First Time Kveik - any tips?

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muppix

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As per title really. I'm having a go at Vienna Lager and intend to follow a Brewfather recipe by @David Heath, but I've never used Kveik before and need to know if there's any gotchas that are likely to trip me up. Should I make a starter (nutrients? pitch time?) or just rehydrate?

On a related note, I couldn't find the Norwegian Farmhouse Kveik by Sigmund Gjernes that's recommended in the recipe, but TMM do have WLP518 Opshaug Farmhouse Yeast in stock. Seems to be a close match to my untrained eye but as always if you can save me from running into a wall I'll raise a glass to you ... 👍🏻
 

jceg316

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I've found Voss not to be great for lagers as there's usually an orange flavour which comes through. I think Sigmund Gjernes is the guy who's been keeping it alive in Norway as opposed to a brand. TMM seem to have quite a few different types of Voss: The Malt Miller. I haven't been a big fan of the Lalbrew version but the Omega labs one is really nice, but more suited for an ale. Opshaug is more suitable for a lager. I've used it before in a doppelbock and it's really clean. I'm currently fermenting a beer with Lutra which is supposed to be the most lager like of the kveiks.

I'd recommend pitching 1 tsp of yeast into 23L wort with nutrients. It feels weird to pitch so little first time. For nutrients I use ~3tsp of bread yeast in the boil. I'm sure the Opshaug package will give the temperature range, but for a cleaner taste ferment at the lower end. I've read at a higher end it can impart an orange flavour, but I've never tried this yet.
 

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Are you in a rush? If not, I would just use a traditional central European lager yeast like White Labs WLP833 German Bock. If you follow the quick lager method (as described here Lager Method) it doesn't add that much time compared to fermenting with kveik - maybe a week at most.
 

muppix

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Opshaug is more suitable for a lager. I've used it before in a doppelbock and it's really clean. I'm currently fermenting a beer with Lutra which is supposed to be the most lager like of the kveiks.
That's good to know - Opshaug is in my basket along with the fermentables so I hope it'll work well with the Vienna Lager.

I'd recommend pitching 1 tsp of yeast into 23L wort with nutrients. It feels weird to pitch so little first time. For nutrients I use ~3tsp of bread yeast in the boil.
Sounds like that's a dry yeast? The recipe lists 5.5 ml of Kveik, which makes me think it's a liquid. (I know how painfully n00b this will look when I read back in weeks to come, but still)

Also, right now I have some Wilko Yeast Nutrient containing Diammonium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulphate, Nicotinic Acid, Magnesium Carbonate, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Zinc Sulphate, Ferrous Ammonium Sulphate, and Biotin. The instructions tell me to stir one rounded teaspoon per gallon into the wine mix. Can I use this for my Vienna Lager or am I better off getting dedicated (beer) yeast nutrient?

Are you in a rush? If not, I would just use a traditional central European lager yeast like White Labs WLP833 German Bock.
No massive rush, but I want to have three separate brews ready for consumption at the start of July and I only have one temperature controlled fermenter. From what little I've read (and seen in David's video) Kveik might be the way to go, and I'd be learning something new in the process.
 

jceg316

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Sounds like that's a dry yeast? The recipe lists 5.5 ml of Kveik, which makes me think it's a liquid. (I know how painfully n00b this will look when I read back in weeks to come, but still)

Also, right now I have some Wilko Yeast Nutrient containing Diammonium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulphate, Nicotinic Acid, Magnesium Carbonate, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Zinc Sulphate, Ferrous Ammonium Sulphate, and Biotin. The instructions tell me to stir one rounded teaspoon per gallon into the wine mix. Can I use this for my Vienna Lager or am I better off getting dedicated (beer) yeast nutrient?
WLP is a liquid yeast, and a tsp is ~4ml, so if it suggests 5.5ml, 1 tsp will be fine. When I got this yeast I decanted the packet into a sterilised jar and took a teaspoon, then put the jar in the fridge. Can't remember what else I made with it.

