Making kvass

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Laripu
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Making kvass

Post by Laripu » Sun Apr 08, 2012 6:06 pm

I've wanted to make a credible kvas for some time now. The last time I tried, I ended up with a 4% peppermint beer, and it's good, but it's not kvas.

This time I went for total simplicity: DME and kvas extract, and about 5 Lubelski hop pellets ("just cuz"). Since kvas is supposed to be low- or no-alcohol, for this 9.5-litre batch I'm using 0.5 pounds of DME and half a jar of kvas concentrate. I expect to get 1.5% ABV.

There are a couple of non-traditional things I'm doing: I'm not using any bread at all, because the amount of sediment you get from bread makes the volume of usable kvas you get unpractical. The bread aroma comes completely from the kvas concentrate. And instead of baker's yeast, I'm using some Windsor yeast saved from the bottom of my last fermentation.

So the whole procedure is:
Boil 8 litres of water
Add:
  • some hop pellets to taste
    0.5 lbs DME (any level of darkness)
    half a jar of kvas concentrate
Boil for 20 minutes.
Cool to room temperature.
Add yeast.
When fermentation is over siphon to secondary FV, and top up with boiled cooled water to make 9.5 liters.
Allow to clear, then bottle in 2-litre plastic soft-drink bottles with enough sugar to not only carbonate, but also sweeten a bit. (Since it's a soft drink.)

When the plastic bottles become hard from carbonation (less than 24 hours), refrigerate.

Here's the kvas concentrate. You can read more about it here.
Image

Here's the little fermentation. (What are those f*ckin' animals up to? :wink: )
Image
Last edited by Laripu on Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Secondary: Khamsa, ancient ale. Barley malt, wheat malt, kamut, dates, and honey. 1.066, 27 BU
About to be bottled: Kvass, unhopped bread-based near-beer with German rye bread. ~2% abv
Bulk aging: tart cherry melomel, ~11% abv
Drinking:
1. "Old 11-ish", ginger braggot. ~11% abv
2. "Wee Drappie", dark ale, 4.7% abv, 28 BU
3. "X", Canadian style blond ale, 6% abv, 25 BU

canarytim

Re: Making kvas

Post by canarytim » Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:28 pm

Quite!

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Re: Making kvas

Post by Laripu » Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:41 pm

I'm drinking this kvass right now. As it happens the wife of the couple that live across the street is Russian and knows how kvass is supposed to taste. On Friday, I gave her 3 liters of kvass to try and her judgement is: it's almost perfect.

Apparently the bread flavour is spot on, but needs to be more intense. So next time I'll use a whole jar of kvass extract rather than half. I also have some corrections to the recipe I posted above, because I stupidly said that the carboy I used was 9.5 litres instead of what it actually is: 11.3 litres. (I remembered that it was half of a larger size.... it is... half of 22.7 litres, not half of 19 liters.

Anyway here it is, corrected:
  • Boil 8 litres of water
    Add and dissolve:
    1. some hop pellets to taste (I used 2 grams of Lublin hop pellets - only for the antibacterial properties, not for taste)
    2. 227 gm of dry malt extract (any level of darkness). If you can get rye malt extract, that's perfect. (But I used regular pale DME because that's what I had.)
    3. One 550 gm jar of kvas concentrate (The label says it's suitable for 25 litres, but having made 11.3 litres with half, I know that's just marketing weasel-words. What I made is good, but needs to taste breadier... no problem the whole jar only cost me $2.99 = £1.84 )
    Boil for 20 minutes.
    Cool to room temperature.
    Add ale yeast. Dry yeast is fine or yeast collected from a previous batch. This is not critical. Some recipes say to use bread yeast. I actually tried that once and while it's not bad, I'm a homebrewer not a baker. I'd onbly use bread yeast in a pinch.
    When fermentation is over (2 or 3 days?) siphon to secondary FV, and top up with boiled cooled water to make 11.3 liters.
    Allow to clear for a week or two.
    Bottle in 2-litre plastic soft-drink bottles with 250 to 350 gm of sugar (to taste; I used 250 gm).
    This enough sugar to not only carbonate, but also sweeten a bit. (Since it's a soft drink.)
    When the bottles are hard (in a day or two, no more), they're carbonated. Refrigerate immediately to stop further carbonation (and bottle explosions).
Alcohol estimate: 1.5 to 2% alcohol by volume. Suitable for grannies, and for toddlers if they're Russian :wink:.

