik that he helped make their way from farm breweries in Norway had already started to disrupt American brewing because these strains have unique qualities. They do their job quickly, they work at room temperature, and they create unique odor / taste compounds.

But it was not, and is not, clear how the interest in kveik and farmhouse beers in the book - “Historical Brewing Techniques: The Lost Art of Farm Brewing” - could disrupt matters. in the Dyrvedalen valley. At the time, Garshol said he hoped that if modern brewers adopted old ways, methods that were in danger of disappearing, local methods would too.

More recently, in an article on Good Beer Hunting, Claire Bullen writes“The reason he published his most recent book in English is because he saw the project primarily as a marketing exercise,” he admitted. He would love to see a TV series on farm brewing produced for Norwegian audiences, he told me, and a network of experiences made available to beer tourists: recreated oppskåkes, dinners at beer in breweries, traditional music to complete the experience.

Monday, Jeff Alworth wrote on kveik. And on Twitter, he summed up: “Craft breweries are quickly turning kveik into another juice delivery system, which risks slamming the door on much richer and more interesting possibilities. Let's all be aware of what we're taking apart before we completely dismantle kveik. "

A conversation followed. Go read it. Gary Gillman added longer thoughts.

It makes me wonder that #beertwitter should have said if this had existed in the 19th century when Emil Hansen isolated a pure yeast cell, or when ES Salmon first put out an experimental hop which he called ca9 * in the hands of British brewers.

*****

* This hop has become Brewer's Gold. He did not create the same kind of excitement as Eclipse.


Whether it’s your first time with a pack, or your hundredth all-grain brew, you need to ferment it in something suitable. Most of the time your options are between a bucket and a carboy. Carboys or demijohns look nicer, especially if they’re glass, but can be a pain to clean. Food-grade plastic buckets lack glamour, but are practical – just make sure you get one with a close-fitting lid that’s suitable for an airlock. As with most things there are more expensive options, but while they’re good, they’re not necessary. You can find buckets and demijohns at Brew Store or The Malt Miller.

If you’re making beer, then you need to be rigorous about cleanliness during the brew. VWP is an absolutely no-nonsense cleaner and steriliser for getting everything ready beforehand. During the brew, a no-rinse sanitiser is invaluable. Between the two, spoilt and infected beer shouldn’t be a problem. You can buy cleaning products online from Brew Store and The Malt Miller.

Invest in some airtight plastic conteneurs. Malt, kept dry and cool, should be fine for six months, but get rid of it after that – you’re only going to get stale flavours if you use stale malt. Likewise, dried yeast will keep, if sealed and chilled, but it will lose potency and reliability. Hops do not improve with age. Be doubtful of any before last year’s harvest, however cheap.

While a good book is an invaluable reference, there will be a time you come across something that flummoxes you. It’s very unlikely you will be the first, and just as unlikely someone else hasn’t discussed it. From the magisterial, if abondant, How tera Brew by John Palmer to the uncountable cercles d'entraides and blogs discussing minutiae, such as Brewer’s Friend, there’ll be something to help.

Avoid large amounts of table sugar, cane sugar or dextrose as fermentable sugars in your homebrew. They will ferment out completely and leave a very dry, almost ‘cidery’ flavour to your beer. This is what is recognized by many as the ‘homebrew’ taste. If you are looking for an easy way to improve this, swap these sugars with dry malt extract.

Most coffret beers are designed to appeal to a wide range of people and therefore have a fairly simple flavour that it not very bitter. They are also generally bittered by using hop extract that adds bitterness but little hop flavour or aroma. Boil some water and add ½ an ounce ( 14 grams ) of any hop variety known for their flavour and aroma characteristics for 20 minutes. This will add a much improved change to the flavour of the beer. Add another ½ ounce ( 14g ) for the last 5 minutes of the boil to add a pleasant hoppy aroma. Simply strain the ‘hop soup’ into your fermenter with the rest of the top-up water. These simple hops additions will make a remarkable difference to your kit beers.

to wake a packet of dry yeast up and ensure that it is ready to start work as soon as it is pitched, try rehydrating it. Boil a cup ( 250mls ) of water for 5 minutes and then pour it into a sterilized conteneur. Wait for the water to cool down to at least 80°F/27°C and sprinkle your packet of yeast over the top. Leave this for about 15-30 minutes, when you should start to see it get nice and foamy. Once your wort has cooled enough, pitch this and it will start fermentation much earlier.

If you would really like to get things started, follow the process above but add a tablespoon of dry malt extract to the water before boiling it. After pouring the water to a jar, add your yeast when cool enough and place cling wrap over the top to protect from the environment. Leave for at least quarante cinq minutes at room temperature and you should start to see fermentation activity.