I have read some forums where people argue whether wine yeast nutrient can be used for beer or if specific beer nutrient needs to be used. I still don't have definitive answer :laugh8: . I use bread yeast and it works really well, I tend to have a lot of this to hand as I make a lot of bread and dough. I've not used wine nutrient in beer before, but I imagine it will be fine.
 

muppix

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When I got this yeast I decanted the packet into a sterilised jar and took a teaspoon, then put the jar in the fridge. Can't remember what else I made with it.
Did you make a starter? Your earlier post suggests not, but I've got this new stirrer plate I'm itching to try out ... 😉
 

jceg316

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Did you make a starter? Your earlier post suggests not, but I've got this new stirrer plate I'm itching to try out ... 😉
I didn't make a starter, kveik is like some super yeast which laughs at weak commercial yeasts for needing starters. What you could do though is make a starter anyway to grow the yeast and use a tsp from the starter, then you'll have plenty left over for the future. However, if you really wanna use that stir plate, I'd recommend getting this cheap pack of expired yeast. I've done it twice, and built up the cell count on my stirplate for pitching into yeast. I bought it about a month ago and got some interesting yeasts. It does force you to brew what you're given but I really enjoy that.
 

muppix

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I didn't make a starter, kveik is like some super yeast which laughs at weak commercial yeasts for needing starters. What you could do though is make a starter anyway to grow the yeast and use a tsp from the starter, then you'll have plenty left over for the future.
That sounds like a plan, might just do that. Right now I'm reading this introduction to kveik and really feel like rolling my sleeves up and getting stuck in.

However, if you really wanna use that stir plate, I'd recommend getting this cheap pack of expired yeast.
Nice idea, duly bookmarked. There's actually a jar of something yeast-like at the back of my fridge from an experiment several weeks ago, I might whack that on the stir-plate and feed it some of my dodgy wine yeast nutrient since it's gonna cost nothing. The next step will be that link you shared.
 

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I didn't make a starter, kveik is like some super yeast which laughs at weak commercial yeasts for needing starters. What you could do though is make a starter anyway to grow the yeast and use a tsp from the starter, then you'll have plenty left over for the future. However, if you really wanna use that stir plate, I'd recommend getting this cheap pack of expired yeast. I've done it twice, and built up the cell count on my stirplate for pitching into yeast. I bought it about a month ago and got some interesting yeasts. It does force you to brew what you're given but I really enjoy that.
That's a great idea. Quite fancy trying some new yeasts. What yeasts did you get out of interest?
 

jceg316

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That sounds like a plan, might just do that. Right now I'm reading this introduction to kveik and really feel like rolling my sleeves up and getting stuck in.



Nice idea, duly bookmarked. There's actually a jar of something yeast-like at the back of my fridge from an experiment several weeks ago, I might whack that on the stir-plate and feed it some of my dodgy wine yeast nutrient since it's gonna cost nothing. The next step will be that link you shared.
Good luck, let us know how you get on. There are loads of tutorial videos on Youtube on how to make a starter. I can't find the couple of videos I learnt from but there's still loads there.
That's a great idea. Quite fancy trying some new yeasts. What yeasts did you get out of interest?
I got:
a vial of WLP650 Brettanomyces
WLP351 Bavarian weitzen
2x WY3056 Bavarian wheat blends
WLP060 American ale yeast blend

Looks like I have a few wheat beers coming my way! I have a recipe for a wheat/IPA hybrid which I'll do with my own hops, probably use the WY3056 for that, and do a straight up wheat with the WLP351. Not too sure what I have planned for the WLP060, or the brett. I just spent a long time getting rid of a lacto infection in my kit, I'm a bit worried to now use a vial of brett :laugh8: .

Last time I got some really good yeasts, but can't remember exactly what they were other than a couple of interesting lager yeasts.
 

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Yeah don't make many wheat beers. Think I'd be a bit cautious about letting Brett loose in my brewhouse too!
 

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Yep I've used Opshaug a few brews now and really impressed. Homebrew club impressed with the results and the brewer in the brewpub we meet in said very good to the " pilsner ".

Have done all the ferments under pressure.
Used half a packet per 30litres just tipped straight in. First few just naturally aerated. Warm ferment pitched at 27celsius ( wanted to be warmer but transfer it lost heat splashing into the fermenter).
Use double the nutrient just to be on the safe side.
Have done Asahi clone, a pilsner, two sweet stouts and a lawnmower bitter clone, some ginger beer and elderflower fizz as well.