There are apparently some Russian recipes that use kvass as an essential flavour ingredient. This is the one my neighbour lady intends to make.
Secondary: Khamsa, ancient ale. Barley malt, wheat malt, kamut, dates, and honey. 1.066, 27 BU
About to be bottled: Kvass, unhopped bread-based near-beer with German rye bread. ~2% abv
Bulk aging: tart cherry melomel, ~11% abv
Drinking:
1. "Old 11-ish", ginger braggot. ~11% abv
2. "Wee Drappie", dark ale, 4.7% abv, 28 BU
3. "X", Canadian style blond ale, 6% abv, 25 BU

richc

Re: Making kvas

Post by richc » Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:28 pm

Sounds fascinating, I may have to try this at some point.

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Laripu
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Re: Making kvas

Post by Laripu » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:33 pm

richc wrote:Sounds fascinating, I may have to try this at some point.
It's easy to make, quick to bottle and readiness, and inexpensive too. But it's very low in alcohol and the flavour is of bread, not hops. Still very interesting as a soft drink.
Secondary: Khamsa, ancient ale. Barley malt, wheat malt, kamut, dates, and honey. 1.066, 27 BU
About to be bottled: Kvass, unhopped bread-based near-beer with German rye bread. ~2% abv
Bulk aging: tart cherry melomel, ~11% abv
Drinking:
1. "Old 11-ish", ginger braggot. ~11% abv
2. "Wee Drappie", dark ale, 4.7% abv, 28 BU
3. "X", Canadian style blond ale, 6% abv, 25 BU

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Laripu
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Re: Making kvas

Post by Laripu » Tue May 01, 2012 6:47 pm

Laripu wrote:There are apparently some Russian recipes that use kvass as an essential flavour ingredient. This is the one my neighbour lady intends to make.
Update: Neighbour lady didn't make the soup. She drank all the kvass, and didn't let the rest of her family have a drop.

Today she returned the bottles to my wife, nicely rinsed, and told her she drank it all because she had forgotten how much she missed it.

To me, that's success. :D :D :D
Secondary: Khamsa, ancient ale. Barley malt, wheat malt, kamut, dates, and honey. 1.066, 27 BU
About to be bottled: Kvass, unhopped bread-based near-beer with German rye bread. ~2% abv
Bulk aging: tart cherry melomel, ~11% abv
Drinking:
1. "Old 11-ish", ginger braggot. ~11% abv
2. "Wee Drappie", dark ale, 4.7% abv, 28 BU
3. "X", Canadian style blond ale, 6% abv, 25 BU

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Laripu
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Location: Tampa, Florida, USA

Re: Making kvass

Post by Laripu » Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:14 pm

I brewed a new kvass yesterday. Here are the details:

For 11.3 litres:
8 litres of water
1 jar (550 gm) kvass mash concentrate
150 gm DME
1 heaping tbsp molasses (first time trying this with kvass)
2 gm hop pellets ("just because")
3 tsp commercial yeast nutrient
1 tsp Marmite (as a yeast nutrient)
Windsor yeast from my last batch of beer

All the ingredients except the yeast and the concentrate were boiled for 20 minutes. The concentrate was diluted in some of the wort separately to mix (not entirely easy, it's jelly-like). Then it was added to the main wort and left with the lid on to pasteurize. While that was happening I sanitized an 11.3 litre carboy. Then I cooled the wort to 65°F and poured it into the carboy through a funnel, effectively aerating it. It's fermenting nicely now at 65°F.

After primary it will be siphoned into a secondary 11.3 litre carboy and topped up with boiled cooled water. When it clears it will be bottled in 1 and 2-litre plastic bottles, having been batch-primed with 250 gm of sugar. This will leave it sweet, so once the plastic bottles get hard they go right into the fridge to avoid explosions. A few litres go to my Russian neighbour for evaluation. :)

To the best of my almost non-existent abilities in Russian, this says "Concentrated Slavic Kvass Mash" (Kontsentrat Slavyanskogo Kvassnogo Soosla"

Image

Most of the ingredients: Yeast from my last batch, the jar of kvass concentrate, 150 gm DME.