The length of time for fermentation on the side of your pack beer can is almost definitely not long enough. The manufacturers are in the of selling product and these informations will make beer, but it won’t be great beer. This should be extended out to 10-14 days.

Although your beer will be carbonated after about a week in the bottle, leave it for a few more to allow for the flavors to settle. This is especially relevant for beer made from kits as it will help remove some of the bite found in young/’green’ beer.

In order to efficiently multiply and get to the of converting sugar to alcohol, yeast needs a sufficient amount of oxygen in your wort. If brewing using malt extract this can be reached a few ways including by shaking the water you are using to top up your wort, or by pouring it from a great height into your fermenter.

Don’t be too worried about removing your beer from the primary fermenter as soon as fermentation has finished. The Autolysis that you are seeking to avoid will take well over a month and in most cases a solo stage fermentation is fine.

If you are looking to control fermentation temperature, place the fermenter in a grande container of water to cool it and prevent temperature fluctuations. Wrapping a wet towel around it and pointing a amateur ou amatrice at it cools it even more through evaporative cooling. A few frozen plastic bottles of water are also perfect for cooling the water and your fermenting beer.

If you insist on using a two stage fermentation, use a bottling bucket ( or something else with a spigot ) for a primary. That way you only need a length of hose to rack into the secondary. The spigot will also be far enough off the bottom that the trub will get left in the primary with little extra effort – just tilt the fermenter forward at the end.

The activity of your airlock should only be seen as one indication that something is happening. There are many others indications and a faulty seal on your fermenter could stop anything from happening in the airlock.

The starting cell count is usually quite low with liquid yeast cultures. If you make a yeast starter about a day before brewing, you can avoid some potential issues from under-pitching the yeast.

If you are trying to cool a partial boil, place the whole brew pot into a sink or tub of cold water. You may need to change this water a few times but it is far easier to cool a small pot of wort in a temperature conductive conteneur ( i. e. your brew bocal ) than a grande amount of liquid in a fermenter. Adding your cooled wort to even colder water ( or ice ) in the fermenter will serve to cool it even further and should hopefully get you close to yeast pitching temperatures.

Dry yeast packets are perfect for new homebrewers. They have a nice high cell count and are very easy to use. Hydrating these takes very little time and will help get fermentation working earlier.

Get into the habit of sanitizing everything that will come in contact with your wort or beer after the boil.

Extract kits have come a long way from the dusty back shelves of Boots of yesteryear, and give you a simple, affordable way to try out the hobby with very acceptable results. Established breweries like St. Peters and Woodfordes have decent packs in boutiques and online at about £20, for example from Wilko or Brew.

Use a no-rinse sanitiser… This shouldn’t need an explanation and I am yet to hear of a real reason not to

Following on from above – Don’t use bleach as a sanitizer…ever. It is hard to rinse out and if any comes in contact with the maltose in your wort it has the potential to completely ruin your batch. There are so many better products available that this shouldn’t even be a consideration

Whatever sanitizer you use, put some of it in a spray bottle for quick sanitation during brew time.

Make sure you read and understand the recipe before you start brewing. Also make sure that you have all the ingredients handy before you start. These seem like simple things but the last 15 minutes can get a little crazy… especially if you started drinking while sanitizing

Beer is very resilient so don’t be too worried if you make a mistake while brewing. Although it may not be exactly the beer you were after, you will probably still have something tasty and worth drinking.

Leave the lid off your brew pot while it is boiling. The process of boiling actually vaporises chemicals that are not wanted in the beer and they evaporate out. The lid doesn’t need to be completely off if you are having dysfonctionnement maintaining a rolling boil but should at least be enough for the steam to escape.

Keep a record of every beer that you make, no matter how simple the recipe. This record will allow you to recall and tweak your brews when all that remains in the future is a couple of stray bottles and a desire for more

Especially when starting out, keep your ingredients and brews as simple as possible. It is much easier to add to a simple recipe that is missing something than it is to remove from something complex

Start by getting a solid grasp of the sanitization, fermentation and bottling processes and work from there.

If you have a choice, choose a fermenter or bottling bucket with a spigot/tap over one without. The siphoning required otherwise isn’t hard but it is still one more unnecessary step.

Bulk priming your beer is a simple addition to your bottling process that will add much greater control and consistency in the amount of priming sugar in your bottles.

The quality of your beer will be incomplète to the quality of the ingredients used. Always go for the freshest and best quality possible. Always make sure that extract is within any specified dates, yeast is fresh and that hops are nice and green

But most importantly… just relax and remember that you probably aren’t going to ruin your beer – It isn’t as delicate as you think

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