Start them all with a ten psi on the spunding valve. I don't bother to inject any CO2 as the yeast makes so much. Keep it warm either in your ferment fridge or under a sleeping bag and some bottles of warm water in there. Get it up around 35 celsius.
Turn the pressure up to about 15psi after 24 hours and then set the spunding pressure to the vols you want in the final product. That way you can be carbed at the end of ferment.

Give it a couple more days keeping it hot after the activity dies down ( usually mostly done in 48 hours ) then I let it fall to ambient and or cold crash and package.
Ever since the first pack of yeast used up I've just used the yeast that I saved and dried as per David Heath instruction. Just so simple open freezer grab about 5cm x 5cm of yeast flake and lob it in the fermenter do the gjærkauk and following morning it's going like a kettle on full boil.
I have used it in one NEIPA but at the cold crash stage at the moment so not tested, was amazingly aromatic during the ferment which I started open for firs 36 hours to get some more yeast expression.
Have found the opshaug very clean and not like the other kveik yeasts which I've tasted at the club which are really fruity.

It's my go to now instead of WL 001 or us 05 if I need a clean ferment. I'm still using ale yeasts for ale and now that it's getting cooler here will do some lagers oktoberfest and let them overwinter in the garage to chill and settle. I found it quite fun the other week building a starter for an ale!
David heath very good source and also Dr Hans has turned around some really quick lagers with pressure and kveik.

I found that it drops really well and you get a very clear product, I use kettle finings and some clarity ferm in the ferment. Then chill and it's good.
Voss did not clear as well when I used that in powder form.
 
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muppix

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Thanks for the full reply mate, that's good to know. My Opshaug Kveik has now arrived and I'm wondering if I should pitch half of it and make a starter with the other half, or make a starter and keep half behind, or pitch the whole lot as-is and maybe harvest some later.

My confidence with yeast is growing after I made my first starter 2 days ago, pitching it into what will be an imperial stout after it reached full Krausen in about 18 hours. I've also successfully harvested my WLP001 for the second time and I'm confident that I can be a good custodian to my little beer-making pet.

Getting back to your experience, and I'm surprised that you start under pressure straight away.

Start them all with a ten psi on the spunding valve. I don't bother to inject any CO2 as the yeast makes so much. Keep it warm either in your ferment fridge or under a sleeping bag and some bottles of warm water in there. Get it up around 35 celsius.
Turn the pressure up to about 15psi after 24 hours and then set the spunding pressure to the vols you want in the final product. That way you can be carbed at the end of ferment.
Is that something you do specifically for brews using Opshaug, or a general process? I do ferment under pressure when it comes to pale and / or hop-forward beers, but only apply 10 PSI once 24 hours of primary have passed because I don't want to stress the yeast too early nor completely suppress the productions of esters. I'm guessing your reason for going all-in with pressure from the start is because Kveik is a very fast starter and doesn't care about early PSI, and because you don't have the cooler ambient temperatures which Norwegians enjoy in abundance.
 

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@muppix

I just used half the packet per ferment of about 30 litres with the opshaug. Then dried some of the yeast left over and froze it as mentioned above . Still using that dried frozen stuff.
As far as the pressure ferment I have done it for all of the " lagers " that I've made with and without Kveik. I haven't properly lagered in the cold so the pressure crushes any ester formation and you get a very clean ferment. So if recipe says US 05 then I use kveik under pressure. If I want some yeast expression such as a bitter then I probably wouldn't use the kveik. That said I did ferment a Trve Hellion clone but used kveik and did that under pressure and it turned out great.