Image
Secondary: Khamsa, ancient ale. Barley malt, wheat malt, kamut, dates, and honey. 1.066, 27 BU
About to be bottled: Kvass, unhopped bread-based near-beer with German rye bread. ~2% abv
Bulk aging: tart cherry melomel, ~11% abv
Drinking:
1. "Old 11-ish", ginger braggot. ~11% abv
2. "Wee Drappie", dark ale, 4.7% abv, 28 BU
3. "X", Canadian style blond ale, 6% abv, 25 BU

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Laripu
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Re: Making kvass

Post by Laripu » Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:07 am

Kvass for homebrewers

Online recipes for bread kvass are either not really appropriate for homebrewers or not nearly genuine kvass.

There are two kinds of on-line recipes (outside of JBK):

- Small 1-gallon batches, with live lactobacillus fermentations meant to be consumed within days. This is the genuine thing, but produces tiny quantities that go off quickly.
- Larger yeast-fermented batches with no lactobacillus fermentation and with much more alcohol than a kvass ought to have, resembling an unhopped ale more than a real kvass.

I'm proposing a recipe for kvass that is low-alcohol, with a batch size that makes brewing it worthwhile, and still involves lactofermentation, but with modern homebrew standards of sanitation and bacteria control. The work starts the night before with preparation and the lactic acid fermentation. The next day you mash and boil.

The method and recipe below is for an 11-litre batch (3 US gallons) at around 2% ABV. That alcohol level is the upper end of the Russian style of kvass. Homebrew sanitation procedures are used to allow keeping the kvass for more than a few days, but the small batch size (compared to typical 19 or 23 litre homebrew batches) means it can still be consumed in a reasonable time, especially as it doesn't get you drunk. This straddles the line between modern home brewing and traditional kvass.

Primary fermentation is carried out in a 19-litre glass carboy (5 US gallons). Following primary fermentation, the kvass is to be siphoned to an 11-litre glass carboy (3 US gallons). This leaves behind most of the sediment, and some more settles in the smaller carboy.

Traditionalist purists may say that the sediment is an important part of kvass, and that the lactofermentation should remain active. This recipe has different goals.

Preparation of the bread
Start with a loaf of rye bread, preferably dark rye bread with caraway seeds. Weight should be 450g to 675g. Toast slices of the bread until dark, almost burnt. No worries if it's slightly burnt. Cut into small cubes, and put into an 150°C (or 300°F) oven on a baking sheet for 30 minutes to completely dry out. The bread will act as a source of starch for the 6-row barley malt enzymes to convert. Browning adds flavour and colour.

Your mash pot should be fitted with a grain bag of natural cloth and very small holes. You can mash on the stove.

A note on the grain and mash: Rye is traditional in kvass, so some of the grain used is crystal rye or caramel rye. The rest should be high in enzymes and husk material, so American 6-row malted barley is perfect. (I'm not unappreciative of the irony of using American malt to make Russian kvass.) Mash temperature is on the high side, which is designed to leave some residual sweetness.

Ingredients
450 to 675 g toasted rye bread, ideally with caraway seeds
454 g (1 lb) crushed 6-row malt
227 g (0.5 lb) crushed crystal rye
45 g (0.1 lb) raisins (optional, but traditional)
Juice of one lemon (optional, if you prefer more sourness)
20 g caraway seeds, if desired, or if the bread had none.
20g white sugar for priming
1.5g pure stevia at priming (optional)

Steps, day 1
Boil 4 litres (1 US gallon) if water, turn off heat. Fit the bag that will hold bread and grain.

Soak the bread (prepared as above) in the water. When temperature drops to around 40°C (104°F), throw in a small handful of grain, and perhaps a small spoonful of live culture yogurt and a teaspoon of sugar. This will start a lactobacillus fermentation.

Leave this overnight, covered. Insulate with a towel.

Steps, day 2
The next day, raise the liquid to mash temperature, add the rest of the grain to the grain bag and mash it with the bread at 68°C (155°F) for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sparge, collecting 12 to 13 litres. (Or just dunk the grain bag into another pot holding 8 litres of 70°C water, and mix the two volumes of water.) You'll have more than the final 11 litres, but overage will be left behind with sediment when you siphon.

To the wort, add the raisins and lemon juice and boil it all for 10 to 15 minutes. Mashing and boiling kill lactobacillus that developed overnight; lactic acid sourness remains. No need to boil longer since there are no hops. Don't worry about pectin. Real kvass is naturally cloudy anyway.

Cool to fermenting temperature and pour into the fermenting vessel through a funnel, including raisins and caraway seeds if possible.

Ferment with ale yeast, ideally from a previous batch of beer until fermentation stops (3 days, probably). (Some use bread yeast, but really ... we're homebrewers, not 19th century Russian peasants.)

Settling and bottling
After primary fermentation is complete siphon to an 11 litre glass carboy, to settle, for a week to ten days.

Prime the batch with 20g white sugar and 1.5 g pure stevia, lightly boiled. Bottle in half litre bottles.


I imagine someone will say "seems like a lot of trouble for 2%". My answer: my wife really likes it. :)
Secondary: Khamsa, ancient ale. Barley malt, wheat malt, kamut, dates, and honey. 1.066, 27 BU
About to be bottled: Kvass, unhopped bread-based near-beer with German rye bread. ~2% abv
Bulk aging: tart cherry melomel, ~11% abv
Drinking:
1. "Old 11-ish", ginger braggot. ~11% abv
2. "Wee Drappie", dark ale, 4.7% abv, 28 BU
3. "X", Canadian style blond ale, 6% abv, 25 BU

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Laripu
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Re: Making kvass

Post by Laripu » Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:08 am

Double post, sorry.
Secondary: Khamsa, ancient ale. Barley malt, wheat malt, kamut, dates, and honey. 1.066, 27 BU
About to be bottled: Kvass, unhopped bread-based near-beer with German rye bread. ~2% abv
Bulk aging: tart cherry melomel, ~11% abv
Drinking:
1. "Old 11-ish", ginger braggot. ~11% abv
2. "Wee Drappie", dark ale, 4.7% abv, 28 BU
3. "X", Canadian style blond ale, 6% abv, 25 BU

ingo
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Location: Netherlands

Re: Making kvass

Post by ingo » Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:08 am

The malt for making kvass is so called red rye malt. It is a sour melanoidin malt made of rye. It is stewed for a long time under a CO2 blanket so melanoidins can form later while kilning and toasting. Also the malt is sprayed with lactobacillus, it is as sour as German sour malt. It has a very deep black rye bread crust taste with some bitterness form the toast, it's ~180 EBC. Very hard to come by in small quantities, but

you can make your own, kind off, ass all the needed enzymes are still available in the malt. Soak rye malt in water for 12-24h, you'll have to add water a few times. The get rid of the excess water an put the malt in a closed container. Then keep the container warm for 24h-48 @ 40°C, after that warm it to 50°C for 12h. Keep the container closed all the time.

I used a light bulb in an insulated box and a STC-1000 controller to control the temperature.

No it is time to dry the malt. When you open the container it smell sour and it should. There should be no signs of mold. Spread the malt out on a plate and put it in an oven @70-90°C until the malt is dry. Turn the malt every 15 min. Once dry turn up the oven to ~130°C and keep it at that for 15-20 min.

The same can be done with barley malt as a starting point. As rye has no jacket on, handle it with care not to damage the kernels.

Ingo

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Re: Making kvass

Post by Laripu » Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:45 am

ingo wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:08 am
Also the malt is sprayed with lactobacillus, it is as sour as German sour malt. It has a very deep black rye bread crust taste with some bitterness form the toast, it's ~180 EBC.
Well, I get the lactobacillus sourness by leaving the toasted soaked rye bread overnight in water.

For melanoidins, I toast the hell out of the bread, first in the toaster, but possibly also in the oven. This last time I used German dark rye from Aldi.

Your technique is probably 100% authentic to modern kvass making. On the other hand, kvass is also a peasant drink made with actual stale bread. I think mine straddles between that version and yours.

There's room in the world for all versions, I think.

In the spirit of peasant thrift, I fished out the bread and combined it with raisins, honey, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and cloves for a bread pudding. That was a hit with Mrs. Laripu: she had seconds both times, and there's still a lot left. :)
Secondary: Khamsa, ancient ale. Barley malt, wheat malt, kamut, dates, and honey. 1.066, 27 BU
About to be bottled: Kvass, unhopped bread-based near-beer with German rye bread. ~2% abv
Bulk aging: tart cherry melomel, ~11% abv
Drinking:
1. "Old 11-ish", ginger braggot. ~11% abv
2. "Wee Drappie", dark ale, 4.7% abv, 28 BU
3. "X", Canadian style blond ale, 6% abv, 25 BU

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