Regarding the pressure stressing the yeast I put a new ball lock connector on my spunding valve ( it was a non return one that I had no experienc with), brewing a wheat beer so underpitch to stress the yeast more. Left the spunding valve on and was away for 5 days ( no pressure relief from valve ), the ferment was bubbling away in the fermentasaurus but gauge on valve obviously hadn't moved as no gas could go out. I checked the pressure and it was 35 psi, so slowly vented the pressure and changed the spund valve connector. Beer came out really good but lacked those bannana esters and cloves but very tasty. I don't think that pressure would stop the yeast. Keg king have a video where they ferment an all rounder to failure with turbo yeast and it was still working up to 100 psi I think.
Wellington isn't tropical that's for sure but frosts are a rarity in winter and 25celsius would be a very hot day here. I do have a ferment fridge but don't want to tie that up lagering for months.
I'm trying to now make all the beers finish with their own gas production to the final vols I want. That can be quite high with kveik say 30 psi at 30 celsius . But it means when I cool either with ambient or in fridge it is already conditioned . I don't do any force carbing and use the blowoff gas from ferment to flush and purge the keg the beer is going into. So might have a kveik at 30 psi and the keg it's going to also filled to that pressure. Once happy with purge and flush I disconnect that keg. After cold crash the fermenter might be at 10 psi ( temp and vol dependent), then I attach the overpressured keg to the fermenter which balaneces the pressure and then do closed transfer. The extra pressure from the keg is often enough to get the job done without extra gas.
 

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I've dabbled with Kveik and, by and large, I don't like it- especially the Voss lot. Opshaug is the only one I did like, but I used it out of curiosity and, apart from the fact that I've still got a phial lurking in my fridge, I wouldn't use it as my first choice when other yeasts are available. It certainly wouldn't be on my goto list for a lager. What's wrong with using lager yeast?
 

muppix

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I just used half the packet per ferment of about 30 litres with the opshaug. Then dried some of the yeast left over and froze it as mentioned above . Still using that dried frozen stuff.
Thanks, I'll give that a whirl. Seen a couple of videos on yeast drying so I'll revisit that - seems like a good way to go.

Wellington isn't tropical that's for sure but frosts are a rarity in winter and 25celsius would be a very hot day here. I do have a ferment fridge but don't want to tie that up lagering for months.
Same here. I've not long had my ferment fridge but I'm keen to get as much use from it as possible, and lagering doesn't really tick those boxes. Our winters don't often dip below 5℃ however so pressure fermenting with Kveik might be an alternative. I'll certainly try it.

I don't do any force carbing and use the blowoff gas from ferment to flush and purge the keg the beer is going into. [...] The extra pressure from the keg is often enough to get the job done without extra gas.
That's quite an elegant solution if as you say you don't need esters and if your yeast is up to the job. Another thing I'll bear in mind when planning the next one.

Cheers!
 

muppix

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Checking in for a quick update now that my first experience with Kveik is in the fermenter.

The brew day went reasonably well and I ended up with some extraordinarily clear wort after the boil, but I was greedy when transferring to the FV and pulled in quite a bit of gunk from the whirlpool 'cone'. As with previous all-grain brews using the B40Pro I ended up losing around 4 litres somehow and this time I paid closer attention to my levels at various points throughout the day. Not to go off-topic too much, but it seems that in addition to the 2.5 litres boil-off I'm also losing 1.5 litres during mashing, presumably as steam. Although Brewfather can account for boil-off (and MLT deadspace, tub/chiller loss, etc) I've yet to find a field for mash loss, and until I do my vitals are going to look a bit weird.

Get to da Choppah!

Back to the Kveik, and this is where I have some concerns. As per the video by @David Heath I slowly raised my WLP518 Opshaug to room temperature before pitching a level teaspoon straight into the wort, which by then was about 22℃, setting the Inkbird for 25℃, and retiring to a safe distance to watch the fireworks. Nothing happened straight away, and nothing continued to happen for quite a while. 7 hours later I decided it was safe enough to approach, so I took off my safety helmet and pitched another 1.5 teaspoons of the same Kveik, which also sank straight to the bottom like it's presumably dead brethren.

By 23:00 my brew had been in the FV for 11 hours with zero activity, so rather than abandon it I decided to wait until morning and rack to a new vessel, then pitch some US-05. Well, you can imagine how happy I was to finally see Krausen at 07:00 today, but I'm still wondering why it took so long to get started, and what the effects are going to be on the final product. Doing some post-rationalising:
  • Did the yeast suffer in transit? It'll have taken 2-3 days to get to me at the end of April, and there was only one gel pack in the envelope to keep it cool.
  • I had it stored in the brew fridge's door shelf as opposed to the main compartment, and realised too late that this isn't as cool as the middle of the fridge.
  • Should I have aerated more? My past couple of brews have been treated to some pure oxygen via a carb stone, but I didn't bother this time because the cylinder had run out, the spare was somewhere in the garage, and I had a good head of bubbles from splashing the wort into the fermenter.
  • More yeast nutrient? I added half a teaspoon / 2.5g of Wyeast at 15 minutes as directed, but maybe Kveik needs more? Or less? Or none?
  • Pitching temperature too high / low?
  • Did I overdo it with that second spoon? This particular set of cutlery is quite small, and the teaspoons very shallow. David's spoon looks to be about twice the capacity. I can't believe I'm worrying about spoons now.
Plenty of ideas, very little insight. I plan to monitor the fermentation closely over the next 24 hours, and if it gets up to speed like I hear Kveik should then I'll top-crop a sample when I'm near 50% attenuation before swapping the airlock out for a spunding valve set to 10 PSI. Although things are moving now I'm worried about the slow start, and don't want whatever's caused that to result in off flavours. Applying some pressure should slow down ester production if nothing else.

Finally, here's a link to my brew notes and pictures. This is on my staging server right now as I'm in the process of updating things, so please ping me if the link's broken and I'll update / remove it.

 

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@muppix
Done about ten Kveiks, first two I just used half a packet of the white labs Opshaug. Pressure fermented from the off as I wanted a clean ferment stout and an Asahi clone.
The rest of the brews I have used the dried yeast as per David Heath method from the ffirst stout brew.
I now start the transfer at 45 celsius ( crazy warm I know) but this means under 40 nearer 35 celsius in the fermenter.
I put a good double dose of nutrient in and oxygenate well.
Keep it really warm in the ferment fridge at 35 celsius or under a sleeping bag and bottles of hot water around it changed regularly if the ferment fridge occupied by something more needy.
Repitching I put about 5cm x 5cm of flakes in.
I find that it isn't going within 10 minutes but can see activity thru the fermentasaurus wall after a few hours. Normally the following morning it's got a bit of froth on the surface and gone berserk by the evening.
Most activity krausen drops by 48 hours but it does keep going for a few more days. keep it warm. Then cold crash around day 5.
I have also done a neipa and an amber ale a few times as well so given a good test.
I really worried that I wasn't get this spectacular all done in 48 hour type result that I thought everyone got but David Heath said he still waits for 3 days of no gravity change with his kveik. So I'm less anxious now.
Very happy with the results though. Opshaug not that expressive and would try a different kveik next time I venture to a NEIPA again starting no pressure until krausen falls to get yeast expression.
I'd say altogether not unusual given the cool temps and low nutrient minus oxygen ( first 3 or 4 of mine I didn't have oxygen either) , pretty sure it will be more than fine.
 

muppix

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That's very reassuring @RoomWithABrew, thank you for putting some of my concerns to bed. I was about to ask what sort of pressure you go for, but on re-reading this thread from the top I see that you've already confirmed that several times - apologies if it seems I've made you repeat yourself but right now I'm still at the "so much to learn" stage and it's inevitable that not everything sticks first time around.

My brew is dialled in to 5 PSI right now and although there was a slight pause in fermentation when I first applied pressure it's picked up speed again as before. I do want some yeast expression which is why I didn't go higher initially, though I was tempted because in my mind I'd be limiting any off-flavours caused by whatever's making it ferment slower than I had expected.

I still have half a pack of Opshaug in my fridge and will be using that again next time now that I know what to expect. Top-cropping yesterday before applying pressure resulted in only a very small amount of yeast, mainly because I avoided the sides of the fermenter as well as those sections that had started to turn dark and crusty, but also because I hadn't yet reached what I'd call High Krausen. I might just play around with that small harvest and see if I can grow it with some DME, kind of like a mini starter.

Getting back to the brew, do you think I could rack some of the partially fermented wort to a new vessel before I increase the pressure in my Fermzilla? I have just over 25 litres in there now, and if I move 5 or 6 litres to my SS Brewtech mini bucket then I can continue to ferment there without pressure, which will make bottling easier, while the remaining Fermzilla contents will have their pressure increased and go straight to a 19 litre keg at the end. The only complication I see there would be that I'd need to be sure of transferring 20% or everything that's in the Fermzilla, including the turbulent wort, whatever's on the bottom, and some of the Krausen. Merely racking 5 or 6 litres via the floating dip tube wouldn't work because I'm not getting a representative sample of the whole brew ... or would it?
 

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